Lululemon profit spikes as revenue soars 33 on strong sales

VANCOUVER — Lululemon Athletica Inc. is reporting a big increase in second-quarter earnings on the strength of soaring revenue and higher comparable store sales.The Vancouver-based retailer of high-end activewear said net earnings were $57.2 million or 39 cents per share, compared with $38.4 million or 26 cents per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2011.The boost in profit came as Lululemon reported that revenue rose 33% in the three months ended July 29 to $282.6 million from $212.3 million in the same quarter of fiscal 2011.[np-related /]Comparable store sales increased 15% on a constant dollar basis.Earnings were also boosted by a lower effective tax rate, thanks in part to a $7.2 million adjustment that reversed taxes provided for in two previous quarters.The Vancouver-based company raised its forecast for full-year net revenue to $ 1.345-$ 1.360 billion, up from last quarter’s forecast of $1.32-$1.34 billion.Lululemon said it expects full-year earnings per share from $1.76 to $1.81, up from its previously forecast $1.55 to $1.60.Shares, however, were down 4% at US$65.78 in premarket trading Friday morning.With files from Reuters read more

SHARE report finds there is poor corporate reporting on Indigenous issues

A group that advises activist shareholders hopes a new report will do for Indigenous issues what has already been done for environmental causes — put them on the boardroom table.“The purpose is to start to delve into the issue of the business role in reconciliation and where investors fit in that,” said Delaney Greig, author of the report for SHARE Canada.SHARE is a non-profit research agency that advises institutional investors on the social responsibility performance of potential investments. It serves 30 such Canadian investors with more than $14 billion in assets under management, including churches, universities and foundations.Information on environmental performance is becoming routine disclosure for more businesses all the time, said Greig. She looked into how many companies take the same approach to reporting on Aboriginal issues such as leadership, employment, contracting, training, rights and community investment.The answer is, not many.“Most of the rating agencies and data sources investors can get don’t even include indicators on Indigenous issues,” said Greig.She sent out questionnaires to 173 companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in eight different sectors. She found that while many companies tout upbeat stories — whether it be a successful Indigenous employee or a smooth-running partnership with an Aboriginal community — few report those interactions with anything like the rigour ethical investors need.The most common form of reporting was highlighting a company’s investment in an Aboriginal community, but even then less than one-third of companies systematically made such statements.Spending money in those communities can be problematic without more context, the report says.“Although these contributions and initiatives can be beneficial, they are often short-term, ad hoc and self-interested.”About one-fifth of companies had systematic means of reporting on Aboriginal employment or contracting with Aboriginal businesses.Five per cent reported on Indigenous presence in senior or management roles. Out of all companies surveyed, only one financial company, one energy company and three mining companies committed to Aboriginal communities’ right to free, prior and informed consent to new projects.Greig acknowledged corporate reporting on Aboriginal issues doesn’t create the same liability issues as environmental reports do.“There are a number of risks, from legal to operational delays. But at the same time, it’s not just the risks but the opportunities that building stronger relationships and having reliable partners (can create).”She also acknowledged that some of the issues her report discusses, such as consent, are still open questions in the Canadian legal system.The Supreme Court has repeatedly grappled with issues of consultation and consent. Recent examples came Wednesday with high court decisions on an Inuit challenge of seismic testing off Baffin Island and changes to a pipeline opposed by the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in southwestern Ontario.Greig noted that the 2015 report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded business has a role to play.“Industry and business play an extremely significant role in how the economic, social, and cultural aspects of reconciliation are addressed, including the extent to which opportunities and benefits are truly shared with Indigenous peoples,” the report said.Greig said she hopes her findings will be the first step toward creating a transparent, measurable benchmark to assess a company’s treatment of Indigenous people.“Inevitably, we’ll get there. But it’s a rocky road.”— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960 read more

MSF ends Sri Lankan operations

In order to provide access to primary health care and referral specialist services for isolated populations in parts of Mullaitivu District, MSF began a mobile clinic project in December 2010. Throughout 2011, mobile clinics conducted 200 primary health care consultations at five different sites per week, or 11,524 for the entire year, mostly in Puthukkudiyiruppu division.MSF also developed Mullaitivu Hospital’s electricity, water, and sanitation systems to ensure sustainability in the future, and provided significant assistance to develop the health structure’s laboratory service.Numerous communities in areas affected by the fighting witnessed deeply traumatic events during the last phase of the civil war. While the physical scars may have healed for many, considerable mental health care needs remain. Many people lost everything during the war and face new difficulties in the resettlement process. Drawing on extensive experience of working in conflict and post-conflict settings, MSF launched mental health activities in 2009. MSF worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the College of Psychiatrists, first in Menik Farm—a camp for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the war—and later in eight different sites in Mullaitivu District, including inside a specially built structure on the grounds of Mullaitivu Hospital. As many sick people were unable to travel to health facilities due to a lack of money and public transportation, mobile mental health teams had to travel to very remote areas to reach patients.From February 2011 to July 2012, MSF provided 4,629 counseling and group support sessions for individuals suffering from psychological and psychiatric disorders, targeting children, women, the elderly, and disabled. A psychiatrist also provided medical follow-up for patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, psychosis, or epilepsy.The community outreach program conducted group counseling sessions for students in the region and provided training for teachers to identify children with mental health conditions. “The partnership with the Ministry of Health teams, either in Colombo or at provincial level, led to much better access to health facilities for communities in Mullaitivu district. In terms of human resources, the government is also scaling up staff in these structures, which means MSF can now reallocate these resources to emergency contexts where medical services and facilities are in shorter supply.” From 2006 to 2011, MSF provided support at Point Pedro Hospital’s emergency unit and assisted with maternal health care, surgery, and infection control. These activities were handed over successfully to the Ministry of Health in December last year. In 2011, MSF staff performed 1,720 major operations and more than 6,900 emergency consultations, approximately 5,300 women received antenatal care, and 929 births were assisted.In 2012, MSF gradually handed over its responsibilities in the 80-bed Mullaitivu Hospital to the Ministry of Health. In 2011, MSF carried out around 5,000 consultations in the emergency unit, performed 1,004 major surgeries, delivered 329 babies, and provided antenatal care to 2,295 women. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced that it has handed over its last remaining project in Sri Lanka—a mental health program in Mullaitivu District—to World Vision, an established international NGO with a long-term operational plan for the north of the country. This handover follows a progressive transfer of medical activities to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health over the last 18 months.“The District General Hospital of Mullaitivu was almost non-functioning back in 2010 when MSF decided to provide support to enhance access to health care during the resettlement period for the internally displaced people,” said Marie Ouannes, MSF’s program manager for Sri Lanka. Other key objectives of the project included establishing an efficient referral system within local health structures for those in need of treatment and building a pool of trained local counselors and community support officers.“While not in the acute post-conflict phase, mental health needs in the area are still significant, despite the war having ended more than three years ago,” said MSF psychologist Gaia Quaranta. “Specialized skills and a long-term approach to community rehabilitation is required to address these issues, which is why we call on other organizations with a long-term future presence in the area to continue providing mental health care support for local communities.”In recent years, nongovernmental organizations have been granted greater access to areas that were most affected by the fighting. Infrastructure and health facilities have improved, as well.“As a medical humanitarian organization specializing in emergencies, MSF must allocate our limited resources to where the health needs of neglected populations are greatest,” said Marie Ouannes. “In the north of Sri Lanka, other actors that are better suited to a long-term recovery process are now able to reach the populations in need of care.”MSF will continue to monitor the situation in Sri Lanka and stands ready to return to the country to provide emergency medical support if the need arises. read more

DMK AIDMK want India to boycott CHOGM

“Any high level participation or engagement from the Indian side in the CHOGM will not only embolden the Lankan regime but also incense public opinion and sentiment in Tamil Nadu on this very sensitive issue even further,” said Jayalalithaa in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, strongly urging him not to attend the November 15-17 meeting in Colombo. The Prime Minister of Canada had already announced that he will not participate in the CHOGM, a top-level summit of the 54 member states, if Lanka failed to improve the efforts on rehabilitation of the war-affected Tamil population and fixing accountability for alleged crimes during the last phase of its war with Tamil rebels. After series of appeals and protests over India’s stand on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC that led to turmoil in Tamil Nadu and a political upheaval in Delhi, the Centre is under pressure from Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and DMK president M Karunanidhi to boycott an important international summit slated to be held in Colombo later this year, the New India Express reported.Archrivals Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi found themselves on the same platform when they raised the demand that the venue for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) be shifted from Sri Lanka, failing which India should boycott the summit and lobby among member states to follow suit so as to put pressure on the Lankan government over allegations of genocide, war crimes and human rights violations. The issue also figured in the executive committee meeting of the DMK that was held on Monday. In a resolution, the former UPA ally, which had assumed a belligerent posture on dealing with Lanka, urged the Centre to take lead in boycotting the summit. “We urge the Commonwealth that the meeting should not be held in Colombo for whatever reasons. If our appeal is not met, India should stay away respecting the sentiments of Tamils across the world,” read the resolution. read more

Rudras TGTE wants Fonseka investigated

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is to submit his report to the UN Human Rights Council in September about his findings regarding these killings and recommendations for justice. “We are pleased about Sarath Fonseka’s commitment to answer to these mass killings and rape,” said TGTE’s Minister for International Affairs Manicka Vasagar. The TGTE is conducting a Million Signature Campaign in fifteen languages to “Refer Sri Lanka to International Criminal Court”. (Colombo Gazette) “If he really believes in his innocence, we challenge him to open himself to international investigation. As a first step, we urge him to muster the courage and avail himself to the UN’s Office of Investigation of Sri Lanka (OISL) and cooperate with them”“We also urge the current President of Sri Lanka Mr. Sirisena, who was the acting defense minister during the final weeks of these killings and rapes, to clarify his position whether he himself is ready to face International war crimes trials to clear his name” Manicka Vasagar added. The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) led by V Rudrakumaran says it is pleased to hear of former Army Commander, Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka’s interview to The Guardian newspaper that he would welcome a war crimes investigation to prove his innocence for the mass alleged killing of Tamils and rape of Tamil women by the Sri Lankan Security Forces.“There were no rapes, no torture during my command during the war,” Fonseka said in the interview. read more

Cabinet approves Right To Information bill

Cabinet has approved the Right To Information (RIT) bill, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today.He said that the cabinet had approved the bill when it met last evening. The Prime Minister said that the draft RIT bill will now be discussed at provincial level and then be presented to Parliament to be approved and made law. (Colombo Gazette)

Government warns racism will lose like Donald Trump

Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Monday won Iowa Republican caucuses with a comfortable lead over billionaire developer Donald Trump despite Trump’s dominance in the Republican field over the past six months.Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the media also has a responsibility to highlight those who instigate racism. Meanwhile the Deputy Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka is preparing to receive the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and the Indian Foreign Minister later this week.He said that at the talks with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights the Government will place on record what Sri Lanka has achieved over the past several months. (Colombo Gazette) “Even in America society is not prepared to accept people like that,” he said. The Deputy Foreign Minister said that Trump lost the Iowa Republican caucuses today because he promoted racism. The Government today warned that anyone who attempts to promote racism will lose like billionaire developer Donald Trump who lost the elections in Iowa in the US.Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said that no matter how much somebody spends and promotes racism that person will lose since society rejects it. read more

US judge reduces jail sentence on three LTTE members

Federal prosecutors informed Dearie this month that the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office had reached an agreement with lawyers for the three men which calls for essentially dropping the arms deal charge.Their conviction for providing material support to a terrorist organization will remain along with the 15-year prison term.As part of the agreement, the three men will be deported to Canada after completing their sentences. Dearie was referring to the 25-year prison terms he was mandated to give to Canadian nationals Sathajhan Sarachandran, Sahilal Sabaratnam, Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam in 2011 for conspiring to acquire surface-to-air missiles on behalf of the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group fighting against the government of Sri Lanka. The men filed a lawsuit in 2012 in Brooklyn Federal Court seeking a reduction in their sentences and disclosed details about the civil war chaos in their homeland — including the deaths of dozens of innocent children in a Sri Lankan air strike. Three men convicted in the US of being LTTE members are getting their sentences reduced by 10 years after a Brooklyn judge revealed that he had been “haunted” by the case, the New York Daily News reported.“I just believe in my heart of hearts that an injustice has been done and I can’t correct it,” Federal Judge Raymond Dearie said, according to a transcript of a July 15, 2015 conference with prosecutors and defense lawyers. The Tamil Tigers were designated a foreign terrorist organization in 1997 by the U.S. State Department. The judge said he called the meeting after receiving a letter from the 13-year-old daughter of one of the defendants begging him to intercede with federal officials who were not allowing her to visit her father behind bars.Law enforcement sources familiar with the case said the agreement does not reflect any change in the government’s position that the Tamil Tigers are a terror group or the trio’s participation in an arms deal.It will merely recognize that the judge could have granted the men relief in their civil action. (Colombo Gazette) Lawyers for the men say they were deeply moved by Dearie’s words.“It was an extraordinary measure by an extraordinary judge to repair something that everyone agrees was an injustice,” lawyer Anthony Ricco, who represented Sarachandran in the case, told The Daily News.Dearie issued an order Wednesday for all the parties to appear in his courtroom next week to determine the next step. “Now that we’ve become a little bit more sophisticated in our thinking about what is and is not terrorism, now that we know a lot more about the conflict in Sri Lanka and the horrors visited upon these people, perhaps there’s a way to provide a fair measure of justice to all without condemning these men to essentially a life behind bars,” Dearie said.“This case has just taken over my head,” Dearie added. “To say that I’m troubled is to put it mildly.” read more

Wimal Weerawansa further remanded till February 7

He was arrested over the alleged misuse of Government vehicles when he was a Minister. (Colombo Gazette) Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa was further remanded till February 7 after he was produced in court today.Weerawansa was arrested recently by the police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID).