Trump to name White House aide to homeland security post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will nominate Kirstjen Nielsen, who as top aide to his White House chief of staff has sought to instill order in Trump’s team, to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

New York lawyer gets two years in prison for tax evasion scheme

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York lawyer charged with failing to report more than $3 million of income from tax shelter and other transactions he handled at the law firm Herrick Feinstein, where he led the tax practice, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday.

78% of Teens Surveyed Own an iPhone, 82% Plan to Purchase

The iPhone’s popularity among teens continues to grow, according to new data gathered by investment firm Piper Jaffray for the fall edition of its semiannual U.S. teen survey.

78 percent of teens surveyed own an iPhone, up two percent from the spring 2017 survey conducted earlier this year. 82 percent of teens said their next smartphone will be an iPhone, the highest amount of interest ever noted in one of these surveys.



This jump in interest can perhaps be attributed to the 2017 iPhone lineup, which includes the iPhone X with an edge-to-edge display and a TrueDepth camera for facial recognition purposes.

Teen interest in the Apple Watch is also up, and 17 percent of teens surveyed said they plan to buy an Apple Watch in the next six months, up from 13 percent in spring 2017.



Piper Jaffray says the survey is a “positive point” on iPhone 8 demand and iPhone X demand, and increasing interested in the Apple Watch.



Apple Music also made an appearance in the survey, gaining share alongside Spotify and YouTube as teens move away from streaming services like Pandora.

On-demand music services like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music (30%, 20%, and 17%) continue to gain market share among teens, as more traditional platforms and Pandora continue to lose share.

Piper Jaffray’s fall 2017 teen survey covered 6,100 teens across 44 states in the United States with an average age of 15.9 years.

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Russia protests to U.S. over ‘shameful’ theft of consulate flags

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia protested to the United States on Wednesday after it said Russian flags were stolen from its consulate in San Francisco.

When seemingly too good to be true news from potential foreign acquirers conveys the wrong signals

The circumstances surrounding the two situations are different but, for the second time in six weeks, a potential foreign buyer has lobbed a hand grenade into the workings of a Canadian company.

And while neither grenade detonated, there was considerable collateral damage with the shares of both companies rising on the expectation that there was actually something behind the news.

In one case, the disarray caused when the Chinese-based public company Shenzhen Kaizhong attempted to derail an already agreed upon takeover of Pacific Insight Electronics by Chicago-based Methode Electronics, meant a loss for investors who operated on the assumption that there was real news, and that the potential buyer would follow through.

Instead, they were witnesses to a great big zero as Shenzhen Kaizhong, whose “offer” at $24.35 a share was highly conditional, did nothing. It didn’t contact the company or its financial advisers and did not advance its plans to acquire the B.C. company. But a couple of days before the shareholder meeting at Pacific Insight, it indicated it would not be proceeding.

The other case, which concerns the supposed plans of U.S.-based Gryphon Enterprises to acquire the mining assets of TSX-Venture listed West High Yield for US$750 million, is ongoing.

The “news” was released to the market last Thursday, and while investors were in some sort of disbelief at the price being offered for the target, many piled in and bid up the shares to $2 — up from $0.36 on the day. Almost 2.4 million shares changed hands — compared with 1,000 the previous day. Last Friday, trading in the stock was finally halted.

(It was originally halted early Thursday at the request of West High Yield and then, after the news was dispersed, reopened for the rest of the day.)

While hindsight is 20/20, at the time, a number of market participants questioned the decision to open the stock for trading given the credentials of the potential buyer and the large purchase price being contemplated.

Indeed, some astute investors on seeing the agreement news and the posting on SEDAR spent much time trying to determine the quality of the offer. In next to no time, given the size of the transaction, the confusion as to what was involved — it was an asset sale, not a takeover — and the numerous mistakes involved in those documents – they concluded it was from left field.

“In my opinion, the regulators should have asked for more information from the issuer before allowing this stock to reopen for trading,” noted one investor at the time.

Trading in the shares hasn’t reopened this week.

Reached Wednesday, Hilary McMeekin, manager of communications at the Alberta Securities Commission, said the TSX-Venture and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) are “co-ordinating the halts. The ASC is working in collaboration and continuing to review the matter.”

In an earlier interview, McMeekin was quoted as saying the ASC had been in touch with the target (whose market cap prior to the flurry of activity was about $20 million) given the size of the transaction.

So what gives? These two situations do nothing to enhance the confidence investors require. It would seem that a way has to be found for the regulators to ensure the market is operating with full, true and plain disclosure.

For the West High Yield situation, it would seem that the best way to achieve that objectives is to reverse trades made last Thursday. Such a change would wind back the situation to the middle of last week.

Financial Post

bcritchley@postmedia.com

Odd, potato-shaped dwarf planet has ring, may not be a planet

Thanks largely to the improvements in our instrumentation, we’ve started to get a picture of what the far reaches of our Solar System look like. Beyond the orbit of the outermost planet, there is a large collection of icy dwarf planets called trans-Neptunian objects, or TNOs. Pluto may have been the founding member of the TNOs, but there are now more than 1,200 known bodies in the list; only 270 of those have even been observed well enough to have their orbits characterized. It’s a safe bet that there will be some surprises among them.

In a paper being released today, researchers are reporting on one such surprise, courtesy of the dwarf planet Haumea: it’s got a ring. The observations that spotted the ring also suggest that Haumea is larger than we thought it was, which means that gravity hasn’t yet pulled it into a stable, rounded shape. Awkwardly, this means that Haumea may not fit the definition of dwarf planet set down by astronomers.

Meet the dwarf

Haumea, named after a Hawaiian goddess, has a closest approach to the Sun of 35 Astronomical Units (AU, the typical distance between the Earth and Sun). For context, Neptune is typically about 30 AU. Due to its highly elliptical orbit, Haumea is over 50 AU at its farthest distance from the Sun. At those distances, not a lot of sunlight reaches it, so most observations of the dwarf planet involve just a few smeary pixels. But we have observed it enough to know that it’s consistently associated with two smaller smears of pixels, its moons Hi’iaka and Namaka. The moons’ orbits told us something about Haumea’s mass.

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