even tougher winter next year as natural gas stocks are used up and as new supplies to replace Russian gas, including increased shipments from the United States or Qatar, are slow to come online, the International Energy Agency said in its annual World Energy Outlook, released last week.

Europe’s activity appears to be accelerating a global transition toward cleaner technologies, the I.E.A. added, as countries respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by embracing hydrogen fuels, electric vehicles, heat pumps and other green energies.

But in the short term, countries will be burning more fossil fuels in response to the natural gas shortages.

gas fields in Groningen, which had been slated to be sealed because of earthquakes triggered by the extraction of the fuel.

Eleven countries, including Germany, Finland and Estonia, are now building or expanding a total of 18 offshore terminals to process liquid gas shipped in from other countries. Other projects in Latvia and Lithuania are under consideration.

Nuclear power is winning new support in countries that had previously decided to abandon it, including Germany and Belgium. Finland is planning to extend the lifetime of one reactor, while Poland and Romania plan to build new nuclear power plants.

European Commission blueprint, are voluntary and rely on buy-ins from individuals and businesses whose utility bills may be subsidized by their governments.

Energy use dropped in September in several countries, although it is hard to know for sure if the cause was balmy weather, high prices or voluntary conservation efforts inspired by a sense of civic duty. But there are signs that businesses, organizations and the public are responding. In Sweden, for example, the Lund diocese said it planned to partially or fully close 150 out of 540 churches this winter to conserve energy.

Germany and France have issued sweeping guidance, which includes lowering heating in all homes, businesses and public buildings, using appliances at off-peak hours and unplugging electronic devices when not in use.

Denmark wants households to shun dryers and use clotheslines. Slovakia is urging citizens to use microwaves instead of stoves and brush their teeth with a single glass of water.

website. “Short showers,” wrote one homeowner; another announced: “18 solar panels coming to the roof in October.”

“In the coming winter, efforts to save electricity and schedule the consumption of electricity may be the key to avoiding electricity shortages,” Fingrad, the main grid operator, said.

Businesses are being asked to do even more, and most governments have set targets for retailers, manufacturers and offices to find ways to ratchet down their energy use by at least 10 percent in the coming months.

Governments, themselves huge users of energy, are reducing heating, curbing streetlight use and closing municipal swimming pools. In France, where the state operates a third of all buildings, the government plans to cut energy use by two terawatt-hours, the amount used by a midsize city.

Whether the campaigns succeed is far from clear, said Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies, a European think tank. Because the recommendations are voluntary, there may be little incentive for people to follow suit — especially if governments are subsidizing energy bills.

In countries like Germany, where the government aims to spend up to €200 billion to help households and businesses offset rising energy prices starting next year, skyrocketing gas prices are hitting consumers now. “That is useful in getting them to lower their energy use,” he said. But when countries fund a large part of the bill, “there is zero incentive to save on energy,” he said.

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Dream Impact Trust Reports Third Quarter Results

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DREAM IMPACT TRUST (TSX: MPCT.UN) (“Dream Impact”, “we”, “our” or the “Trust”) today reported its financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 (“third quarter”).

For the second consecutive year, the Trust is pleased to achieve a five-star rating from GRESB, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, which is recognition of its placement in the top 20% global benchmark with an overall score of 88/100. The Trust’s score can be attributed to excellent performance in Leadership, Policies, Reporting, Targets and, Data Monitoring and Review. Annual participation in the GRESB assessment provides the Trust with the opportunity for a third-party assessment of our continued progress towards achieving the Trust’s impact/ESG related goals. Further details on specific ESG metrics will be disclosed as part of our 2021 Sustainability Update report, which will be published in November.

“We are pleased with the Trust’s steady progress to create a more resilient portfolio,” said Michael Cooper, Portfolio Manager. “As we add an additional 210 multi-family units to our recurring income segment in the quarter, and construction continues on our 1,863-unit rental buildings in the West Don Lands, we believe we are well positioned to weather ongoing market disruptions by investing in high-quality assets, and contributing meaningfully to important societal issues. While our pace of external acquisitions may slow in the near term, with the largest portfolio of net-zero development and our extensive residential pipeline, we have tremendous internal growth.”

Selected financial and operating metrics for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022, are summarized below:

 

Three months ended September 30,

Nine months ended September 30,

 

 

2022

 

2021

 

2022

 

2021

Condensed consolidated results of operations

 

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

$

337

$

2,154

$

1,309

$

(5,509)

Net income (loss) per unit(1)

 

0.01

 

0.03

 

0.02

 

(0.08)

 

 

 

 

 

Distributions declared and paid per unit

 

0.10

 

0.10

 

0.30

 

0.30

Units outstanding – end of period

 

66,094,687

 

64,939,362

 

66,094,687

 

64,939,362

Units outstanding – weighted average

 

65,982,734

 

65,066,259

 

65,637,245

 

64,934,850

During the three months ended September 30, 2022, the Trust reported net income of $0.3 million compared to net income of $2.2 million in the prior year. The change in earnings was primarily driven by timing of fair value adjustments on our income properties and developments, upon milestone achievements, as well as higher interest expense. This was partially offset by the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations on the Trust’s investment in the U.S. hotel.

As at September 30, 2022, the Trust had $9.0 million of cash-on-hand, which included unused proceeds from the Trust’s convertible debenture issuance. The Trust’s debt-to-asset value(1) as at September 30, 2022 was 27.3%, an increase relative to 25.7% as of June 30, 2022, primarily due to draws on the credit facility. For similar reasons, the Trust’s debt-to-total asset value, inclusive of project-level debt(1) and assets within our development segment, including equity accounted investments, was 60.0% as at September 30, 2022, compared to 57.4% as at June 30, 2022. This includes long-term government debt at low interest rates and high leverage, providing financial benefits that help us pay for the social benefits we provide, including our affordable housing and sustainability programs within our communities. As at September 30, 2022, the Trust had drawn $24.8 million on its $50.0 million credit facility.

As part of the Trust’s ongoing risk management practices, the Trust monitors the impact of macroeconomic factors on the business. This includes assessing the impact of cost escalations on operations and construction projects, and the impact of rising interest rates on our portfolio. We continue to monitor our capital allocation on an ongoing basis, pursue refinancing opportunities which mitigate interest rate risk, and tender a significant portion of development costs prior to construction commencement which helps contain inflationary risk.

Recurring Income

In the third quarter, the Trust’s recurring income segment generated net income of $1.2 million, consistent with prior year, although the composition of earnings differed in each period due to transaction costs, fair value adjustments and occupancy rates across the portfolio.

Throughout the period, we have continued to see strong leasing momentum across our multi-family rental buildings, ending the quarter with in-place and committed residential occupancy at 93.5% as of September 30, 2022, up from 82.5% as of June 30, 2022. Notably, Aalto Suites, a 162-unit multi-family rental building at Zibi, ended the quarter with in-place and committed occupancy at 74.7%, up from 34.6% at June 30, 2022. Aalto Suites has 95% of its units designated as affordable and we anticipate achieving stabilization for the asset in early 2023.

In the third quarter, the Trust acquired a 50% interest in 70 Park, a 210-unit multi-family rental building adjacent to the Port Credit GO station and in close proximity to the Trust’s Brightwater development. The gross purchase price for the site was $105.5 million (at 100%), of which approximately $25 million was allocated to land slated for redevelopment on the site. Inclusive of 70 Park, the Trust’s multi-family rental portfolio is comprised of nearly 1,600 units of which 25% are considered affordable.

Based on the Trust’s current development pipeline, we have an additional 2,826 residential units and 153,000 square feet (“sf”) of commercial and retail (at 100%) with an estimated value on completion of $508.5 million that will be completed and contribute to recurring income over the next three years. For further details, refer to the “Three-Year Recurring Income” table in Section 2.1, “Recurring Income”, in the Trust’s MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022.

Development

In the third quarter, the development segment generated net income of $2.9 million compared to $4.2 million in the prior period. The decrease relative to prior year was driven by fair value gains recognized in 2021 within the Trust’s equity accounted investments, partially offset by higher foreign exchange gains on the Trust’s investment in the U.S. hotel this year.

In the period, we completed the acquisition of the Berkeley land assembly, which comprises five income properties adjacent to the Trust’s commercial asset, 49 Ontario, located in downtown Toronto. Inclusive of one property purchased in 2021, the Berkeley land assembly was purchased for $16.9 million, including transaction costs. The Trust has submitted a rezoning application for over 800,000 sf for this site and expects rezoning to be achieved by 2023. As of September 30, 2022, 49 Ontario was carried at $95.0 million per the Trust’s financial statements.

Other(2)

In the third quarter, the Other segment generated a net loss of $3.8 million compared to $3.3 million in the prior year. The increase was primarily driven by interest expense on the Trust’s convertible debentures and credit facility. Partially offsetting this was a deferred compensation recovery and decrease in the asset management fee as a result of fluctuations in the Trust’s share price.

Cash Generated from Operating Activities

Cash generated in operating activities for the three months ended September 30, 2022 was $1.5 million compared to cash generated of $4.3 million in the prior year, a decrease driven by proceeds received from a legacy development in the prior year and timing of deposits made on the Trust’s acquisitions.

Footnotes

(1)

 

For the Trust’s definition of the following specified financial measures: debt-to-asset value, debt-to-total asset value, inclusive of project-level debt, net income (loss) per unit, please refer to the cautionary statements under the heading “Specified Financial Measures and Other Measures” in this press release and the Specified Financial Measures and Other Disclosures section of the Trust’s MD&A.

(2)

 

Includes other Trust amounts not specifically related to the segments.

Conference Call

Senior management will host a conference call on Thursday November 3 at 2:00 pm (ET). To access the call, please dial 1-866-455-3403 in Canada or 647-484-8332 elsewhere and use passcode 24662328#. To access the conference call via webcast, please go to the Trust’s website at www.dreamimpacttrust.ca and click on Calendar of Events in the News and Events section. A taped replay of the conference call and the webcast will be available for 90 days.

About Dream Impact

Dream Impact is an open-ended trust dedicated to impact investing. Dream Impact’s underlying portfolio is comprised of exceptional real estate assets reported under two operating segments: development and investment holdings, and recurring income, that would not be otherwise available in a public and fully transparent vehicle, managed by an experienced team with a successful track record in these areas. The objectives of Dream Impact are to create positive and lasting impacts for our stakeholders through our three impact verticals: environmental sustainability and resilience, attainable and affordable housing, and inclusive communities; while generating attractive returns for investors. For more information, please visit: www.dreamimpacttrust.ca.

Specified Financial Measures and Other Measures

The Trust’s condensed consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”). In this press release, as a complement to results provided in accordance with IFRS, the Trust discloses and discusses certain specified financial measures, including debt-to-asset value, debt-to-total asset value inclusive of project-level debt, and net income (loss) per unit, as well as other measures discussed elsewhere in this release. These specified financial measures are not defined by IFRS, do not have a standardized meaning and may not be comparable with similar measures presented by other issuers. The Trust has presented such specified financial measures as management believes they are relevant measures of our underlying operating performance and debt management. Specified financial measures should not be considered as alternatives to unitholders’ equity, net income, total comprehensive income or cash flows generated from operating activities, or comparable metrics determined in accordance with IFRS as indicators of the Trust’s performance, liquidity, cash flow and profitability. For a full description of these measures and, where applicable, a reconciliation to the most directly comparable measure calculated in accordance with IFRS, please refer to Section 6, “Specified Financial Measures and Other Disclosures” in the Trust’s MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022.

“Debt-to-asset value” represents the total debt payable for the Trust divided by the total asset value of the Trust as at the applicable reporting date. This non-GAAP ratio is an important measure in evaluating the amount of debt leverage; however, it is not defined by IFRS, does not have a standardized meaning, and may not be comparable with similar measures presented by other issuers.

As at

September 30, 2022

December 31, 2021

Total debt

$

203,585

$

133,150

Unamortized discount on host instrument of convertible debentures

 

1,152

 

809

Conversion feature

 

(345)

 

(357)

Unamortized balance of deferred financing costs

 

3,023

 

1,300

Total debt payable

$

207,415

$

134,902

Total assets

 

760,203

 

701,702

Debt-to-asset value

 

27.3%

 

19.2%

“Debt-to-total asset value, inclusive of project-level debt” represents the Trust’s total debt payable plus the debt payable within our development and investment holdings, and equity accounted investments, divided by the total asset value of the Trust plus the debt payable within our development and investment holdings, and equity accounted investments, as at the applicable reporting date. This specified financial measure is an important measure in evaluating the amount of debt leverage inclusive of project-level debt within our development and investment holdings, and equity accounted investments; however, it is not defined by IFRS, does not have a standardized meaning, and may not be comparable with similar measures presented by other issuers.

 

September 30, 2022

December 31, 2021

Debt payable within our development and investment holdings, and equity accounted investments

$

622,683

$

493,217

Total assets

 

760,203

 

701,702

Total assets, inclusive of project-level debt

$

1,382,886

$

1,194,919

 

 

 

Debt payable within our development and investment holdings, and equity accounted investments

$

622,683

$

493,217

Total debt payable

 

207,415

 

134,902

Total debt, inclusive of project-level debt

$

830,098

$

628,119

 

 

 

Debt-to-total asset value, inclusive of project-level debt and assets within our development segment, including equity

accounted investments

 

60.0%

 

52.6%

“Net income (loss) per unit” represents net income (loss) of the Trust divided by the weighted average number of units outstanding during the period.

 

Three months ended September 30,

Nine months ended September 30,

 

 

2022

 

2021

 

2022

 

2021

Net income (loss)

$

337

$

2,154

$

1,309

$

(5,509)

Units outstanding – weighted average

 

65,982,734

 

65,066,259

 

65,637,245

 

64,934,850

Net income (loss) per unit

$

0.01

$

0.03

$

0.02

$

(0.08)

Forward-Looking Information

This press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities legislation. Forward-looking information generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “outlook”, “objective”, “may”, “will”, “would”, “could”, “expect”, “intend”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “should”, “plans”, or “continue”, or similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or events. Some of the specific forward-looking information in this press release may include, among other things, statements relating to the Trust’s objectives and strategies to achieve those objectives; the publication and details of the 2021 Sustainability Update Report; the resiliency of the Trust’s portfolio; the belief that the Trust is well positioned to withstand market disruptions by investing in high-quality assets; the expectation that external acquisitions may slow in the near term; the Trust’s internal growth potential; the expectation that long-term government debt at low interest rates will provide certain financial benefits; the Trust’s ongoing monitoring of capital allocation, pursuit of refinancing opportunities to mitigate interest rate risks, and tender significant portions of development costs prior to construction commencement to contain inflationary risk; the Trust’s ability to execute on transactions and successfully navigate markets; expected growth of the Trust’s recurring income segment; our development and redevelopment pipeline; expectations regarding rezoning applications and related square footage and finalization dates, including in respect of the Berkeley land assembly; the Trust’s ability to achieve its impact and sustainability goals, and implementing other sustainability initiatives throughout its projects; and the 2,826 residential units and 153,000 sf of commercial and retail (at 100%) with an estimated value upon completion of $508.5 million which are expected to be completed and contribute to recurring income over the next three years.

Forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the Trust’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those that are disclosed in or implied by such forward-looking information. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: adverse changes in general economic and market conditions; the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 and variants thereof) pandemic on the Trust; risks associated with unexpected or ongoing geopolitical events, including disputes between nations, terrorism or other acts of violence, and international sanctions; inflation; the disruption of free movement of goods and services across jurisdictions; the risk of adverse global market, economic and political conditions and health crises; risks inherent in the real estate industry; risks relating to investment in development projects; impact investing strategy risk; risks relating to geographic concentration; risks inherent in investments in real estate, mortgages and other loans and development and investment holdings; credit risk and counterparty risk; competition risks; environmental and climate change risks; risks relating to access to capital; interest rate risk; the risk of changes in governmental laws and regulations; tax risks; foreign exchange risk; acquisitions risk; and leasing risks. Our objectives and forward-looking statements are based on certain assumptions with respect to each of our markets, including that the general economy remains stable; the gradual recovery and growth of the general economy continues over 2022; that no unforeseen changes in the legislative and operating framework for our business will occur; that there will be no material change to environmental regulations that may adversely impact our business; that we will meet our future objectives, priorities and growth targets; that we receive the licenses, permits or approvals necessary in connection with our projects; that we will have access to adequate capital to fund our future projects, plans and any potential acquisitions; that we are able to identify high quality investment opportunities and find suitable partners with which to enter into joint ventures or partnerships; that we do not incur any material environmental liabilities; interest rates remain stable; inflation remains relatively low; there will not be a material change in foreign exchange rates; that the impact of the current economic climate and global financial conditions on our operations will remain consistent with our current expectations; our expectations regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and government measures to contain it; our expectation regarding ongoing remote working arrangements; and competition for and availability of acquisitions remains consistent with the current climate.

All forward-looking information in this press release speaks as of October 31, 2022. The Trust does not undertake to update any such forward-looking information whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. Additional information about these assumptions and risks and uncertainties is disclosed in the Trust’s filings with securities regulators filed on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (www.sedar.com), including its latest annual information form and MD&A. These filings are also available at the Trust’s website at www.dreamimpacttrust.ca.

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Russian Missile Barrage Targets Kyiv and Other Cities

Credit…Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Although Russia has suspended its participation in a deal that allowed Ukraine to export its grain by ship, 12 cargo vessels carrying grain set sail from the country’s Black Sea ports on Monday after the deal’s brokers, Turkey and the United Nations, notified Moscow.

The departures of the ships, which had been authorized to sail before the deal was suspended, appeared to pass without incident. Moscow’s announcement on Saturday has meant a halt to its participation in ship inspections in the port of Istanbul, but it was unclear whether it also signaled a refusal to guarantee security for any cargo vessels crossing the Black Sea, where its navy dominates.

In a hint that shipments would have to be halted at least for now, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry S. Peskov, said Monday that Turkey could not continue to implement the deal because “Russia says it is impossible to guarantee safe navigation” in the Black Sea and that ship passage was now “much more risky.”

Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, later said in comments reported by Interfax that Moscow “cannot allow unimpeded passage of vessels without our inspection” and would take “independent measures” to control carriers approved without its coordination.

Underscoring the potential risks, the Ukrainian military’s southern command said on Monday that Russian shelling of the port in Ochakiv, which sits on the Black Sea, hit two civilian tugboats that were involved in transporting a grain barge. Two people were killed and another crew member was injured, it said. The incident and vessels involved did not appear to be directly related to the grain deal.

Some analysts believe the initiative could still be restarted, because Moscow has merely suspended its participation and has not physically withdrawn its representatives from the headquarters overseeing its implementation in Istanbul. The Kremlin also views the agreement, which is set to lapse in mid-November unless it is renewed, as leverage to achieve larger aims, analysts say.

Alexandra Prokopenko, an independent analyst and an expert on Russia who writes for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that the deal was in effect a “political tool” for the Kremlin. One Russian objective in any talks to determine whether the agreement is restarted or renewed could be securing further exemptions on its own exports of food and fertilizer from so-called hidden sanctions, such as the elevated cost of insuring vessels, she said.

“Russia stopped the deal but it has opened a loophole for Turkey to negotiate,” she said, by keeping a presence at the Joint Coordination Center — which houses the team of officials from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations that monitor the grain ships.

Turkey was a key broker for the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement, which guaranteed safe passage to Istanbul for ships carrying agricultural exports from ports in Ukraine, as well as for ships traveling to the country. The ships are inspected in Istanbul, where the Joint Coordination Center is based.

Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat and other grains and the deal, signed in July, had offered hope for Ukraine’s economy and the prospect of relief for countries that are facing a food crisis.

Russia suspended its participation after an attack on its Black Sea naval fleet that it blamed on Ukraine, but President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said in a speech on Monday that his government would continue its efforts to overcome Moscow’s opposition.

“Russia is hesitant,” Mr. Erdogan said, according to the state-run Anadolu News Agency, but he added: “We will continue our efforts to serve humanity.”

Global wheat prices rose about 6 percent at the start of trading on Monday to about $8.80 a bushel before stabilizing. That is far lower than near the start of Russia’s full scale invasion, in February, when prices rose to more than $12 a bushel.

The ships carrying about 390,000 tons of agricultural products left Ukrainian ports including Odesa on Monday, Mr. Bratchuk said. The United Nations and Turkey notified Russian authorities, according to Ismini Palla, a spokesperson for the Joint Coordination Center.

Ivan Nechepurenko Safak Timur

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Seoul Crowd Crush: As Nation Mourns, a Focus on How a Festive Night Turned Deadly

Condolences poured in from world leaders, diplomats and prominent South Koreans overseas in the aftermath of the deadly crowd surge in Seoul.

President Joe Biden expressed condolences to the families of victims and best wishes for a quick recovery to the injured.

“We grieve with the people of the Republic of Korea,” he wrote in a statement. “The alliance between our two countries has never been more vibrant or more vital — and the ties between our people are stronger than ever.”

Britain’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, wrote on Twitter: “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.”

The Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, also weighed in on Twitter. “I am deeply shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of many precious lives, including young people with a promising future,” he wrote.

“The tragic events in Seoul come as a shock to all of us,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany wrote. “Our thoughts are with the numerous victims and their families. This is a sad day for South Korea. Germany stands by their side.”

President Emmanuel Macron of France extended condolences in both French and Korean. “France is with you,” he wrote on Twitter.

Xi Jinping, China’s leader, conveyed condolences to victims and their families to the South Korean president, a Chinese state broadcaster reported. He expressed hopes that the South Korean authorities would make every effort to treat and rehabilitate the Chinese victims of the accident, according to the report.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on its Telegram channel that President Vladimir V. Putin had sent condolences to South Korea’s president. His message read in part, “Please convey my sincere condolences and words of support to the families and friends of the victims and my wishes for an early recovery to those who were injured,” the ministry said.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine wrote on Twitter, “We share your pain and sincerely wish a speedy recovery to all the victims.”

And Pope Francis tweeted asking for prayers for the victims.

Diplomats

The American flag was lowered to half-staff at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on Sunday, in what Ambassador Philip Goldberg called a gesture of “sorrow and respect.”

“Please know my thoughts, and those of our team at U.S. Embassy Seoul, are with the Korean people and especially the loved ones of those who perished, as well as the many injured in this catastrophic incident,’” he wrote on Twitter.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, wrote that he was deeply saddened. “What meant to be a celebration turned into a tragedy with so many young casualties,” he said in a tweet. “We are with the people of the Republic of Korea at this difficult moment.”

Catherine Raper, the Australian ambassador to South Korea, asked all Australians in Seoul to check in with their family and friends while the embassy was making “urgent enquiries” to find out whether any Australians were among the victims. She extended deepest condolences to all those affected by the accident.

Park Jin, Seoul’s foreign minister, wrote that the government was putting all its efforts toward supporting the bereaved and injured, including foreign citizens. “Your thoughts and support are of great comfort to the Korean people in this moment of heartbreaking grief,” he said on Twitter.

South Koreans Abroad

Son Heung-min, a South Korean soccer star who is a forward with the British club Tottenham Hotspur, expressed sorrow, too.

“All my thoughts are with you all back home in Korea. I am heartbroken to be reading this news,” he wrote on Instagram after winning a match on Saturday. “I want you to all know I am thinking of you and sending all of my strength from here.”

Claire Fu contributed reporting.

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More Than 100 Killed as Halloween Crowd Surge Turns Deadly in South Korea

Choe Sang-Hun

Credit…Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SEOUL — At least 120 people were killed and another 100 injured after they were crushed in a large Halloween crowd in Seoul on Saturday night, the city’s fire department said. The crowd surge happened during one of the most raucous celebrations of the year in the South Korean capital.

Of those who were confirmed dead, 46 were in the hospital, the fire department said, with the rest taken to a nearby gymnasium.

President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered his government to dispatch urgent help and medical assistance to the scene — in the popular Itaewon nightlife district at the city center — after he was informed of “multiple casualties,” his office said in a statement.

Seoul’s mayor, Oh Se-hoon, who was visiting the Netherlands, was returning to South Korea, his office said.

Photos published by domestic media showed citizens, police officers and emergency medical workers performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on people sprawled on the pavement. Live footage on MBC-TV, a local broadcaster, showed firefighters carrying what looked like bodies covered with white sheets on stretchers to ambulances.

Local media said the narrow alleys of Itaewon were jam-packed with as many as 100,000 people for the Halloween festivities on Saturday evening. Earlier in the day, large protests had blocked city traffic in the area.

A witness said the stampede happened when a crowd surged down a narrow alleyway.

“People kept pushing down and more people were crushed down​,” the witness wrote on Twitter. “People crushed under the crowd were crying and I thought I would ​be crushed to death too, breathing through a hole and crying for help.”

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Elon Musk Takes Twitter, and Tech Deals, to Another Level

Forget about the endless drama, the bots, the abrupt reversals, the spectacle, the alleged risk to the Republic and all we hold dear. Here is the most important thing about Elon Musk’s buying Twitter: The moguls have been unleashed.

In the old days, when a tech tycoon wanted to buy something big, he needed a company to do it. Steve Case used AOL to buy Time Warner. Jeff Bezos bought Whole Foods for Amazon. Mark Zuckerberg used Facebook to buy Instagram and WhatsApp and Oculus and on and on. These were corporate deals done for the bottom line, even if they might never have happened without a famous and forceful proprietor.

Mr. Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, which finally became a reality on Thursday, six months after he agreed to the deal, is different. It is an individual buying something for himself that 240 million people around the world use regularly. While he has other investors, Mr. Musk will have absolute control over the fate of the short-message social media platform.

It’s a difficult deal to evaluate even in an industry built on deals, because this one is so unusual. It came about whimsically, impulsively. But, even by the standards of Silicon Valley, where billions are casually offered for fledging operations — and even by the wallet of Mr. Musk, on most days the richest man in the world — $44 billion is quite a chunk of change.

the midterm elections’ most prominent campaign contributor, pumping tens of millions of dollars into right-wing congressional candidates. Two of his former employees are the Republican nominees for senator in Ohio and Arizona.

Richard Walker, a professor emeritus of economic geography at the University of California, Berkeley and a historian of Silicon Valley, sees a shift in the locus of power.

“In this new Gilded Age, we’re being battered by billionaires rather than the corporations that were the face of the 20th century,” he said. “And the tech titans are leading the way.”

bought The Washington Post for $250 million. Marc Benioff of Salesforce owns Time magazine. Pierre Omidyar of eBay developed a homegrown media empire.

Deals have been a feature of Silicon Valley as long as there has been a Silicon Valley. Often they fail, especially when the acquisition was made for technology that either quickly grew outdated or never really worked at all. At least one venerable company, Hewlett-Packard, followed that strategy and has practically faded away.

$70 billion-plus acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is pending, has garnered a fraction of the attention despite being No. 2.

said in April after sealing the deal. “I don’t care about the economics at all.”

He cared a little more when the subsequent plunge in the stock market meant that he was overpaying by a significant amount. Analysts estimated that Twitter was worth not $44 billion but $30 billion, or maybe even less. For a few months, Mr. Musk tried to get out of the deal.

This had the paradoxical effect of bringing the transaction down to earth for spectators. Who among us has not failed to do due diligence on a new venture — a job, a house, even a relationship — and then realized that it was going to cost so much more than we had thought? Mr. Musk’s buying Twitter, and then his refusal to buy Twitter, and then his being forced to buy Twitter after all — and everything playing out on Twitter — was weirdly relatable.

Inescapable, too. The apex, or perhaps the nadir, came this month when Mr. Musk introduced a perfume called Burnt Hair, described on its website as “the Essence of Repugnant Desire.”

“Please buy my perfume, so I can buy Twitter,” Mr. Musk tweeted on Oct. 12, garnering nearly 600,000 likes. This worked, apparently; the perfume is now marked “sold out” on its site. Did 30,000 people really pay $100 each for a bottle? Will this perfume actually be produced and sold? (It’s not supposed to be released until next year.) It’s hard to tell where the joke stops, which is perhaps the point.

Evan Spiegel.

“What was unique about Twitter was that no one actually controlled it,” said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed Partners. “And now one person will own it in its entirety.”

He is relatively hopeful, however, that Mr. Musk will improve the site, somehow. That, in turn, will have its own consequences.

“If it turns into a massive home run,” Mr. Greenfield said, “you’ll see other billionaires try to do the same thing.”

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US Economy Grew at 2.6% Annual Rate in Q3, GDP Report Shows

The U.S. economy grew slowly over the summer, adding to fears of a looming recession — but also keeping alive the hope that one might be avoided.

Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, returned to growth in the third quarter after two consecutive quarterly contractions, according to government data released Thursday. But consumer spending slowed as inflation ate away at households’ buying power, and the sharp rise in interest rates led to the steepest contraction in the housing sector since the first months of the pandemic.

The report underscored the delicate balance facing the Federal Reserve as it tries to rein in the fastest inflation in four decades. Policymakers have aggressively raised interest rates in recent months — and are expected to do so again at their meeting next week — in an effort to cool off red-hot demand, which they believe has contributed to the rapid increase in prices. But they are trying to do so without snuffing out the recovery entirely.

The third-quarter data — G.D.P. rose 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department said, a 2.6 percent annual rate of growth — suggested that the path to such a “soft landing” remained open, but narrow.

loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

President Biden cheered the report in a statement Thursday morning. “For months, doomsayers have been arguing that the U.S. economy is in a recession, and congressional Republicans have been rooting for a downturn,” he said. “But today we got further evidence that our economic recovery is continuing to power forward.”

By one common definition, the U.S. economy entered a recession when it experienced two straight quarters of shrinking G.D.P. at the start of the year. Officially, however, recessions are determined by a group of researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research, who look at a broader array of indicators, including employment, income and spending.

Most analysts don’t believe the economy meets that more formal definition, and the third-quarter numbers — which slightly exceeded forecasters’ expectations — provided further evidence that a recession had not yet begun.

But the overall G.D.P. figures were skewed by the international trade component, which often exhibits big swings from one period to the next. Economists tend to focus on less volatile components, which have showed the recovery steadily losing momentum as the year has progressed. One closely watched measure suggested that private-sector demand stalled out almost completely in the third quarter.

Mortgage rates passed 7 percent on Thursday, their highest level since 2002.

“Housing is just the single largest trigger to additional spending, and it’s not there anymore; it’s going in reverse,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the accounting firm KPMG. “This has been a stunning turnaround in housing, and when things start to go really quickly, you start to wonder, what are the knock-on effects, what are the spillover effects?”

The third quarter was in some sense a mirror image of the first quarter, when G.D.P. shrank but consumer spending was strong. In both cases, the swings were driven by international trade. Imports, which don’t count toward domestic production figures, soared early this year as the strong economic recovery led Americans to buy more goods from overseas. Exports slumped as the rest of the world recovered more slowly from the pandemic.

Both trends have begun to reverse as American consumers have shifted more of their spending toward services and away from imported goods, and as foreign demand for American-made goods has recovered. Supply-chain disruptions have added to the volatility, leading to big swings in the data from quarter to quarter.

Few economists expect the strong trade figures from the third quarter to continue, especially because the strong dollar will make American goods less attractive overseas.

Jim Tankersley contributed reporting.

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Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT Announces Release Date of Third Quarter 2022 Earnings, Conference Call, and Investor Presentation

OLD GREENWICH, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT (NYSE: EARN) (the “Company”) today announced that it will release financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2022 after market close on Wednesday, November 9, 2022. The Company will host a conference call to discuss its financial results at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, November 10, 2022. To participate in the event by telephone, please dial (800) 445-7795 at least 10 minutes prior to the start time and reference the conference code EARNQ322. International callers should dial (785) 424-1789 and reference the same code. The conference call will also be webcast live and can be accessed via the “For Our Shareholders” section of the Company’s website at www.earnreit.com. To listen to the live webcast, please visit www.earnreit.com at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the call to register, download, and install necessary audio software.

A dial-in replay of the conference call will be available on Thursday, November 10, 2022, at approximately 2 p.m. Eastern Time through Thursday, November 17, 2022 at approximately 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. To access this replay, please dial (800) 925-9539. International callers should dial (402) 220-5389. A replay of the conference call will be archived on the Company’s website at www.earnreit.com.

In connection with the release of financial results, the Company will post an investor presentation to accompany the conference call on its website at www.earnreit.com under “For Our Shareholders—Presentations” after market close on Wednesday, November 9, 2022.

About Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT

Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT is a mortgage real estate investment trust that specializes in acquiring, investing in and managing residential mortgage- and real estate-related assets, with a primary focus on residential mortgage-backed securities for which the principal and interest payments are guaranteed by a U.S. government agency or a U.S. government-sponsored enterprise. Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT is externally managed and advised by Ellington Residential Mortgage Management LLC, an affiliate of Ellington Management Group, L.L.C.

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UK’s Sunak reinstates Braverman as interior minister

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – British lawmaker Suella Braverman was reappointed as interior minister on Tuesday by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, less than a week after she resigned from the role for breaching government rules.

Braverman, 42, stepped down a day before former prime minister Liz Truss did after breaching email security rules, also voicing concerns about the direction of Truss’s government in her resignation letter.

First elected to parliament in 2015, Braverman is regarded as being on the right wing of the governing Conservative Party.

She supports Britain’s exit from the European Convention on Human Rights as what she calls the only way the country can solve its immigration problems, and says it was her “dream” to see a flight deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda take off.

She has said Britain should replace the ECHR with a strengthened British Bill of Rights.

A committed Brexit supporter, she was appointed as a minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union but resigned in protest at former prime minister Theresa May’s proposed divorce deal.

After Boris Johnson became leader, she was later appointed Attorney General in 2020, when she was criticised by some lawyers over whether some government policies were legal.

Reporting by William James, writing by Muvija M and Alistair Smout, editing by Elizabeth Piper

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Saudi Arabia ‘maturer guys’ in spat with U.S., energy minister says

  • OPEC+ oil output cut led to U.S., Saudi spat
  • Saudi Arabia and U.S. “solid allies” – minister
  • Big Wall St turnout at flagship Saudi investment summit

RIYADH, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia decided to be the “maturer guys” in a spat with the United States over oil supplies, the kingdom’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Tuesday.

The decision by the OPEC+ oil producer group led by Saudi Arabia this month to cut oil output targets unleashed a war of words between the White House and Riyadh ahead of the kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum, which drew top U.S. business executives.

The two traditional allies’ relationship had already been strained by the Joe Biden administration’s stance on the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Yemen war, as well as Riyadh’s growing ties with China and Russia.

When asked at the FII forum how the energy relationship with the United States could be put back on track after the cuts and with the Dec. 5 deadline for the expected price-cap on Russian oil, the Saudi energy minister said: “I think we as Saudi Arabia decided to be the maturer guys and let the dice fall”.

“We keep hearing you ‘are with us or against us’, is there any room for ‘we are with the people of Saudi Arabia’?”

Saudi Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih said earlier that Riyadh and Washington will get over their “unwarranted” spat, highlighting long-standing corporate and institutional ties.

“If you look at the relationship with the people side, the corporate side, the education system, you look at our institutions working together we are very close and we will get over this recent spat that I think was unwarranted,” he said.

While noting that Saudi Arabia and the United States were “solid allies” in the long term, he highlighted the kingdom was “very strong” with Asian partners including China, which is the biggest importer of Saudi hydrocarbons.

The OPEC+ cut has raised concerns in Washington about the possibility of higher gasoline prices ahead of the November U.S. midterm elections, with the Democrats trying to retain their control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Biden pledged that “there will be consequences” for U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia after the OPEC+ move.

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, the kingdom’s ambassador to Washington, said in a CNN interview that Saudi Arabia was not siding with Russia and engages with “everybody across the board”.

“And by the way, it’s okay to disagree. We’ve disagreed in the past, and we’ve agreed in the past, but the important thing is recognizing the value of this relationship,” she said.

She added that “a lot of people talk about reforming or reviewing the relationship” and said that was “a positive thing” as Saudi Arabia “is not the kingdom it was five years ago.”

FULL ATTENDENCE AT FII

Like previous years, the FII three-day forum that opened on Tuesday saw a big turnout from Wall Street, as well as other industries with strategic interests in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.

JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, speaking at the gathering, voiced confidence that Saudi Arabia and the United States would safeguard their 75-year-old alliance.

“I can’t imagine any allies agreeing on everything and not having problems – they’ll work it through,” Dimon said. “I’m comfortable that folks on both sides are working through and that these countries will remain allies going forward, and hopefully help the world develop and grow properly.”

The FII is a showcase for the Saudi crown prince’s Vision 2030 development plan to wean the economy off oil by creating new industries that also generate jobs for millions of Saudis, and to lure foreign capital and talent.

No Biden administration officials were visible at the forum on Tuesday. Jared Kushner, a former senior aide to then-President Donald Trump who enjoyed good ties with Prince Mohammed, was featured as a front-row speaker.

The Saudi government invested $2 billion with a firm incorporated by Kushner after Trump left office.

FII organisers said this year’s edition attracted 7,000 delegates compared with 4,000 last year.

After its inaugural launch in 2017, the forum was marred by a Western boycott over Khashoggi’s killing by Saudi agents. It recovered the next year, attracting leaders and businesses with strategic interests in Saudi Arabia, after which the pandemic hit the world.

Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi, Hadeel Al Sayegh and Rachna Uppal in Riyadh and Nadine Awadalla, Maha El Dahan and Yousef Saba in Dubai; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous and Michael Geory; Editing by Louise Heavens, Mark Potter, Vinay Dwivedi, William Maclean

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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