Help by sharing this information December 23, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Nobel Laureates, China Scholars Call for Liu Xiaobo’s Release ChinaAsia – Pacific News Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes China’s Cyber Censorship Figures Organisation News Follow the news on China RSF_en China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison News ChinaAsia – Pacific March 12, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Leading writers, China scholars,lawyers, and human rights advocates from around the world today arereleasing a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging the writerLiu Xiaobo’s immediate and unconditional release. Liu is one of some300 original signatories of Charter 08, a call for the rule of law andrespect for human rights in China.A literary critic and former professor of literature, Liu Xiaobo hasbeen held in incommunicado detention since December 8, 2008. HumanRights Watch has pointed out that the detention of Liu Xiaobo isarbitrary and violates the minimum procedural guarantees specifiedunder Chinese law. Over 30 signatories of Charter 08 have beenquestioned, summoned by the police, or put under surveillance sinceLiu’s arrest.”Liu Xiaobo is the most significant Chinese dissident case in adecade,” said Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch.”Jailing Liu might serve as a warning to other dissidents, but itwould also indicate a political hardening that runs against thecurrent aspirations of the Chinese people.”The list of prominent signatories of the letter to President Huincludes top China academics, legal experts, and writers and Nobelprize winners, including Salman Rushdie, Umberto Eco, Nadine Gordimer,Seamus Heaney, Carlo Ginzburg, Wole Soyinka, and Hari Kunzru.For the full text of the letter and signatories, please visit:http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/12/22/letter-consortium-release-liu-xiaobo-chinas-president-hu-jintaoFor an English translation of Charter 08, please visit:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22210 June 2, 2021 Find out more April 27, 2021 Find out more to go further News
The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Print This Post Home / Daily Dose / Ask the Economist: An Increasing Interest in Financial Services Share Save About Author: David Wharton Previous: Affordable Mortgage to Avoid Foreclosures Next: Addressing Reverse Mortgages After the Death of a Borrower Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Print Features Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago April 30, 2018 2,526 Views Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Affordability Blend Financial services Home HOUSING Technology trends 2018-04-30 David Wharton Related Articles Tagged with: Affordability Blend Financial services Home HOUSING Technology trends Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared in the April issue of DS News.As the CFO and Co-Founder of Blend, a technology company transforming the $40+ trillion consumer lending industry, Erin Collard is a seasoned professional in economics, technology, and the housing sector. He attended the University of Sheffield where he received a bachelor’s degree in Economics. From there, he attended the University of Warwick where he earned a Master’s of Science in Economics. Before Blend, Collard served as an early employee and head trader of Clarium Capital Management (hedge fund founded by Peter Thiel) and Armored Wolf.DS // Why did you ﬁrst become interested in the study of economics?Collard // I was always obsessed with statistics when I was young. I found the application of mathematics to real-world problems endlessly appealing, so it was a natural path to studying economics. Spending the majority of my postgraduate time researching Central Bank reaction functions, my academic career was cut somewhat shorter than intended when Peter Thiel asked me to join and help build his global macro hedge fund. It was exciting to spend years dissecting and analyzing the world of data where economic theory and market reality finally met. Even today, as CFO and Co-founder of Blend, I still view the world through the lens of an economist with the same passion that got me interested in economics in the beginning.DS // What trends do you think the economy will see throughout 2018?Collard // In 2017, the U.S. experienced a slowdown in home sales but not in prices, which was primarily due to the lack of housing available for purchase. In 2018, we’re not going to see this improve dramatically. While homebuilders are continuing to help on the supply side, their focus is currently on the “moving up” market vs. the entry level market for millennials and first-time homebuyers.Affordability will remain front and center for 2018 and will be made sharper because of the current administration’s changes to mortgage interest tax deductions. As a byproduct of this, the U.S. housing market will experience an increased demand for smaller, more affordable homes and the role of homebuilders to meet that need will become increasingly important.Investment in technology seems poised to continue increasing following a very strong 2017, particularly in early and later-stage companies. Th is is great news for the financial sector and economy as a whole. While many are focused on blockchain and its ability to power a multitude of platforms and applications, we will also continue to see a strong focus on cybersecurity and fraud prevention. As a result, I think the industry will see a lot more regulation, as various regulatory bodies struggle to keep up with the pace of development.One trend I noticed last year that I hope continues is a focus from fintech companies on encouraging and almost ‘gamifying’ savings and wealth management for millennials. This could be a massive win for the economy as millennials continue to increase their slice of the economic pie.As we look globally, one of the more interesting trends we may see is a divergence in central bank policy, a stark contrast to the last 10 years of the coordinated policy. While we may see the U.S. and U.K. continue to have steepening yield curves in relation to the E.U., this will have consequences for global trade and asset relocation. As a result, we can expect a continuation of asset infl ation in the U.S., and quite possibly for our net exports to form an obstacle to growth in the years to come.DS // What technological innovations are you seeing that can help housing experts better gauge the current economic environment?Collard // Over the past five years, we’ve seen an ongoing amount of notable investments taking place in fintech. A recent report from KPMG titled, “The pulse of Fintech Q4 2017” helps map out some of the major investments and trends. Investors see a significant opportunity for technology to drive change across different areas of financial services, and I believe we’ll only see this interest grow in 2018 and beyond.One of the areas where we see this take off is the level of visibility for lenders, specifically in assessing the risk of lending to borrowers. Now, lenders have direct access to data, instead of printed, scanned, uploaded pieces of paper, and are getting more detailed and reliable consumer fi nancial profi les to assess risk.One example of this is Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty program, which allows lenders to know within 24 hours whether a loan will meet Fannie Mae’s underwriting guidelines, and protects them from buyback risk later on. Th is allows them to make a more informed decision about whether the borrower is creditworthy.We’re also seeing homebuyers benefi t substantially from the various technology options they have available throughout the process of purchasing a home. For everything from the initial research on available properties to evaluating diff erent loan pricing options, to scheduling an appraisal, they have many choices and can easily identify the best service or provider for their situation.DS // Interest rates have been at a historical low, but are now starting to climb again. What impact does this have on housing?Collard // Typically we see interest rates have ripple effects throughout the economy, not just housing. While the monetary effects take many months to translate into tangible impacts on theeconomy, mortgage rates may see a slight increase as a result. Nonetheless, there are positive outcomes for housing. With higher rates, lenders are more incentivized and have a larger cushion for risk. Lenders should show greater bandwidth to consider borrowers who may not have had access to certain credit. I predict we’ll see lenders expand access to a broader population, of course with the appropriate risk models in place. Refinancing will likely decline, which lenders may try to offset with more purchase loans. Finally, rising interest rates can push ‘onthe-fence’ prospective homebuyers to finally make that new home purchase, as they are incentivized to make the purchase sooner while rates are still low.DS // The future of the GSEs is uncertain, what do you foresee for the enterprises moving forward?Collard // As we look forward, we will see this become a serious topic of discussion for reform in 2018, as the majority of government bodies that help shape mortgage finance will themselves see major leadership changes. It is tough to say which direction GSE reform will take, but given White House rhetoric, I expect the GSEs will continue to play an important role in our economy (even more so if placed into receivership), and the system will continue to rely on them in the absence of a complete overhaul.Also, there has been a lot of talk on Capitol Hill about leveling the playing field, so it’s likely we will see some increased competition. This may come in the form of more guarantors and more uniform terms (price, credit, etc.) for large and small lenders. In essence, if we see the guarantor model remain intact, and there is an opportunity for more competition, the economy should benefit from retaining the 30-year mortgage, lower rates, and increased access to the credit market. Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago David Wharton, Managing Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has over 16 years’ experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. Wharton and his family currently reside in Arlington, Texas. He can be reached at [email protected] The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Ask the Economist: An Increasing Interest in Financial Services Sign up for DS News Daily Subscribe
With its chances to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament on the line, the USC women’s basketball team fell 72-61 to Arizona in the second round of the Pac-10 tournament at Galen Center on Thursday.Before the game, the Women of Troy (19-12, 10-8) were considered to be close to the cut line of making the NCAA tournament, and following the loss, USC coach Michael Cooper wasn’t enthusiastic about his team’s chances.“Being a part of the 64 [teams to get a bid] means you have to be a very disciplined, tough team,” Cooper said. “I would love [for the team to get a bid], but I think there are other teams out there that a little bit more deserving [than us]… But if we get in, we’ll take it and be glad to have it.”Cooper points to the WNIT, the second tier postseason tournament, as a likely destination for the Women of Troy.“I don’t think our season is finished, there are opportunities for other tournaments going, like the WNIT,” Cooper said. “Hopefully that’ll work out, but we’ll just wait and see.”The Wildcats used a dominating 18-5 scoring run to begin the second half that put the game out of reach for the Women of Troy.“[Arizona] was able to execute their offense,” Cooper said. “We got outran, and they took it to us. I like the fact that we played hard and stayed with it, but they were the better team this evening.”USC’s offense struggled to start off the second half, making only one of their first eight field goal attempts.“We played hard, but sometimes it just seemed like there was a lid on the basket,” Cooper said.Arizona took advantage, making seven of their first eight shots from the field on the way to a 47-33 lead, the largest scoring deficit of the game at that point. Sophomore guard Davellyn White led the charge for the Wildcats, making her five out of her first six shots, including four from three-point range.“They’re a good three-point shooting team,” said junior guard Jacki Gemelos. “When [White] got hot, we needed to run around the three-point line, and I don’t think we did a great job of that.”Arizona maintained its timely shooting streak throughout the second half, as USC’s defense seemed helpless in their attempt to stop the run.Arizona made six out of their first seven shots from three-point range in the second half, and ended up converting 53.8 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.The Women of Troy managed to cut the lead down to 10 points on a trey from freshman guard Len’Nique Brown, but Arizona responded with an 11-2 run to grab their biggest lead of the game, 61-42.But the Women of Troy refused to go down without a fight.Led by Gemelos, USC proceeded to go on an 11-0 streak that cut the deficit back to single digits, as they trailed 61-53 with 4:34 remaining in the game. Gemelos scored seven of the team’s 11 points during the run.Unfortunately for the Women of Troy, they couldn’t cut the deficit below eight points for the rest of the game. The Wildcats advanced to the semifinals of the tournament, and will play the Stanford Cardinal Friday at noon.Meanwhile, USC’s fate is out of their hands.
USC’s football team was not the only one who battled it out with Penn State at the beginning of the new year. The men’s volleyball team travelled to Columbus, Ohio for the Big Ten/Pac-12 challenge and took on the Nittany Lions.Unlike the Rose Bowl matchup last week, however, the Trojans fell to Penn State on Saturday, suffering a narrow five-set defeat.From the start of the game, the battle was set to be a long and tough one, as the teams went on to tie 20 times throughout the first set. It took a kill and a Penn State hitting error to clinch USC’s win at 32-30, ending the back-and-forth set. Senior outside hitter Lucas Yoder led the charge with 10 of his career-high 33 kills in the first set alone.The Trojans’ momentum would not continue into the second set though as they struggled with both serving and hitting errors. The Lions were able capitalize on the mistakes, and they surged ahead and finished the set quickly without the same back-and-forth required in the first.But whatever head coach Jeff Nygaard said to the team in the locker room worked, because the Trojans returned to the court for the third set looking like the team that had started the game.It began much like the first, with neither team pulling away with the lead, battling for each and every point. It was Penn State that struggled with hitting errors this time, however, which allowed USC to pull ahead and ultimately win the set. The Trojans were ahead 2-1 and only needed one more set to win it all. Though junior setter Gert Lisha set excellently throughout the match, leading to his total of 57 assists, and Yoder provided strength on the outside, Penn State still rallied back from being down early to take the set, 25-23. This forced a fifth frame that would leave the Trojans with a defeat.In the end, Penn State had more digs, blocks and service aces than the Trojans. This was seen most clearly in the final set, where the Trojans never regained the lead after the first point. This was due to the Lions’ redshirt freshmen Calvin Mende, who notched 25 kills and five blocks on the game, and senior Chris Nugent’s 22 kills.USC showed its ability to be aggressive and make the plays that were needed, but not the consistency that would have led it to victory. However, with the increasing strength of freshmen opposite hitter Aaron Strange and Yoder’s unwavering power, the Trojans look to build on the positives in the coming weeks.The men’s volleyball team looks to move to 2-2 as it takes on Long Beach State at the Galen Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Mr. Daniel McKorley, the CEO and the executive Chairman of McDan Group of Companies, sponsor of the McDan West Africa Tennis Tournament in an interview told tenisgh.com, that he does not want to be part Ghana tennis that will produces only local stars, he intimated that such approach won’t bring any international laurels to Ghana. “McDan seeks to go beyond supporting local Ghanaian Tennis, we want to able to sponsor Ghanaian international Tennis stars”Towards preparing for this year’s McDan tournament, his advice to local players was that, “current crop of local players need to improve their standard of play and train more, stop complaining and focus to be able to face the stiffest competition and eventually break into the ATP rankings”adding that it will hurt to present US$5,000 total prize money to foreigner.Asked what he (as a tennisenthusiast) would want changed for the better tennis in Ghana, Mr. Mckorley said the Ghana Tennis Federation (GTF) will do with little professionalismin their engagement, he however commended Secretary General of the PhilipinaFrimpong and the Vice President Isaac Duah Federation for their dedication to duty.Mr. McKorley said he was glad that within the space of two years the McDan Open Championship has become a breeding ground for winners of major silverware, which inspires him to do more.tennisgh with McdanThis year’s edition of the tournament is sponsored by McDan Shipping, with technical support from the Ghana Tennis Federation (GTF) and the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT).Professional tennis players from Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and host country Ghana are expected to converge at the tennis court of the Accra Sports Stadium to battle for honors. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports
A day after the verdict on the Ayodhya dispute, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday said writing judgments was part of the business of a judge and that the justice delivery system was not about liking judgments.He was speaking at a function in Guwahati to release the Assamese version of the book “Courts of India: Past to Present” published by the SC. Three other judges of the apex court attended the function.“This perhaps is my last public function. I don’t think I will miss it. I never liked talking in public. On the third of this month, there was a book release at the Indian International Centre where I spoke to my heart’s content,” Mr. Gogoi said.At that event, he had said that Assam’s exercise to update the National Register of Citizens was a much-needed “base document for the future”. He had also hit out at the “armchair commentators” who “seek to present a highly distorted picture” even as they are “far removed from ground realities”.At the book launch event, however, Mr. Gogoi said he would not be commenting on any contentious issues.“You don’t contribute to justice delivery system by liking judgments. Writing judgments is part of the business of a judge,” he said.An Assam government spokesperson said the CJI, set to retire on November 17, had gone to his newly constructed house in the city before attending the event to launch the book.
DONE DEAL: Iborra leaves Leicester for Villarrealby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveVicente Iborra has left Leicester City for Villarreal. The Spanish midfielder made 37 appearances for the Foxes since joining from Sevilla in July 2017.A statement on the Villarreal website read: “Iborra is an experienced midfielder who is dominant in the air. “He has quality in front of goal, timing his runs from deep to perfection. He is a prestigious signing for the Yellow Submarine.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
Advertisement TORONTO, July 24, 2018 – THE 2018 IHEARTRADIO MMVAS announced today that multi-platinum singer-songwriter and four-time MMVA winner Shawn Mendes is set to return to the iHeartRadio MMVA stage Sunday, Aug. 26at 9 p.m. ET on CTV, MTV, and Much. Mendes joins an all-star lineup of recently announced performers including 5 Seconds of Summer, Alessia Cara, Halsey, Kris Wu, Marshmello ft. Anne-Marie, and Meghan Trainor. Advertisement Facebook Toronto-born Mendes has achieved international success with his three, #1 studio albums, Handwritten (2015), Illuminate (2016), and Shawn Mendes (2018), which reached #1 on iTunes in over 80 countries worldwide upon its release this May. With the release of Shawn Mendes, Mendes became the third-youngest solo artist of all time to achieve three #1 albums on the Billboard Top 200. Along with the success of each album, he has released several hit singles, including “Stitches”, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” “Treat You Better,” “Mercy,” and, most recently, “In My Blood” and “Lost in Japan“, which soared to the #1 and #2 spots on iTunes. Worldwide, he has sold more than 11 million albums, 100 million singles, and has amassed more than 15 billion song streams and four billion YouTube views. Shawn has completed two, sold-out world tours and will head out in 2019 on his third international area tour. Tickets are on sale now.THE 2018 IHEARTRADIO MMVAS airs live on Sunday, August 26 at 9 p.m. ET on:CTV, CTV.ca, CTV GOMuch, Much.comMTViHeartRadio.ca and the iHeartRadio appVirgin Radio in Toronto, Kitchen, London, Halifax, Montréal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and VancouverTwitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Viewers looking for a pre-party can catch THE IHEARTRADIO MMVA RED CARPET pre-show at 8 p.m. ET on MTV, Much, and Twitter. Advertisement Twitter
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to cut taxes and boost France’s growth. A year and a half after he came into power, he is facing violent protests over rising taxes, a high cost of living and policies criticized by some as favouring the rich.The country’s economic indicators don’t always match the public’s perception of how the country is doing, but do help understand the popular anger.Here is a look at the taxes that have become central to the so-called “yellow vest” protesters’ claims.___TAX BURDENOne of the protesters’ big complaints is that they are heavily taxed.Official statistics support that claim. France was the most heavily taxed of the world’s rich countries in 2017, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The French government’s tax revenues last year reached 46.2 per cent of annual GDP.Prime Minister Edouard Philippe acknowledges that taxes “have steadily risen” since 2000 and that Macron’s government wants to reverse that trend.In particular, social security expenses — which pay for the generous health care system and pensions — are higher in France than other wealthy countries. As a result, France’s poverty rate is also lower than in most European countries.Overall, taxes are expected to decrease this year after Macron’s administration agreed on cuts. The protesters, however, complain specifically about a tax on fuel that Macron wanted to increase.___FUEL TAXApproved in 2014, under Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande, this tax is part of government plans to wean France off fossil fuels via small but regular tax increases. Taxes represent about 60 per cent of the price of fuel in France.The next tax increase was due to be implemented on Jan 1. In the face of the sometimes violent protests, the government said this week that it would suspend the fuel tax increase.Among the complaints by protesters is that the fuel tax hurts people in rural areas who rely on vehicles for work and transportation, compared with wealthier city dwellers who tend to rely more on public transportation.___MIDDLE CLASS GAINSIn response to the protests, Macron’s government notes it has actually cut taxes for French people. However, they will mostly benefit middle class people with jobs, according to the Institute of Public Policies, a watchdog.This year’s tax cuts focus on businesses, payroll and housing. The government is trying to raise awareness of its efforts: every employee salary slip must now have a line —written in large letters— detailing how much extra money the worker received thanks to the tax cuts.While most employees benefit from the tax cuts, almost all retirees are worse off. Macron has said pensioners must make “a small effort” to help workers.___PURCHASING POWERMany protesters say they can’t pay their bills due to the higher cost of living.Consumers’ purchasing power in France fell sharply after the 2008 global financial crisis. But since 2014 it has been growing again, according to statistics agency Insee. This year, a small increase of 0.6 per cent is expected, largely thanks to the tax cuts.Yet the figure is an average that hides disparities across society.Macron’s first reforms, like a cut to taxes on wealth, largely benefited the well-off, and this is cited frequently by protesters decrying inequality.___WEALTH TAXThe decision to slash a special tax on households with assets above 1.3 million euros ($1.5 million) was meant to attract foreign investors. Macron was quickly labelled by critics as the “president of the rich”.Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux lamented that the wealthy often decided to invest outside France because of taxes. “We want the money to come back,” he said.The Institute of Public Policies says that budget measures for years 2018-2019 overwhelmingly benefit the 1 per cent richest people due to the wealth tax cut.It says that the poorest 20 per cent of households will see their real incomes fall because while social benefits remain stable, the prices for goods like energy are rising.Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday allowed the Centre to circulate a letter among parties concerned for adjournment in Tuesday’s scheduled hearing on pleas seeking review of its Rafale deal verdict of December 14 last year.The Centre, in its letter, said it needs time to file reply on merits on the review petitions. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna allowed senior advocate R Balasubramanian, appearing for the Centre, to circulate the letter among the parties which include Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singhpetitioners who have filed review pleas. The bench, however, did not say anything on the issue of adjournment of scheduled hearing on Tuesday. The review petitions filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan is listed for hearing before a bench headed by the Chief Justice on Tuesday in the post lunch session. Two other review petitions — filed by Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh and advocate Vineet Dhanda — are also listed for hearing on Tuesday. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe Centre has said in the letter that the government has raised certain preliminary objections on maintainability of certain documents relied upon in the review petitions and the court had decided the issue on April 10. It said that since the government has not filed any reply on merit of the review pleas, it would need some time to file a detailed reply to the petitions seeking review of December 14, 2018 verdict in Rafale fighter jet deal case. In a setback to the Centre, the apex court on April 10 allowed the pleas which relied on leaked documents for seeking review of its Rafale judgement and dismissed the government’s preliminary objections claiming “privilege” over them. The Centre had submitted that three privileged documents were unauthorisedly removed from the Defence Ministry and used by the petitioners to support their review petitions against the December 14, 2018 judgement of the apex court which had dismissed all pleas challenging the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. The top court had rejected the objections raised by the Centre that those documents were not admissible as evidence under Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act, and no one can produce them in court without the permission of the department concerned as they are also protected under the Official Secrets Act. It had noted that all the three documents were in “public domain” and published by prominent daily The Hindu were “in consonance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech”. It had said the documents used in the pleas were published in The Hindu’ in February and one of the papers was also published by The Wire’. The apex court had also noted that no law enacted by Parliament specifically barring or prohibiting the publication of such documents on any of the grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) of the Constitution has been brought to its notice. The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation. A deal to procure the jets was signed between India and France in 2015. The delivery is expected to begin in September this year. In the December 14 verdict, the apex court said there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France and dismissed all the petitions seeking an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal. The top court had said there was no substantial evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity.