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Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Announces Voting Results from its Annual General and Special Meeting of Shareholders


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NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ontario — Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Inc. (“Diamond Estates” or “the Company”) (DWS-TSX Venture) announced the results of voting at its annual general and special meeting of shareholders (“AGM”) held yesterday in Toronto.

The following matters were approved at the AGM by at least 95% of the votes cast thereon:

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In the Board of Directors meeting immediately after the AGM, the following individuals were appointed officers of the Company:

David Beutel


Andrew Howard

President and Chief Executive Officer

Ryan Conte

Chief Financial Officer

Tim McChesney

Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Strategy

Andrew Green

Vice-President and Secretary.

About Diamond Estates Wines and Spirits Inc.

Diamond Estates Wines and Spirits Inc. is a producer of high-quality wines and ciders as well as a sales agent for over 120 beverage alcohol brands across Canada. The Company operates five production facilities, four in Ontario and one in British Columbia, that produce predominantly VQA wines under such well-known brand names as 20 Bees, Creekside, EastDell, Lakeview Cellars, Mindful, Queenston Mile, Shiny Apple Cider, Fresh, Proud Pour, Red Tractor, Seasons, Serenity and Backyard Vineyards.

Through its commercial division, Trajectory Beverage Partners, the Company is the sales agent for many leading international brands in all regions of the country as well as being a distributor in the western provinces. These recognizable brands include Josh wines from California, Fat Bastard, Meffre, Pierre Chavin and Andre Lurton wines from France, Brimincourt Champagne from France, Merlet and Larsen Cognacs from France, Kaiken wines from Argentina, Blue Nun and Erben wines from Germany, Calabria Family Estate Wines and McWilliams Wines from Australia, Saint Clair Family Estate Wines and Yealands Family Wines from New Zealand, Redemption Bourbon and Rye whiskies from the U.S., Gray Whale Gin from California, Storywood and Cofradia Tequilas from Mexico, Magnum Cream Liqueur from Scotland, Talamonti and Cielo wines from Italy, Catedral and Cabeca de Toiro wines from Portugal, Waterloo Beer & Radlers from Canada, Landshark Lager from the USA, Edinburgh Gin, Tamdhu, Glengoyne and Smokehead single- malt Scotch whiskies from Scotland, Islay Mist, Grand MacNish and Waterproof whiskies from Scotland, C. Mondavi & Family wines including C.K Mondavi & Charles Krug from Napa, Wize Spirits, Hounds Vodka and Valley of Mother of God Gins from Canada, Bols Vodka from Amsterdam, Koyle Family Wines from Chile and Pearse Lyons whiskies and gins from Ireland.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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For more information:

Andrew Howard
President & CEO
Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Inc.

Ryan Conte, CPA, CA, CBV
Chief Financial Officer
Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Inc.


Are businesses confident? – Moneyweb


You can also listen to this podcast on here.



JIMMY MOYAHA: Earlier today Rand Merchant Bank released their Business Confidence Index. They put this out quite often and it’s very insightful to see what it is that businesses are reporting on. We’ve got a similar report coming out from the South African Chamber of Commerce [and Industry] tomorrow, but for today I’m joined by the chief economist at Rand Merchant Bank, Isaah Mhlanga.

Good evening, Isaah. As always, thanks so much for your time. Where do we stand at the moment? Are businesses feeling confident?

ISAAH MHLANGA: Thanks for having me. I think if you look at business confidence, there was a marginal improvement in the third quarter. The survey was done among about 1 050 business executives across the five sub-sectors between August 16 and August 31.

Within that period, there have been some developments that we saw, and over the period preceding that we saw the strike in Cape Town and the burning of trucks that would have impacted the outcomes. Nonetheless, we saw an improvement [in the Business Confidence Index] to 33 points from 27 points previously.

Read: SA business confidence edges up after GDP surprise

What it means is just about 70% – or we could say two-thirds of business executives – remain dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions. So still very low levels of confidence, even though we have seen some improvements this quarter relative to the previous quarter

JIMMY MOYAHA: Isaah, what were some of the main reasons why 70% of the executives didn’t feel that we were where we should be? Did load shedding have anything to do with this and, if so, where do we now sit given that load shedding was relaxed and we saw slight improvements – and now we’re back at Stage 6 [load shedding]. Is this going to affect us going forward in further business confidence readings, because executives are seeing no light at the end of the tunnel? Sorry for the bad pun.

ISAAH MHLANGA: I think if we look at the sub-sectors, building contractors comprise the only sub-sector that saw a marginal decline from 43 points to 41, which means just about 60% of business executives are dissatisfied with business conditions currently. If we look at the other four sub-sectors which saw some improvement, the biggest improvement was in the retail sector, where we saw a 12-point increase from 20 to 32. But again, still two-thirds of executives are dissatisfied.

But if we just go a little bit deeper in the retail sector, what we see is the players in the non-durable sector saw an improvement, and we also saw players in the semi-durable sector seeing an improvement.

But the durable sector, which accounts for 21% of the total sector, saw a decline. The durable sector is really the big-ticket items, which normally tend to be financed by credit. The increase in interest rates will have weighed down there, particularly on furniture and hardware.

Outside of that, if you look at wholesalers, that also improved by six points. New vehicle dealers, which is also a very high interest-sensitive sector, saw an improvement of seven points. One would have expected this sector to underperform or to see its confidence moderate, given the high interest rates.

But I think the inflation that we saw falling to 4.7% might have provided some confidence, in the sense that the cost of financing going forward is not going to continue to increase. So it might have boosted confidence somewhat.

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And then the manufacturing sector is quite dependent on electricity production. To your point, the less severe load shedding than what had initially been promised – we didn’t see Stage 8 load shedding, which would’ve contributed negatively – might have boosted confidence to 23 from 17. It’s quite important to note that this sector remained the lowest-performing sector across all the sub-sectors.

So the squeeze is still on, even though we have seen some building of resilience. And the GDP numbers that we saw yesterday also offend this performance. Manufacturing contributed positively, even though if we look over confidence remains quite low.

Read: GDP: Second-quarter growth beats forecasts

JIMMY MOYAHA: Isaah, I like that you brought up the inflationary picture, because I always get your inflationary expectations. The last time you and I spoke I think we were still north of 6%. We were at that 6.3% reading in May. We then did the 5.3%, and now 4.7%. Are we anticipating that this is under control, because the central bank governor certainly said it’s not?



And if we are to then assume that this will continue to moderate towards the end of the year, is there a realistic hope, again, of interest rates remaining at these levels or interest rates coming down? We still have that rand picture to contend with that could rear its ugly head in terms of keeping interest rates at these elevated levels with a weaker rand.

ISAAH MHLANGA: As far as inflation is concerned, we think that inflation is going to remain broadly contained within the Reserve Bank’s target. We might see some reversal from the previous trend of 4.7%. You would know if you went to fill up your petrol tank or diesel tank, that you’re paying a lot more this month than in the previous month. That is going to come through into the inflation numbers.

Read: Fuel prices to take the spring out of your step

But also oil prices. If you look, futures prices have breached $90 per barrel; that is going to come through again in the next month which means we might see some reversal. But still, we expect overall the CPI to be well contained, which then suggests that the Reserve Bank is unlikely to continue to hike rates.

We actually believe at 8.25%, the authority is at peak. But we don’t expect any cut anytime soon. So the concerns that come from these upside risks is that we are going to see last-for-longer interest rates, but not an increase.

It just means we expect cuts to come only in the second half of next year.

But there are many other sectors that will contribute to that, and one of those is the direction that the US Fed is going to take. If they cut earlier, then we might also see cuts earlier on, but that’s not our core view.

JIMMY MOYAHA: So then where does that put us from a business confidence point of view, Isaah? What are the scenarios that we’re looking at, going forward? I know it’s obviously very difficult to map things out because there are so many variables that are beyond our knowledge and our control. We could be up to Stage 10 by tomorrow morning. You and I don’t know this, but what are some of the permutations that could result in improved business confidence? Or what have some of the executives cited as things they would like to see improve in order for them to have more confidence in the South African picture, both locally and internationally in terms of factors?

ISAAH MHLANGA: I think some of the aspects that might have weighed or that continue to weigh down the pace of economic reforms [are that the rand] has been too low, but the continuation of the addition of electricity generation by the private sector will continue to play a positive role in a sense that the private sector is increasingly becoming less dependent on Eskom supply. That might improve business confidence.

But overall, I think we just need to see economic reforms being implemented. Look at bulk goods transporters from the mining sector, agribusinesses – we want to see the rail lines operating and much more efficient ports which will facilitate trade.

But more generally [it’s] the cost of fuel. If companies can’t get electricity, they burn diesel, which is much more costly.

So the sooner we end load shedding, the better business conditions can be. The faster we implement all these economic reforms that are being implemented at a very slow pace, the more we can see business confidence improve. That will bode well for private investment and growth going forward. But so far the pace remains [much slower] than we would want to see.

JIMMY MOYAHA: That’s quite interesting, Isaah. You’ve basically just said we need the government to do their part and [chuckling] I don’t know how much of that we’re going to get out of that. But we live in hope, and business also lives in hope. We adapt to the situations that we have and we hope that the next time you and I speak about this number, it’s a lot higher than where it’s sitting now.

Thanks so much, Isaah. Isaah Mhlanga, chief economist at Rand Merchant Bank, has been giving us a sense of the Business Confidence Index report that came out today, and what it all means for South Africa.

Port of Dover to reclaim land from sea to prevent queues when EU’s biometric border controls system starts


The Port of Dover wants to build out into the sea to avoid delays when the EU’s planned biometric border controls system starts.

The Port’s boss, Doug Bannister, said reclaiming some land would create more space to process passengers.

He has previously warned the new system could cause long queues.

The new controls, known as the Entry Exit Scheme, were first slated for introduction in 2022, but are now expected to start in autumn 2024.

After their introduction people entering the EU will have to register their fingerprints and a photograph alongside their passport.

Over the past few years the Port of Dover has seen repeated incidents of queuing at its busiest times, with post-Brexit checks adding to waiting times. Mr Bannister has insisted everything possible has now been done to minimise delays. This summer, with traffic numbers nearly back to pre-Covid levels, there no prolonged problems at the port.

However, Mr Bannister has previously warned that under the Entry Exit Scheme (EES), the time taken for non-EU citizens to comply with the new requirements could create bottlenecks.

Mr Bannister has said that working with the authorities on both sides of the Channel over the past year had made him more confident.

An app may be developed to handle part of the registration process before people arrive at the port, he suggested. However, he said the port needed a solution to prevent “unacceptable” queues materialising at the border.

Mr Bannister told the BBC that plans already existed to reclaim land in the port’s western docks, for cargo use. Now, he is looking to speed up the project so the new area can be used to hold passengers when EES starts.

This acceleration would cost an extra £2m, with the aim of finalising the design by the end of the year, and starting work in the spring. The port is hoping the government may be able to contribute financially.

The Dover boss said decisions needed to be made “imminently”.

Dover is not alone in trying to avoid difficulties as a result of EES.

Yann Leriche, chief executive of Eurotunnel’s owner Getlink, said the change was something the business “cannot mismanage”, with problems “not an option”.

Getlink is spending £100m to create a new area, where people will be able to register their data at 75 stands.

Eurotunnel is also seeing traffic recover, although it is still short of pre-pandemic levels.

Getlink has developed technology to process customs controls digitally. It says this now allows goods to cross the Channel as quickly as before Brexit – something it hopes will attract customers.

The Port of Dover says it had its busiest day since before the pandemic on Saturday 29th July, with 800 cars arriving every hour at peak times.

The average wait time over the summer was 41 minutes during busy periods, it said.

Over the the summer the port handled 1.14 million passengers travelling over to France, close to the 1.19 million in 2019.

Back to School Myzone Challenge


We’re kicking off the school season with a Myzone challenge! Wear your Myzone heart rate monitor during your workouts from September 11-25 and get at least 1,300 MEPs in the blue, green, and yellow zones to be entered to win a VASA swag bag! Myzones can be worn inside the gym and out, so put yours on before every workout, track your heart rate, and see how many MEPs you can earn. The winner will be contacted by September 30.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a guide to help you earn your MEPs during our Back to School Myzone challenge:



Week 1

  • Monday: 9/11 stair climb, 2071 steps/110 floors
  • Tuesday: STUDIO RED
  • Wednesday: Lifting, 30-60 mins, blue/green zones
  • Thursday: Cardio Deck, 45-60 mins green/yellow zones
  • Friday: Lifting, 30-60 mins, blue/green zones
  • Saturday: STUDIO RED
  • Sunday: Cardio Deck 45-60 mins green/yellow zones


Athletes in STUDIO RED HIIT class exercising with TRX at VASA Fitness


Week 2

  • Monday: Lifting, 30-60 mins, blue/green zones
  • Tuesday: STUDIO RED
  • Wednesday: Lifting, 30-60 mins, blue/green zones
  • Thursday: Cardio Deck, 45-60 mins green/yellow zones
  • Friday: Lifting, 30-60 mins, blue/green zones
  • Saturday: STUDIO RED
  • Sunday: Cardio Deck. 45-60 mins Green/yellow zones

How KeNHA, Kura inflated prices for 26 road projects



How KeNHA, Kura inflated prices for 26 road projects

A section of the Outering road on July 19, 2023. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

Kenya’s road agencies, including the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), are on the spot for supervising cost overruns for at least 26 road projects and overshooting their budgets by more than Sh20 billion, leading to a spike in pending bills.

An analysis of official data from the Transport Ministry by the Business Daily has revealed that between 2007 and 2017 at least 26 infrastructure projects had cost overruns.

Though the law allows for some price variations, the fact that a significant number of the projects overshot their budgets raises questions on the quality of budgeting that has seen them fail the requirement that projects should be completed within time, budget and scope.

These cost overruns have culminated into a build-up of pending bills, currently estimated at Sh145 billion for the road projects alone. This is a quarter of the government’s total pending bills by the end of June.

Read: Rethink budget cuts for the road projects

In the initial designs, the total costs of these projects were estimated at Sh682.67 billion, an analysis of the data from the Transport Ministry, which has been uploaded on the Treasury’s website, shows.

However, by the time the projects were being completed, the total cost had ballooned to Sh703.19 billion, an inflation of the budget by Sh21 billion.

Inflation of the projects has been blamed on the sudden high cost of acquiring land, change in the scope of the project, and inflation when the project takes long to complete.

Save for the standard gauge railway (SGR), the country’s most expensive project, and a bridge, all the other public projects evaluated are roads.

Most of these projects were procured by the KeNHA, the Stage agency whose main responsibility is the management, development, rehabilitation, and maintenance of Class S, A and B roads.

The other major procurement agency was the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) whose Outer Ring featured in the list of contracts that had their budget exceed their initial estimated cost by Sh3.64 billion.

Initially, Kura had put the estimated total cost of the road at Sh9.89 billion. However, by the end of June last year, the road’s budget had swelled to Sh13.53 billion.

“During the implementation of the project there was an increase in the project cost due to relocation of services and land compensation costs which were part of the estimated overall project cost during the conceptualisation and funding formulation,” said Kura.

The additional cost, Kura noted, would be drawn from the government’s revenue as “the Government of Kenya is obligated to provide the construction corridor free of encumbrances.”

Close to 90 percent financing of the project was provided by the African Development Bank.

“The Donor Facility was exhausted during the period ended June 30, 2021 leaving a balance of Sh187,343,” added Kura.

KeNHA was responsible for the rehabilitation of Kakamega-Webuye Road whose initial total cost was estimated at Sh2.5 billion. This increased to Sh3.83 billion by June, overshooting the budget by Sh1.3 billion.

Construction of the six-lane Mwatate-Taveta Road, which was commissioned by then-president Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017, was initially estimated to cost Sh9.55 billion.

But the report shows that the project ended up costing Sh10.5 billion by the time it was being completed.

The government had estimated that the construction of the 40km Kakamega-Webuye Road would take up close to Sh5.65 billion only for taxpayers to cough up an additional Sh783 million by the time it was completed.

Cost overruns featured in the construction of the SGR, both from Mombasa to Nairobi and Nairobi to Naivasha.

The line from Mombasa to Nairobi had initially been estimated at Sh400.7 billion, but the final spending amounted to Sh404.3 billion.

KeNHA declined to respond to this story. However, a source at the agency, who refused to be quoted as they are not permitted to speak to the press, said that cost overruns for projects, though not ideal, are expected due to such factors as inflation, the cost of land or changes in the scope of the works.

“However, the variation must not exceed a certain percentage,” said the source.

Mr Kenyatta borrowed trillions to build roads across the country, saying that they would open up the country and help the economy to grow.

However, the cost of these mega projects would be inflated, leading the government to come up with the Public Finance Management (Public Investment Management) Regulations, 2022 aimed at ensuring that taxpayers get value for money spent on projects.

“Before a project is included in the budget, the relevant accounting officer shall—ensure that all conditions precedent are fulfilled, including land acquisition, compensation, stakeholder management and development partners’ requirements have been met,” say the PIM regulations.

The regulations also require detailed designs to have been completed and relevant approvals obtained where applicable.

The analysis found that in cases where the funds came from both the government and external development partners, it was the government component that tended to increase.

Read: Limuru, UN Avenue road expansion ends Oct 2024

Government funds are mostly used for land acquisition, pointing to the high cost of acquiring wayleaves for public projects that have pushed up the cost of projects.

Besides increasing the cost of the projects, contractors have also been known to omit certain infrastructure without reducing the cost.

A probe by Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu found that the Chinese contractor who built the Sh21.5 billion Nairobi Western Bypass omitted six interchanges and other critical infrastructure that were approved in the initial road design, denying taxpayers value for money.

[email protected]

Inflation uptick seen in Aug. — poll


By Keisha B. Ta-asan, Reporter

HEADLINE INFLATION may have seen an uptick in August, ending six months of steady decline due to rising prices of fuel and key food items.

A BusinessWorld poll of 18 analysts yielded a median estimate of 4.9% for August inflation, settling within the 4.8% to 5.6% forecast by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

If realized, this would be faster than the 4.7% in July, but slower than the 6.3% print in August 2022. It would also mark the 17th straight month of inflation exceeding the BSP’s 2-4% target.

August inflation data will be released on Sept. 5 (Tuesday).

Moody’s Analytics economist Sarah Tan said inflation likely inched up from July, reversing the downtrend seen in the last six months.

“For starters, prices of palay and rice have risen as local and global farmgate prices soared due to lower domestic harvests and rising import costs,” Ms. Tan said in an e-mail.

Rice is a staple food in the Philippines, accounting for a significant component in the country’s food inflation. Rice accounts for about 8.9% of the country’s consumer price index (CPI) basket.

Based on data from the Department of Agriculture (DA), the average price of a kilogram of local well-milled rice ranged from P47 to P56 as of Aug. 30, higher than the P41-P49 range as of Aug. 1.

“Adding to the pain, Super Typhoon Saola (local name: Goring) swept through much of the Northern provinces in late August and damaged agricultural produce such as rice and corn,” Ms. Tan said.

According to the DA, agricultural damage caused by Super Typhoon Goring was estimated at P898.4 million as of Sept. 2, with rice losses amounting to P751.5 million, while corn damage stood at P139.2 million.   

“Sequential typhoons since the end of July pushed up food prices. Imported rice was also significantly higher due to India’s exports curbs and reported hoarding in Thailand,” China Banking Corp. Chief Economist Domini S. Velasquez said in an e-mail. 

Global rice prices have jumped since India on July 20 banned the export of non-basmati white rice to curb the spike in local prices. The Philippines is one of the world’s biggest rice importers, with nearly 90% coming from Vietnam.

Ms. Velasquez said the peso depreciation could have also made rice imports more expensive.

Jonathan L. Ravelas, senior adviser at Reyes Tacandong & Co., likewise said August inflation could “surprise to the upside” due to higher prices of rice and oil, as well as a weaker peso.

The peso closed at P56.595 on Aug. 31, depreciating by 3% or P1.715 from the P54.88 finish on July 31. Year to date, the peso depreciated by 1.5% or P0.84 from its P55.755 close on Dec. 29.

Makoto Tsuchiya, assistant economist from Oxford Economics Japan, noted that domestic pump prices have been rising since mid-July, and this will be reflected in the August inflation data.

In August alone, oil companies raised pump prices by P5.90 per liter for gasoline, P9.90 per liter for diesel and P10 per liter for kerosene.

“Although the current diesel pump price is significantly lower than the P75 per liter average recorded in June of the previous year, food and fuel prices continue to be the main drivers of inflation,” Security Bank Corp. Chief Economist Robert Dan J. Roces said in an e-mail. 

HSBC economist for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Aris Dacanay attributed the sharp increase in local pump prices to the supply output cuts done by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). 

OPEC and its allies (OPEC+) earlier said it plans to extend its oil production cuts, with top exporter Saudi Arabia expected to extend its one-million-barrel-per-day voluntary supply cut for another month.

“Additionally, the price of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) also ticked up in August,” Ms. Velasquez said.

Cooking gas prices rose by P4.55 per kilogram in August, while prices of AutoLPG were up by P2.54 per liter.

The implementation of higher toll fees in key expressways may have contributed to food inflation as these added to transport costs of agricultural commodities.

“Offsetting these increases was a sizeable 2.5% downward adjustment in electricity rates and a continued normalization of vegetable prices such as that of onions,” Mr. Dacanay said.

Manila Electric Co. lowered rates by P0.29 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to P10.90 per kWh in August from P11.19 per kWh in July.

“Despite the projected higher headline rate in August, core inflation is expected to continue its downtrend to around 6% in August,” Ms. Velasquez said.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile items of food and fuel prices, slowed to 6.7% in July from 7.4% in June. For the first half, core inflation averaged 7.6%. 

Mr. Roces also noted that the increase in August inflation is more moderate compared with the inflation spike from December 2022 to February 2023.

“While there is a noticeable increase in the price of rice, the overall inflation rate for August 2023 remains within a reasonable area and is significantly lower than the surge experienced earlier this year,” Mr. Roces said. 

Despite the uptick in August, analysts expect consumer prices to continue easing for the rest of the year due to base effects.

“Beyond August, we expect disinflation to resume, reaching the BSP’s 2%-4% target by the end of the year. However, supply-side developments are highly uncertain, and so this outlook comes with risks,” Mr. Tsuchiya said.

According to Ms. Tan, El Niño is one of the key risks that could keep inflation higher for longer.

“Top of the list is the potential El Niño weather pattern which brings about a dry spell to the country and damage local agricultural produce. This will add stress to the already tight supply,” she said. 

Pantheon Chief Emerging Asia Economist Miguel Chanco said inflation may return to the central bank’s 2-4% target in October, but downside risks are increasing due to the El Niño.

“The direct impact of this year’s hotter-than-expected temperatures is still unclear, but governments around the region are already taking preemptive measures to secure food supplies — largely by restricting exports of key foods — posing an indirect inflation risk to net food importers like the Philippines,” he said.

If inflation rose in August from its 4.7% clip in July, the Monetary Board may not immediately react with higher policy rates, Ms. Velasquez said.

“Shocks for the month of August were largely supply side but has not, so far, detailed the inflation path towards the target range in the fourth quarter. We still expect inflation to fall within the BSP’s target by November,” she said.

The BSP currently sees inflation returning to the 2-4% target band by the fourth quarter. It sees inflation averaging 5.6% in 2023 before easing to 3.2% in 2024.

“Looking ahead, we still see that inflation will fall into the BSP’s target range of 2-4% by the fourth quarter of this year, barring sustained spikes in rice and fuel in the remaining months of 2023; these remain considerable upside risks to the inflation projections,” Mr. Roces said.

ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said any sharp upticks in rice, electricity, and transport could “spell a renewed flareup for Philippine inflation.”

“We had originally penciled in a BSP rate cut by the first quarter of next year given the disappointing second-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) report,” Mr. Mapa said. 

The Philippine economy grew by 4.3% in the second quarter, weaker than the 6.4% growth in the first quarter and 7.5% a year ago.

“However, if we continue to see rice and energy prices tick higher in the coming months, we could see BSP delaying its planned easing to mid-2024,” Mr. Mapa said.

To tame inflation, the BSP hiked benchmark interest rates by 425 basis points from May 2022 to March 2023. This brought the key policy rate to 6.25%, its highest level in nearly 16 years. 

The Monetary Board will have its next policy review on Sept. 21.

Biden in Florida promises to rebuild, calls on Congress to provide more FEMA funding


View of a damaged property after the arrival of Hurricane Idalia in Horseshoe Beach, Florida, August 31, 2023.

Julio Cesar Chavez | Reuters

President Joe Biden standing in front of a home damaged by a fallen tree said it was “but for the grace of God” the damage wasn’t worse.

“No winds this strong hit this area in one hundred years,” Biden said, speaking in Live Oak, Florida. “Pray God it will be another hundred years before this happens again.”

Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to Florida on Saturday to survey the damage done by Hurricane Idalia and meet with locals and recovery personnel. The president said he’s directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to do “everything they can” to help rebuild.

Idalia hit Florida’s Big Bend region on Wednesday as a Category 3 storm, leading to widespread power outages and flooding. The White House has called on Congress to provide $16 billion in stopgap funding to bolster FEMA’s disaster relief fund which the agency said will be exhausted in the first half of September if it is not replenished. Speaking Saturday in Florida, Biden once again called on Congress to act.

“These crises are affecting more and more Americans, and every American regularly expects FEMA to show up when they are needed,” Biden said. “I’m calling on the United States Congress — Democrats and Republicans — to ensure the funding is there.”

Biden initially said he would meet with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whom he’s spoken to so frequently in the wake of Idalia that the president joked Thursday, “There should be a direct dial.” In a statement Friday night, however, Jeremy Redfern, a spokesman for DeSantis, said the governor did not have plans to meet with the president, citing security difficulties.

“In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts,” Redfern said.

Speaking to reporters en route to Florida, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said the White House and governor’s office mutually agreed on the location for Biden’s visit earlier this week and said no security concerns were voiced at that time or before the statement from DeSantis’s office was released.

DeSantis, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, has been a strong critic of Biden, but the two have come together in the past. Biden met with DeSantis after Hurricane Ian last year.

Biden in his remarks noted he has been in “frequent touch” with DeSantis throughout the storm and its aftermath, adding “the governor was on top of it.”

Roz Brewer out; Ginger Graham is Walgreens’ new CEO


Roz Brewer, one of only two black woman CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, stepped down as CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance on Friday. Replacing her in an interim capacity will be longtime board member and pharma industry executive Ginger Graham. That means Walgreens’ top two jobs will be held by executives with the interim title. Former chief financial officer James Kehoe left Walgreens in August and was replaced by global controller Manmohan Mahajan until the company can find a permanent replacement. 

A board member since 2010, Graham was named the board’s lead independent director in October 2022, a role considered to be pivotal in managing the relationship between a board, its chair, and their stakeholders. Stefano Pessina will remain Walgreens’ executive chairman. 

Graham ticks all the boxes for corporate America leadership: Harvard MBA (class of ’86), multiple CEO gigs, and prestigious board seats. She’s also a health care veteran with experiences across the notoriously complex industry, from developing new drugs at pharmaceutical companies to helming a global medical technology manufacturer to leading a health care consulting firm. 

“Ginger is the ideal person to serve as interim CEO, given her leadership experience across multiple segments of the health care industry, deep knowledge of WBA, and strong operational skills,” Pessina said in a statement announcing the leadership changes. 

Walgreens declined to comment beyond an already issued press release.

Graham’s health care experience comes at a pivotal time for Walgreens, as it tries to expand beyond its core pharmacy business. Under Brewer’s leadership the company made several multibillion-dollar acquisitions to expand into urgent care, primary care, and specialty pharmaceuticals. Wall Street, however, has been cool to the expansion push—so much so that on a January investor call, executives had to assure investors that M&A would take a backseat in the immediate future, as the company focused on integrating its new acquisitions into Walgreens. 

Brewer’s departure was sudden although not entirely unexpected, given she was the architect of Walgreens’ expansion strategy into health care. “With the increased focus on growing the Walgreens Healthcare segment…it makes sense to retrench and search for a new leadership team with more extensive backgrounds in health care services,” an Evercore analyst told Reuters

Most of Brewer’s experience is in retail; she previously held positions at Starbucks and Walmart. “Health care is not Ms. Brewer’s forte,” a managing director at consulting firm GlobalData told the New York Times. The company’s financial performance has also been lackluster, with its stock hitting an 11-year low in May. 

Graham said she will look to steady the company as it begins its search for a permanent CEO. “My focus will be on our people and our operations, working together to drive shareholder value creation and ensuring a smooth transition as soon as we identify the next CEO for the future,” she said in a statement. 

She’ll presumably have to find a permanent CFO as well, given that Kehoe left for fintech giant FIS Global just weeks before Brewer left the company.

Graham’s most recent experience prior to her new interim job was CEO of health care consultancy Two Trees Consulting, from 2007 to 2016. Before her almost decade-long stint as a consultant, she worked in drug development as the chief executive of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on diabetes medication, from 2003 to 2007. One of the most prominent drugs that received FDA approval under Graham’s watch was blood sugar control medication Byetta. It became so popular that Amylin had to ask doctors not to start patients on the medication until a new manufacturing plant was completed, because it couldn’t meet demand, the New York Times reported at the time. 

Before she developed and sold diabetes drugs, Graham was group chairman at Guidant, one of the leading makers of cardiological medical devices, like pacemakers and stents. In her role she had a broad mandate, overseeing the company’s operations in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and emerging markets, according to documents filed with the SEC. Guidant was formed after Eli Lilly, where Graham got her first job after business school, divested its Advanced Cardiovascular Systems (ACS) division, which she led at the time. Graham was among the executives who spearheaded the move to take ACS public, in 1994 under the new name Guidant.  

In the early 2000s, she contributed several articles to the Harvard Business Review. One of which, published in 2002 and titled “If You Want Honesty, Break Some Rules,” appears a precursor to today’s trendy leadership style of empathy and transparency. When leaders focus on “top-down managerial control” they end up creating a “culture poisoned with speculation, blame shifting, and self-protective behavior,” she wrote. She went on to encourage executives to “break some of the rules of traditional management” to build better corporate cultures. During her time there, Guidant would be named one of Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For in America” and one of IndustryWeek’s “100 Best Managed Companies in the World.” Another equally prescient, although perhaps more questionable, article extolled the importance of lobbying. 

Graham would eventually land a spot on the faculty at the Harvard Business School in 2008. While there, she taught classes at the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship.

Despite taking over as interim CEO, Graham will have to deal with a struggling stock price. Walgreens stock has fallen 36% since the start of the year, including 6.1% on Friday after the announcement about the CEO stepping down.

Northern Ireland police chief refuses to quit over latest controversy


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Northern Ireland’s police chief has resisted demands to quit following a scandal engulfing his leadership, vowing after seven hours of grilling from the force’s oversight board that he would stay on in the job.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne was already under fire after a data breach in August posted the identities of all Police Service of Northern Ireland’s serving officers and staff on a public internet site.

But a High Court judicial review ruling this week has put his career on the line. The court found that the PSNI had unlawfully disciplined two officers in 2021 because of a “real or perceived” threat, which Sinn Féin has denied, that the nationalist party would remove support from the region’s police unless it did so.

Byrne on Thursday evening emerged defiant from questioning by the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the force’s 19-member oversight body which includes representatives from political parties.

He said the PSNI could yet appeal against Mr Justice Scoffield’s ruling.

“After consideration, the question of an appeal is live,” Byrne said, adding: “Further public commentary around the matter is not appropriate at this stage.”

Liam Kelly, chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents rank-and-file officers, condemned any appeal, saying he was “disgusted, disillusioned and extremely angry” that Byrne appeared to be U-turning. Byrne had said in a statement after the judicial review ruling this week: “I accept the findings of the court.”

The unexpected suggestion of an appeal following the High Court ruling that the PSNI’s decision to suspend one officer and transfer the other to different duties had been unlawful, had “infuriated and antagonised” officers and members had “expressed disbelief and anger”, Kelly said.

The disciplinary action had followed the 2021 arrest of a man during a commemoration of the victims of a 1992 loyalist paramilitary attack on a Belfast bookmaker’s in which five Catholics were killed. The man arrested had been wounded in the attack.

Asked on his way out of the policing board meeting if he would now be considering his position, Byrne said: “I’m not resigning.”

Byrne survived a grilling from the policing board earlier in August after an administrative blunder released the personal details of nearly 10,000 officers and staff on a public internet site. Many police feared their safety had been compromised as a result.

The chief constable, who rushed back from his holiday to deal with the fallout of the leak, admitted the information had fallen into the hands of republican groups who are opposed to Northern Ireland’s peace process and have a history of attacking police, but insisted he would not stand down.

However, the fresh controversy has intensified the pressure on him. The suggestion that senior police officers bowed to political pressure over the handling of the 2021 arrest, which happened when Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings were in force, has incensed unionist politicians.

Sinn Féin has denied it threatened or insinuated that it would withdraw support for policing over the PSNI’s handling of the incident.

Northern Ireland suffered a three-decades-long conflict involving republican paramilitaries fighting to reunite Ireland, loyalist paramilitaries seeking to keep the region in the UK, and British security forces.

Since a peace deal in 1998, political decisions require support from both unionist and nationalist politicians representing both communities in the still deeply divided region.

The Democratic Unionist party, the region’s largest pro-UK political grouping, the more moderate Ulster Unionist party and the hardline Traditional Unionist Voice have all called for Byrne to resign. The UUP called the 2021 incident a “car crash of policing”.

The Police Federation has called an extraordinary meeting of its executive central committee for next Wednesday and said a vote of confidence in Byrne’s leadership could take place.

Byrne will next Tuesday face questioning by the Northern Ireland affairs committee at Westminster over the data breach.

Beat Your Race Pace with Bodyweight Strength Training for Runners


If you are a runner, adding resistance training to your routine is a great way to improve your performance. 

Many runners shy away from weightlifting because they think it will make them too bulky, but that is not the case! In fact, adding bodyweight strength exercises for runners to your routine can actually help you become faster and more agile. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of bodyweight exercises for runners, then provide a list of the best exercises. We will also include how to do each exercise and common mistakes people make when doing these exercises.

Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises for Runners

While it’s obvious that runners need to practice running and sprinting to get better at their chosen sport, the benefits of resistance training for runners might not be as obvious. 

Here are some of the most notable benefits of doing bodyweight exercises for runners. 

1. Stronger Running Muscles

For starters, bodyweight exercises help to strengthen the same muscles involved in running, especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Stronger muscles can mean better performance, helping you become a better runner overall.(1) (2)

2. Improved Running Posture

Any long-time runner can tell you about the discomfort and muscle strain that comes from running long distances with the wrong posture. Bodyweight exercises help to strengthen the core and back muscles, which can help you maintain proper running posture.(3) 

3. Eliminate (Or Significantly Reduce) Muscle Compensation Patterns

Your body is always looking for the easiest way to perform a task, and if your muscles aren’t strong enough to do the job, they will start compensating. In the case of running, if your glutes are weak, you might be putting a lot of unnecessary stress on the lower back.

Bodyweight exercises help keep your muscles in balance, which can reduce the risk of injuries caused by muscle imbalances. 

4. Lower Risk of Injury

Continuing with the point above, by correcting postural distortions and overcompensation issues, runners are less likely to experience sudden sports injuries.(4)

5. Better Overall Biomechanics

Above all, one of the best reasons for runners to start strength training via bodyweight exercises is the vast improvement in overall biomechanics. In other words, your muscles will learn to fire together more effectively. This will assist with proper form and technique as well as overall performance. 

Are Bodyweight Exercises Enough for Runners?

Yes, bodyweight exercises are enough for runners. Keep in mind that as a runner, your goal is to build strength and endurance in the muscles used most often when running. 

While weightlifting can also be very beneficial for runners, it’s not a requirement. Bodyweight exercises can provide these benefits without having to lift weights or use any machines. 

The catch is that it’s recommended to focus on powerful movements that target all of the muscle groups, especially those used when running. By following a full-body workout of compound exercises, you will be able to get the muscular strength and endurance necessary for improved running performance.  

What Are the Best Bodyweight Exercises for Runners?

Now that we have discussed why bodyweight exercises are beneficial for runners let’s go through some of the best bodyweight exercises for runners.

After reviewing these exercises, you’ll have a full-body workout to get you started right away!

180 Jump Squats<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”> </span>


Muscles Worked:

Sets and Reps:

  • Three sets of 10 to 15 reps

How to Perform 180 Jump Squats:

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out. 
  • Start by sitting back into a half squat position, then quickly jump up as high as you can while spinning 180 degrees in the air. 
  • Softly land back on your feet.

Superman Pull<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”> </span>


Muscles Worked:

  • Lower back
  • Upper back
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Core

Sets and Reps:

  • Three sets of 15 to 20 reps

How to Perform:

  • Start on your stomach with your arms straight out in front of you. 
  • Engage your glutes and core as you slowly lift both legs and arms off the ground. 
  • Keep your feet raised above the ground as you pull your arms back like you’re making the shape of a goalpost.
  • Hold this position for one to two seconds, then lower your arms and legs back down. 

Single-Leg Deadlift<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”> </span>


Muscles Worked:

  • Glutes 
  • Hamstrings 
  • Lower Back 
  • Core

Sets and Reps:

  • Three sets of 12 to 15 reps

How to Perform:

  • Start standing with feet hip-width apart. 
  • Lift one leg behind you while hinging forward at the hips, and lower the torso towards the ground, keeping the back flat and arms outstretched.
  • Lower until your upper body is parallel to the ground or as far as you can while maintaining form. 
  • Pause for one second and drive through your heel to return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.

Push-Ups<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”> </span>

Muscles Worked:

  • Chest
  • Front delts
  • Triceps
  • Core

Sets and Reps:

  • Three sets of Failure Reps (as many as you can)

How to Perform:

  • Begin with hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground, holding a plank position.
  • Keep the legs behind you while ensuring your core is core activated. 
  • Lower yourself by bending at the elbows, bringing your chest down towards the ground.
  • Stop once the upper arms are parallel to the floor. 
  • Pause for one second, then push back up to the starting position. Make sure to keep your body in a straight line throughout the exercise. 

Wall Handstand Kick Up<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”> </span>

Muscles Worked:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Core
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes 

Sets and Reps:

  • Three sets of 6 to 12 reps (total)

How to Perform:

  • Start by walking yourself up a wall with feet together and hands on the ground. 
  • Once you find your balance by engaging the core, slowly kick one leg up and away from the wall. 
  • Pause in this position for one second, then lower the leg back down. 
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Be careful as you walk yourself back down the wall.

Bridge<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”> </span>

Muscles Worked:

Sets and Reps:

  • Three sets of 12 to 20 reps

How to Perform:

  • Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. 
  • Plant the feet hip-width apart, and press them into the ground to lift the hips up. 
  • Pause at the top of the position for one second, then slowly lower back down to start. 
  • Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise. 

Calf Raises<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”> </span>

Muscles Worked:

Sets and Reps:

  • Three sets of 20 to 30 reps

How to Perform:

  • Start by standing with feet hip-width apart. 
  • Raise yourself up onto the toes, then pause at the top of the movement, focusing on intensely contracting your calf muscles.
  • After a moment or two, slowly lower your heels back down to the starting position and repeat for desired reps. 
  • Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout this exercise.

Beginner Burpees<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”> </span>


Muscles Worked:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Core
  • Chest
  • Shoulders

Sets and Reps:

  • Three sets of Failure Reps (do as many as you can)

How to Perform:

  • Before you begin, make sure you are standing up straight, and your feet are in a hip-width stance. 
  • Bend your knees as you squat down toward the ground.
  • Place your hands on the ground in front of you. 
  • Carefully step both of your feet back one at a time into a high plank position, then step them back in towards your hands. 
  • Stand up and return to the starting position.

Bodyweight Exercises for Runners: Full Workout Program

Now that you know the benefits of bodyweight exercises for runners and some of the best exercises to include in your routine, you can start incorporating them into your running regimen. 

These exercises are a great start, but are you looking for a complete bodyweight exercise program, one that is custom-built for runners? We can help!

Our Running Strong training plan in the adidas Training app is built for runners by runners. This comprehensive program is a favorite and one that can help strengthen and tone your muscles, improve posture, reduce the risk of injury, and even enhance your performance.

Check out Running Strong in the adidas Training app today!


It’s important to always warm up and stretch before attempting any of these exercises, as well as consult a doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Most importantly: keep practicing, stay safe, and have fun!