Experts from UN nuclear watchdog agency to visit Iran next week

Last November the head of the IAEA said there is “credible” information that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and had called on the country to agree to a visit by a high-level team to clarify the nature of its nuclear programme. In a statement issued today in Vienna, where the Agency is based, Director General Yukiya Amano announced the upcoming visit, which will take place from 29 to 31 January. “The overall objective of the IAEA is to resolve all outstanding substantive issues,” said the statement. The team will be led by the Deputy Director General for Safeguards, Herman Nackaerts, and will include the Assistant Director General for Policy, Rafael Grossi. “The Agency team is going to Iran in a constructive spirit, and we trust that Iran will work with us in that same spirit,” said Mr. Amano. Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. The Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Iran, citing the proliferation risks of its nuclear programme and its continued failure to cooperate with the IAEA. 23 January 2012Experts from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit Iran next week in an effort to resolve outstanding issues related to the country’s nuclear programme, it was announced today. read more

Mortgage rules delaying home purchases for first time buyers

TORONTO — Ottawa’s move to tighten Canada’s mortgage rules a year ago helped cool down the country’s real estate market by forcing some first-time home buyers to delay their purchases, economists say.A Bank of Montreal study suggests roughly one in five potential first-time homebuyers have postponed their purchase since Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced his new lending rules a year ago Tuesday.The rule changes included a reduction to the maximum amortization period to 25 years from 30 for insured mortgages.It was the fourth time Flaherty tightened mortgage lending rules in as many years, incrementally dropping the longest amortization period from 40 years.“It did take a bit of steam out of the market because it essentially forced quite a number of potential buyers, especially first-time buyers, to wait a while longer,” BMO’s chief economist Doug Porter said in an interview.About 19% of those polled by BMO said they decided to wait longer to buy their first home, while 66% said the changes have not affected their timeline.Meanwhile, 14% said they planned to buy sooner.A recent report by the Bank of Nova Scotia estimated the mortgage rule changes may have pushed 10% of potential buyers out of the market.Both Porter and Scotiabank economist Adrienne Warren said the changes helped the country’s overheated real estate market achieve its desired soft landing.“I think it was almost the perfect soft landing for policy makers,” said Porter.“It cooled, but it didn’t undergo a so-called hard landing. Sales did drop pretty heavily the first couple months, but then they stabilized and they’ve started to creep back up again.”Housing sales in the Greater Toronto Area were down by less than 1% in June from a year ago while the average selling price climbed 4.7%, according to recent figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board.Meanwhile, sales in Vancouver were up about 12% in June compared to the previous year.Going forward, rising mortgage rates could block more prospective buyers out of the market, Warren said.Mortgage rates have been at all-time lows since the economic downturn, but fixed rates have slowly started to rise in the past two months.“The recent upward drift in mortgage rates could dampen housing demand in the second half of the year, especially in high-priced markets such as Toronto and Vancouver where affordability is more strained,” Warren said in a statement.The Bank of Montreal online survey polled 2,000 Canadians between Feb. 25 and March 5.The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.The Canadian Press read more

A city hall fight for standardization measures as Uber tries for Calgary

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email A city hall fight for standardization measures as Uber tries for Calgary by News Staff Posted Feb 9, 2015 7:11 am MDT There is a fight against a taxi outfit now recruiting drivers in Calgary that has already begun illegally operating in Edmonton. Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart tells City she is asking council Monday to lobby for a provincial ride-hailing strategy that would help standardize the practice of app-based systems like Uber, in both major cities.“At the end of the day what this is about is getting a taxi ride off the internet where you don’t know who you’re contacting, you don’t know who the driver is, you don’t know what kind of insurance they have on their vehicle,” Colley-Urquhart said.While Calgary taxi companies may hope Uber doesn’t get a stronghold here, Edmonton plans to file a legal injunction to stop the company from using its freelance drivers. Alberta Transportation has yet to launch any official active review into the regulatory implications. read more