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Bank of America apologizes for Apple Pay double-billing glitch

Written By doni icha on Kamis, 23 Oktober 2014 | 22.39

The Associated Press Posted: Oct 23, 2014 8:40 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 23, 2014 8:41 AM ET

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Stocks down amid nervousness over Ottawa shooting

Canada's main stock index dropped on Wednesday after a four-day winning streak as investors reacted nervously to monetary policy commentary from the Bank of Canada and news of shootings in Ottawa.

The TSX was down 235.64 points to 14,312.07 at the close of trading.

A drop in the price of U.S. crude oil, which fell below $82 US before recovering to $82.09, down 72 cents on the day, also weighed on shares.

The Canadian dollar was trading at 88.96 US, down .09 of a cent on the day.

Losses picked up at mid-morning when reports began of shootings in Ottawa that killed a Canadian soldier and had Parliament Hill and area in lockdown.

"(The shooting) contributes to the negative sentiment," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. "The fact that the shooting happened in Ottawa may have rattled investors. Investors should be cautious about the ramifications."

Analysts said investors also may have been stepping back to reassess after four days of gains. The TSX fell more than 11 per cent in the previous two weeks amid declining oil prices and worries over global growth.

On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada nudged its growth estimate for Canada this year a point higher to 2.3 per cent.

It also dropped any reference to taking a neutral stance on interest rates, a move it signalled this month by saying it would not give forward guidance on rate moves.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, fell 1.2 per cent and the energy sector was off 2.2 per cent, a reflection of the dip in oil prices.

In the U.S., some strong earnings reports from Boeing and Yahoo initially helped lift stocks.

But they also finished lower as investors lost confidence in the four-day rally.

The Dow was down 153.49 at 16,461.32, the S&P 500 down 14.17 at 1,927.11 and the Nasdaq off 36.63 at 4,382.85.

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Stephen Poloz awaits sunrise after Canada's long industrial sunset: Don Pittis

Not even Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz escaped the effects of yesterday's attack on the heart of Canadian democracy.

The bank issued a written report that points to a very long, very slow recovery in the Canadian economy, but because of what the bank called "the incident in downtown Ottawa," Poloz released but did not read his speech. A question-and-answer session was cancelled.

According to bank spokesman Alex Deslongchamps, because Poloz's news conference was scheduled right across the street from the violence on Parliament Hill, the decision to cancel was made "pretty quickly."

"He is safe," said Deslongchamps, speaking from lockdown at the Bank of Canada's Ottawa headquarters. For security reasons, he couldn't say more about where Poloz was during and after the gunfire.

While the governor was safe, the bank could not guarantee the same thing for the Canadian economy.

What you might call the soaring loonie effect has had a severe long-term impact. 

"The good news," Poloz said in the speech he was unable to deliver, "is that the U.S. economy is gaining traction, particularly in sectors that are beneficial to Canada's exports." 

But there was bad news, too.

Long decline

Canada's important energy sector has suffered from falling prices. And despite some recent "help from a lower Canadian dollar," Poloz says non-energy manufacturing and exporting have gone through a long and damaging period of decline while the dollar was high or climbing. 

Since 2000, Poloz noted in his speech, many export sectors have shown steady declines, sucking billions of dollars out of Canada's export economy. 


During this long, slow business cycle, jobs have been lost as Canadian factories have closed or cut capacity. (J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press)

"Had the export of these products instead risen in line with foreign demand," said the speech, "they would have contributed about $30 billion in additional exports last year."

Effectively what is happening is that during this long, slow business cycle, factories have closed or cut capacity and the result has been a permanent loss of jobs.

A lot of those jobs are in what we used to call "sunset industries" — manufacturing processes better done abroad by cheap labour or consolidated by automation into more labour-efficient factories. That's what happened when jobs at Heinz and the former Stelco moved from Ontario to the United States.

Poloz fears it will be a long wait for the "rebuilding phase of the recovery," where sunrise industries will expand and finally use up Canada's excess capacity of workers and capital.

We still don't know what those new industries will be, but if we are lucky, they will create sophisticated, high- tech jobs to employ what Karl Marx might have referred to as our "labour reserve army" of educated youth.

But the bank doesn't expect those surplus employees to be put to work until the second half of 2016.

Threats on the horizon

While Poloz's speech did not mention it, yesterday's Monetary Policy Report warned about threatening economic problems on the horizon,

From global economic uncertainty to the damaging effect of lower oil prices on energy investment, Poloz sees potential trouble looming. Closer to home, he worries about the danger of a "disorderly unwinding" in Canadian house prices and its impact on consumer spending.

As the report says, one of the biggest uncertainties is whether the smouldering U.S. economy will suddenly burst into a "stronger-than-expected" economic recovery.

Such a "rekindling of animal spirits" would have positive effects on Canada, says the bank.

Poloz did not get into the messy details, but surging animal spirits would not be entirely good for Canada.

They would push up U.S. bond rates and thus Canadian long-term mortgage interest rates, which are set in U.S. bond markets.

No more 'forward guidance'

Unless Poloz wants to make the market even less stable, short rates set by the Bank of Canada will also have to rise.

The governor made a virtue of the fact that the bank will no longer be giving "forward guidance" on Canadian interest rates.

"Some of you may be wondering why we aren't being more specific about the likely future stance of monetary policy," the governor said in the speech he didn't have a chance to give. 

Except for saying it was something the bank would reserve for special occasions, it was a question Poloz didn't really answer in the printed speech.

But it does mean the bank is no longer guaranteeing that it will keep interest rates low.

When he finally gives his news conference, we will have to ask him about that.

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Rogers earns less profit despite higher revenue


Rogers posted lower profit on Thursday even as overall revenues increased. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Rogers Communications Inc. reports it had $332 million of net income and $405 million of adjusted profit in the third quarter — missing analyst estimates.

The adjusted profit amounted to 78 cents per share — down from 97 cents per share a year earlier and six cents below analyst estimates.

The Toronto-based company's revenue was $3.25 billion, up slightly from $3.22 billion in the third quarter of 2013, and within estimates.

In the same quarter of 2013, Rogers had $464 million of net income under standard accounting and $501 million of adjusted net income.

Rogers chief executive Guy Laurence says it will take time to fully realize a multi-year plan for improving performance but the third quarter results are where the company expected them to be.

"During the third quarter, we completed the customer-centric structural reorganization we announced in May under Rogers 3.0 and are now up and running," Laurence said in a statement.

The company — which has a national wireless network, regional cable operations in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, and major media operations — is reaffirming its guidance for 2014 but says its adjusted operating profit and free cash flow will likely be at the lower end of the range.

Analysts expected adjusted earnings of 88 cents per share, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. Revenue was anticipated to come in at $3.25 billion.

Rogers has been focused on improving results from its operations under Laurence, who joined the company last December.

The former CEO of Vodafone UK is moving forward with a plan designed to inject changes into the company, which included stripping out some middle management positions and improving customer service.

Rogers has been losing market share to long-time rivals BCE Bell and Telus despite having Canada's largest base of mobile phone subscribers.

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Vintage Apple 1 computer sells for $905,000 US

Winning bid came from Henry Ford museum

The Associated Press Posted: Oct 23, 2014 9:21 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 23, 2014 9:22 AM ET

A vintage Apple computer that was one of only 50 made in Steve Jobs' garage in 1976 has sold for $905,000 US at auction in New York City.

Bonhams auction house says the winning bid on Wednesday came from The Henry Ford museum. The final price of the Steve Wozniak-designed Apple 1 computer was far above the pre-sale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.

The still-working computer has an intact motherboard, as well as a vintage keyboard and monitor.

The auction was Bonham's first sale in New York City of items connected to science and technology. Other lots included a letter by Charles Darwin to a colleague about the sex life of barnacles, and a Helmholtz sound synthesizer from 1905, the earliest electrical keyboard.

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.

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Bank of Canada keeps interest rate steady at 1% again

Written By doni icha on Rabu, 22 Oktober 2014 | 22.40

BoC Poloz 20140916

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz kept Canada's benchmark interest rate steady at 1 per cent again. (Ryan Remoritz/Canadian Press)

The Bank of Canada kept its benchmark interest rate at one per cent again, the same level it's been at for more than four years.

In a statement accompanying the decision, the central bank said the current rate is "appropriate" for the current state of the economy.

The bank warned consumer spending has led to near-record-high housing prices and debt, leaving households exposed to economic shocks.

"In plain English [that] means they are becoming more concerned about persistent strength in housing markets and the broader household sector that has attained record heights across pretty much every measure of activity," Scotiabank said in a note after the decision was released.

And in its announcement, the Bank of Canada noted the impact of declining energy prices.

"While lower oil prices would benefit consumers, their effect on Canada would, on balance, be negative, reducing Canada's terms of trade and domestic income," the central bank said.

The bank adjusted its July growth prediction for Canada, nudging it up one-tenth of a point to 2.3 per cent for this year. It's keeping to its 2015 expectations of 2.4 per cent growth.

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz was scheduled to give a press conference at 11 a.m. to offer new details on the bank's way of thinking, but that has been postponed because of the security incident unfolding in Ottawa right now.

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Anti-spam law targets software starting January

Canada's controversial anti-spam law has already forced businesses to change how they communicate with consumers by email.

Early next year, the law will also start targeting software makers.

Starting on Jan. 15, 2015, companies will have to get consent before installing a program on a person's computer if the software has the ability to covertly send electronic messages or has other functionality outlined in the legislation.

'There's no other law in the world that I'm aware of that comes close to regulating computer program installations as broadly.'- Michael Fekete, lawyer

While the law has been framed as an attack on the creators of malware and spyware, it also affects legitimate software companies, which face fines of up to $10 million for non-compliance.

"We are regularly installing, or being asked to install, huge numbers of software programs — sometimes on a daily basis — and very often we are unaware of what is happening," says Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, who supports the legislation.

"Consumers are putting a plethora of stuff on their systems often without knowing much about it. This raises the bar in terms of consumer awareness when they're installing software, better awareness about what that software will do, and greater disclosure requirements on the part of businesses seeking to install those programs."

The first part of the law targeting programs that can send electronic messages from a user's computer will allow the CRTC to go after malware or spyware makers that use infected computers to surreptitiously distribute spam.

Disclosure required

Companies must also clearly disclose to users if its software could collect personal information, interfere with the normal operation of a computer, alter settings or preferences or data on a computer, or allow a third party to access a computer.

The law states that the disclosure must be described "clearly and prominently and separately and apart from the licence agreement."

Exemptions are given for operating systems, web cookies, HTML and JavaScript code, and software updates or upgrades if a company can prove a user had previously consented to installing its program.

Michael Fekete, a lawyer with the Toronto-based Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt law firm, says the law is overreaching and should have focused specifically on malware and spyware.

"There's a mismatch between the stated purposes of the legislation as found in the regulations and the scope of the legislation," says Fekete.

"There is really no question that malware and spyware are things that should be prohibited ... but there's a very broad range of programs that are regulated regardless of whether the software will have a negative impact."

Tech companies could keep products out of Canada

He says the law could lead to technology companies deciding to keep their products from the Canadian market.

"There's no other law in the world that I'm aware of that comes close to regulating computer program installations as broadly," Fekete says.

"The question will be whether some distributors of computer programs will ultimately decide to geofence Canada and preclude the download of products in Canada because they haven't made the investments that would be necessary to change the interfaces. We don't know just yet what the ultimate impact on consumers would be from that standpoint, but that remains a possibility."

He also says he's concerned that the law appears to cover not only computers but mobile devices and virtually any other device that works with software code.

"The rules apply to virtually any computer program, even computer programs embedded on devices that do not have a user interface. And so if you look at the ubiquity of computer programs in not just consumer devices but with just about any device that can be wirelessly connected these days, we're introducing to Canada this unique set of rules that don't exist anywhere else and cover the broadest possible scope of computer programs," Fekete says.

"I think it's fair to say it's a grey area and there remains a lot of uncertainty. There's a lot of interpretation issues that remain unsettled and that's just one of them."

But Geist thinks complying with the law won't be onerous and Canadians will support the change.

"I don't think it's so unreasonable to tell people what it is you're installing and why you're installing it," Geist says.

"If someone thinks that's overly onerous to provide that level of disclosure and to obtain an appropriate consent I suspect that many Canadians would say perhaps that's not something I want on my system."

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Takata airbag recall adds 3 million more vehicles

Crash Test

An airbag problem across many automakers has expanded to include almost 8 million vehicles in the U.S. (Duane Burleson/Associated Press)

A recall of Japanese-made airbags that can malfunction and injure people when deployed has expanded to now include as many as 12 million cars worldwide.

America's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration updated the list of vehicles included in the recall of Takata airbags by 3 million more cars, bringing the total to as much as 7.8 million in the U.S. alone.

The U.S. government is adding more than 3 million vehicles to a rare warning about faulty air bags that have the potential to kill or injure drivers or passengers in a crash, as they have been known to rupture and sometimes cause metal fragments to come flying out. 

Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem and urge owners to bring their cars in to get repaired, especially in Florida and along the Gulf Coast because it's believed hot humid weather could be a factor. The warning covers many models from BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.

Some of the vehicles in the U.S. that have been recalled include:

  • Toyota (778,177 vehicles) Models: 2002 to 2004 Lexus SC, 2003 to 2004 Toyota Corolla and Matrix, 2002 to 2004 Toyota Sequoia, 2003 to 2004 Pontiac Vibe made for General Motors by Toyota.
  • Honda (2.8 million vehicles) Models: 2001 to 2007 Accord four cylinder, 2002 to 2002 Accord six-cylinder; 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic; 2002 to 2006 Honda CR-V; 2003 to 2011 Honda Element; 2002 to 2004 Honda Odyssey; 2003 to 2007 Honda Pilot; 2006 Honda Ridgeline; 2003 to 2006 Acura MDX; 2002 to 2003 Acura TL/CL
  • Nissan (437,712 total) Models: 2001 to 2003 Nissan Maxima, 2001 to 2003 Nissan Pathfinder, 2002 to 2003 Nissan Sentra, 2001 to 2003 Infiniti I30/I35; 2002 to 2003 Infiniti QX4, 2003 Infiniti FX
  • Mazda (18,050 cars) Models: 2003 to 2004 Mazda6, 2004 Mazda RX-8
  • BMW (573,935) Models: 2000 to 2005 3 Series Sedan, 2000 to 2006 3 Series Coupe, 2000 to 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon, 2000 to 2006 3 Series Convertible, 2001 to 2006 M3 Coupe and Convertible.
  • General Motors (133,221) Models: 2002 to 2003 Buick LeSabre, 2002 to 2003 Buick Rendezvous, 2002 to 2003 Cadillac DeVille, 2002 to 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer, 2002 to 2003 Chevrolet Impala, 2002 to 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2002 to 2003 Chevrolet Venture, 2002 to 2003 GMC Envoy and XL, 2002 to 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora, 2002 to 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada, 2002 to 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette, 2002 to 2003 Pontiac Bonneville, 2002 to 2003 Pontiac Montana.

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Bell drops the gloves with Rogers over GamePlus app

Feature only available to Rogers customers

The Canadian Press Posted: Oct 22, 2014 9:31 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 22, 2014 9:31 AM ET

Two of Canada's largest sports broadcasters are facing off over whose customers get free access to exclusive NHL content.

Bell TV says that the GamePlus mobile app should be made available for free to all NHL GameCentre Live subscribers, not just those who are customers of Rogers Communications.

Bell makes the demand in a filing to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The owner of TSN and other businesses that compete with Rogers says that CRTC rules prohibit its Toronto-based rival from giving its own customers preferential access to the GamePlus mobile app.

Bell argues that GamePlus is being made exclusively available to Rogers mobile and home Internet customers, providing them with features such as on-ice camera angles from NHL hockey games broadcast under a 12-year agreement.

Rogers has until Nov. 20 to respond formally to the complaint.

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.

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5 ways the government could tweak income-splitting promise

The late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty rarely beat around the bush — and that was certainly the case when he offered up this assessment of his own government's proposed income splitting for families:

"It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot — and other parts of the Canadian population virtually not at all," he told reporters in February of this year. 

Flaherty said the measure needed "a long, hard, analytical look" by experts "to see who it affects in this society and to what degree. Because I'm not sure that overall it benefits our society."

The income-splitting promise, made during the 2011 election campaign, would allow families with children under 18 years of age to transfer up to $50,000 of income from one partner to the other.

Shifts money between brackets

Income-splitting is meant to lower a family's overall tax bill by having that transferred money taxed at a lower bracket – allowing the family to keep the difference. It is also meant to encourage those who want to stay home to raise their children to do so.

Income Splitting Family

Stephen Harper makes a campaign stop in Saanich, B.C., during the 2011 election campaign where he promised income-splitting for families - once the budget was balanced. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Doing the math, it's easy to see how Flaherty came to the conclusion he did.

Those who head single-parent families would not benefit at all, as there is no one to split income with. Those families where both parents earn similar amounts of money in the same tax bracket would also see no benefit. 

Looking at a couple with two children where one spouse makes $60,000 a year and the other has no income, the savings are about $1,400 a year in federal taxes.

But for a couple where one spouse has no income and the other makes more than $191,000 — what a 2011 Statistics Canada survey identified as the top one per cent of income earners — the savings jump to more than $7,200 a year.

The spread gets wider if provinces go along with the scheme. 

If our couples were in Ontario, for example, they could save an additional $1,800 and almost $6,000, respectively.

It's the fact that the more money you make, the more you stand to save that is behind why few in government — and virtually no experts outside government — expect the 2011 election promise to be fully implemented with no restrictions next year.

Possible changes

So what are the possible approaches that have been suggested to implement income splitting to make it palatable both politically and as policy?

1. Cap the program. Put an upper limit on the income eligible to be split.

Pros: It is simple and will be seen to be excluding millionaires and is more targeted at the much coveted "middle-class"voter.

Cons: Doesn't address the concerns of those who point out this does nothing to help single-parent families or families with lower incomes.

2. Lower the age of eligibility for dependants. Right now, the plan is to cover all families with a child under 18 years of age. There are suggestions to drop that age to 12 or younger.

Pros: Could be sold as a means to help parents who can't afford daycare for their school-aged children. That could also be the Conservatives' answer to the NDP's affordable daycare plan.

Cons: Further limits the pool of eligible families, which would erode the voters the Conservatives attracted with the promise in the first place. Also, this would represent a partial breaking of the election promise which said the cutoff would be children up to 18 years old.

3. A gradual phase-in of the plan. Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott is calling for the income splitting for families to be phased in over a number of years, starting with children under six years of age and eventually raising it to 18 as the economy (and the surplus) grows.

Pros: Limiting the pool of eligible families will cost less and not threaten early (possibly fragile) budget surpluses.

Cons: Voters attracted by this promise in 2011 will soon be ineligible for the program and could punish the party at the polls.

4. Make it a non-refundable federal tax-credit.

Pros: This would not affect provinces as the taxable income of individuals wouldn't change and the credit would be applied only toward what's owed to Ottawa. Making it non-refundable would mean other deductions and exemptions would reduce the value of the income-splitting, thereby reducing the impact on federal coffers. 

Cons: It adds yet another complication to a tax system this government has already loaded up with various credits and deductions. (Note: this point would fall under the "Pros" category if you are an accountant paid to help people file their tax returns.)

5. Doing something else. Many critics of this kind of income splitting say the government could help families a lot more by boosting the Child Tax Credit or reducing personal income taxes for all.

Pros: Would reach more people and satisfy many critics from both ends of the political spectrum

Cons: Represents the breaking of a clear election promise, which makes this option highly unlikely.

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