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Rail shippers pick sides as CP, CN bid for Kansas City Southern

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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, (Reuters) -North America’s freight rail customers, from grain shippers to logistics companies, are choosing sides as Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd and Canadian National Railway fight to buy Kansas City Southern.

A takeout of KCS, would be the first major North American railroad combination in more than 20 years and create the first network to include the United States, Canada and Mexico.

CN , Canada‘s biggest railroad, made an unsolicited $30 billion bid for KCS on Tuesday, topping CP’s agreed $25 billion bid, but CP said last week it was not considering raising its offer.

CN said on Monday that it was filing 409 letters of support from shippers and suppliers with the regulator, U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), pulling roughly even with CP’s stated level of support.

CP, which announced its combination with KCS on March 21, has said that 416 shippers and other stakeholders have written to STB in support.

CP supporters include shipping, container company Hapag-Lloyd, agriculture company Viterra Inc, an association representing Mexican auto makers, and oil refiner Valero Energy Corp.

If CP buys KCS, the bulked-up company will be able to better compete in North Dakota with dominant railway BNSF Railway Co, said Kevin Karel, general manager at The Arthur Companies, which ships corn and other crops by rail.

CP’s line crosses the agricultural state of North Dakota while CN’s does not.

“We’re really remote here, and so we need access to far more destinations, and that’s where this KCS merger really helps North Dakota farmers,” Karel said in an interview.

CN maintains that its combination with KCS would create a network that is shorter and faster than rail or truck competitors.

Its supporters include pork producer Maple Leaf Foods and steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal.

Some, like Coca-Cola Co, marine terminal operator DP World, Canadian grain handler Richardson International and U.S. food company Conagra are publicly supporting both rail bids.

Shippers’ views on the competing bids to the board may determine how KCS assesses the relative regulatory risks, investment bank Credit Suisse said in a note. CP has no overlapping rail networks with KCS, unlike CN which runs parallel for about 100 kilometres (62 miles) in Louisiana, making it easier for CP’s deal to clear regulatory hurdles.

CP on Saturday welcomed the U.S. regulator upholding a waiver that exempts KCS from the same scrutiny larger railroads face during proposed mergers. The STB had granted KCS, the smallest of the Class 1 railways, an exemption from new merger rules in 2001 because a combination involving KCS did not raise the same concerns that any transaction among bigger railways might create.

U.S. agribusiness Cargill Inc, and industry groups for chemical producers, corn refiners, and a trade group that promotes U.S. wheat exports had opposed use of the waiver, saying that a takeover of KCS is big enough to warrant full scrutiny.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in WinnipegEditing by Marguerita Choy)

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Basketball trailblazer denied Canadian permanent residency, must return to U.S. – CBC.ca

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Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir, the trailblazing basketball player who set up an academy for girls and coached multiple sports at an Islamic school in London, Ont., has been denied permanent residency in Canada and will have to go back to the United States. 

“We’ve been here for two years, my son is Canadian, and we would love to be part of this country, but we finally got the message from immigration that we were denied permanent residency. It’s very unexpected,” said Abdul Qaadir from her London home. “I’m at a loss for words. I’ve single-handedly brought sports to an underserviced community. It’s heartbreaking.”

Abdul-Qaadir and her husband, A.W. Massey, moved to London from Tennessee three years ago.

She said she hasn’t been able to work in Canada since August, when her work permit expired and wasn’t renewed by a Canadian border official. 

“We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do. We aren’t sure. We’re angry and we’re tired. We put our heart and soul into this application. We felt like we checked all the boxes.” 

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and her husband, A.W. Massey, moved to London, Ont. three years ago from Tennessee. (Submitted by A.W. Massey)

Abdul-Qaadir led a four-year battle against the International Basketball Federation, which banned religious head coverings on the court. She won, but sacrificed her basketball career to do so.

She had been the leading high school point scorer for both boys and girls in Massachusetts, and went on to play for the University of Memphis in Tennessee, where she was the first woman to play in a hijab in NCAA Division 1. 

Alongside her motivational speaking gigs, she teaches at the London Islamic School and has opened a basketball academy in London, but all that is now up in the air. 

On Thursday, Abdul-Qaadir got a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that said she doesn’t “meet the requirements for immigration to Canada.” 

She applied for permanent residency as an athletic director at the London Muslim Mosque, but her duties — including developing, managing and supervising the school’s physical education and athletic programs, as well as being the head coach for the basketball, volleyball and cross-country teams — are “inconsistent with the actions” of an athletic director. 

“I am not satisfied that your stated duties is sufficient to indicate that your role involves plan, organize, direct, control and evaluate the operations of comprehensive fitness programs at this organization. I am also not satisfied that you performed a substantial number of the main duties for this [job classification],” IRCC wrote in her letter.   

Abdul-Qaadir said she doesn’t know if she and her husband will fight the refusal. 

Abdul-Qaadir set the state record for the highest all-time high school scorer for men and women in Massachusetts. ( Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photographer)

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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Mastercard expands cryptocurrency services with wallets, loyalty rewards

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Mastercard Inc said on Monday it would allow partners on its network to enable their consumers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency using a digital wallet, as well as reward them with digital currencies under loyalty programs.

The credit card giant said it would offer these services in partnership with Bakkt Holdings Inc, the digital assets platform founded by NYSE-owner Intercontinental Exchange.

Founded in 2018, Bakkt went public earlier this year through a $2.1 billion merger with a blank-check company. Shares of the company were up 77% at $16.19 on Monday.

Mastercard said its partners can also allow customers earn and spend rewards in cryptocurrency instead of loyalty points.

The company had said in February https://www.reuters.com/article/us-crypto-currency-mastercard-idUSKBN2AA2WF it would begin offering support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year.

Last year, rival Visa Inc had partnered https://www.reuters.com/article/us-blockfi-crypto-currency-visa-idUSKBN28B603 with cryptocurrency startup BlockFi to offer a credit card that lets users earn bitcoin on purchases.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, touched a record high of $67,016 last week after the debut of the first U.S. bitcoin futures-based exchange traded fund. It has more than doubled in value this year.

 

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou returns to work in Shenzhen, after extradition drama – Global Times

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Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei Technologies, returned to work at the tech giant’s headquarters in Shenzhen on Monday after almost three years fighting extradition to the U.S. in Canada, state-backed Chinese newspaper Global Times reported.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, completed three weeks of quarantine last week after returning to the southern city of Shenzhen where a crowd of well-wishers chanting patriotic slogans awaited her at the airport.

“Over the last three years, although we have struggled, we have overcome obstacles and our team has fought with more and more courage,” she said in a speech at an internal company event that was circulated online.

The extradition drama had been a central source of discord between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials signalling that the case had to be dropped to help end a diplomatic stalemate.

Meng was detained in December 2018 in Vancouver after a New York court issued an arrest warrant, saying she tried to cover up attempts by Huawei-linked companies to sell equipment to Iran in breach of U.S. sanctions.

She was allowed to go home after reaching an agreement https://www.reuters.com/technology/huawei-cfo-meng-appear-court-expected-reach-agreement-with-us-source-2021-09-24 with U.S. prosecutors last month to end a bank fraud case against her.

 

(Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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