As lithium market booms, explorer Neo Lithium eyes Toronto listing

2016-07-05 00:49:21

July 4 Neo Lithium Corp, a small lithium exploration company with a recent discovery in Argentina, is planning to list on Canada's TSX Venture Exchange around July 15, its chief executive, Waldo Perez, said on Monday.The company, which owns the 3Q brine-reservoir lithium project in northwest Argentina, is fully funded for now after three recent rounds of financing brought in C$18 million ($14.01 million), Perez said in an interview."But we have a very aggressive business plan to develop the project... so there may be other financings coming," said Perez, who is the former CEO of Lithium Americas and the founder of its Cauchari project in Argentina. Lithium forms a small but irreplaceable component of rechargeable batteries, used in electric cars and consumer devices like mobile phones.Prices have soared in the past year, and demand is set to outstrip supply by 2023, according to specialist consultants Stormcrow Capital. Shares in some lithium companies have more than tripled in value this year as investors and speculators have piled in. Most lithium is produced in Australia and Chile, with the bulk of the world's reserves straddling huge salt flats in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. Early sampling at Neo Lithium's 3Q project, which was only discovered this past December, suggests high lithium grades and low impurities, Dundee Securities' analysts said in a June 13 report.The company is readying for a drill program at 3Q in the spring to produce resource and reserve estimates. Its goal is to start building brine ponds next year and to be able to have a concentrated lithium-containing brine in about two years time, Perez said. ($1 = 1.2851 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Supreme Court firmly backs abortion rights, tosses Texas law

2016-06-27 23:34:37

WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Texas abortion law imposing strict regulations on doctors and facilities in the strongest endorsement of abortion rights in America in more than two decades.The 5-3 ruling held that the Republican-backed 2013 Texas law placed an undue burden on women exercising their right under the U.S. Constitution to end a pregnancy, established in the court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.The abortion providers who challenged the law said it was medically unnecessary and specifically intended to shut clinics. Texas officials said it was intended to protect women's health. The ruling means similar laws in other states are probably unconstitutional and could put in jeopardy other types of abortion restrictions enacted in various conservative states."The decision should send a loud signal to politicians that they can no longer hide behind sham rationales to shut down clinics and prevent a woman who has decided to end a pregnancy from getting the care she needs," said Jennifer Dalven, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.President Barack Obama, whose administration backed the abortion providers in the court challenge, said in a statement he was "pleased to see the Supreme Court protect women's rights and health" and that restrictions like those in Texas "harm women's health and place an unconstitutional obstacle in the path of a woman's reproductive freedom."Conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court's four liberal members in the ruling, with the remaining three conservatives dissenting. The court declared that both key provisions of the law - requiring abortion doctors to have difficult-to-obtain "admitting privileges" at a local hospital and requiring clinics to have costly hospital-grade facilities - violated a woman's right to an abortion.Writing for the court, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer said, "We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.""Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution," Breyer added.Deferring to state legislatures over "questions of medical uncertainty is also inconsistent with this court's case law," Breyer added. The ruling in the case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, represented the most vigorous affirmation of abortion rights in the United States since a 1992 ruling affirmed a woman's right to have the procedure.On a warm sunny summer day, hundreds of people on both sides of the issue converged on the Supreme Court building, with abortion rights advocates dancing and celebrating after the ruling. "We're ecstatic. The reality is today women won," abortion rights activist Marcela Howell said.The law was passed by a Republican-led legislature and signed by a Republican governor in 2013. Ten states currently have admitting privileges requirements on the books while six have laws requiring hospital-grade facilities. Lower courts have blocked admitting privileges provisions in five states and halted facilities regulations in two states. "The decision erodes states’ lawmaking authority to safeguard the health and safety of women and subjects more innocent life to being lost. Texas' goal is to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women," Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott said.Since the law was passed, the number of abortion clinics in Texas, the second-most-populous U.S. state with about 27 million people, had dropped from 41 to 19.The Supreme Court has appeals pending in two cases involving admitting privilege laws in Mississippi and Wisconsin on which it could act as soon as Tuesday.     The Texas law required abortion doctors to have "admitting privileges," a type of formal affiliation, at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the clinic so they can treat patients needing surgery or other critical care.The law also required clinic buildings to possess costly, hospital-grade facilities. These regulations covered numerous building features such as corridor width, the swinging motion of doors, floor tiles, parking spaces, elevator size, ventilation, electrical wiring, plumbing, floor tiling and even the angle that water flows from drinking fountains.PUBLIC OPINION SPLITAmericans remain closely divided over whether abortion should be legal. In a Reuters/Ipsos online poll involving 6,769 U.S. adults conducted from June 3 to June 22, 47 percent of respondents said abortion generally should be legal and 42 percent said it generally should be illegal. Views on abortion in the United States have changed very little over the decades, according to historical polling data.The last time the justices decided a major abortion case was nine years ago when they ruled 5-4 to uphold a federal law banning a late-term abortion procedure.Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, which led the challenge to the Texas law, said, "Every day Whole Woman’s Health treats our patients with compassion, respect and dignity - and today the Supreme Court did the same. We’re thrilled that today justice was served and our clinics stay open."Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Twitter called the ruling "a victory for women in Texas and across America.""This fight isn't over: The next president has to protect women's health. Women won't be 'punished' for exercising their basic rights," she said, a dig at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who once suggested women who get illegal abortions should face "some sort of punishment." The presidential election is Nov. 8.Some U.S. states have pursued a variety of restrictions on abortion, including banning certain types of procedures, prohibiting it after a certain number of weeks of gestation, requiring parental permission for girls until a certain age, imposing waiting periods or mandatory counseling, and others."It's exceedingly unfortunate that the court has taken the ability to protect women’s health out of the hands of Texas citizens and their duly-elected representatives," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said in a statement.Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito dissented. The normally nine-justice court was one member short after the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who consistently opposed abortion in past rulings. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Adam DeRose, Jon Herskovitz and David Ingram; Editing by Will Dunham)

Sterling, stocks in free fall as UK nears EU exit

2016-06-24 06:52:08

SYDNEY Carnage came to world markets on Friday as major television networks said Britain had voted to leave the European Union, sending sterling on a record plunge and pummelling share markets around the globe.Such a body blow to global confidence could well prevent the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates as planned this year, and might even provoke a new round of emergency policy easing from the major central banks.Risk assets were scorched as investors fled to the safety of top-rated government debt and gold. Billions were wiped from share values as FTSE futures fell 7 percent FFIc1, EMINI S&P 500 futures ESc1 4.4 percent and Japan's Nikkei .N225 7 percent.The British pound had collapsed no less than 17 U.S. cents, easily the biggest fall in living memory, to hit its lowest since 1985. The euro in turn slid 3.4 percent to $1.0997 EUR= as investors feared for its very future.While vote counting had not been concluded, major British television networks including ITV, the BBC and Sky News all called the result as a "Leave" and betting firm BetFair estimated the probability of leaving as high as 94 percent.Sterling sank a staggering 9 percent to $1.3536 GBP=, having carved out a range of $1.3300 to $1.5022. The fall was even larger than during the global financial crisis and the currency was moving two or three cents in the blink of an eye."The carnage in the FX markets may continue if the leave votes pull further ahead in the lead," said Bernard Aw, markets strategist at IG in Singapore. "Equities markets will be affected, and we can see that Asian stocks are already under a fair bit of pressure. British banks listed in Hong Kong are suffering significant losses."HSBC (0005.HK) fell 9 percent while Standard Chartered (2888.HK) sank almost 10 percent.The tremors shook all asset classes and regions. The safe-haven yen sprang higher to stand at 101.34 per dollar JPY=, having been as low as 106.81 at one stage. The dollar decline of 4 percent was the largest since 1998. That prompted warnings from Japanese officials that excessive forex moves were undesirable. Indeed, traders were wary in case global central banks chose to step in to calm the volatility.Other currencies across Asia suffered badly on worries that alarmed investors could pull funds out of emerging markets.MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slid almost 5 percent, while Shanghai stocks .SSEC lost 1.1 percent. FALSE HOPES? Financial markets have been racked for months by worries about what Brexit, or a British exit from the European Union, would mean for Europe's stability."Obviously, there will be a large spill over effects across all global economies if the "Leave" vote wins. Not only will the UK go into recession, Europe will follow suit," was the gloomy prediction of Matt Sherwood, head of investment strategy at fund manager Perpetual in Sydney.Investors stampeded to sovereign bonds, with U.S. 10-year Treasury futures TYc1 jumping over 2 points in an extremely rare move for Asian hours.Yields on the cash note US10YT=RR fell 24 basis points to 1.53 percent, the steepest one day drop since 2009. The rally did not extend to UK bonds, however, as ratings agency Standard and Poor's has warned it would likely downgrade the country's triple A rating if it left the EU.Yields on 10-year gilts were indicated up 20 basis points at around 1.57 percent GB10YT=TWEB, meaning higher borrowing costs for a UK government already struggling with a large budget deficit.Across the Atlantic, investors were pricing in even less chance of another hike in U.S. interest rates given the Federal Reserve had cited a British exit from the EU as one reason to be cautious on tightening."It adds weight to the camp that the Fed would be on hold. A July (hike) is definitely off the table," Mike Baele, managing director with the private client reserve group at U.S. Bank in Portland, Oregon.Fed funds futures <0#FF:> were even toying with the chance that the next move would be a cut in U.S. rates.Commodities likewise swung lower as a Brexit would be seen as a major threat to global growth. U.S. crude CLc1 shed $3.00 to $47.11 a barrel in erratic trade while Brent LCOc1 fell 6 percent to $47.83.Industrial metal copper CMCU3 sank 3 percent but gold XAU= galloped more than 8 percent higher thanks to its perceived safe haven status. (Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Can coffee cause cancer? Only if it's very hot, says WHO agency

2016-06-16 09:26:53

LONDON There is no conclusive evidence that drinking coffee causes cancer, the World Health Organization's cancer agency said on Wednesday in a reverse of its previous warning, but it also said all "very hot" drinks are probably carcinogenic.The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had previously rated coffee as "possibly carcinogenic" but has changed its mind. It now says its latest review found "no conclusive evidence for a carcinogenic effect" of coffee drinking and pointed to some studies showing coffee may actually reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer."(This) does not show that coffee is certainly safe ... but there is less reason for concern today than there was before," Dana Loomis, the deputy head of IARC's Monograph classification department told a news conference.At the same time, however, IARC presented other scientific evidence which suggests that drinking anything very hot - around 65 degrees Celsius or above - including water, coffee, tea and other beverages, probably does cause cancer of the oesophagus. Lyon-based IARC, which last year prompted headlines worldwide by saying processed meat can cause cancer, reached its conclusions after reviewing more than 1,000 scientific studies in humans and animals. There was inadequate evidence for coffee to be classified as either carcinogenic or not carcinogenic.IARC had previously put coffee as a "possible carcinogen" in its 2B category alongside chloroform, lead and many other substances. The U.S. National Coffee Association welcomed the change in IARC's classification as "great news for coffee drinkers".The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, whose members are six of the major European coffee companies - illycaffè, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lavazza, Nestlé (NESN.S), Paulig, and Tchibo - said IARC had found "no negative relationship between coffee consumption and cancer".LET IT COOL In its evaluation of very hot drinks, IARC said animal studies suggest carcinogenic effects probably occur with drinking temperatures of 65 Celsius or above. Some experiments with rats and mice found "very hot" liquids, including water, could promote the development of tumours, it said.The agency said studies of hot drinks such as maté, an infusion consumed mainly in South America, tea and other drinks in several countries including China, Iran, Japan and Turkey, found the risk of oesophageal cancer "may increase with the temperature of the drink" above 65 Celsius. "These results suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one probable cause of oesophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible," said IARC's director, Christopher Wild. Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common cause of cancer worldwide and one of the main causes of cancer death, with around 400,000 deaths recorded in 2012. The WHO's official spokesman in Geneva, Gregory Hartl, stressed that smoking and drinking alcohol were among the most serious risk factors for oesophageal cancer and urged people to focus on reducing these as a priority. He said IARC's evaluation of hot drinks was based on limited available evidence in humans and animals and more research is needed."We say: be prudent, let hot drinks cool down," he told Reuters, adding that the WHO's advice was to "not consume foods or drinks when they are at a very hot - scalding hot - temperature". Drinking very hot beverages is now classified as probably carcinogenic in IARC's group 2A category, alongside red meat and nitrogen mustard. But David Spiegelhalter, a professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Britain's University of Cambridge, said he was concerned that IARC's review would confuse people."Last year the IARC said that bacon is carcinogenic, but it became clear that when eaten in moderation it is not very risky. In the case of very hot drinks, the IARC concludes they are probably hazardous, but can't say how big the risk might be," he said in an emailed comment. "This may be interesting science, but makes it difficult to construct a sensible response." (Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Pravin Char)

Apple case against Samsung should go back to lower court - Justice Department

2016-06-09 11:22:10

SAN FRANCISCO/SEOUL The U.S. Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that had favored Apple Inc over Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in smartphone patent litigation, and asked that it return the case to the trial court for more litigation. Samsung had appealed a federal appeals court ruling to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. The Justice Department submitted its view in an amicus brief on Wednesday.An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, while Samsung told Reuters in a statement it welcomes "overwhelming support" for overturning the appeals court ruling in favour of Apple from various parties including the U.S. government. "If left uncorrected, the appeals court's ruling could lead to diminished innovation, pave the way for design troll patent litigation and negatively impact the economy and consumers," the South Korean firm said. The world's top smartphone rivals have been feuding over patents since 2011, when Apple sued Samsung in Northern California alleging infringement of the iPhone's patents, designs and trademarked appearance. Following a 2012 jury trial, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $930 million. Samsung has been trying to reduce that figure ever since.Its efforts were partially rewarded in May 2015, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the trademark liability, bringing Samsung's exposure down to $548 million. The appeals court, however, upheld Samsung's infringement of the iPhone's patents, including those related to the designs of the iPhone's rounded-corner front face, bezel and colorful grid of icons.Samsung then asked the Supreme Court to review the design patent portion of the decision, calling the damages awarded excessive. In March, the justices agreed to look into whether courts should award in damages the total profits from a product that infringes a design patent, if the patent applies only to a component of the product.In its amicus brief on Wednesday, the Justice Department said it was unclear whether Samsung had produced enough evidence to support its argument that phone components, not the entire phone, should be what matters when calculating damages. The Supreme Court should send the case back for the trial court to determine whether a new trial is warranted on that issue, the Justice Department said.The case is Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al vs. Apple Inc, in the Supreme Court of the United States, No. 15-777. (Reporting by Dan Levine in SAN FRANCISCO; Additional reporting by Se Young Lee in SEOUL; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Rigby)

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