QuickNews, Friday, Oct. 23.
SPECTACULAR ONTARIO DEFICIT | Shortfall put at record $24.7 billion. That's up from $14.1 billion predicted just eight months ago in spring budget. Previous record is $12.4 billion in recession year of 1992 during Rae government. Dwight Duncan, finance minister, explains wreckage of global economy - resulting in job loss, especially in manufacturing, and reduced exports, especially of vehicles - has reduced Ontario economy and government revenues to 2005 levels.
Greek ceremony marks lighting of flame for Vancouver Olympics. Greek actress Maria Nafpliotou, playing role of priestess, accepts flame for Winter Games in temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia, Greece. Photo: Jonathan Hayward, Canadian Press.
PENSION SOLUTION? | NDP proposes federal protection for retirees of insolvent firms. Wants self-sustaining national program funded by employers that guarantees pensioners $2,500 per month if their pension plans go belly up. Cites similar programs in U.S. and Netherlands that adopt so-called "orphaned" pension plans. Party also proposes doubling CPP benefit to $1,817 per month, long-standing demand of many seniors groups. Current maximum annual CPP payout is meagre $10,500.
HARBALL FROM BoC | Mark Carney threatens to weaken loonie if value keeps rising. Trying to dissuade foreign speculators from buying CDN$ on weakness of greenback. For months Carney has been focused on reining in loonie's appreciation in order to restore currency advantage for Canadian exporters.
HARDBALL ON CHINA | Krugman accuses China of stealing jobs from other nations. In NYT column today, Nobel laureate economist argues that maintaining artificially low currency was OK until about 2001, helping China establish foothold in export markets. But it's since been impoverishing other world economies, including U.S. and Canada. And now's an ideal time, after years of Western complaints ignored by Beijing, to force China to let yuan float rather than be pegged to greenback.
MAGNA-OPEL PROGRESS | Magna reaches agreement with Spanish workers fearing job loss.
HERE'S TO YOUR (RECESSIONARY) HEALTH | Less stress + less lavish dining = better health. New study, backing one previously reported here, finds reduction in work-related stress and more careful budgeting on food improves mortality rates. Sure, but jobless-related stress would seem make it a wash, one might think.
EEK | JAL, Japan's flagship carrier, has staggering negative net worth of $8.8 billion (U.S.). Government requirements that Japan Air Lines maintain extensive route structure are big cost advantage to healthier rival All Nippon Airways. Yet both Delta and American Air still interested in partnering with JAL if Tokyo will backstop its debt.
UNBELIEVEABLE | "Public option" might find its way into U.S. Senate health reform bill. Upper house has been hostile to proposal for new government health insurer. That was before Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported this week a public option would help cut soaring healthcare costs.
GREATEST HITS DVD | NFB celebrates 70th b-day with compilation of its greatest work.
QUOTE OF THE DAY | "There, but for the grace of God, goes God." -Herman Mankiewicz, screenwriter, on Orson Welles, his collaborator in the screenplay for Citizen Kane.
Courtesy The New Yorker, Oct. 26 edition.