CALIFORNIA CRACKDOWN ON ARENA-SIZED TVs | Power-hungry sets could be banned. Golden State, long the U.S. eco-trailblazer, now considering ban on sale of all but the most energy-efficient TV sets.
CARNEY IN NEW YORK | Canads's most credible economic expert talks reform tomorrow. Central banker with harsh words lately for half-measures is bound to detail substantive reforms all nations must take to avoid repeat of financial crisis. Wall Street won't like Mark Carney's calls for bigger capital cushions and restrictions on risk, but it will listen up. Canada will be one of two nations heading up development of global reforms package.
HELL FREEZES OVER | Goldman Sachs apologizes for role in global financial meltdown. CEO Lloyd Blankfein also pledges $100 million (U.S.) per year to help small biz, tiny fraction of Goldman bonus pool already set aside for 2009. A PR exercise, of course, but I think this is the first apology from anyone on Wall Street for triggering near-repeat of Great Depression. (Photo: Chip East, Reuters.)
ABSTINENCE-ONLY SEX EDUCATION A FLOP | STD rates still growing, says CDC. U.S. to reconsider Bush-era sex-ed focused exclusively on abstinence, without providing guidance on safe sex.
ANTIBIOTICS CRISIS | Over-prescribing has raised bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Docs say they're now resorting to earlier generations of antibiotics and to compounds they know of only from what's been written about them.
TEMPLE MOUNTS | Harper's Indian photo-ops a transparent bid for Indo-Canadian votes at home. PM's greatest-hits tour of India's most famous temples does nothing to advance Canada-U.S. trade and other issues. But the home audience of 1 million Indo-Canadians - especially those in swing ridings - might be impressed, Harper hopes. (Photo: Stephen Harper at Amritsar's Golden Temple yesterday.)
SQUIGGLY UPDATE | Iggy reverses again, maybe he will whip caucus on gun registry vote. After rumoured spine transplant by Rae, who if there was a god would be Grit leader by now, Ignatieff decides earlier decision to allow a free vote on dismantling the long-gun registry the Grits created and cops find essential might not be good plan, after all. But for rural Grit MPs who hate the registry, just wait a day, I expect Iggy isn't done pivoting on this one.
EXIT STAGE RIGHT | U.S. administration pushing for early sale of GM stake. Bankrupt only a few months ago, GM could be in good enough shape to regain stock-market listing by next year's second half. If the economy recovers. If N.A. vehicle sales abuptly pull out of unprecedented slump. If buyers like the look of GM's newest models. In other words, don't bet on a GM IPO in 2010 - but kudos for the ambitious goal.
LESS CROWDED SKIES | Delta and fellow SkyTeam members want JAL link. Meanwhile, British Airways negotiating merger with Iberia.
RAIL COUP | Bombardier close to landing huge SNCF contract. Deal could amount to 800 regional and commuter train sets for France at total value of almost $13 billion (U.S.). (Photo: Bombardier-built regional train at Rouen station in northern France. By Boris Maslard, Reuters.)
CANDID OBAMA | Warns of double-dip recession, hints 9/11 suspect will get death penalty. The first comment, an acknowledgment that indefinite deficit spending could cause a downturn, is a sop to the Johnny-come-lately fiscal conservatives in Republican camp - where were they when Bush was running up record deficits? Latter is a sop to Chicken Littles who fear Big Apple may become terrorist target again with criminal trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan rather than military trial at Gitmo.
GASSING UP | TransCanada forecasts 60% leap in pretax profit by 2013. Never mind current global gas glut. Company is predicting a 70% hike in natural gas demand over next decade with its increased use in generating power.
CANDY CONTEST | Hershey and Ferrero may try to outbid Kraft for Cadbury. Betting has to remain on the much bigger Kraft, which opened the bidding. Trust-controlled Hershey and private Ferrero don't have nearly the same access to acquisition financing. But savvy for Hershey to team with a Euro-partner, as EU Commission is bound to have a say in this.
BURIAL RITES | Coal producers' best hope is sequestration. But technology for burying CO2 is unproven, and scorned by environmentalists who worry about underground migration. Industry's only high cards are America's super-abundance of coal - Appalachia is the Saudi Arabia of coal - and fact that half of total U.S. power is generated by coal-fired plants.
CARBON SINK SUNK | Oceans struggling to absorb greenhouse-gas emissions.
FOUNDING FATHERS ON CLIMATE CHANGE | Ben Franklin and the boys worried about it too. Lively debate among America's earliest leaders about abrupt warming and cooling of climate, and speculation about causes.
CASH FOR CAULKERS | Why not replicate successful "cash for clunkers" with home repairs? Idea has Obama's tentative support, as part of job-creation strategy that kicks off early next year.
IRAN RENEGES | Backs off earlier pledge to relocate uranium stockpile to Russia. Not sure what mullahs' game is here, except to extract friendlier deal from Western nations increasingly impatient with Tehran. With Iraq quieting down and Obama crafting exit strategy for Afghanistan, and existing members of nuke club like India hostile to new members, Tehran is playing with a weaker hand than it imagines.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? | Translation firm makes sure baby's name not embarrassing in other tongues. At steep fee of $1,678 (U.S.), London-based Today Translations expects to attract mostly celebrity parents. Like, for instance, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and daughter Suri, whose name means "pickpocket" in Japanese, "turned sour" in French, and "horse mackerels" in Italian. (I don't know what a horse mackeral is either.)
QUOTE OF THE DAY | “We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologize.” -Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, in a Tuesday speech at a corporate conference in New York.
Courtesy The New Yorker, Nov. 2 edition.
Please consider joining me as an elf this holiday season by participating in the Toronto Star's Santa Claus Fund, a century-old Toronto tradition. The Star uses donations to assemble and distribute gift boxes to thousands of less-financially advantaged children throughout the GTA. Each box contains a book, clothing and a toy. You can read all about it, including first-hand accounts of Toronto families in need, at http://www.thestar.com/santaclausfund. I'm counting on your kindness to help put smiles on thousands of young faces this December 25th! Many thanks, David