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Found 13 results

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  2. jesseps

    What gives?

    (Courtesy of CBC News) Yet if you die from an overpass crushing you, your relatives get fuck all. This country is totally fucked and needs reform. That is my rant for today.
  3. Yet another crane collapses in NYC... What is it with cranes in NYC? Every month there's a crane collapse story. Are they raised differently? Does it have to do with the crane company's safety standards? This is a most unfortunate occurence that keeps repeating itself. Especially when lives are lost... http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/30/crane.collapse/index.html
  4. The New York Times, not just a newspaper anymore. Check this out: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/04/19/world/20090420-aliabad-ambush/index.html
  5. New York City fears return to 1970s Tue Jan 27, 2009 By Joan Gralla http://www.reuters.com/article/newsO...50Q6IH20090127
  6. Dear all, I have been a member of MtUrb since day 1, less active with posts now than I was a few years back, but always an avid reader. So, new developments in Montreal are really surprises when I go back "home" every few years. For you see, I have been living in Hong Kong for the past 5 years, enjoying life in the most transit-efficient city in the world. But this post is not about Hong Kong, it is about re-discovering Montreal... Last time my wife and I came back to Canada was 3 years ago. As usual, we enjoyed our time and visited our friends and family in Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa (where we lived and worked for over 12 years) and Toronto. I remember thinking back then that while Montreal was cooler, Toronto was the boom town, and Ottawa was the sleepy, quaint, moneyed high tech capital. How things changed in 3 years. Ottawa seemed to us like it went down the drain; unbearable traffic, no high-tech rumble anymore (loss of Nortel?), a feeling as it somewhat had lost its soul somewhere in suburbia... Not quite sure how to pin it down but it felt empty. Quebec City didn't change much; we never cared for it much as we always thought the old Quebec to be an island of pretty in a sea of bland. Toronto is still booming, but still looking for its heart... As I said, none of the real-estate development in Montreal should have surprised me since I was aware of every single one of them, thanks to you guys, but they did, in a big way. I could feel the vibrancy. In the new buildings, parks, squares, sure. But also in the attitude; I felt positivism and renewed joie-de-vivre. Food trucks that hasn't been allowed for decades are now back in full force, Ste-Catherine no longer felt like an unfortunate and sometimes decrepit metaphor for the two solitudes. Yeah, coming from Ottawa on the Metropolitain, or crossing the bridges made a Hong-Konger think that North-America hasn't quite gotten out of the stone-age of transportation. But I saw more people in the city of Montreal than ever before; people working, living and playing within urbanity. I also, for the first time, really saw the concept of urban villages materialize before my eyes, be it downtown in the condo environments, in NDG with its eclectic combination of tree-hugging concepts such as urban-gardens, and the sense that people truly understood that in order for sustainability to exist, it needs to be financially viable (overheard of discussion of a green entrepreneur planning how he was going to make his rooftop gardens profitable). Like it or not, one also cannot deny that Ferrandez has changed the face of the Plateau; I thought the density of people biking was a sight to behold. Maybe I was dreaming and under the influence of so much amazing food (and ok, a good amount of red wine too...) that I partially lost my mind but beyond all of the impressive public money investments (CHUM, parks, new Metro trains, etc, etc), I thought, talking to people and "feeling" the city-beat, that I could feel a paradigm-shift or the beginning of one: the private sector investing in Montreal, believing in it (naysayers just have to spend 5 minutes at the corner of René-Levesque and De La Montagne to be convinced), and residents that seem to have moved on from the rut, looking forward instead of back... I hope that continues when, hopefully, one day, I decide to move back to Canada and, maybe, settle down in Montreal. We thoroughly enjoyed our time. I leave you with 2 pictures. Hard to say that Montreal is at a standstill. The old 'Carriere Miron' is becoming one of the largest park in Montreal, here's what I would do with it. Picture was taken from the north-west corner. I'm not an artist but, you get the idea... Have a great rest of this wonderful summer! JC
  7. Canada sees surprising job gains in August Financial Post September 4, 2009 Canada posted a surprising gain in employment in August as the economy showed signs that it was pulling out of a recession. Canada posted a surprising gain in employment in August as the economy showed signs that it was pulling out of a recession. Photograph by: File, AFP/Getty Images OTTAWA — Canada posted a surprising gain in employment in August as the economy showed signs that it was beginning to pull out of a recession. Statistics Canada said Friday that 27,100 positions were added during the month, compared with 44,500 losses in July. The unemployment rate edged up to 8.7 per cent in August from 8.6 per cent the previous month. The gains were led by part-time and private-sector employment, the federal agency said. There were 30,600 part-time jobs added in August, while 3,500 full-time positions were lost. Hardest hit was the manufacturing sector, which shed another 17,300 in August. The biggest gains were in the retail and wholesale trade, up 21,200, and finance and real estate, up 17,500. Six provinces saw employment rise, with the biggest increases in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. Alberta lost the most jobs in August. "Since employment peaked in October 2008, total employment has fallen by 387,000 (down 2.3 per cent)," the agency said. "The trend in employment, however, has changed recently. Over the last five months, employment has fallen by 31,000, a much smaller decline than the 357,000 observed during the five months following October 2008." Most economists had expected the economy to lose jobs in August, with the consensus being about 15,000 fewer positions. They also expected the unemployment rate to rise to 8.8 per cent. "This report may not quite carry the good housekeeping seal of approval for the recovery, but it certainly is another big step in the right direction," said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. "While we can quibble about the details, the broader picture here is that the labour market is stabilizing, and apparently much faster than in the U.S." (The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that 216,000 jobs were lost in August, although that was less than analysts had expected.) Charmaine Buskas, senior economics strategist at TD Securities, said "the fact that the (Canadian) unemployment rate continues to rise has a bit of a mixed messages, as the initial interpretation is negative, but suggests that workers are slowly becoming more encouraged by better prospects in the job market." "Ultimately, this report, while positive, is not going to have much impact on the Bank of Canada. It has already committed to keep rates on hold, and one month of good employment numbers is unlikely to sway the decision." Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said: "Half a loaf, or in this case, half a job, is better than none, so an increase in Canadian employment driven by part-time work is still an encouraging signpost of an economic recovery now underway." The employment report follows some mixed signals of an economic recovery in Canada. On Thursday, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said Canada's economy will contract two per cent in the third quarter of 2009 before edging up 0.4 per cent in the final three months of the year. That's in contrast to forecasts by the Bank of Canada, which expects the country's gross domestic product to grow 1.3 per cent in the third quarter of this year, followed by a three per cent gain in the final three months of 2009. The central bank also forecast the economy will contract 2.3 per cent overall this year and grow three per cent in 2010. Last week, Statistics Canada reported GDP increased 0.1 per cent in June, even as the second quarter declined overall by 3.4 per cent. The outlook by OECD, a Paris-based group of 30 industrialized nations, shows Canada's recovery lagging along with the U.K., which is expected to decline one per cent in the third quarter and be flat in the final quarter, and Italy, which is forecast to shrink 1.1 per cent and grow 0.4 per cent, respectively. August unemployment rates by province: Newfoundland and Labrador 15.6% Prince Edward Island 13.7% Nova Scotia 9.5% New Brunswick 9.3% Quebec 9.1% Ontario 9.4% Manitoba 5.7% Saskatchewan 5.0%. Alberta 7.4% British Columbia 7.8% Source: Statistics Canada © Copyright © Canwest News Service
  8. Vancouver and Montreal among 25 most livable cities JOSH WINGROVE From Monday's Globe and Mail June 9, 2008 at 9:03 AM EDT Vancouver and Montreal are the only Canadian entries in a new list of the world's 25 most livable cities. London-based Monocle magazine, a project of Canadian-born style columnist and jet-setter Tyler Brûlé, published the list this month. Vancouver placed eighth - higher than any other North American city - while Montreal finished 16th on the list. Toronto didn't make the cut; nor did Winnipeg, where Mr. Brûlé was born. Monocle lauded Vancouver for its role in fighting climate change, increasing building density and cracking down on drug use in preparation for the 2010 Olympics. Vancouver lost marks for its high crime rate, but jumped seven spots after placing 15th in 2007. The magazine called Montreal "Canada's cultural capital." The city was credited for its strong arts community, booming gaming and aerospace industries and extensive network of free wireless Internet. It lost marks for its strained health-care system, poor recycling facilities and growing income disparity. Mr. Brûlé, who once described the only mention of Canada in Monocle's first issue as "a dig about Calgary," wrote neither synopsis. Monocle named Copenhagen the most livable city, on the strength of its green space and "sense of humour" - Mr. Brûlé wrote that synopsis. Munich, Tokyo, Zurich and Helsinki rounded out the top five. Only three U.S. cities (Honolulu, Minneapolis and Portland) made the list, which also included 14 from Europe, three from Japan, two from Australia, and one, Singapore, from Southeast Asia. High-profile cities such as London, Rome and New York were not mentioned by the magazine, which looked at smaller, user-friendly cities with vibrant arts scenes, plenty of parks and a friendly face. A similar livability study published by The Economist last summer awarded Vancouver first place, while Toronto - snubbed by Monocle - placed fifth out of 123 cities worldwide. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080609.wxlcities09/BNStory/lifeMain/home
  9. Almost 80,000 jobs lost in February: StatsCan By The Canadian Press OTTAWA - Non-farm payrolls lost 79,600 jobs in February, with manufacturing taking the worst hit, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. The agency said those losses continue a slump that began last October and which has cost 296,000 jobs. The agency's survey of non-farm, payroll employment found the biggest February drop was in manufacturing, where 19,300 jobs were lost. Since October, 99,700 manufacturing jobs have disappeared, a loss of 6.1 per cent. That figure is three times the rate of decline of total payroll employment. Nearly a quarter of the manufacturing job losses came in the auto industry. The survey said the number of employees working in motor vehicle parts manufacturing has fallen by 13,300 since October, while motor vehicle and motor vehicle body manufacturing has dropped by 10,200. As of February, there were 111,500 employees in motor vehicle assembly and parts, down 65,000 or 37 per cent from the peak recorded in 2001. The auto slump has echoes in related industries. Payrolls in auto repair shops are down by 5,000 since October. Auto dealers have cut 4,200 jobs in the period, while parts dealers have 2,300 fewer workers. The construction sector lost 11,100 jobs in February. There were more modest declines other sectors, including non-Internet publishing (4,800), credit intermediaries and related activities (4,300) and truck transportation (4,200). But there were some job gains in health and education, including elementary and secondary schools, and community colleges and CEGEPs in Quebec. The February losses came in all provinces, but Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia took the worst hits. Quebec lost 30,300 jobs in February, a 0.9 per cent drop. Ontario and Alberta each experienced a decline of 0.6 per cent, while British Columbia employment fell by 0.4 per cent. While Quebec experienced the largest monthly decline, both Ontario and British Columbia had the biggest drop between February 2008 and February 2009. Over the year, Ontario payrolls declined by 1.7 per cent or 97,800 jobs. The losses were mostly in manufacturing, with a 12.1 per cent drop of 94,000. In British Columbia, payroll employment was down 28,400 or 1.5 per cent in February compared with a year earlier. Much of this decline was linked to forestry and its related industries. Major communities in southwestern Ontario have all shown sharp losses and in March, Windsor had the highest unemployment rate of any large community in the country - 13.7 per cent. Average weekly earnings, including overtime, of payroll employees in February was $820.95, up 1.8 per from February 2008. This was slower than January's year-over-year increase of 2.4 per cent. From Yahoo news: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/0...ness/jobs_lost
  10. Quebec companies getting pummeled By Paul Delean December 12, 2008 Quebec’s economy supposedly is weathering current financial turbulence better than other parts of the country, but you’d never know it from the stock listings. Several publicly traded Quebec-based companies that used to have significant share valuations have plummeted below, or near, the dreaded dollar mark, in some cases becoming penny stocks. The 2008 Dollarama portfolio includes familiar names like AbitibiBowater, Quebecor World, Mega Brands, Garda World, Shermag, Hart Stores and Bikini Village. What happens from here is anybody’s guess. Once stocks start descending to these levels, getting back to past peaks really isn’t the issue anymore. Survival is. Institutional investors are leery. Several actually have a rule against buying shares priced below $5. “What matters are a corporation’s fundamentals, not the stock price. But often, they’re really bad when a company’s stock goes way down in price, and leave you wondering if it’s worth anything at all,” said Benj Gallander, co-author of information newsletter Contra The Heard, who’s been investing in out-of-favour stocks for 15 years with partner Ben Stadelmann. While takeovers are always a possibility, Gallander said companies that really get beaten up usually are not prime targets. “Companies are more likely to buy companies that are going really well, at ridiculous prices, than the ones that are struggling,” he said. What’s making this downturn especially challenging is the tightness of credit, Gallander said. Cash-strapped companies in need of fresh funds are having a harder time with lenders, and investors have cooled to new stock issues. “It used to be a lot easier (for companies) to go to the well and get cash. These days, the competition for funds is so fierce, and not as many people are willing to invest. Investors are more selective. They want to see clean balance sheets, and preferably dividends and distributions, not a lot of debt and a history of losses. Ongoing losses are very dangerous if you don’t have the cash to support it.” Montreal portfolio manager Sebastian van Berkom of van Berkom & Associates, a small-cap specialist, said there are decent stocks in the dollar range, but there are also an awful lot of highly speculative ones. “If someone had the intestinal fortitude to put together the best of these Dollarama stocks into a diversified portfolio of maybe 50-70 names, you’d probably end up doing pretty well. Ten per cent would go bust, 10 per cent would be 10 baggers (grow by tenfold), and the other 80 per cent would do better than the overall market,” he said. But since even the largest and strongest global companies have been battered by this year’s downdraft in equity markets, investors are understandably gravitating to those names, some now at prices unseen in decades. “In this kind of environment, why speculate at the low end when you can buy quality companies at the lowest price they’ve traded at in years? You don’t need to speculate, so why take the risk? That’s why some of the fallen angels have come down so much,” van Berkom said. Some of the deeply discounted companies undoubtedly won’t survive their current woes, Gallander said. The biotech sector, constantly in need of cash tranfusions, is especially vulnerable. “They may have great products in the pipeline,” he said, “but who’ll finance them?” While there is potential upside in some of the names, he considers it a bit early to start bargain-hunting. “I’d be wary of redeploying cash at this point. Even if you pay more (for stocks) in a year, there could be less downside risk if the economy’s in better shape. Personally, I don’t see things coming back for years. There’ll be lots of bargains for a long time.” Here’ are some of the downtrodden, and the challenges they face. AbitibiBowater Inc.: A $35 stock in 2007, AbitibiBowater is now trading around 50 cents. The heavily-indebted newsprint manufacturer recently reported a third-quarter loss of $302 million ($5.23 a share) on flat revenue. Demand is plunging around the world as the newspaper industry contracts in the face of competition from the internet In the U.S. alone, it’s fallen 20 per cent this year. Gallander is one of its unhappy shareholders; his purchase price, prior to the merger with Bowater, was $56.24. “We looked at getting out a few times, didn’t, and got absolutely killed,” he said. “At the current price, there’s huge potential upside, or the possibility in six months that it could be worthless.” Garda World: Investors did not take kindly to the global security firm’s surprise second-quarter loss of $1 million (3 cents a share) and revenue decline of 5.5 per cent. After years of rapid growth by acquisition, Garda – which reports third-quarter results Monday – is talking about selling off part of its business to repay its sizable debt. At about $1.20 a share (down from $26.40 in 2006), “it’s extremely speculative,” van Berkom said. “Rather than offering to buy parts of the business now, competitors may wait to see if it survives and then buy.” Mega Brands: The Montreal-based toy company had a prosperous business until it took over Rose Art Industries of Livingston, N.J., in a $350-million deal in 2005. Since then, it’s taken a huge hit from lawsuits and recalls of the Magnetix toy line it acquired in the Rose Art deal and the stock has plunged from $29.74 a share in 2006 to about 50 cents this week. The company lost $122 million in the third quarter (after writing down $150 million for “goodwill impairment”), just had its credit rating downgraded by Moody’s (which described 2009 prospects as “grim”) and now has to cope with a sharp decline in consumer spending for its peak selling season. Revenue has nonetheless held up relatively well so far, Gallander said, so this one could still be a turnaround candidate. Hart Stores: The smallish department store chain keeps adding to its 89-store Hart and Bargain Giant network in eastern Canada, but same-store sales have been slipping as consumers retrench. Profit in the last quarter was $757,000, down from $1.7 million the previous year. The stock’s dropped even more, closing this week around $1, down from $6.55 in 2006. But Gallander, who bought in at $3.46, still likes the company, which pays a dividend of 10 cents a year. “They’re facing a slowdown, which could hurt the bottom line and the distribution, but so’s everyone else. Few companies can be resilient in this kind of economy.” Groupe Bikini Village: All that remains of the former Boutiques San Francisco and Les Ailes de La Mode empire is 59 swimsuit stores generating quarterly sales of about $13 million and net earnings of less than $1 million. “Our company has come through some challenging times,” president Yves Simard said earlier this year, “and today, we are a stronger company for it.” You wouldn’t know it from the price of the 172 million outstanding shares. Friday, it was 3 cents. The 2008 range has been 10 to 2.5 cents. Boutiques San Francisco was a $32 stock in 2000. Kangaroo Media: It’s had plenty of media coverage for its handheld audio/video devices that allow spectators at NASCAR and Formula One auto races to follow and hear the action more closely, but only one profitable quarter since it went public four years ago. The company generated $2.2 million in sales and rentals in its most recent quarter, but lost $3.4 million (10 cents a share). Loss of Montreal’s Grand Prix race in 2009 won’t help. Shares got as high as $8.19 in 2006 but traded at 5 cents yesterday.. Victhom Human Bionics: Outstanding technology – a prosthetic leg that remarkably replicates human movement – but no significant sales yet spells trouble for the Quebec City company. It had revenue of $531,997 in its most recent quarter, most of it royalty advances, but a net loss of $3.3 million. Investors are losing patience. The stock, which traded at $2 in 2004, has tumbled to 3 cents. Quebecor World: One of the world’s largest commercial printers, it entered creditor protection in Canada and the U.S. last January and seems unlikely to emerge. It lost $63.6 million (35 cents a share) in the most recent quarter on revenue of $1 billion, which pushed the total loss after nine months to $289 million. The stock, as high as $46.09 in 2002, traded yesterday at 4 cents. Unless you buy for a nickel in the hope of getting out at 7 or 8 cents a share, this is probably one to avoid, said Gallander, who prefers to steer clear of companies in creditor protection. Shermag: Asian imports, a contracting U.S. housing market and rapid appreciation of the Canadian dollar pulled the rug out from under the Sherbrooke-based furniture maker, which experienced a 40-per-cent drop in sales in the past year, has lost money for the last 11 quarters and entered creditor protection in May. (It was extended this week to April). A $16 stock in 2003, it was down to 7 cents yesterday. “We looked at Shermag closely before (credit protection), but backed off. They’re good operators, but the way things are now in their business, they just can’t compete,” Gallander said. Railpower Technologies: The manufacturer of hydrid railway locomotives and cranes has a lot of expenses and not many customers, and the economic slowdown won’t help. It lost $7.1 million in the most recent quarter on sales of just $2.9 million. A $6.69 stock in 2005, it traded at 14 cents this week. Mitec Telecom: Revenue has been rising for the designer and manufacturer of components for the wireless telecommunications industry, but it’s still having trouble turning a profit. Through the first half of its current fiscal year, sales grew 63 per cent to $25 million, for a net loss of $1.1 million. The company, which went public in 1996 at $6.50 a share, traded yesterday at 6 cents. Management is doing a commendable job of trying to turn around the company, said Gallander, who has owned the stock for several years. “They seem to be doing the right things, but they’re not out of the woods yet. In normal times, they’d be doing better than now. But the telecom sector, too, will be hit.” [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  11. Can't find a job in Quebec. "The founder of Quebec's newest pro-independence party is moving to England. Jean-Martin Aussant, who recently resigned as leader of the upstart Option Nationale, is returning to London to resume his career in international finance. In a blog post, he says will rejoin Morgan Stanley Capital International where he was a vice-president before entering politics. Aussant was elected as a member of the Parti Quebecois and was considered one of its rising stars. However, lamenting the PQ's timid approach to achieving independence, he resigned to create Option Nationale. Option Nationale didn't win any seats in last year's election and Aussant lost his own riding. But the new party attracted a young energetic base, had a big online presence, and won support from sovereigntist stalwart Jacques Parizeau. Now Aussant says the job offers he's been getting are in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and London — but nothing in Montreal or Quebec City."
  12. I just noticed on Fedex.com, my package is being shipped to somewhere with no address. I called up Fedex the person there was like please call BrightPoint. I did call BrightPoint, which transferred me to HTC, which told me to call Fedex back. Fedex again tried to change the address but couldn't and told me to contact BrightPoint to send them a fax for a change of address. I called BrightPoint and they said they can't do that seeing the product in transit. Called up Fedex again to tell them what was going on. One person said I need a utility bill to pick up the package in Burlington, VT which doesn't make sense the package has no address. Another person said I can pick it up with my Passport even if I am Canadian and another person said it might just go back to BrightPoint thats in Indiana. Again I called up HTC which they tried to resolve the issue and another issue came up, they can't access my order. Plus I also called up CIBC Visa. They can't do anything about lost packages other than they can refund me for the cost of the package. All this in 2 hours. Funny thing is... I asked for ground delivery and they gave me ground delivery home service, even though I am delivering it to a business. Even if they had the address on the package, they would be trying to deliver it to a business on Saturday thats not open. Thing is I some how managed to find out what trailer my package is on So I guess can try and hijack the Fedex trailer
  13. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Hopefully they don't lose $40 billion again, but at least they almost regained everything they lost.