The Fed and other central banks could deliver a ‘Santa Pause’ rally for global stocks this year as they dial back the size of rate hikes, Schwab says

Santa Christmas Wall Street stocks
A “Santa Pause” rally may be on its way for 2022.

  • A “Santa Pause” rally for stocks may be taking shape as central banks signal a step-down in rate hikes, Charles Schwab said. 
  • The Fed and the BoE are among those indicating they’re considering less aggressive rate hikes in the future.
  • The MSCI EAFE Index of international stocks has gained nearly 10% since step-down signs began emerging in October.  

There are signs that central banks worldwide are tilting toward downshifting the size of interest rate hikes aimed at combatting inflation and that could support a jump in global stocks, says Charles Schwab’s top global investment strategist. 

“There can be no guarantee that central banks will continue to step down the pace of their hikes or pause them, but if they do it is possible a “Santa Pause” rally could be in store for markets as the year draws to a close,” Jeffrey Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at Charles Schwab, said in a note published Monday. 

The Federal Reserve is among the central banks over the past week that has indicated a slower pace of rate increases. The Fed, after raising rates by 75 basis points for a fourth consecutive time, appeared to point to a hike of 50 basis points in December, and Norges Bank of Norway raised its policy rate by a lower-than-expected 25 basis points.

Kleintop said the Bank of England issued an “unusually blunt comment” stressing the peak in rates will be lower than what was priced into financial markets. BoE’s comment came as it kicked up its benchmark rate by 75 basis points, the largest increase in 33 years. 

Kleintop noted the MSCI EAFE Index of international stocks has gained nearly 10% since step-down signs began emerging in October. 

“Stock markets outside the U.S. that are outperforming the S&P 500 Index this year include many countries where the central banks are stepping down,” Kleintop said. 

Those markets include Brazil’s, with the Bovespa Index up 24% in US dollar terms in the year through November 4. Banco Central do Brasil last month left its key  Selic rate unchanged for a second straight meeting, at 13.75%. 

The S&P 500 through early November had lost 20% while Norway’s OBX and Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index had declines of 10% and 14%, respectively. The Bank of Canada last month unexpectedly raised its overnight rate by 50 basis points instead of an anticipated 75 basis points. 

Last month, the European Central Bank “sounded more cautious about the economy and eliminated the word ‘several’ from the number of hikes remaining,” said Kleintop. The ECB at its October meeting raised its key rate by 75 basis points.

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FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried says crypto ‘has the potential to improve a lot of people’s lives,’ but still needs a lot more clarity from US regulators

Sam Bankman-Fried FTX CEO crypto
Sam Bankman-Fried cofounded FTX in 2019 and is its CEO.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of the FTX exchange told US lawmakers that more clarity was still needed from US regulators. 
  • Bankman-Fried said that crypto had the potential “to improve a lot of people’s lives”. 
  • Cryptocurrencies have been seen as a better alternative for the unbanked and for sending money abroad.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried believes the crypto industry could improve people’s lives — it just needs clearer guidance from regulators to make it happen.

The crypto exchange CEO laid out what he sees as the benefits of digital currencies before US lawmakers on Wednesday. 

“The industry has the potential to improve a lot of people’s lives. There are a lot of ways that this can happen. I think that the payments side of this gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so,” he told members of the House Financial Services Committee.

Bankman-Fried noted that people making cross-border payments to family members can face double-digit percentage fees, and that global remittances can take weeks to arrive. It’s a particular problem for the hardest-off, who don’t have the same access to financial services as they stand, he argued.

“When you look at the number of people who are underbanked, or unbanked, in the United States and globally — it’s indicative of a system that does not work for everyone,” Bankman-Fried told the lawmakers. 

“Cryptocurrencies do provide a potential way to address a number of these issues, making it easier, cheaper, faster and more equitable for people to do what they need to do to manage their financial lives.”

Digital and crypto transfers can be carried out without going through the traditional financial system, though people do need a computing device. El Salvador, where Statista found 71% of people don’t have a bank account, made bitcoin legal tender in September. In the US, 5% of people were unbanked as of 2019, according to an FDIC survey. 

Asked how to keep crypto industry innovation happening in the US, Bankman-Fried called for clearer rules of the road from regulators.

“I’m optimistic that on the regulatory side, we’re not that far from that point. I think that there are a few clarifications that could go a very long way here,” he said.

“On the market side — having a framework with a single regulatory structure, and it might have multiple regulators involved in it.”

He said a single unified framework for spot and future digital assets would help, likely involving oversight by both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commision.

The SEC has yet to give the go-ahead for an exchange-traded fund backed by bitcoin, rather than bitcoin futures. It has come under fire for rejecting a spot bitcoin ETF from VanEck. Meanwhile, other countries are forging ahead, and Canada recently approved Fidelity’s spot bitcoin ETF. 

Lawmakers should also look at the need for more clarity in the audit requirements for stablecoin reserves, the FTX boss said. Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that’s pegged to an asset such as a fiat currency, government bonds, or a precious metal.

“Giving clarity on the stablecoin side of audit requirements for the reserves — but without sort of squashing innovation by requiring only a very limited number of institutions to be able to issue them — could go a long way.”

Digital payments company Circle, whose CEO also testified before the House committee, has been criticized over shifting the reserves for its USDC coin beyond just the dollar and short-duration US Treasuries. 

US policymakers are expected to put forward a package of cryptocurrency measures next year. 

“I’m optimistic that we’re going to see changes to the framework over the next few years that will bring us into a world that can make the United States the source of the deepest and most liquid markets in the cryptocurrency ecosystem,” Bankman-Fried said.

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Countries around the world have sunk aircraft like the Boeing 747 to boost diving tourism — here are 6 intentionally submerged planes

Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.
Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.

  • Some countries have intentionally sunken aircraft to promote diving tourism and create coral reefs. 
  • Among the sunken planes are a handful of airliners, like the Boeing 747 and the smaller Convair 240.
  • Aircraft are submerged with an OK by local authorities so all harmful pieces are removed beforehand.
Scuba diving is one of the fastest-growing recreational activities in the world, having become a multibillion-dollar industry since its development in 1967.

Thompson family scuba diving near Nabucco Island in Borneo, Indonesia
Thompson family scuba diving near Nabucco Island in Borneo, Indonesia

Source: Future Market Insights

According to data from Future Market Insights, diving tourism sales have grown over 6% since 2015 and are expected to rise another 5% in the coming decade.

Max Altman
Max Altman scuba diving on reefs effected by climate change

Source: Future Market Insights

Scuba enthusiasts will travel thousands of miles to experience the most unique and thrilling dives out there. One type of dive site that has become increasingly popular is sunken aircraft.

Snorkler looking at old wrecked airplane near Norman's Cay in the Bahamas.
Snorkler looking at old wrecked airplane near Norman’s Cay in the Bahamas.

There are several crashed airplanes that have been located and used as scuba sites, like a WWII-era Japanese Navy seaplane off the coast of Palau in Micronesia…

An Aichi E13A Japanese "Jake" seaplane sitting on a reef in Palau.
An Aichi E13A Japanese “Jake” seaplane sitting on a reef in Palau.

Source: Scuba Diver Life

And a Corsair aircraft off the coast of Hawaii.

WW-II era Corsair plane off the coast of Hawaii.
WW-II era Corsair plane off the coast of Hawaii.

Source: Scuba Diver Life

However, there are a handful of large jets that have been intentionally sunk to create artificial coral reefs and give divers a unique experience exploring an aircraft underwater, including airliners and military planes.

Scuba divers near the corroded jet engine of an underwater plane wreck.
Scuba divers near the corroded jet engine of an underwater plane wreck.

In June 2016, one of the largest underwater planes was sunk — an Airbus A300. The aircraft was submerged by the Turkish government off the Aegean coast in Kuşadası and is 177 feet long with an impressive 144-foot wingspan.

Airbus A300 being prepared to sink.
Airbus A300 being prepared to sink.

Source: The Guardian

The huge jet took two and a half hours to sink and was done to draw more diving tourism to the country. At 75-feet deep, the A300 is easily reachable by experienced divers.

Airbus A300 being prepared to sink.
Airbus A300 being prepared to sink.

Source: The Guardian

“Our goal is to make Kuşadası a centre of diving tourism,” Özlem Çerçioğlu, mayor of Aydin province, said in a video. “Our goal is to protect the underwater life. And with these goals in mind, we have witnessed one of the biggest wrecks in the world.”

Divers at the A300 dive site.
Divers at the A300 dive site.

Source: The Guardian

The first-ever artificial plane wreck in North America is a Boeing 737-200 that was submerged off the coast of Canada by Artificial Coral Reefs. The jet was featured on Discovery’s Megabuilders series.

Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.
Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.

Source: Artificial Reef Society BC

The plane was donated by Air Canada in 2002 and was placed 90 feet deep at the bottom of the Georgia Strait off Chemainus in 2006, which is a community on Southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Boeing 737 donated by Air Canada that was sunk off the coast of Canada.
Boeing 737 donated by Air Canada that was sunk off the coast of Canada.

Source: Artificial Reef Society BC

Artificial Coral Reefs President Howard Robins told Insider that the plane did not come with landing gear, and he explained he did not want to put the belly on the seafloor, so the team had to get creative.

Boeing 737 sunk off the coast of Canada.
Boeing 737 sunk off the coast of Canada.

Source: Artificial Reef Society BC

As a solution, Robins explained the organization designed a unique cradle system mounted on 11-foot stands built with marine-friendly aluminum material. The system was attached to the aircraft and sunk as one unit.

Special stands and cradle system used to mount the plane.
Special stands and cradle system used to mount the plane.

Source: Artificial Reef Society BC

The organization used a specially engineered contraption that it calls a “placement” that involves a barge and a crane.

"Placement" contraption specially-designed to sink the jet.
“Placement” contraption specially-designed to sink the jet.

Source: Artificial Reef Society BC

As far as environmental concerns, Robins told Insider that all coatings and parts on the vessel that were considered harmful to the ocean were stripped, and what was left was the bare metal and the overhead bins.

Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.
Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.

Source: Artificial Reef Society BC

“This is recycling and repurposing, and those are key words,” Robins told Insider. “This is not ocean-dumping or disposal, this is a thoughtful, carefully planned out game plan that requires marine stewardship, permitting, and approvals.”

Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.
Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.

Source: Artificial Reef Society BC

Two other notable Boeing aircraft were sunk in the past two decades, including a mammoth Boeing 747 jumbo jet off the coast of Bahrain intended to attract divers from around the world.

Boeing 747 submerged off the coast of Bahrain.
Boeing 747 submerged off the coast of Bahrain.

Source: Dive Bahrain

The 747 aircraft is the largest aircraft to be used as an artificial reef and was sunk by Falcon Aircraft Recycling in 2019. The company specially modified the structure of the aircraft, notably the wings, for the project.

Falcon Aircraft Recycling specially modified the structure of the plane.
Falcon Aircraft Recycling specially modified the structure of the plane.

Source: Dive Bahrain

Today, it is managed by Dive Bahrain and is part of the company’s “underwater theme park,” which will span 100,000 meters and include ships and other structures when complete.

Boeing 747 sunken off the coast of Bahrain.
Boeing 747 sunken off the coast of Bahrain.

Since its debut, the 747 has attracted professional divers from over 50 countries.

Boeing 747 sunken off the coast of Bahrain.
Boeing 747 sunken off the coast of Bahrain.

Source: Dive Bahrain, The National News

Another impressive sunken Boeing aircraft is a 727 submerged in Mermet Springs in Illinois. The plane is a piece of Hollywood memorabilia from 1997’s “US Marshals.”

Mermet Springs Boeing 727 sunken plane.
Mermet Springs Boeing 727 sunken plane.

Source: Mermet Springs

In the movie, the 727 “crashed” with actor Wesley Snipes inside and rolled into the Ohio River outside Bay City, Illinois, though Snipes’ character got away. After filming, Mermet Springs owner Glen Faith purchased the jet for $1 and moved it 12 miles west to its new home in 1998.

us marshals robert downey jr
Robert Downey Jr in 1997’s US Marshalls after the plane crash.

Source: Mermet Springs

The 22-ton plane is submerged in the hazel-green waters using a barge, two cranes, two low-boys, and two police escorts. The nose sits 50-feet deep while the tail sits at just 15.

Boeing 727 sunken in Mermet Springs.
Boeing 727 sunken in Mermet Springs.

Source: Mermet Springs

According to the company, the plane was cut in half for transport and then resewn before it was submerged. The 120-foot fuselage is hollowed out for divers who can see “charred cockpit controls, missing wings and open hatches throughout.”

Boeing 727 sunken in Mermet Springs.
Boeing 727 sunken in Mermet Springs.

Source: Mermet Springs

Small airliners have also been internationally sunk to become a reef, including a Convair 240 off the coast of Aruba. The 40-seater plane was sunk to 45 feet but has moved down to 80 feet after being disrupted by Hurricane Lenny in 1999.

Convair 240 off the coast of Aruba.
Convair 240 off the coast of Aruba.

Source: Leisure Pro

The hurricane also broke the plane into two pieces, but it is still easy to navigate and can be explored by divers.

Convair 240 off the coast of Aruba.
Convair 240 off the coast of Aruba.

Source: Leisure Pro

In addition to airliners, a WWII-era plane was intentionally sunk in 2009 for diving tourism. The Dakota DC-3 was a former transporter for parachutists in the Turkish air force and was donated after its retirement.

Plane wreck of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota in the Mediterranean Sea, Kas, Turkey.
Plane wreck of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota in the Mediterranean Sea, Kas, Turkey.

Source: Diver Advisor

Today, the aircraft sits on its belly on the seafloor at a depth of 55 feet off the coast of Turkey and acts as an artificial reef and dive site.

Plane wreck of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota in the Mediterranean Sea, Kas, Turkey.
Dakota DC3 plane wreck in Kas, Turkey.

Source: Diver Advisor

According to the company, the engines, wings, cockpit, rudder, and landing gear are all intact, and the large door used to jump provides an entrance inside.

Dakota DC3 plane wreck in Kas, Turkey.
Dakota DC3 plane wreck in Kas, Turkey.

Source: Diver Advisor

Inside the main cabin is pretty bare, but the cockpit shows the workspace of the pilot who manned the plane over 85 years ago.

Plane wreck of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota in the Mediterranean Sea, Kas, Turkey.
Plane wreck of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota in the Mediterranean Sea, Kas, Turkey.

Source: Diver Advisor

Read the original article on Business Insider

Fidelity’s spot bitcoin ETF is set to start trading in Canada, while its US fund is still waiting for the SEC’s green light

Blue bitcoin
Blue bitcoin

  • Fidelity has launched a spot bitcoin ETF in Canada that will start trading on Thursday.
  • Fidelity is “the biggest asset manager to date with a bitcoin ETF”, Eric Balchunas, senior ETF analyst at Bloomberg said. 
  • Spot bitcoin ETFs trade in Europe and Canada, but only futures-based ETFs have been approved in the US.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Fidelity Investments is about to launch an exchange traded fund (ETF) backed by bitcoin, rather than bitcoin futures, but it’s listing the fund in Canada, as US regulators have still not given these particular crypto products the go-ahead. 

An affiliate of the Boston-based asset manager, Fidelity Investments Canada told Insider it would launch the Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF and ETF Fund “on or around  December 2” under the ticker FBTC, according to its website. The ETF’s bitcoin sub-custodian, Fidelity Clearing Canada. will acquire and hold bitcoin and investors will be able to buy and sell it on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

ETFs backed by physically settled bitcoin are available in Europe, as well as Canada, where regulators approved those funds in February this year. In August, French regulators let asset manager Melanion Capital list a spot bitcoin ETF of its own. 

“We believe that cryptocurrency is a valid asset class that we would like to provide as an investment option for retail investors in Canada by including this in our product offering,” a spokesperson from Fidelity Investments Canada told Insider. 

US investors only have access to bitcoin-futures ETFs for now. Fidelity filed to list a spot bitcoin ETF in the US back in March, but has not got approval to do so at this point.  So far, US regulators have approved bitcoin futures ETFs run by ProShares, Valkyrie and VanEck

Fidelity opted to offer a bitcoin spot ETF over a futures one because bitcoin futures are generally in “contango” which means the futures price is higher than the spot price of the underlying asset, which means investors can lose money when they roll their positions. 

The company also said bitcoin futures ETFs may suffer from capacity constraints due to limits on the number of futures contracts an ETF is permitted to hold at any given time.

Fidelity’s history with digital assets traces back to 2014, when it began research and development efforts into blockchain technology through the Fidelity Centre of Applied Technology.

Some analysts believed Fidelity listing a bitcoin ETF in Canada was a blow to regulators in America. 

“This should be embarrassing for the SEC that one of America’s biggest, most storied names in investing is forced to go up North to serve its clients,” Bloomberg Senior ETF Analyst Eric Balchunas said on Twitter.

Crypto giant Grayscale, which filed for a spot bitcoin ETF in October, sent a letter to the SEC on Monday saying it had no basis to approve bitcoin futures ETFs and not spot ones and by doing so violated the Administrative Protections Act (APA). 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The owner of an ice cream company giving vaccinated employees a $1-an-hour pay raise says he’s been inundated with emails from anti-vaxxers, including one likening the policy to Nazism

booster vaccine
The owner of an ice cream company that’s giving vaccinated employees a pay raise says he’s been inundated with emails from anti-vaxxers.

  • The owner of an ice cream company says some anti-vaxxers have likened his vaccine policy to Nazism.
  • Chapman’s is giving vaccinated employees a $1-an-hour pay raise.
  • Owner Ashley Chapman says he’s been inundated with emails and calls attacking the policy.

The owner of an ice cream company that’s giving vaccinated employees a pay raise says he’s been inundated with emails from anti-vaxxers.

Canadian ice cream company Chapman’s started giving vaccinated workers a pay raise of 1 Canadian dollar an hour ($0.78) last week.

Ashley Chapman, vice-president and owner of the Ontario-based company, told CBC Radio that the external reaction to the policy was “very, very aggressive” and that he’d been sent “hate packages” in the mail.

He said that his 78-year-old father got a voicemail “telling him he was like Hitler, and obviously a Nazi, and we should be convicted of war crimes, essentially.”

Chapman told The Globe and Mail that the company had received at least 1,000 negative e-mails and “so many terrible, cruel comments on our Facebook group.”

“One e-mail asked us why we are employing segregation tactics,” Chapman said. “The exact words were: ‘Kudos on implementing Nazi-ism into our modern day.'”

The Globe and Mail reported that a photo of Chapman’s vaccine policy had been spread in anti-vaccine groups on social media, with some people urging a boycott of the brand.

Chapman said that news coverage of the backlash led to emails, phone calls, and social-media posts from people praising the pay raise and encouraging other companies to introduce similar incentives for vaccinated workers.

“Overall, the ratio of good comments to bad comments is now about 20 to 1,” Chapman told The Globe and Mail. The company’s sales hadn’t been hit by the boycott, and it had actually got multiple requests from Americans asking where they could buy its ice cream, he said.

Chapman told CBC that before introducing the pay raise he had been paying for unvaccinated staff to get two COVID-19 tests a week, which he said cost around 40 Canadian dollars ($31.35) per person.

“It just felt like we were treating the unvaccinated better than we were the vaccinated,” he told the radio station. “So we said, ‘You know what? Let’s try and be equitable to both sides.'”

Around 100 of his 850 employees aren’t fully unvaccinated, Chapman told CBC on Tuesday. He said he expected this figure to roughly halve over the next month as more staff members get their first and second shots.

As of November 19, 78.2% of Canadians had had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, rising to 89% among people aged 12 and older, government data shows.

More and more companies are mandating vaccines for their employees, and some governments are rolling out similar policies, too.

Ontario is requiring people to be fully vaccinated to visit some indoor venues like restaurants, nightclubs, gyms, and cinemas. Police in Toronto will be placed on unpaid leave if they don’t provide proof of full vaccination by the end of November

In the US, President Joe Biden is requiring all companies with more than 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their staff or implement weekly testing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

See photos of the ‘worst weather storm of the century’ that just slammed Canada, leading to flooded ports, highway rescue missions, and 300 stranded vehicles

Crowds gather along the Trans-Canada highway to view flooding after rainstorms lashed the western Canadian province of British Columbia, triggering landslides and floods and shutting highways, in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada November 16, 2021.
  • Canadian officials have declared this week’s deadly storm as the “worst weather storm in a century.”
  • Extreme rainfall destroyed highways and shut down Canada’s largest port, stalling the supply chain. 
  • See photos of the storm’s devastating aftermath — from sinking cars to helicopter rescues.
British Columbia Transportation Minister Rob Fleming called the storm that wreaked havoc across the Pacific Northwest the “worst weather storm in a century.”

community members struggle to rescue stranded cattle from a farm after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada November 16, 2021

Cows stranded in a flooded barn were rescued after rainstorms flooded the western Canadian province of British Columbia. The rain caused deadly landslides and floods, shutting down major highways.

Cows that were stranded in a flooded barn are rescued by people in boats and a sea doo after rainstorms lashed the western Canadian province of British Columbia, triggering landslides and floods, and shutting highways, in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada November 16, 2021.

Floodwaters completely covered the Trans Canada Highway 1, as seen in this aerial view taken near Abbotsford, British Columbia on Tuesday.

Flood waters cover the Trans Canada Highway 1, in an aerial view taken near Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, November 16, 2021. Picture taken November 16, 2021

The extreme flooding shut down Canada’s largest port in Vancouver, straining North America’s already labored supply chain. The TransMountain oil pipeline was also shut down due to flooding.

A man rides a bicycle along the sea wall past a barge that came loose from its mooring and crashed ashore after rainstorms lashed the western Canadian province of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada November 15, 2021.

“There’s not a person that hasn’t been affected or will not be affected by the events of this past weekend,” British Columbia Premier John Horgan said at a news conference Wednesday. “These events are increasing in frequency due to human caused climate change.”

A sailboat lays on its side where it was driven ashore by high winds after rainstorms lashed the western Canadian province of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada November 15, 2021

At least 300 motorists became stranded on British Columbia’s major highways due to mudslides as the Royal Canadian Air Force attempted rescue missions. One woman was killed in the flooding, and two people have been reported missing.

A Royal Canadian Air Force 442 Squadron CH-149 Cormorant helicopter lands during the rescue of over 300 motorists stranded by mudslides, in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada November 15, 2021.

A Royal Canadian Air Force crew member looked down from a helicopter on the hundreds of stranded vehicles during rescue missions on Monday.

A crew member from a Royal Canadian Air Force 442 Squadron CH-149 Cormorant helicopter views a line of vehicles during the rescue of over 300 motorists stranded by mudslides, in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada November 15, 2021

Cars like this one in Chilliwack, British Columbia, became submerged in ditches along flooded stretches of road.

A car lies submerged in a ditch on a flooded stretch of road after rainstorms lashed the western Canadian province of British Columbia, triggering landslides and floods, shutting highways, in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada November 15, 2021.

Here, a young girl looks over the partially-submerged truck on the Trans-Canada highway.

A truck is partially submerged on a flooded stretch of the Trans-Canada highway after rainstorms lashed the western Canadian province of British Columbia, triggering landslides and floods and shutting highways, in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada November 16, 2021.

Farms — like this one in Abbotsford, British Columbia — also experienced extreme flooding and landslides.

Farms are seen under flood water after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada November 16, 2021.

A “community rescue operation” attempted to save stranded cattle in Abbotsford as the town received the most rain in 24 hours compared to ever before. In June, the same town faced its hottest day on record.

Stranded cattle are seen during a community rescue operation after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides, in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada November 16, 2021

Both cars and homes were lost to the flooding.

A vehicle is submerged in water after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada November 16, 2021

People turned to boats to evacuate the town and rescue stranded families.

Three men paddle on a flooded road after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada November 16, 2021

Sources: The Guardian, BBC, Bloomberg, CNN

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A Subway franchisee said he’d resorted to hiring 14-year-olds because they were the only people applying for jobs, according to a report

Subway first-time visit
Restaurants have been hiring younger workers during the labor shortage.

  • A Subway franchisee in Canada said he’d been hiring workers as young as 14 years old.
  • He told CBC that they were the only ones applying for jobs.
  • Companies have been hiring younger and more inexperienced workers amid the labor shortage.

An owner of Subway and Wing’n It restaurants said he’d resorted to hiring workers as young as 14 years old because they were the only ones applying for jobs.

Paul Evans, who runs the stores in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, Canada, told CBC: “You post a job, you get one resumé. You might get two, if you’re lucky.”

He added: “You end up struggling, really, just to make it through some days because you’re just so understaffed.”

Like the US, Canada is suffering from a huge labor shortage as workers quit their jobs in search of better wages, benefits, and working conditions. Restaurants have been especially hard-hit.

Staff shortages have prompted companies to boost wages and improve benefits to attract new workers and keep existing ones – but some have also widened their pool of potential applicants by changing their eligibility criteria. Companies have been hiring younger and more inexperienced workers so that they can keep their doors open.

Evans’ Wing’n It restaurant in Grand Falls advertised a role on Facebook in October for a part-time cook working weekends and nights, with a wage of 13 Canadian dollars ($10.47) an hour. The start date was listed as “ASAP.”

Evans told CBC he’d also had to cut his restaurants’ opening hours because of the labor shortage.

Joey’s Chicken Shack in Pennsylvania dropped its minimum hiring age from 18 to 16, which its owner said had led to some new hires. A restaurant in Nantucket said in June that it had been interviewing eighth graders.

One restaurant owner in Arkansas is even giving his student employees an extra hour’s pay to allow them time to do their homework.

The owner of a McDonald’s in Oregon that’s been recruiting 14-year-olds previously told Insider’s Mary Meisenzahl that the young workers had been “a blessing in disguise.”

“They have the drive and work ethic,” the owner said. “They get the technology. They catch on really quickly.”

Wisconsin Restaurant Association is among the supporters of a bill recently approved by the state’s Senate that would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work until 11 p.m. on some days. The Association said the move could help plug the state’s labor shortage.

Restaurants also say they’ve been hiring workers with little or no experience to plug staffing shortages. A restaurant manager in Virginia even said she was so desperate for staff that she had to employ rude people, who she said scared off customers.

Do you work at Subway? Got a story? Email this reporter at gdean@insider.com.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

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Facebook changes its name to Meta, and shares soar – but for a Canadian meme stock, not Zuckerberg’s rebrand

Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg makes a speech as he attends the 56th Munich Security Conference at Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, Germany on February 15, 2020
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Shares in Canada-based Meta Materials spiked Thursday after Facebook’s rebrand to “Meta.”
  • The Nova Scotia-based firm appears to be a meme stock with heavy short interest.
  • Most Redditors on the subreddit r/MMAT rubbished the idea that Meta Materials’ stock surge was related to Facebook’s name change.

Facebook’s rebrand to “Meta” has been a positive catalyst for shares – but in a completely unrelated company, Canada-based Meta Materials.

The tech giant said Thursday it was changing its corporate name to Meta, bringing its brands under that corporate umbrella as it pivots to being “metaverse first.”

Following that, Meta Materials saw its Nasdaq-listed shares jump as much as 30% in after-hours trading. The company manufactures things like materials for “transparently blocking a specific color of light, or invisibly heating a window in a car.”

Its stock, which carries the ticker $MMAT, was last up 4.6% in regular trading Friday at $4.70 per share. Meanwhile, Facebook (now Meta) shares were 2% higher at $324 each. Its ticker symbol will change from $FB to $MVRS, but not until December 1.

With the rally, Meta Materials holds a market cap of about $1.2 billion. That represents just a fraction of the $890 billion value for the social media giant.

Meta Materials CEO George Palikaras posted a warm tweet to Facebook on Thursday, welcoming it to the virtual universe.

Meta Materials

It isn’t clear whether confusion over ticker symbols or a coordinated push by meme stock investors spurred Meta Materials’ rally.

“Is the (after-hours) price action real, or are people buying MMAT thinking they are getting Facebook for really cheap?” one Redditor asked.

The Nova Scotia-based company has actually been noted for its potential as a meme play with heavy short interest. Meta Materials is up 225% so far this year, while Facebook has risen 16%.

Most redditors on the subreddit r/MMAT dismissed the idea that confusion with Facebook’s rebrand is behind the surge. Some suggested the price started soaring after Palikaras’ tweet, not Facebook’s announcement.

Facebook’s rebranding follows a rocky few weeks for the company. A whistleblower leaked internal documents exposing its controversial practices, including knowing that Instagram is bad for teen mental health.

Cybersecurity expert James Bore said Facebook’s rebrand is an attempt to detach from its damaged reputation.

“This is a pretty cynical move to get away from what has been quietly known for years, and is becoming more and more public – that Facebook has prioritized profits over individual and societal health, actively worked to spread mis- and dis-information, assisted the weakening of democracy and been part of a push towards a polarised society,” Bore said. “And it’s done all of this with senior management being fully aware of the impact it has had.”

Read More: Ex-Ark analyst James Wang breaks down why he thinks ethereum could ‘easily’ hit $10,000 by year-end with some positive price action – and shares 3 under-the-radar tokens that are driving a mini DeFi resurgence

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A fire broke out on a cargo ship after about 40 shipping containers fell overboard due to rough seas off the coast of Vancouver Island

Shipping containers floating in the open ocean
Imagery captured of located containers from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles helicopter.

  • Around 40 shipping containers went overboard when a cargo ship hit rough seas on Friday.
  • A fire broke out Saturday on the same ship, the Zim Kingston, while anchored near Vancouver Island.
  • US and Canadian officials are monitoring the situation, including some containers with “hazardous materials.”

A fire broke out Saturday on a cargo ship, known as the Zim Kingston, that had lost around 40 shipping containers off the coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island the day before, officials said.

The US Coast Guard said in a tweet Friday they were monitoring adrift shipping containers that went overboard after an inbound vessel en route to Canada encountered rough seas. Photos shared by the coast guard showed some of the shipping containers afloat in the open ocean.

The US Coast Guard said Friday 35 floating containers had been located. As of Saturday, five had still not been located, and officials were warning other vessels to be extremely cautious in the area as the containers “may be partially submerged and not visible,” the Vancouver Sun reported.

The Canadian Coast Guard told the outlet some of the containers that fell held hazardous materials, and that the agency would assess for any “pollution threats and hazards.”

A day after the containers fell from the Zim Kingston, a fire broke out on the ship while it was anchored near Victoria, according to the Canadian Coast Guard. The agency told CHEK News reporter Jasmine Bala the fire started in damaged containers that were still onboard.

The Canadian Coast Guard told Bala two of the six containers that are on fire contain “hazardous material.” They also said 10 crew members were evacuated while 11 remain on the ship, with no reports of injuries.

In a warning to other vessels, the Canadian Coast Guard established an emergency zone around the Zim Kingston, saying: “The ship is on fire and expelling toxic gas. Two fallen containers are floating in the vicinity of the vessel. Caution.”

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A drugmaker backed by the company that owns Marlboro cigarettes plans to launch the world’s first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus vaccine canada
A nurse is inoculated with the Pfizer/BioNTEch coronavirus vaccine in Toronto, Canada, December 14, 2020.

  • A Japanese drugmaker plans to submit data for a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine to Canadian regulators.
  • The vaccine is made using a relative of the tobacco plant.
  • Medicago, which is making the vaccine, is part-owned by tobacco giant Philip Morris International.

The world’s first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine could reach Canada’s drug regulator by the end of the year.

Leading Japanese drugmaker Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma said Tuesday that Medicago, its Quebec-based subsidiary that developed the shot, would apply for Canadian approval by the end of 2021, the Financial Times reported.

Marlboro cigarette brand manufacturer Philip Morris International part-owns Medicago, according to the Financial Times.

US market intelligence company Transparency Market Research predicted in September that the plant-based vaccine market, including non-COVID-19 vaccines, will be worth $2.34 billion by 2031.

A plant-based COVID-19 vaccine has never been approved before.

Toshifumi Tada, head of vaccine business development at Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, told the Financial Times that there was “value in expanding options for vaccinesm” and said that, like seasonal flu, he didn’t expect demand for COVID-19 vaccines to “suddenly disappear.”

“There is still much uncertainty regarding emerging variants,” Tada said, per the Financial Times.

Medicago’s plant-based COVID-19 vaccine has shown promise in trials.

Medicago said in May that, in a trial of 24,000 participants, those given its COVID-19 vaccine had 10 times as many antibodies as those who had previously caught COVID-19. The vaccine also gave no serious side effects in the study, it said.

The vaccine includes an adjuvant – an additive which enhances immune response – made by UK pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, and was given as two doses, 21 days apart, Medicago said.

Medicago makes the plant-based vaccine by first inserting a genetic code into a bacteria. A close relative of the tobacco plant is then soaked in the modified bacteria. The code teaches the plant, Nicotiana benthamiana, to make a protein, which is then used in the vaccine, per scientific journal Nature.

Its fast manufacturing time could cut costs and make it easy to adapt to emerging coronavirus variants: It takes five to six weeks for Medicago to produce a clinical-grade vaccine this way, compared to four to six months for traditional lab methods, Nathalie Charland, Medicago’s senior director of scientific and medical affairs, told Nature

Plant-based vaccines also don’t require the ultracold storage temperatures, unlike Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots.

Medicago said earlier this month that it planned to submit the vaccine to Japanese regulators by March 2022.

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