October 13, 2006

Oct. 13, 2006: Friday the thirteenth ...

Balsillie and RIM discovered a profitable Pearl, and now the world's their oyster , Simon Avery, Oct. 13, 06, Globe and Mail


With Pearl, the world's RIM's oyster -- comments, SIMON AVERY, Globe and Mail Update, Oct. 12, 06


Thanks to the BlackBerry Pearl, Jim Balsillie's net worth increased by enough in the past month to pay for his acquisition of Pittsburgh Penguins almost twice over.

[....] Pearl smart phone ... BlackBerrys[....]

... outplayed rivals [....]

... from only two phone companies ... T-Mobile USA ... Rogers Wireless Communications Inc. ...

[....] includes a digital music player, a camera and expandable memory. [....]

At the insistence of Mike Lazaridis, co-chief executive of RIM and co-inventor of the BlackBerry, the Pearl was not built as a budget version of the larger, corporate devices. Instead it was designed using the full BlackBerry platform, which is known for its top-level security, efficient use of wireless spectrum, good battery life and reliable software platform. [....]

BCE dies Bell lives as trust -- Phone company goes back to basics in largest ever conversion to income trust , Catherine McLean, with a report from Wendy Stueck, Oct. 12, 06

While the change may signal an end to BCE's diversification adventure, it could create a new political headache for Ottawa. BCE is the largest company that has converted to an income trust so far. Under the new structure, Bell, like other trusts, will pay minimal corporate taxes because it will distribute most of its cash to unitholders.

[....] Mr. Sabia's move marks the end of a strategy developed in 1982 by A. Jean de Grandpré, who was then chairman of Bell Canada. BCE was created as a holding company out of the old monopoly utility as part of an attempt to ensure its non-telephone enterprises would be free from the clutches of the telecom regulator.

[...] Northern Telecom Ltd., ... TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., and Teleglobe Inc. .... also included real estate, financial and computer services, led to massive writedowns and BCE gradually began shedding them.

[....] Mr. Sabia's route to the Bell trust was far from direct. In February, the company announced plans to put its rural phone lines into an income trust. A month later, it added the land-line assets of Aliant Inc., the Atlantic Canada phone company it controls.

[....] to keep .... Bell Globemedia, owner of The Globe and Mail and the CTV television network, along with an investment in Telesat Holdings Inc.

Note that last sentence. The retained mainstream media presence and clout have political ramifications which BCE/Bell uses. Today, CTV.ca has been broadcasting the complete speech of Michael Ignatieff re-explaining his speech about Qana and Israel. The thrust of his whole speech is to demonize Prime Minister Harper and to cultivate Jewish votes.

There was a good article in the Globe and Mail Oct. 12, 06 (editorial/commentary pages) explaining Ignatieff's explanations and re-interpretations of what he said in Montreal in French. Worth looking for.

BCE's conversion plan: What does it all mean? , Angela Barnes, 12/10/06, Globe and Mail Update


So BCE Inc. has unveiled plans to eliminate its holding company structure and turn Bell Canada, its main asset, into an income trust. What does the largest-ever conversion to a trust mean for BCE itself, for the trust industry and for the federal government?

[....] The announcement also raises broader issues. Mr. MacKay [not Minister McKay] noted in his report that BCE expects to save $250-million in cash taxes next year and $800-million in 2008. “Combined with the approximately $500-million to $600-million that Telus will not be paying directly to the federal Government, we have to wonder if BCE's actions proves to be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back at the Department of Finance and forces the federal Government to once again review the trust structure,” he said.

Rival Telus Corp. announced a month ago that it was going the trust conversion route. [....]

... the minority Conservative government is unlikely to abruptly change the tax status of income trusts in the short term

Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank

Bangladesh's Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank win Nobel Peace Prize -- micro credit lending


Banker to the poor takes Nobel Peace Prize -- Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank, Oct. 13, 06


[....] Mr. Yunus told AP in a 2004 interview that his "eureka moment" came while chatting to a shy woman with calloused fingers weaving bamboo stools.

Sufia Begum was a 21-year-old villager and mother of three when the economics professor met her in 1974 and asked her how much she earned. She replied that she borrowed about five taka (10 cents) from a middleman for the bamboo for each stool. [....]

It makes a great story. There is more information:

Related: A considered argument for holding back on peace awards this year , Rory MacGregor, Oct. 13, 06




[....This is interesting on how it is done.] 'fractional reserve banking'. [....]

Bombardier and partner win Malaysian contract -- $210-million , CP, October 13, 2006

[....] Bombardier and local partner Hartasuma Sdn Bhd signed a contract with transport agency Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad for the initial 88 advanced rapid-transit (ART) MK II cars to be used on the Kelana Jaya line in Kuala Lumpur.

The driverless Kelana Jaya line began operation in 1998 and was built by a Bombardier-led consortium that included Bombardier and SNC Lavalin. Now the line links western and eastern suburbs to Kuala Lumpur's downtown.

[....] The cars will be made at Bombardier Transportation plants in North America, with final assembly in Malaysia through the local partner, which is a major player in the Malaysian rail industry. [....]

Punted Posters: $300,000.00 from Chinese Red Army to Clinton/Gore -- Free Republic: Red General and Clinton Donations



[....] "We like your president," Gen. Ji told Chung before passing a check for $300,000 across the table. "We want him re-elected." [....]

More importantly, U.S. investigators also said Chinese company representatives tried to sell undercover U.S. agents "rocket launchers, anti-aircraft missiles, machine guns and even tanks."

In August 1996, the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) ship Princess Bride was caught in an attempt to smuggling over 2,000 machine guns into the United States.

According to Customs officials, the bust was nearly foiled by a leak from inside the Clinton administration to COSCO, forcing the agents to move early on the Princess Bride while it was still docked in Los Angeles harbor.

"Poly's U.S. subsidiaries were abruptly closed in August 1996. Allegedly, Poly's representative, Robert Ma, conspired with China North Industries Corporation's (NORINCO) representative, Richard Chen, and a number of businessmen in California to illegally import 2000 AK-47s into the United States," states a 1997 Rand Corporation report.

All those charged by the Reno Justice Department were released pending a trial. All of those released, including Ma and Chen, fled to China and have never faced a U.S. jury. The Clinton administration never pursued the alleged criminals nor sought extradition from the PRC. Again, Janet Reno refused to pursue the evidence.

Of course, the fact remains that President Clinton met with the Wang Jun, the CEO of Poly Technologies in February 1996, prior to the arms bust by U.S. Customs agents. Clinton's close Arkansas friend Charlie Trie brought Wang to the White House.

Bill Clinton also took a $50,000 donation from Charlie "Yah Lin" Trie at that same meeting. Clinton, Trie and Wang then shared coffee inside the White House. None of the three ever explained where the $50,000 came from. [.... There is more. ]

Inquiries urged for torture cases -- Amnesty International wants federal investigation into other cases like Arar , Murray Brewster


[....] The cases of [Muayyed Nureddin], Abdullah Almalki and Toronto truck driver Ahmad El Maati figured prominently in the recently concluded public inquiry into Arar's case.

[....] But Nureddin, Almalki and El Maati all say they believe Canadian authorities supplied questions about them to their Syrian interrogators.

"Someone has to answer for the 22 months I spent in jail for no reason," Almalki said. "And someone has to be held accountable for continuously feeding unreliable information that kept me in an underground solitary confinement cell for 482 consecutive days." [....]

Do the countries of the ones who tortured these men pay ... or do Canadian taxpayers pay?

PM urged to fix troubled youth system -- Justice ministers push to add youth law reform to crowded anti-crime agenda , Michael Tutton, Oct. 12, 06

[....] Since taking office earlier this year, the federal Tories have also introduced legislation to end house arrest for serious offences and implement mandatory minimum sentences for crimes involving guns.

Manitoba's Dave Chomiak said it's time now to put reform of the controversial Youth Criminal Justice Act on the growing list before Parliament.

The New Democrat said Ottawa needs to introduce changes that will allow judges to consider "deterrence and denunciation" in sentencing teenagers who commit heinous crimes.

"The public has demanded the revolving door stop at some point, and we're supportive of that," Chomiak said.

Manitoba has been particularly alarmed by light sentences given to youth since a 15-year-old boy who beat a man to death with a billiard ball in a sock was sentenced in 2003 to a day in jail.

Freelance writers win court challenge, John Ward, TorSun, Oct. 13, 06


OTTAWA (CP) - The Supreme Court has handed freelance writers a victory, ruling that newspapers and magazines can't put their material into online databases without their permission.

But Thursday's 5-4 decision won't have much of an impact on most of today's freelancers. That's because most publishers now require writers to sign so-called "all-rights" contracts which explicitly transfer rights for any and all uses, without additional payment.

Search: Heather Robertson , a contract, express or implied , CD-ROM form , Justice Rosalie Abella , electronic rights , electronic databases

If you write for a living, you might want to check into this and the ramifications.

Strahl to Wheat Board: stifle yourself , BitWhys,10/12/2006 16:51:32


"Farmers should be debating the future of the CWB, and I'm always interested in hearing from farmers. However, the CWB should use its resources and energy to market grain for farmers." - Chuck Strahl

Malapropisms -- and here , uplink, 10/12/2006 20:03:51



The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's {2006} winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time. [....]

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it. [....]

Mother killed after teen rejects Islam , Annabelle McDonald and Jeremy Roberts, The Australian 12 Oct 06


An autopsy on the teenager's mother, 41-year-old Yasmin Hussain, found she died from a single stab wound to her chest.

Her husband, Muhammad Hussain, 49, was in a critical condition at the Gold Coast hospital in an induced coma after suffering a stab wound to his chest.

[....] Gold Coast Muslims yesterday lashed out against claims the murder was a Koran-sanctioned ritual killing to punish the rejection of Islam. [....]

Speech: PM Harper
Building Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway

October 11, 2006

[....] Our major west coast ports are much closer to the main commercial ports of Asia than most of the American ports we compete with.

Shanghai, for example, is nearly two days closer to Vancouver than Los Angeles for the fastest container ships.

Prince Rupert is at least three days closer.

Yet in spite of this advantage, and the huge cost savings it represents for shippers, Canada today only handles 9% of West Coast container traffic. [There will be road transport costs from Prince Rupert or is this mainly for shipping out oil and LNG, minerals to China?]

And even though we have excellent rail, road and air links from the coast to most major markets in the United States, only 9% of our current container traffic serves U.S. markets. [....]

Canada should be the crossroads between the massive economy of the United States and the burgeoning economies of Asia. [....]

That’s why Canada’s new government is announcing today that we are moving ahead immediately with the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor initiative.

This is a massive undertaking. It is a collaborative effort involving all levels of government and the private sector.

The governments of all four western provinces [....]

So we are taking action right now to launch 12 separate infrastructure, transportation technology and border security projects.

[....] five key areas of investment focus:

First, all the major commercial ports, from Rupert to Roberts Bank will see major expansions and improvements.

Second, bridges and roads linking the ports to the national and trans-national highway systems will be built or upgraded.

Third, there will be further twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park;

Four, a new container security screening facility will be installed at the Port of Prince Rupert;

And finally, a high-tech traffic management system will be developed for the Lower Mainland that will move containers into and out of port terminals faster and more efficiently.

The private sector has committed over $3 billion to Gateway- and Corridor-related capital investment between 2004 and 2010. [Who in the private sector?]

As a result of our combined efforts, total container throughput capacity at our Pacific ports is projected to rise from $2 million a year today to $7 million by 2020.


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