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Re­bel­lion in par­adise

Man­gawhai is a part of the coun­try where it seems hard to imag­ine the res­i­dents wor­ry­ing too much about any­thing. It’s too far up the coast, re­ally, to be con­sid­ered Auck­land, but it’s not quite North­land-proper. There’s a pub, a cou­ple of restau­rants. It’s a prime spot for hol­i­day homes or re­tirees es­cap­ing the city. But for much of the past decade, it’s also been the scene of one of the coun­try’s fiercest rates re­volts, as res­i­dents re­fused to pay a ‘‘rates bomb’’ levied to fund a cost blowout on a $60 mil­lion waste­water scheme. Pen­sion­ers who had never tan­gled with au­thor­ity were sud­denly tout­ing protest signs and hand­ing out pam­phlets. Now the Kaipara ratepay­ers have earned a le­gal vic­tory which could have ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions for other prospec­tive putsches. The High Court at Whangarei has ruled rates col­lected by Kaipara Dis­trict Coun­cil on be­half of the North­land Re­gional Coun­cil be­tween 2011 and 2016 were in­valid. The rates did not meet the re­quire­ments of the Rat­ing Act – the set­ting of rates re­quires a for­mal res­o­lu­tion that sets the dates on which each in­stal­ment is payable. The re­gional coun­cil did not set those dates. It also failed to as­sess its rates. It will be clear soon whether the coun­cil plans to ap­peal that rul­ing. Ratepay­ers could ap­ply to have their rates re­turned. The de­ci­sion has im­pli­ca­tions well beyond the Whangarei and Far North Dis­trict bor­ders. There’s also the mat­ter of the re­main­ing court ac­tion against strik­ing ratepay­ers to be re­solved. Bruce and Heather Ro­gan have al­ready ap­peared in court and lost over their re­fusal to pay $50,000 in out­stand­ing rates and penal­ties – they are still wait­ing for a de­ci­sion on their High Court ap­peal. A hand­ful of other cases re­main. Through­out the bat­tle, the pen­sion­ers have been the face of the cause. Some­times that has meant at­tacks on them per­son­ally; in 2013 ‘‘bludger’’ stick­ers were pasted over many of the 200 signs posted in front of prop­er­ties sig­nalling the pres­ence of ‘‘An­other strik­ing Man­gawhai prop­erty’’. At the time, pro­test­ers sug­gested the dis­trict coun­cil might have been re­spon­si­ble – some­thing it ve­he­mently de­nied. There was a sense in parts of Kaipara that the Man­gawhai protest­ing com­mu­nity were rich re­tirees who had moved up from Auck­land and didn’t want to pay their share for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment. Bruce Ro­gan says the protest is out of char­ac­ter. He and his wife had never been late with a rates bill be­fore the 2012 protest. ‘‘We tried to say to the High Court, through our lawyer, ‘you need to un­der­stand the Ro­gans have never had a dis­pute with any­body in their lives’.’’ But it was at a coun­cil meet­ing five years ago that he de­cided some­thing had to be done. ‘‘They adopted their rates res­o­lu­tion, in our view com­pletely il­le­gally. I went to the chief ex­ec­u­tive and deputy mayor when they were still sit­ting there af­ter the lunch ad­journ­ment had started and said ‘by do­ing this you’ve given us no al­ter­na­tive but to get a ju­di­cial re­view of the de­ci­sion’.’’ The fight has come at a per­sonal cost. This was meant to be their re­tire­ment – Ro­gan spent 28 years at IBM and had a stint in the health sys­tem be­fore mov­ing to Man­gawhai. But the Ro­gans have bounced from one court hear­ing to the next, at turns winning and los­ing. Ro­gan also ran an un­suc­cess­ful may­oralty cam­paign. ‘‘We would like to have spent a bit of this time over­seas but we’ve al­ways had an­other bloody hear­ing hang­ing over us that we have to front up to,’’ he says. ‘‘Our lives have been put on hold by this, that’s for sure. ‘‘There’s a lot of things we haven’t done that we would oth­er­wise have done. ‘‘Also, you have to bear in mind that five years of your life when you’re 70 is a very big per­cent­age of your life. Be­cause if you’re lucky, you last ’til you’re 90. Five years when you’re 70 is 20 per cent of your life. Gone.’’ There has been a fi­nan­cial cost, too, al­though Ro­gan says it’s nei­ther here nor there in the scheme of things. ‘‘You ei­ther have the money or you don’t. We’ve been lucky in life to have the money to get by on the skin of our teeth.’’ The com­mu­nity has ral­lied be­hind them, com­ing up with $400,000 to cover le­gal costs. ‘‘Peo­ple would come round to my place with $10 be­cause they hap­pened to be able to find $10 to put into the case,’’ Ro­gan says. There’s never been much ar­gu­ment that the sit­u­a­tion wasn’t han­dled well. It took a ret­ro­spec­tive val­i­da­tion act in Par­lia­ment to make Kaipara Dis­trict Coun­cil rates law­ful. Com­mis­sion­ers took the place of the elected coun­cil and handed back the demo­cratic process only last year. Ro­gan’s neighbour, hol­i­day home-owner and re­tired lawyer Clive Boon­ham says he joined the fight against the dodgy rates from a sense of in­jus­tice. ‘‘I looked at it and thought ‘this is not just il­le­gal, this is patently il­le­gal’. This is like mafia levies, it doesn’t even follow the rules.’’ Boon­ham es­ti­mates he owes the coun­cil about $65,000, thanks to the ad­di­tion of penal­ties ev­ery six months. Strik­ers have of­fered to pay the rates they owe, but do not want to pay the penal­ties, too. At one point, the group turned up at coun­cil with some $500,000 in cheques to set­tle the stand-off. It was re­jected. ‘‘Ev­ery six months an­other 10 per cent is added,’’ Boon­ham says. ‘‘Not only have you got your 10 per cent penalty but you’ve got your 20 per cent per an­num com­pound­ing, so you run into mas­sive bills.’’ Coun­cils ap­ply pay­ments to the old­est part of a rates bill, so those who have tried to pay their rates while the court deals with the dis­pute have not been able to. Ro­gan’s group re­cently switched its le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion to Whangarei law firm Hen­der­son Reeves. Di­rec­tor Thomas Biss says what they have done is heroic and could be used as a tem­plate for other ratepay­ers who find their coun­cils have acted il­le­gally. ‘‘It’s im­por­tant that peo­ple stand up and say ‘if the Gov­ern­ment is go­ing to rule, it’s im­por­tant that it acts in ac­cor­dance with the laws’. ‘‘The per­sonal risk these guys took to stand up and say ‘no, you can’t do that, you’re wrong’ on a point of prin­ci­ple is hugely brave.’’ The pro­test­ers were a bit like Dad’s Army, he said. ‘‘Last time I spoke to them one was out prun­ing the roses. That’s what they do when they’re not bring­ing down the gov­ern­ment.’’ North­land MP Win­ston Peters says the coun­cil’s ‘‘poor judgement and mis­man­age­ment’’ was to blame and it was un­fair ratepay­ers had been left with the bill. ‘‘They should never have been put through this,’’ he says. What­ever hap­pens now, Ro­gan says he and his group won’t file any more le­gal ac­tion. If it all goes against them, he and Heather may up sticks and head back to Auck­land. The bit­ter taste left by the bat­tle would blight their en­joy­ment of Man­gawhai for­ever, he says. He is not sure whether he would have taken on the fight, had he known how long it would take. ‘‘We knew enough about how these things work to know they wouldn’t just roll over and give in. We didn’t re­alise how de­ter­mined the gov­ern­ment was to kill us. On ev­ery count we knew we were right and we knew we were up against the forces of dark­ness, who re­ally don’t give a stuff about what the rights and wrongs of things are, they’d just pour money onto the prob­lem un­til it goes away. We just said we were not go­ing to be treated that way.’’ He says he and Boon­ham have been united in the view that it was im­por­tant that ev­ery­one stuck to the law. ‘‘Not some peo­ple sub­ject to them and some peo­ple not but ev­ery­one sub­ject to them un­der the law. Some­one’s got to take a stand some­where or we end up in an­ar­chy.’’ Boon­ham says he’s still wait­ing to get on with his re­tire­ment, too: ‘‘I came up here to fish and play golf or what­ever but I work ev­ery day on this. We’ve had some suc­cesses. Some fail­ures as well. But we know we’re right.’’

Bombardier loan could take 15 years to pay back

TORONTO The fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s $372.5-mil­lion loan to Bombardier may not be fully re­paid for 15 years, the com­pany said Thurs­day. The in­ter­est-free loan is “roy­alty re­payable,” Bombardier chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer John Di Bert said, pro­vid­ing de­tails for the first time on the terms of the gov­ern­ment aid that was an­nounced ear­lier this month. “That means that it will be re­paid on ei­ther a func­tion of busi­ness jet de­liv­er­ies or CSeries unit de­liv­er­ies,” Di Bert told an­a­lysts on the com­pany’s fourth-quar­ter earn­ings call. “It will be over a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time,” he added. “The pro­gram runs for about 15 years, in­clud­ing a bit of a grace pe­riod the first two years, so no re­pay­ments for the first two years.” Di Bert said the com­pany will re­ceive be­tween $70 mil­lion and $100 mil­lion per year from 2017 to 2020. The fund­ing will go to­ward re­search and de­vel­op­ment of Bombardier’s new Global 7000 busi­ness jet and the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment of the CSeries com­mer­cial jet. Com­pany spokesman Si­mon Le­tendre said the spe­cific de­tails of the agree­ment are con­fi­den­tial so he couldn’t pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion about the level of rev­enue or de­liv­er­ies that would trig­ger re­pay­ment. “We are not go­ing to com­ment on the specifics, but we are com­mit­ted to re­pay­ing th­ese con­tri­bu­tions in full, as we al­ways did in the past,” Le­tendre said in an email. The gov­ern­ment sup­port comes as Bombardier con­tin­ues to make progress on its five-year turn­around plan, which was im­ple­mented by chief ex­ec­u­tive Alain Belle­mare in 2015 as the com­pany burned through cash and strug­gled to bring the CSeries to mar­ket. Bombardier ex­pects to de­liver 30 to 35 CSeries this year, up from seven last year. The com­pany was forced to cut its 2016 de­liv­ery fore­cast in half be­cause of sup­ply­chain is­sues at its en­gine sup­plier, Pratt & Whit­ney. Belle­mare said he ex­pects to an­nounce an­other big or­der for the air­craft this year, which has a firm back­log of ap­prox­i­mately 350 jets. The last ma­jor or­der for the CSeries was in April 2016 from Delta Air Lines Inc. “We have a num­ber of on­go­ing cam­paigns that the team is ac­tively work­ing on,” Belle­mare said. “If you look at the com­ments we’re get­ting from our ex­ist­ing cur­rent op­er­a­tors, it’s very, very pos­i­tive. As you know, it’s a small world, so that has a pos­i­tive rip­ple ef­fect on other air­lines.” Bombardier is also ap­ply­ing the lessons it learned from the dif­fi­cult CSeries de­vel­op­ment process to its Global 7000 busi­ness jet, which has con­ducted about 100 hours of flight tests and is sched­uled to en­ter ser­vice in the se­cond half of 2018. “The ma­tu­rity of the air­craft at this stage is prob­a­bly two to three times bet­ter than what we saw with the CSeries when the CSeries had its first flight,” Belle­mare said. “It shows that we’ve been build­ing on the lessons learned from the CSeries.” Bombardier re­ported a fourthquar­ter loss be­fore spe­cial items of US$0.07 per share, wider than the US$0.03 loss fore­cast by an­a­lysts. Rev­enue fell 13 per cent to US$4.38 bil­lion but the net loss nar­rowed sig­nif­i­cantly to US$259 mil­lion, re­flect­ing stronger mar­gins. The com­pany beat its 2016 earn­ings guid­ance with EBIT be­fore spe­cial items of $427 mil­lion, and its yearover-year cash burn im­proved by US$778 mil­lion to US$1.06 bil­lion. “With the re­sults com­ing in ahead of guid­ance, we see this as a con­sid­er­able pos­i­tive as it con­tin­ues to add to man­age­ment cred­i­bil­ity and pro­vide greater con­vic­tion into the achiev­abil­ity of the five-year plan,” RBC an­a­lyst Wal­ter Sprack­lin wrote in a note to clients. “More im­por­tantly, we’re now through the crit­i­cal de-risk­ing/liquidity por­tion of the plan and we are now mov­ing into the earn­ings and cash-flow trans­for­ma­tion. … We see val­u­a­tion build­ing as man­age­ment ex­e­cutes.” Bombardier also re­it­er­ated its 2017 guid­ance, which calls for lows­in­gle-digit rev­enue growth and a 35 per cent in­crease in EBIT be­fore spe­cial items. “Bot­tom line, we have greatly im­proved our op­er­a­tional and fi­nan­cial per­for­mance and there is much more to come,” Belle­mare said. (Roy­alty re­payable) means that it will be re­paid on ei­ther a func­tion of busi­ness jet de­liv­er­ies or CSeries unit de­liv­er­ies. JOHN DI BERT, CFO, Bombardier

NRIs take ‘note’ of In­dia realty

dubai — In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s de­mon­eti­sa­tion pol­icy has brought a great amount of much­needed clar­ity to In­dia’s real es­tate sec­tor, which has led to an in­crease in in­ter­est among non-res­i­dent In­di­ans (NRIs) in the UAE. Speak­ing to Khaleej Times on the side­lines of the In­dian Prop­erty In­vest­ment Expo, Shekhar Bhard­waj, direc­tor, Brand Man­agers Me­dia, de­scribed the de­mon­eti­sa­tion pol­icy as a “su­per hit” among res­i­dents and NRIs, and which has rekin­dled an in­ter­est to in­vest in In­dia among expats. The expo, pre­sented by 99acres.com, has been or­gan­ised by Brand Man­agers. “The de­mon­eti­sa­tion proved to be a con­fi­dence building mea­sure among NRIs, and which has ul­ti­mately ended up of­fer­ing a lot of clar­ity in the in­vest­ment cy­cle. The equa­tion in In­dian real es­tate is very good right now,” he said. Bhard­waj also re­vealed that the type of in­vest­ment that the In­dian real es­tate seg­ment is see­ing in the past two to three years is “hu­mon­gous”. The sec­tor, he pointed out, has def­i­nitely bounced back to its peak 2007 and 2008 in­vest­ment lev­els; and in­ter­est, es­pe­cially from NRIs, has grown. “The key driv­ers of the growth in the seg­ment is the in­crease in pur­chas­ing power from the mid­dle class, spurred by the poli­cies of the In­dian govern­ment, and the boom in in­fras­truc­ture in the coun­try. shar­jah — With the In­dian govern­ment’s re­cent push to­wards cre­at­ing the smart cities of the fu­ture, non-res­i­dent In­di­ans (NRIs) in the UAE are in­creas­ingly look­ing to in­vest in a prop­erty back home. To­wards that end, 99acres.com is show­cas­ing some of the most sought af­ter real es­tate projects in var­i­ous cities across the coun­try at the first-ever In­dian Prop­erty In­vest­ment Ex­hi­bi­tion, which con­cludes to­day at Expo Centre Shar­jah. The ex­hi­bi­tion brings to­gether over 45 ex­hibitors who will be show­cas­ing a num­ber of res­i­den­tial and commercial projects, as well as in­vest­ment op­tions in In­dia’s smart cities. “We are show­cas­ing prop­er­ties across Ker­ala, Chen­nai, Ban­ga­lore, Hy­der­abad, Pune, Mum­bai and Delhi,” said Shekhar Bhard­waj, direc­tor of the In­dian Prop­erty In­vest­ment Expo. “These are among the fastest­grow­ing cities in In­dia. The In­dian In­ter­est has re­mained high for res­i­den­tial projects in Hy­der­abad govern­ment has been very par­tic­u­lar about its push to­wards the smart cities of the fu­ture. We are show­cas­ing ev­ery­thing from res­i­den­tial units, commercial units, land plots, and apart­ments.” Speak­ing on in­vestor in­ter­est from the UAE, he said: “People that are mostly look­ing for in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties are eye­ing The time to in­vest in safe res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties in In­dia is now Samir Sureja, Direc­tor of Gu­rukrupa Group apart­ments that they can rent out, and gen­er­ate an ad­di­tional source of in­come for them­selves. The top five cities of in­ter­est among in­vestors right now are Ker­ala, Ban­ga­lore, Chen­nai, Pune and Mum­bai.” A re­cent study amongst NRIs by Su­mansa Ex­hi­bi­tions re­vealed that about 63 per cent of the sur­vey par­tic­i­pants showed an in­ter­est in buy­ing prop­er­ties in In­dia in the com­ing months, com­pared to 61 per cent last year. Ex­hibitors at the event noted that the de­mand for apart­ments in gated res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ties was in­creas­ing. K. Prithvi Reddy, CEO of Vooty Golf County, a project by Dream Val­ley Group, noted that in­ter­est re­mained high for res­i­den­tial projects in Hy­der­abad. The group was at the ex­hi­bi­tion to pro­mote Vooty Golf County to interested buy­ers. “The project in­cludes an 18-hole in­ter­na­tional stan­dard golf course, with 400 res­i­den­tial units cov­er­ing 400, 600, 900, and 1,200 square yards. 10 per cent of the con­struc­tion are gold-fac­ing pool vil­las,” Reddy said. An­other ex­hibitor, Rohan Group, was also show­cas­ing its projects across var­i­ous cities in In­dia. “Our fo­cus ar­eas for real es­tate re­main Pune, Ban­ga­lore, and very soon Mum­bai,” said Ash­win Lunkad, direc­tor of Rohan Builders. “Founded in 1993, Rohan group has been con­sis­tently been awarded the pres­ti­gious DA2+ rat­ing for the last nine years by CRICIL, In­dia. It aims at building a health­ier life style for the city dwellers and greater sus­tain­abil­ity for the ecosys­tem hav­ing di­verse in­ter­ests in real es­tate, in­dus­trial con­tract­ing, in­fras­truc­ture devel­op­ment and lo­gis­tics. Be it res­i­den­tial or commercial con­struc­tion, we have al­ways banked on in­no­va­tion, team work, and a high de­gree of tech­ni­cal ex­pe­ri­ence which has helped us achieve an enviable track record of com­plet­ing 97 per cent of our projects on time.” Samir Sureja, direc­tor of Gu­rukrupa Group, noted that the time to in­vest in safe res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties in In­dia is now. “Phase one of our Ma­rina En­clave in Malad is ready. The whole project con­sists of nine tow­ers each with 23 floors of­fer­ing amazing views. Our other projects that we are show­cas­ing to­day in­clude the five-tower Guru At­man res­i­den­tial com­plex in Mum­bai.” — rohma@khalee­j­times.com K. Prithvi Reddy, CEO of Vooty Golf County

Law­suit seeks more data in Seth Rich case

An Arlington-based le­gal in­ves­tiga­tive unit filed a law­suit Wed­nes­day seek­ing to force D.C. po­lice to turn over in­for­ma­tion gath­ered in last year’s fa­tal shoot­ing of Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee staffer Seth Rich. The Pro­fil­ing Project, headed by lobbyist and lawyer Jack Burk­man, along with law stu­dents at Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity, filed the suit in D.C. Su­pe­rior Court in the hope that it can gain ac­cess to sur­veil­lance video from a cam­era at the Fla­gler Mar­ket, near where Rich was killed; the D.C. med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s re­port on the death; and the foren­sic bal­lis­tic re­port. As part of the law­suit, Burk­man is ask­ing that D.C. po­lice re­lease the in­for­ma­tion within 10 days. Named as de­fen­dants in the law­suit are Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and D.C. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Karl A. Racine. Rich, 27, was shot July 10, 2016, in the Dis­trict’s Bloom­ing­dale neigh­bor­hood. D.C. po­lice have re­peat­edly said that they think Rich was killed in a ran­dom rob­bery at­tempt, but sev­eral con­spir­acy the­o­ries have emerged about his death. No ar­rests have been made. Brad Bau­man, a spokesman for the Rich fam­ily, said in an email Wed­nes­day that the fam­ily was not af­fil­i­ated with Burk­man or his law­suit. “The fam­ily re­mains com­pletely con­fi­dent in the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice Depart­ment’s han­dling of the case,” Bau­man said in a state­ment.

Get ready for ‘Trump shocks’

As Cana­di­ans, we’ve ac­tu­ally seen this trou­bling pic­ture be­fore. It was back in the sum­mer of 1971, when the Repub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tion of Richard Nixon im­posed a 10 per cent spe­cial “sur­charge” on all (non­re­source) im­ports en­ter­ing the United States. It be­came known in Canada as the “Nixon shocks.” Not sur­pris­ingly, this de­vel­op­ment sent enor­mous shock­waves through­out of­fi­cial Ot­tawa. Many in the Pierre El­liott Trudeau gov­ern­ment as­sumed it must have been an over­sight or a mis­take by an illinformed Nixon White House. There was talk of mas­sive job losses in Canada, the need for gov­ern­ment pro­grams to as­sist the un­em­ployed and it stood as a stark re­minder that Ot­tawa’s “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” with Wash­ing­ton had run its course. Cana­dian of­fi­cials were sub­se­quently dis­patched to Wash­ing­ton to set their U.S. coun­ter­parts straight. There was a gen­eral con­sen­sus amongst the del­e­ga­tion that once the Amer­i­cans were briefed on the im­por­tance and in­te­gra­tive na­ture of the two economies, the Nixon ad­min­is­tra­tion would come to its senses and swiftly ex­empt Canada (as it had done in the past) from this puni­tive mea­sure. What they dis­cov­ered to their hor­ror was that Canada was specif­i­cally tar­geted by of­fi­cial Wash­ing­ton. U.S. of­fi­cials were ap­par­ently an­gry with a onesided Canada-U.S. Auto Pact, un­wel­come noises about plac­ing re­stric­tions on U.S. in­vest­ment in Canada and a grow­ing bi­lat­eral trade deficit. The big brains in the Trudeau gov­ern­ment were at a loss as to how to get the Amer­i­cans to can­cel the sur­charge. Any thoughts of re­tal­i­a­tion against the U.S. were seen as dan­ger­ously coun­ter­pro­duc­tive and promptly dis­pensed with. Diplo­macy (at both the bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral lev­els) would be the or­der of the day — and es­pe­cially work­ing closely with our Euro­pean friends to plead our col­lec­tive case. As it turned out, Pres­i­dent Nixon re­lented, largely be­cause of Ja­panese cur­rency align­ment, Euro­pean pres­sure and an im­prov­ing U.S. bal­ance of pay­ments sit­u­a­tion, and scrapped the mea­sure in De­cem­ber of 1971. To­day, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau faces the omi­nous prospect of an­other Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent, Don­ald Trump, em­brac­ing “Buy Amer­ica” pro­vi­sions, dis­man­tling the NAFTA and im­pos­ing a 20 per cent “border ad­just­ment tax” on Cana­dian im­ports. The ful­fil­ment of any one of th­ese moves would spell very bad news in­deed for Canada. Of course, Cana­di­ans are well aware of the stakes here: we ex­port roughly 75 per cent of ev­ery­thing that we pro­duce to the U.S. mar­ket­place. It is the largest bi­lat­eral trad­ing re­la­tion­ship in the world. In­deed, the U.S. mar­ket com­prises some­thing like 16 per cent of Canada’s over­all GDP and Canada-U.S. trade amounts to $2.5 bil­lion a day. More­over, mil­lions of Cana­dian jobs de­pend on com­mer­cial ac­cess to the United States. And as the automotive sec­tor am­ply demon­strates, the two economies are highly in­te­grated. (It is of­ten said that car parts move across the border seven times be­fore the ve­hi­cle is fi­nally as­sem­bled.) Be­cause of this eco­nomic de­pen­dence, though, a Trump border tax would in­flict se­ri­ous harm on the Cana­dian econ­omy. And we should not kid our­selves this time around that an ex­emp­tion or quick fix for Canada is some­how in the cards. It won’t be. So if Pres­i­dent Trump does move to im­ple­ment a border tax, the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment will need to say firmly to our U.S. friends that re­strict­ing Cana­dian im­ports hurts U.S. sub­sidiaries op­er­at­ing in Canada, makes it more dif­fi­cult for strug­gling Cana­dian com­pa­nies to pur­chase U.S. prod­ucts, and that we have only a small trade sur­plus with the U.S. We should also not be shy about re­mind­ing U.S. of­fi­cials that Canada is the top trad­ing part­ner for some 37 U.S. states — a num­ber of which voted for Trump in Novem­ber. Diplo­mat­i­cally speak­ing, Canada will have to work in con­cert with other like-minded coun­tries within mul­ti­lat­eral fora to push back against the border mea­sure. More im­por­tant, Ot­tawa will have to uti­lize our em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton to lobby stren­u­ously se­nior of­fi­cials in the Trump White House, mem­bers of Congress (and par­tic­u­larly key com­mit­tee chairs), state gov­er­nors and friendly U.S. busi­ness in­ter­ests (such as those in the auto parts sec­tor). Sim­ply put, we will have to in­form the Trump team that the scope of con­ver­gence be­tween the two economies means that pun­ish­ing Canada with a border tax is tan­ta­mount to cut­ting off your nose to spite your face. But we all need to re­al­ize that we’re now in a much dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal uni­verse than the one in the early 1970s. And I have to ad­mit, it’s hard to know what strat­egy, if any, would work with such a blink­ered and un­pre­dictable Trump pres­i­dency.

Non-bank lenders left reel­ing by new fed­eral mort­gage rules

Canada’s non-bank lenders are reel­ing from Ot­tawa’s lat­est moves to cool Canada’s hous­ing mar­ket, with many forced to im­me­di­ately hike their mort­gage rates or scale back their busi­nesses. First Na­tional Fi­nan­cial, the coun­try’s largest non-bank mort­gage lender, sent a note to its mort­gage-bro­ker clients last week an­nounc­ing that it had tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended mort­gages for rental prop­er­ties. It did the same for “stated-in­come” loans to bor­row­ers who can’t ver­ify their em­ploy­ment us­ing tra­di­tional means, such as self­em­ployed and con­tract work­ers. The com­pany’s shares fell nearly 20 per cent last week. Other lenders re­acted sim­i­larly in re­sponse to changes in mort­gage-lend­ing rules that fed­eral Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau an­nounced last week in or­der to limit Ot­tawa’s ex­po­sure to risks in the hous­ing mar­ket, par­tic­u­larly in the over­heated Van­cou­ver and Toronto ar­eas. Those changes in­clude tight­en­ing rules around qual­i­fy­ing rates for bor­row­ers with down pay­ments of less than 20 per cent and clos­ing loop­holes that have al­lowed some for­eign in­vestors to avoid pay­ing cap­i­tal-gains taxes when they sell prop­erty. Non-bank lenders now con­trol about a third of the mar­ket for new mort­gages in Canada, roughly $100-bil­lion to $140-bil­lion per year. Most com­pete di­rectly for the same clients that are at­trac­tive to banks – bor­row­ers with good credit scores and sta­ble in­comes – but have been able to of­fer lower rates or more flex­i­ble terms than the ma­jor banks. “This has es­sen­tially crip­pled the non-banks,” said Ron Butler of Butler Mort­gage, an on­line bro­ker­age. “It’s like you took one of their legs and broke it in a com­pound frac­ture.” Mr. Butler pre­dicted many non­bank lenders would see their mar­ket share shrink sig­nif­i­cantly over the next year, with some do­ing 50 to 60 per cent fewer mort­gages in the wake of the new rules. “It re­ally is a mas­sive, mas­sive change,” he said. Another lender, Merix Fi­nan­cial, told bro­kers it would no longer of­fer mort­gages on rental prop­er­ties and re­fi­nanc­ing af­ter Nov. 15. Home­own­ers re­fi­nance their mort­gage by break­ing their ex­ist­ing con­tracts early and tak­ing a new mort­gage, ei­ther to take ad­van­tage of a lower in­ter­est rate or take eq­uity out of their home to pay other ex­penses. MCAP Fi­nan­cial told bro­kers it will in­crease in­ter­est rates for new mort­gage ap­pli­ca­tions by 10 ba­sis points. (A ba­sis point is 1/100th of a per­cent­age point.) Start­ing in De­cem­ber, MCAP said it will also limit amor­ti­za­tion pe­ri­ods on new re­fi­nanc­ing ap­pli­ca­tions to 25 years and in­crease in­ter­est rates on those loans by 15 ba­sis points. RMG Mort­gages, which is owned by MCAP, said it was end­ing 35-year mort­gage amor­ti­za­tions start­ing next month and would hike rates on “stated-in­come” mort­gages by 15 ba­sis points. It is Ot­tawa’s new rules for port­fo­lio in­sur­ance that have dealt the big­gest blow to the coun­try’s “mono­line” lenders, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions that have only one line of busi­ness – mort­gages – and op­er­ate pre­dom­i­nantly through net­works of in­de­pen­dent mort­gage bro­kers, rather than through bricks and mor­tar re­tail branches. Bor­row­ers with down pay­ments of less than 20 per cent are re­quired to take mort­gage in­sur­ance. But lenders will of­ten sep­a­rately take out port­fo­lio in­sur­ance on pools of their unin­sured mort­gages, those with down pay­ments of 20 per cent or more, so that they can sell the loans to in­vestors through CMHC’s mort­gage-backed se­cu­ri­ties pro­grams. Un­til now, port­fo­lio in­sur­ance has given non-bank lenders ac­cess to a cheap source of fi­nanc­ing, al­low­ing them to of­fer mort­gages at in­ter­est rates that are com­pet­i­tive with the ma­jor banks, which have other ways to fund their mort­gage busi­nesses, such as de­posits. Un­der the new port­fo­lio in­sur­ance rules that kick in Nov. 30, lenders will no longer be able to in­sure mort­gages with amor­ti­za­tion pe­ri­ods beyond 25 years, those on homes worth more than $1-mil­lion, rental prop­er­ties, or mort­gage re­fi­nanc­ing. That is forc­ing lenders who have re­lied heav­ily on gov­ern­ment-backed port­fo­lio in­sur­ance to scram­ble to find other ways to fi­nance these por­tions of their mort­gage busi­ness or scrap them en­tirely. Sev­eral in­dus­try players say the new rules will make it far more dif­fi­cult for al­ter­na­tive lenders to com­pete with the ma­jor banks, who rely less on port­fo­lio in­sur­ance to fund their mort­gage busi­ness and who will likely be able to ab­sorb the in­creased costs of stricter mort­gage-in­sur­ance reg­u­la­tions with­out hiking rates on their mort­gage prod­ucts. “Tight­en­ing of mort­gage reg­u­la­tions gen­er­ally, peo­ple are gen­er­ally on board with that,” said James Laird, pres­i­dent of mort­gage bro­ker­age CanWise Fi­nan­cial. “What we’re not on board with is sys­tem­atic changes that ben­e­fit the banks at the cost of the mort­gage bro­kers backed by mono­line lenders.” If Ot­tawa goes ahead with plans to force lenders to share in the cost of de­faulted mort­gages that are cov­ered by its gov­ern­ment­backed mort­gage in­sur­ance, that may push some smaller lenders to shut down en­tirely, while oth­ers may have to scale back their op­er­a­tions and lay off staff, Mr. Butler said. “The banks are the only com­pa­nies in Canada who could im­me­di­ately ab­sorb risk-shar­ing and not have to raise their rates im­me­di­ately,” he said. “They could sit back and watch their com­peti­tors just dry up and blow away.”

Sil­ver Top set to hit auc­tion block Out-of-com­mis­sion diner will be avail­able for pur­chase on Oct. 5

PAWTUCKET – With the le­gal bat­tle hav­ing come to an end, the his­toric Sil­ver Top Diner will hit the auc­tion block next month, as mem­bers of the Pawtucket Re­de­vel­op­ment Agency and con­sul­tants for the city hope to bring it back to its pre­vi­ous glory, pos­si­bly in Pawtucket. The auc­tion will take place at 10 a. m. on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 5 at the site of the diner, which cur­rently sits on a va­cant plot of land on Mid­dle Street in Pawtucket. “The next step in the diner saga is about to take place,” Mike Cas­sidy, a plan­ning con­sul­tant for the city and the city’s for­mer Plan­ning Di­rec­tor, said. “It’s nice af­ter start­ing this project, to see it look­ing like it’s com­ing to some res­o­lu­tion, get­ting it back some­where and maybe even up and oper­at­ing.” Cas­sidy said his long-term goal is to see the diner re­turned to its for­mer lore – as a fully-func­tion­ing diner in which to serve hun­gry pa­trons. He said he would “hate to lose that valu­able piece of Amer­i­cana.” Su­san Mara, the city’s act­ing di­rec­tor of Plan­ning and Re­de­vel­op­ment and the act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Pawtucket Re­de­vel­op­ment Agency, said that the Sil­ver Top hit­ting the auc­tion block is “a good thing all around.” “I think it’s a great op­por­tu­nity for the diner it­self to be reused, it’s re­ally a neat piece,” Mara said. “It’s an op­por­tu­nity to be reused. I think it’s a good op­por­tu­nity, it frees up lots for po­ten­tial re­de­vel­op­ment on those sites, it’s a good op­por­tu­nity over­all.” Mara agreed that the ideal sit­u­a­tion would be that the diner is sold to some­one who in­tends to keep it in Pawtucket. “It would be great if it was pur­chased with the idea to reuse in Pawtucket. We’d ab­so­lutely be will­ing to work with them,” Mara said. “In gen­eral, the din­ers were real pop­u­lar, but there are not that many left of them. We’re lucky we have the Mod­ern Diner in Pawtucket, it’s an awe­some ex­am­ple of how it can be pre­served and reused.” How­ever, Mara said that the city will be will­ing to work with who­ever pur­chases it, as the city is now par­tic­i­pat­ing as a sup­porter in the af­ter­math of the le­gal bat­tle over the diner’s fu­ture. In Novem­ber 2015, a Su­pe­rior Court jury re­jected diner owner Pa­tri­cia To­masso-Brown’s claims that the PRA was neg­li­gent be­cause it failed to prop­erly man­age the funds loaned to her by the agency to res­ur­rect the idle res­tau­rant as a go­ing busi­ness. She was seek­ing mone­tary dam­ages from the PRA, but the jury ruled in fa­vor of the de­fen­dants and she re­ceived no award. The le­gal feud in­volved a $100,000 loan the PRA made to To­masso-Brown some 14 years ago af­ter she bought the land­mark din­ing car and moved it to Pawtucket from its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion in Prov­i­dence. From the mid-1930s, the clas­sic din­ing car was lo­cated on a par­cel off Prom­e­nade Street near the Prov­i­dence Place Mall, but it was forced to re­lo­cate in 2001 af­ter the land be­neath it was sold to de­velop apart­ments. De­spite its cur­rent con­di­tion, wrapped in a tarp for years, the Sil­ver Top has a sto­ried past. Man­u­fac­tured by the New Jersey- based Kull­man Din­ing Car Com­pany, the his­toric din­ing car op­er­ated in Prov­i­dence for 60 years and was a main­stay for hun­gry work­ers from the fac­to­ries perched along­side the Moshas­suck River and, closer to the end of its life in the cap­i­tal city, as a pop­u­lar af­ter-hours eatery for rev­el­ers leav­ing the city’s bars and night­clubs.

CJI op­poses panel to vet can­di­dates for judge­ship

New Delhi: The higher ju­di­ciary is not in favour of any mech­a­nism that puts out­side in­ter­fer­ence in the pro­ce­dure of ap­point­ment of judges by the Supreme Court col­legium. At last week’s in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the Chief Justice of In­dia and two se­nior Cab­i­net min­is­ters, the former is be­lieved to have re­jected the pro­posal to put in place a com­mit­tee of re­tired judges to eval­u­ate the ap­pli­ca­tions of can­di­dates for ap­point­ment as judges to the SC and high courts. On Wed­nes­day, for­eign minister Sushma Swaraj and law minister Sadananda Gowda had met CJI T S Thakur at the lat­ter’s res­i­dence to con­vince him on the draft mem­o­ran­dum of pro­ce­dure (MoP) fi­nalised by the Cen­tre, over which the SC col­legium, headed by the CJI, had ex­pressed reser­va­tions over all key sug­ges­tions. Swaraj, who headed the group of min­is­ters which drafted the MoP, con­vinced the CJI on other is­sues that in­cluded set­ting up of sec­re­tar­iats at the SC and HCs to mon­i­tor and co­or­di­nate all ap­point­ment re­lated work. The MoP is a doc­u­ment which guides the ap­point­ment of judges to the SC and the 24 high courts. At present, there are two MoPs — one for the apex court and the other for high courts. The gov­ern­ment had sent the draft MoP to the SC col­legium in March. The CJI had re­turned the doc­u­ment in May rais­ing ob­jec­tions to var­i­ous clauses. Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing was aimed at nar­row­ing the dif­fer­ences be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive and the ju­di­ciary. At the meet­ing, Justice Thakur said the com­mit­tee of re­tired judges to eval­u­ate ap­pli­ca­tions was un­ac­cept­able, a source said. The gov­ern­ment wants the pro­posed panel to eval­u­ate the ex­pe­ri­ence of as­pi­rants in de­tail be­fore mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to the col­legium for a fi­nal call. One com­mit­tee was pro­posed at the SC level and 24 oth­ers for each high court.

COR­RUPT REGIMES GET OUR AID CASH AD­MITS CAMERON

TWO ma­jor re­cip­i­ents of Bri­tish aid are ‘fan­tas­ti­cally cor­rupt’, David Cameron ad­mit­ted yes­ter­day. The Prime Min­is­ter was caught on cam­era mak­ing the can­did re­mark to the Queen at a Buck­ing­ham Palace event mark­ing her 90th birth­day. He told her a sum­mit in Lon­don to­mor­row would see ‘the lead­ers of some fan­tas­ti­cally cor­rupt coun­tries com­ing to Bri­tain’. Sin­gling out Nige­ria and Afghanistan for crit­i­cism, he told the monarch they were ‘pos­si­bly the two most cor­rupt coun­tries in the world’. Down­ing Street stood by the com­ments – which ap­peared to leave the Queen vis­i­bly shocked – say­ing the lead­ers of both coun­tries ac­knowl­edged that they had a prob­lem. But Tory MP Philip Davies called for Nige­ria and Afghanistan to be stripped of aid un­til they clean up their acts. ‘It is com­pletely un­jus­ti­fi­able for the Prime Min­is­ter to pour tax­pay­ers’ money into Nige­ria and Afghanistan even though he knows they are fan­tas­ti­cally cor­rupt, it is an ab­so­lute scan­dal,’ he said. The two coun­tries pock­eted £435mil­lion of Bri­tish cash last year – de­spite deep cuts to pub­lic ser­vices here. Their pay­ments have soared 35 per cent since Mr Cameron took of­fice in 2010. Peter Bone, an­other Con­ser­va­tive MP, said the PM’s pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of Bri­tain’s in­come on aid meant more cash would in­evitably be lost to cor­rup­tion. He added: ‘We have got tied to this ridicu­lous tar­get which means we are more in­ter­ested in spend­ing money than in where it ends up. It is per­verse. ‘Why else are we giv­ing mil­lions of pounds to coun­tries that we know are fan­tas­ti­cally cor­rupt? We just end up lin­ing the pock­ets of cor­rupt lead­ers, bent of­fi­cials, crim­i­nal gangs and, in the worst cases, ter­ror­ists.’ Steve Hil­ton, Mr Cameron’s former Down­ing Street guru, also crit­i­cised his in­ter­ven­tion, high­light­ing a sur­vey by the Econ­o­mist sug­gest­ing the UK has a big­ger prob­lem with cor­rup­tion than coun­tries such as Brazil, France and the United States. In a mes­sage on Twit­ter, Mr Hil­ton said: ‘Be­fore any­one gets too com­pla­cent, the UK is fan­tas­ti­cally cor­rupt too.’ Mr Cameron’s slip came dur­ing an ap­par­ent ef­fort to make small talk about prepa­ra­tions for to­mor­row’s anti-cor­rup­tion sum­mit. He said: ‘We’ve got the Nige­ri­ans, ac­tu­ally we’ve got some lead­ers of some fan­tas­ti­cally cor­rupt coun­tries com­ing to Bri­tain. Nige­ria and Afghanistan, pos­si­bly the two most cor­rupt coun­tries in the world.’ The Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, who used to work in Nige­ria, ap­peared to cor­rect the Prime Min­is­ter, telling him: ‘But this par­tic­u­lar pres­i­dent [Muham­madu Buhari] is ac­tu­ally not cor­rupt.’ The Queen then asked the arch­bishop: ‘He’s try­ing?’ He re­sponded: ‘Oh yes, he’s try­ing very hard.’ Com­mons speaker John Ber­cow, who was also present, then at­tempted a joke, say­ing: ‘They are com­ing at their own ex­pense one as­sumes?’ Mr Cam- eron replied: ‘Yes, be­cause it’s an an­ti­cor­rup­tion sum­mit every­thing has to be open, you see. So there are no closed door ses­sions. It’s all in front of the press. It could be quite, um, in­ter­est­ing. But there you go.’ Garba Shehu, a spokesman for the Nige­rian pres­i­dent, said: ‘It is dis­turb­ing that de­spite all the efforts made by Pres­i­dent Buhari in fight­ing cor­rup­tion in Nige­ria, his efforts have gone un­no­ticed. It is pos­si­ble the Prime Min­is­ter was caught un­awares and was re­fer­ring to how things were done in the past.’ The Afghan em­bassy main­tained a diplo­matic si­lence last night. But Lib Dem leader Tim Far­ron said: ‘Muham­madu Buhari won elec­tions last year promis­ing to fight wide­spread cor­rup­tion. ‘So to see our Prime Min­is­ter talk about him like this is dis­grace­ful. The rea­son this sum­mit is be­ing held is to help bol­ster newly elected lead­ers like Buhari and not to cut them down. The Prime Min­is­ter has gaffed, yet again.’ Mr Cameron also drew a re­buke from anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign­ers, who said he should look closer to home and deal with tax avoid­ance in Bri­tish overseas ter­ri­to­ries, which are blamed for hid­ing dirty money. The se­cre­tive na­ture of the tax regimes in some de­pen­den­cies, such as the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, was high­lighted in the re­cent Panama Pa­pers scan­dal. Mr Cameron is no stranger to the danger of un­guarded com­ments in the pres­ence of TV mi­cro­phones. In 2014, the Prime Min­is­ter was forced to is­sue a pub­lic apol­ogy to the Queen af­ter he in­ad­ver­tently re­vealed that she had ‘purred’ with plea­sure when he told her Scot­land had re­jected in­de­pen­dence. And last year he was recorded talk­ing about York­shire peo­ple ‘hat­ing each other’. Com­ment – Page 14 GLOBAL rank­ings show Nige­ria and Afghanistan re­ally are among the world’s most cor­rupt coun­tries – yet we give them mil­lions of pounds in aid which could ac­tu­ally fuel cor­rup­tion. Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional, an in­ter­na­tional non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion, ranks wartorn Afghanistan as the third worst coun­try in the world for cor­rup­tion, only bet­ter than North Korea and So­ma­lia, while Nige­ria is 32nd from bot­tom. De­spite this, Bri­tain gives £237mil­lion a year in aid to Nige­ria and £198mil­lion to Afghanistan, the lat­est fig­ures show. The to­tal aid spend­ing on the two coun­tries is 35 per cent higher than when David Cameron came to power in 2010. Two years ago, a re­port from an aid watch­dog found that UK aid fu­els cor­rup­tion in Nige­ria, with one scheme in­creas­ing the like­li­hood that lo­cals would have to pay back­han­ders to the po­lice. The In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion For Aid Im­pact said the Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (DfID) was not ‘up to the chal­lenge’ of tack­ling cor­rup­tion, of­ten be­cause it was con­cerned about of­fend­ing lo­cal politi­cians. NIGE­RIA: COR­RUP­TION ÷ Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional’s cor­rup­tion per­cep­tion index puts Nige­ria at 136 out of 168 coun­tries. ÷ Cor­rup­tion is en­demic in Nige­ria, with es­ti­mates as high as 400bil­lion US dol­lars lost since it won in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tain in 1960. ÷ A 2014 study by the In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion For Aid Im­pact found: ‘Petty cor­rup­tion touches vir­tu­ally ev­ery as­pect of life and is ac­cepted through­out so­ci­ety as nor­mal and nec­es­sary. We heard sto­ries of par­ents pay­ing bribes to teach­ers to ed­u­cate their chil­dren, work­ers pay­ing bribes to get jobs and re­ceive their salaries, and pen­sion­ers pay­ing bribes to re­ceive pen­sions.’ ÷ It is be­lieved that up to 20bil­lion US dol­lars have gone miss­ing from the books of the state oil com­pany, the Nige­rian Na­tional Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion. ÷ Mil­lions of dol­lars meant to be spent on vac­ci­na­tions and on the fight against ebola have been il­le­gally di­verted. ÷ Sur­veys show that the Nige­rian po­lice is seen as the most cor­rupt in­sti­tu­tion in the coun­try, with peo­ple hav­ing to pay bribes be­fore of­fi­cers will agree to help them. BUT HERE ARE THEIR AID GRANTS ÷ The UK gave £237mil­lion in aid to Nige­ria in 2014. More than £1bil­lion has been given to the coun­try since 2010 – de­spite the fact that it is rich enough to af­ford a space pro­gramme. ÷ The DfID says the money goes to­wards pro­vid­ing clean wa­ter, food, health and education to mil­lions of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple and does not go to government of­fi­cials. It also claims there are ro­bust checks to en­sure the money is safe from cor­rup­tion. ÷ A study into a multi-mil­lion­pound aid pro­gramme to boost schools found that it had pro­duced ‘no ma­jor im­prove­ment in pupil learn­ing’. Re­searchers found teach­ers at sub­sidised schools fre­quently failed to turn up and chil­dren were left to play foot­ball all day. ÷ The In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion For Aid Im­pact found that af­ter the UK spent mil­lions on a scheme to tackle po­lice bribery in Nige­ria, lo­cals said they were even more likely to have to pay back­han­ders. AFGHANISTAN: COR­RUP­TION ÷ Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional’s cor­rup­tion index puts Afghanistan at 166 out of 168 coun­tries. ÷ The New York Times once wrote: ‘ Cor­rup­tion can no longer be de­scribed as a cancer on the sys­tem: it is the sys­tem.’ ÷ Cor­rup­tion takes the form of bribes, nepo­tism, po­si­tion buy­ing and il­le­gal land trans­fers. ÷ Po­lice­men are ac­cused of turn­ing a blind eye to or even col­lud­ing with crim­i­nals and in­sur­gents in smug­gling or kid­nap­ping for ran­som. ÷ A United Na­tions sur­vey in 2012 found 50 per cent of Afghans were forced to pay bribes for government ser­vices. Money was de­manded by teach­ers, cus­toms of­fi­cials, judges and pros­e­cu­tors. ÷ Cor­rup­tion in Afghanistan goes right the way to the top – with former pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai him­self ap­par­ently im­pli­cated. The Kabul Bank cor­rup­tion scan­dal in 2010 saw mem­bers of his fam­ily and oth­ers ac­cused of spend­ing the bank’s money to fuel their lav­ish life­styles. AND HERE’S THEIR AID ÷ In 2014, the UK gave £198mil­lion in aid to the coun­try de­spite its record. The DfID says none of the money goes to the government and is only handed to lo­cal char­i­ties, with ro­bust checks in place. ÷ Mil­lions have been spent on try­ing to crack down on the opium and heroin trade, but de­spite all the efforts the coun­try’s poppy har­vest is now at its high­est ever level. ÷ Last month it was re­ported that two schools in Hel­mand prov­ince, which were re­fur­bished us­ing Bri­tish aid money, are now be­ing used as bases for the Afghan army. ÷ Bil­lions of dol­lars of aid have been si­phoned off by po­lit­i­cal elites linked to Mr Karzai. Ex­perts be­lieve that much may also have ended up in the hands of the Tal­iban. ÷ The DfID said our fund­ing sup­ports ba­sic ser­vices such as health­care and education, eco­nomic devel­op­ment, and anti-cor­rup­tion mea­sures.

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