Disney confirms Guardians director fired over years-old tweets

James Gunn, the sardonic and openly vulgar writer/director behind both successful Guardians of the Galaxy films, has been removed from any future Marvel Studios projects, Disney confirmed on Friday.

The House of Mouse went one further and confirmed why they severed ties with Gunn: Twitter posts dating back as far as 2009.

“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Disney chairman Alan Horn said in a statement on Friday.

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NASA prepares to fly probe into Sun’s scorching atmosphere

NASA is preparing to send a probe closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft has ventured, enduring wicked heat while zooming through the solar corona to study this outermost part of the stellar atmosphere that gives rise to the solar wind.

Fintech OnDeck Canada lines up $50-million credit facility from Crédit Agricole

It may not be a first for the domestic fintech industry, but it is a first for a U.S. fintech company that’s been operating in Canada for the past four years.

OnDeck Canada, the local online arm of the U.S. headquartered OnDeck now has a $50-million asset-backed credit facility, provided by Crédit Agricole, to fund its loans. According to a recent ranking of assets, the French bank is the world’s ninth largest. Its Montreal office offers commercial and investment banking services.

This is the first time that OnDeck Canada — which has originated $180 million in small business loans since 2014, all made using a “wide spectrum of data, technology and analytics” — has arranged funding from a source other than its parent.

“We are very excited that Crédit Agricole sees a lot of value in the Canadian economy, in Canadian small business and finds our mission attractive enough for them to participate in,” said Amar Ahluwalia, OnDeck’s vice-president of Partnerships & Capital Markets. We were unable to reach Crédit Agricole for comment.

There are two parts to the three-year facility that will finance loan originations created by OnDeck Canada: a $25-million committed facility and an extra $25 million that can be drawn if needed. OnDeck provides term loans up to $250,000 and revolving lines of credit of up to $50,000 to small business

The credit facility organized for its Canadian unit coincided with an A$75-million facility for its Australian unit. (Credit Suisse is providing that facility.) Both facilities come with a floating rate and a 5.6 per cent interest rate.

But the unsecured loans made to OnDeck’s small business clients don’t come cheap, with interest rates above those of credit cards. Ahluwalia wouldn’t provide a number but said it’s based on the “credit profile of the borrower. We are looking to serve the underserved.”

Colin Kilgour, one of the principals behind the $30-million KiWi credit fund, said the “challenge” in pricing such loans is “not putting your customers out of business (by charging too high rates) and putting yourself out of business (by charging too low rates given the defaults.)”

Other Canadian fintech companies have benefitted from links with a financial partner. In March, Purpose Financial (in which OMERS has a stake) acquired Thinking Capital Financial.

And there’s talk a large Canadian bank is set to sign a joint venture with an online lender that focuses on venture debt lending.

Going Green

The City of Toronto’s 30-year, $300-million inaugural green bond financing that’s set to close on Aug. 1 brought three thoughts to mind:

Dark vs Light: This distinction refers to the degree of greenness of the investors with dark green being those institutions that have set up a mandate that allows them to only invest in green bonds. Light green is used to define investors who have signed the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

But according to Oslo-based CICERO, the Centre for International Research, there are two other categories of green: medium and brown (for projects that don’t meet the wider goal of a low-carbon future).

Term: Toronto borrowed for 30 years, the same as the City of Ottawa, a reflection of the infrastructure projects (subways and light rail) that will receive the proceeds. A 30-year borrowing is considerably longer than the term of a green bond issued by either a corporate or a government.

Lookback: While all the proceeds are invested in projects that meet the issuer’s debenture framework, in some cases the issuer is also allowed to apply permanent financing to green projects that are being built. Known as a lookback, this arrangement allows the issuer to put green money into green projects. Normally there is a time limit on how far the issuer can do a lookback.

Financial Post



Israeli soldier, three Palestinian militants, protester killed in Gaza escalation

Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli soldier along the Gaza border on Friday, said the Israeli military, which launched dozens of strikes into Gaza that killed four Palestinians, including three Hamas fighters.

Baltimore lawsuit blames oil and gas companies for climate change

The city of Baltimore filed a lawsuit on Friday against 26 oil and gas companies and entities, including BP Plc , Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp, for knowingly contributing to what the city called the catastrophic consequences of climate change.