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World stocks rise on U.S.-China trade talk hopes

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – An index of world stocks rose for the third straight session on Tuesday, with investors hopeful that the United States and China would strike a deal to end their months-long trade war that has hurt sentiment in financial markets.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Increased risk appetite helped lift U.S. Treasury yields, while the dollar, which hit an 11-week low on Monday, rebounded as the euro weakened on concerns about a slowdown in the euro zone economy.

Tuesday’s advance for stocks added to gains logged over the past two sessions following last week’s strong U.S. employment report and comments from the Federal Reserve chief that calmed worries that interest rate hikes would hurt growth.

Trade and concerns over slowing economic growth triggered a selloff at the end of 2018 that culminated in Wall Street posting its worst monthly performance in about a decade in December, driving down earnings estimates and stock valuations.

On Tuesday, MSCI’s world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 47 countries, rose 0.62 percent to a more than three-week high.

The United States and China will continue trade talks in Beijing for an unscheduled third day, a member of the U.S. delegation said on Tuesday.

Trade talks this week in Beijing are the first face-to-face discussions since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce in their trade war.

Trump, in a post on Twitter on Tuesday, reiterated his recent statement that the talks with China were going well but gave no details.

“You’re seeing some negotiations happen and the market is starting to think that perhaps we’ll start to see a framework evolve,” said Anik Sen, global head of equities at PineBridge Investments.

The recent stocks rally has lifted the S&P 500 .SPX by about 9 percent from 20-month lows hit around Christmas.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 241.31 points, or 1.03 percent, to 23,772.66, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 20.55 points, or 0.81 percent, to 2,570.24 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 63.63 points, or 0.93 percent, to 6,887.10.

European shares hit a three-week high in a broad-based rebound on hopes of a possible trade deal between China and the United States. The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.87 percent.

U.S. Treasury yields climbed, in line with higher U.S. stocks, on improved risk appetite and as the Treasury Department sold $38 billion in three-year notes to relatively soft demand.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR fell 8/32 in price to yield 2.7101 percent, up from 2.682 percent on Monday.

The dollar rose against the euro as investors focused on the risk of a euro zone recession after data showed more signs of slowing in the region. The euro was 0.3 lower against the greenback.

“The euro had its upturn halted by German data showing the third decline in as many months in a gauge of factory growth,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

The improved appetite for risk and the stronger dollar weighed on gold prices. Spot gold XAU= slipped 0.3 percent to $1,284.71 per ounce.

Oil prices extended gains, supported by hopes that the U.S.-China trade talks might defuse the trade dispute, while OPEC-led supply cuts also tightened markets.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose $1.39 to settle at $58.72 a barrel, a 2.4 percent gain. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures rose $1.26 to settle at $49.78 a barrel, a 2.6 percent gain.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Sruthi Shankar in Bangalore; Editing by Dan Grebler

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Future of Ottawa: Coffee with Francis Bueckert

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Francis Bueckert: When it comes to the current landscape of coffee-roasting companies and independent cafes in Ottawa, I think we are at a really interesting moment in time. There are more local roasters that are doing artisanal small-batch production—with more attention to the quality and origin of the beans.

With larger corporations such as Starbucks closing locations, it has opened a bit of space for local players to grow. We have been lucky to work with many folks in the coffee-roasting community, and we have found that there is a willingness to collaborate among different coffee roasters. For example, when Cloudforest started back in 2014, we were roasting our coffee at Happy Goat and it was the expertise of their head roaster Hans that helped me learn how to roast. Other companies such as Brown Bag Coffee have also lent a hand when we needed extra roasting capacity. There are others, such as Lulo, Mighty Valley Coffee, Bluebarn, The Artery, and Little Victories that are also part of the growing local coffee community. It’s small roasters like these who have shown me what a coffee community can look like, and that we can help to elevate each other, rather than being locked in competition.

If you care to make a prediction… What’s happening to the local café industry in 2021?

We believe that there is hope and that 2021 can be a big pivot year for small roasters and cafes.

This year will not be ideal from a business point of view. However, it could create a shift in people’s attitude toward where they get their coffee. We are holding out hope that people will support the roasters and cafes that are local to help them economically survive what is in all reality a very difficult time.

It all depends on where consumers decide to go this year. People are starting to recognize that supporting large corporations at this moment will be at the cost of the local roasters and cafes. There is the growing realization that a future where there is only Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks would be pretty bleak. So we have an opportunity this year to support the kind of local businesses that we want to see thrive.

In your wildest dreams, what will the landscape for local coffee roasters and cafés look like in your lifetime?

In my wildest dreams, all of the coffee roasters and cafés would be locally owned and independent. They would all be focused on direct trade and artisanal coffee. Each different coffee roaster and café would know exactly where their coffee came from. Ideally, each company would be a partnership between the farmers who grow the beans and the people here selling them. There would be a focus on how to cooperate and collaborate with the farmers in the countries of origin to share the benefits around. We would all work together and share orders of cups, lids, and other packaging so that we could get better bulk pricing. In this way, we would make our local coffee community so efficient that the large corporate coffee companies wouldn’t even be able to compete.

We would also like to see people use coffee as a way to create social good. For example, we started Cloudforest as a way of helping support farmers in Ecuador who were taking a stand against large mining companies. This remote community stood up to protect their environment, so that they could have clean drinking water and soil for the next generation. They started an organic coffee cooperative to help show that there are other models of development, and we are doing our part year after year to help support their vision. They have a vision of development that does not include mass deforestation and contamination, and organic coffee is a key (among others) to show that another way forward is possible.

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Special events in the Ottawa Valley dominate annual OVTA tourism awards

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The Ottawa Valley Tourist Association hopes that its annual tourism awards will provide a little sunshine during what is a dark time for local tourism operators because of the pandemic.

The Ottawa Valley Tourism Awards are presented annually by the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association (OVTA) to individuals, businesses, and events that recognize the importance of working together for the growth of the local tourism industry, as well as offering exceptional visitor experiences.

“After a year that saw a lot of businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry being challenged like never before, the annual Ottawa Valley Tourism Awards represent a bit of light on the horizon” said Chris Hinsperger, co-owner of the Bonnechere Caves.

The Ottawa Valley Tourist Association’s (OVTA) Awards Committee co-chairpersons, Meghan James and Chris Hinsperger, said they were very pleased with the recent nominations received, especially in the Special Events category. Submissions were received for The Farm to Fork Dinner Series at the Whitewater Inn; Light up the Valley; The Eganville Curling Clubs’ Rock the Rings; The Ontario Festival of Small Halls ; The Bonnechere Caves On-line Underground Concert Series; The Opeongo Nordic Ski Clubs’ Ski Loppet; The Tour de Bonnechere — Ghost de Tour 2020; and The Bonnechere Caves Rock ‘n Roll Parking Lot Picnic.

“During a time when communities were challenged, it is nice to see that people still made an effort to get together and celebrate, albeit under certain conditions. It just shows the creativity and resiliency of our tourism Community here in the valley” said Meghan James, director of sales at the Pembroke Best Western.

There are three Award categories: The Marilyn Alexander Tourism Champion Award, The Business of Distinction and The Special Event of the Year.

Hinsperger, is excited about this year’s awards.

“During this pandemic the hospitality and tourism industry was the first to be hit, was the hardest hit and will be the last of our industries to fully recover. As Valley entrepreneurs we owe it to ourselves, to our businesses and to our communities to be an active part of that recovery. Our livelihood and economic recovery depends on our efforts. And we will get back to welcoming people from all over the world to share a little bit of the place we are privileged to call home. This awards process leaves myself and others fully optimistic about our positive outcomes.”

Award winners will be announced at the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association’s virtual annual general meeting on Monday, May 31.

The OVTA is the destination marketing organization for the Upper Ottawa Valley and proudly represents more than 200 tourism businesses, comprised of attractions and outfitters, accommodation, food, beverage and retail establishments, artists and galleries, municipalities, as well as media and industry suppliers. The OVTA is supported by the County of Renfrew, Renfrew County municipalities and the City of Pembroke.

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Future of Ottawa: Farming with Jeremy Colbeck

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Jeremy Colbeck: Well first, let’s talk about what we mean by farming. Although farms, and farming as an occupation, are in decline across Canada, they are still a major part of our rural landscape. That’s even more true for a strange city like Ottawa which includes a LOT of rural areas and whose urban boundary takes, what, three hours to cross? About 40 per cent of the rural land in Ottawa is farmland. Most of that farming is corn and soybean cash-crop, as well as some dairy and livestock farming. That’s mostly conventional farming (the kind that is profitable but not exactly where you take your kids on a Saturday).

There are also a lot of agri-tourism businesses in Ottawa, which give you that oh-so-good Saturday spot for family donkey-petting and apple-picking. And it’s totally understandable from a business perspective, but sometimes surprising to find out, that even though they grow some of the Christmas trees they sell, they might also be reselling some that come from much larger farms far away. The farmland around Ottawa is also inflated in price because of its proximity to the city, where it is in demand by would-be hobby farmers—folks who want to do some farming on their property in their spare time but make their money (to subsidize their small-scale farming habit) elsewhere. Unfortunately, many of these properties will have large mansions built on them, which will then make them completely unaffordable for the average farmer

There’s also a segment of small-to-medium-sized Ottawa farms that grow “premium” (artisanal, unique, extra-fresh, ecologically- or organically-grown etc…) products that they sell directly to local eaters via farmers’ markets or other direct marketing channels, including on-farm stores and farm stands. That’s where BeetBox fits in.

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