TORONTO — Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B) reported a smaller second-quarter loss compared with a year ago as it saw improved results from its digital media company VerticalScope.The publisher of the Toronto Star said it lost $7 million or nine cents per share in the three months ending June 30 compared with a loss of $23.9 million or 30 cents per share a year ago.Operating revenue totalled $161.8 million for what was the company’s latest quarter, down from $177.9 million a year earlier.Torstar chief executive John Boynton said VerticalScope posted strong year-over-year growth in revenue, while the company’s Metroland Media Group and Star Media Group benefited from efforts to reduce costs.“We’re facing continued headwinds but we continue to make great progress,” Boynton said during a conference call with financial analysts to discuss the company’s latest results.“We continue to be very encouraged by our VerticalScope side and we continue to be very encouraged by our core digital and news sites and their performances as well.”Torstar holds a 56 per cent stake in VerticalScope, which owns and operates hundreds of online forums and websites including AutoGuide.com, PetGuide.com, Motorcycle.com and ATV.com.In its outlook, the company said cost reduction will remain an important area of focus for the balance of the year. Revenue growth at VerticalScope is also expected to continue in the second half of 2017.Torstar said its most recent quarter included a $6.3-million non-cash amortization and depreciation charge related to its investment in VerticalScope and $6.1 million in restructuring charges.That compared with a $26.6-million non-cash charge related to VerticalScope last year as well as $6.9 million in restructuring charges and a $4.5-million non-cash charge related to the transition of printing of the Toronto Star to Transcontinental.On an adjusted basis, Torstar says it lost three cents per share in the second quarter compared with a loss of 13 cents per share in the same quarter last year.——Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with a subsidiary of the Globe and Mail and the parent company of Montreal’s La Presse. read more

Details have been collected related to the Dubai accounts of the family of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.Cabinet co-spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that investigations into the illegal funds stored in the Dubai accounts are ongoing and important information is expected to be revealed soon. In 2015 the Government had said that Namal Rajapaksa, the son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had an offshore account in Dubai with millions of US dollars. The Government had also said that money had been collected by the former Government saying it was to be used for road construction and other development work but most of it was transferred into offshore accounts.However the former President denied the claims. (Colombo Gazette) The Government had also said that the United States and India were assisting Sri Lanka in the investigations into the account as well as other offshore accounts of the former regime. read more