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Competition Bureau of Canada gives 44B CoucheTard deal green light

LAVAL, Que. — The Competition Bureau of Canada is giving the green light to Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX.ATD.B) to purchase its American fuel and convenience store rival CST Brands Inc., provided the company sell some of CST’s Canadian assets to Parkland.In a statement Tuesday, the company based in Laval, Que., said the Competition Bureau gave them the clearance for the acquisition of CST Brands, and the transaction with Parkland Fuel Corp. (TSX: PKI).Couche-Tard says the closings of both transactions are expected Wednesday.The Competition Bureau says Couche-Tard’s proposed deal would lessen competition in numerous markets in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.But the government agency says to address the concern, Couche-Tard agreed to sell 366 gas stations and gasoline supply contracts to Parkland and one gas station to Philippe Gosselin & Associes Limitee.The Competition Bureau says Parkland has also agreed to sell nine gasoline supply contracts to MacEwen Petroleum Inc. or McDougall Energy Inc. in Ontario.On Monday, Couche-Tard won approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to buy CST Brands on condition that it sell up to 71 stores in the U.S. The stores are located in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas.Empire Petroleum will also have the opportunity to purchase an additional site owned by Couche-Tard. This transaction is expected to be finalized by the beginning of September.Couche-Tard is the largest convenience store operator in Canada and has more than 8,000 convenience stores throughout North America, which are mostly branded as Circle K and Mac’s. read more

Two dozen Vietnamese Montagnards go to Finland as refugees – UN

The 27 refugees, who were flying from the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, to the coastal Finnish city of Oulu, were the first group to go from the 72 Montagnards recently accepted for resettlement in Finland.”There were a lot of smiles and some laughter during our orientation briefing. Overall, they seemed a bit nervous but excited about their new future,” said a protection officer from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).A second group of the Montagnards is scheduled to fly to Finland in early June after taking a Finnish orientation course this week.The mainly Christian Montagnards fled Viet Nam’s Central Highlands after the Government cracked down on protests against land confiscation and religious persecution in April of last year. They followed an earlier group of more than 1,000 who fled to Cambodia after similar protests in February 2001.Most Montagnard refugees who reach Cambodia, which has declined to accept them, have preferred to resettle in the United States, where there already is a large Montagnard community and connections with Americans who fought in Viet Nam.Others have gone to Sweden. Canada is also now accepting Montagnards for resettlement.A major breakthrough was made in January when Viet Nam initiated tripartite consultations with Cambodia and UNHCR, leading to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that institutionalized temporary protection for Montagnards in Cambodia and gave them the options of return or resettlement.The agreed mechanism includes a commitment from Viet Nam that any returnees will not be prosecuted or discriminated against on the basis of their illegal departure. read more