Sri Lanka urged to uphold rule of law human rights

The United Nations in Sri Lanka says it is concerned about the recent incidents of communal violence and condemned the acts in the strongest possible terms.The United Nations urged the authorities to take immediate action against perpetrators and to ensure that appropriate measures are swiftly taken to restore normalcy in affected areas. The United Nations also urges authorities, and all citizens to ensure that the rule of law is upheld, human rights are protected, and security and safety is ensured for all. (Colombo Gazette)

US productivity grew at 23 per cent rate in third quarter while

In this Sept. 4, 2014 photo, Family Dollar assistant manager Robin Swint arranges merchandise at her store in Wilmington, N.C. The Commerce Department revises its estimate of U.S. company productivity and costs for the July-September quarter on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/The Star-News, Matt Born) by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Dec 3, 2014 6:53 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US productivity grew at 2.3 per cent rate in third quarter while labour costs fell WASHINGTON – U.S. workers’ productivity increased in the July-September quarter at a slightly faster pace than previously estimated while labour costs declined for a second straight quarter.Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, increased at an annual rate of 2.3 per cent in the third quarter while labour costs fell at a rate of 1 per cent, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.In its first estimate, the government had put productivity growth at a slightly slower 2 per cent and said labour costs had risen a tiny 0.2 per cent. The strengthening of productivity growth combined with a faster drop in labour costs should reassure the Federal Reserve that there is little threat of unwanted inflation pressures harming economic growth any time soon.Greater productivity is the key factor determining rising living standards. It enables companies to pay their workers more without having to increase prices.The slightly faster productivity growth compared to an initial estimate one month ago reflected revisions the government made to the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services.Last week, the government revised GDP for the third quarter up from its first estimate of 3.5 per cent to a stronger 3.9 per cent. Greater growth in output translated into stronger growth in productivity and lower labour pressures.In the five-and-a-half years since the recession, when millions of workers lost their jobs and found it difficult to secure new ones, labour costs have remained well contained.Over the past year, labour costs have risen 1.2 per cent, a modest increase that is well below the long-run average of 2.8 per cent in annual gains. That suggests that wages and salaries are not rising fast enough to spur inflation.The Federal Reserve keeps a close watch on productivity and labour costs for any signs that inflation may be accelerating.Productivity over the past year has increased by a modest 1 per cent, well below the long-run average of 2.2 per cent.In the two years after the recession, productivity surged. Companies cut jobs faster than their output was falling, driving productivity higher as fewer workers did more. Productivity grew 3.2 per cent in 2009 and 3.3 per cent in 2010.But in the past three years, productivity growth has averaged just 1 per cent per year as hiring has picked up. Economists at JPMorgan, however, are looking for a slight improvement in productivity growth next year, forecasting a gain of 1.5 per cent in 2015. read more

Insufficient funds Fighting the scourge of fraud through credit and debit cards

TORONTO – Cybersecurity expert Tom Keenan’s rationale for recommending consumers use credit cards over debit cards has nothing to do with any technological advantage.It’s now standard in Canada for both type of cards to use chip and PIN to authenticate transactions, a widely-adopted global security practice, says the University of Calgary professor and author of “Technocreep.”“It’s saved hundreds of millions of dollars in bank fraud in Europe,” Keenan says. “Europeans had this technology first.”Rather, his preference largely has to do with the fact that any fraudulent activity on credit cards doesn’t automatically put bank accounts in the red, whereas with debit the damage has already been done until the matter is resolved.“You’re starting from the position of disputing a charge as opposed to going to your bank and saying, ‘Wha-wha-wha? My account is empty,’” he says. “So which position would you rather be in?”Consumers using credit cards, however, do have to be wary of running up a high-interest balance, whereas with debit the money comes right out of your account.But being at a loss of funds while waiting for a debit fraud issue to be rectified can put some consumers in a very stressful financial situation, says Tara Zecevic, Equifax Canada’s vice-president of fraud prevention and identity management.“There’s an immediate impact.”The Canadian Bankers Association says on its website that when customers are the victim of debit card fraud, “banks will immediately look into the matter and get the money back to the customer as quickly as possible, which can usually happen within a few days or even before the customer knows it’s gone.”Beyond time considerations related to claim disputes, Concordia University associate professor Mohammad Mannan says another advantage of using credit over debit is stronger consumer protection measures.“With credit, you have almost zero liability,” says Mannan, whose research interests include online banking and PIN security.The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada says your maximum liability must be $50 if your credit card is issued by a federally regulated financial institution, and, in the case of Visa, MasterCard and American Express, these credit card companies have zero liability policies.But with debit fraud liability policies, Mannan says, “it’s not as straightforward as credit cards.”The Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Debit Card Services says that “cardholders are not liable for losses resulting from circumstances beyond their control.” But in all cases where a debit cardholder contributes to unauthorized use, the code says the cardholder will be liable for the resulting loss.That can include voluntarily disclosing a PIN, including writing it on the card, or keeping a poorly disguised written record of a PIN in proximity with the card. Failure to notify your issuer within a reasonable time about a lost, stolen or misused debit card also falls under unauthorized use.Interac says this code is embedded in the Interac rule framework, and applies to financial institutions who offer Interac Debit, Interac Flash, cross-border debit and Interac Online services.Specific terms for Interac’s liability policy are outlined in financial institution client agreements, including time frames for reporting cards that have been lost, stolen or misused, says Interac spokeswoman Teri Murphy.“Financial institutions do reimburse for losses that occur beyond an individual’s reasonable control,” Murphy says.“If you don’t protect your PIN, if you do have a Post-it Note on the back of your Interac debit card that has your PIN, that’s a different circumstance.”Biliana Necheva, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Bankers Association, said in an email consumers are refunded if they have been a victim of credit or debit card fraud.Mannan cautions that people who choose to use credit exclusively over debit must be cognizant of paying off their debt in a timely matter, given that interest rates for credit cards typically hover around 20 per cent.“I pay my bills on time so I’m not paying interest,” he says.Certified financial planner Jason Heath of Toronto’s Objective Financial Partners says that if someone is worried about spending and overusing a credit card, they should consider setting a card limit that’s in line with their targeted monthly budget.“That way you literally can’t spend too much,” Heath says.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter. by David Hodges, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 9, 2017 11:23 am MDT Last Updated Mar 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Insufficient funds: Fighting the scourge of fraud through credit and debit cards read more