U.S. stocks surge higher amid trade optimism, Toronto stock market up

TORONTO — The strength in the financial sectors helped lift Canada’s main stock index, while U.S. stock markets surged higher amid optimism the U.S. and Mexico could avoid a trade fight.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 47.37 points at 16,063.26 47.37.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 415.84 points at 25,235.62. The S&P 500 index was up 40.41 points at 2,784.86, while the Nasdaq composite was up 135.09 points at 7,468.11.The Canadian dollar traded for 74.49 cents US compared with an average of 74.24 cents US on Monday.The July crude contract was up 26 cents at US$53.51 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was up 1.9 cents at US$2.42 per mmBTU.The August gold contract was down US$2.20 at US$1,325.70 an ounce and the July copper contract was up 0.40 of a cent at US$2.65 a pound. The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) read more

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UN refugee agency expands Zambian development through integration programme

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that in support of the Government-led “Zambia Initiative” it recently held discussions with provincial administrators, traditional chiefs, Government technical employees, staff members from several UN agencies, as well as refugees in North-Western province’s capital, Solwezi.To get the programme going, UNHCR has provided $380,000 for quick impact projects (QIPs) and would play a catalytic role in sensitizing donors about the needs of both refugee-hosting and refugee communities.“At UNHCR, we recognize voluntary repatriation as the best durable solution for refugees and development through local integration (DLI) as an alternative in cases where they can’t go home,” the refugee agency’s regional representative, Ahmed Said Farah, said.Zambia currently hosts 175,000 refugees, most of them from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi.Western province is the poorest area in Zambia, but has the largest number of refugees. With 120,000 refugees and local hosts there benefiting from small loans, improved seeds and agricultural extension services in 2003-2004, successes included boosting crop productivity to 3.5 tons per hectare from 1.5 tons, UNHCR said.The farmers not only produced enough food for their use, but sold 564 tons to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and invested the proceeds in further maize cultivation, changing themselves from aid recipients into food suppliers, it said.Some 1,200 women cattle owners were trained in producing butter and cheese, health clinics and laboratories were set up, with motorcycles and ambulances for health service delivery, while 11 classrooms, a girls’ hostel and a teachers’ residence were built with locally produced bricks.Dominic Minyoi, the initiative’s national coordinator, said that because of the experience in Western province, government officials and members of Parliament had requested similar projects in other refugee-hosting areas and he planned to use the programme’s $16 million budget to establish them. read more

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