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October 20, 2014

Olivia Chow proposes DineSafe-like grading system for apartment buildings

Filed under: money, online — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 12:48 pm

Olivia Chow says she would create an easily understandable grading system for apartment buildings, similar to the DineSafe system used for restaurants.

“You can go into a restaurant and see a red or a green sign and you know that restaurant is safe. Right now we do not have such a system for these buildings,” Chow said Monday outside an apartment building in East York. “What we should have is good transparency, so people know whether their buildings are full of deficiencies or in good repair.”

The mayoral candidate said she would introduce a smartphone application that would allow tenants to quickly search for information about a particular building, plus require landlords to post signs on buildings themselves. She called the current system “very, very opaque”: the information is available, but only to people who can find and search a complicated page on the city website.

Chow made the proposal while discussing a package of policies aimed at improving privately owned rental housing, which has been largely ignored during the 10-month campaign. She appeared with local councillor Janet Davis (open Janet Davis’s policard), whom she said “knows everything” about rental issues.

Chow also pledged to increase the frequency of building inspections, take landlords to court if they refuse to meet repair deadlines, and sometimes have the government do the repairs and put the tab on the landlords’ property tax bills. The city has the legal authority to take action, Davis said, but rarely does.

Problems in government-owned Toronto Community Housing have been discussed sporadically during the 10-month campaign, but almost no time has been spent discussing issues in other buildings. Chow, campaigning as a “progressive,” is the only contender with proposals directly aimed at private tenants.


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October 18, 2014

Haldane Says

Filed under: Uncategorized, money — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 12:20 pm

Bank of England Chief Economist Andrew Haldane said he

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October 17, 2014

China to Broaden Two-Child Policy in 2 Years, Adviser Says - Bloomberg

Filed under: Uncategorized, economics — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 4:32 am

All Chinese couples will be allowed to have a second child in two years, said a researcher who advises the government on birth control policies.

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October 15, 2014

Canada Goose unveils new Toronto factory

Filed under: Uncategorized, money — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 4:00 pm

Canada Goose chief executive officer Dani Reiss is always prepared for winter — but not necessarily for a flood.

A burst pipe last April in the front offices of the trendy parka manufacturer’s new factory on Bowie Ave., near Eglinton Ave. W. and Caledonia Rd., delayed the planned official opening until Wednesday, he explained.

Construction on the much larger, 90,000 square-foot factory — which doubles the brand’s previous production capacity from the old site nearby — started in early 2013, and Reiss’ army of garment cutters and sewers moved in earlier this year.

The factory and the popular jackets were fortunately not affected by the water pipe problem, but the front office required months of repairs to get it ready for the public launch, he noted.

“It was a big move for us,” Reiss told reporters as he unveiled the splashy (and dry) Canada Goose showroom and manufacturing centre to reporters.

The company recently hired an additional 200 employees for both the Toronto location and the recent expansion at its Winnipeg production facility.

Reiss said competitors never thought Canada Goose would last because of its insistence on keeping production in Canada since his grandfather founded the company in a small Toronto warehouse in 1957.

Over the last decade, the winter gear maker has increased revenues by 4,000 per cent and sells in 50 countries around the globe.

“It’s a proud Canadian success story with a strong future ahead of it,” said federal finance minister Joe Oliver at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the shop floor, where workers cheered the launch. The new global headquarters is located in his federal riding of Eglinton-Lawrence.

However, the historic firm is no longer in Canadian hands. New York private equity firm Bain Capital bought a majority stake in Canada Goose for an undisclosed sum last December.

“It’s enabled us to continue on our very aggressive growth path,” Reiss noted.

Bain has previously invested in a number of Canadian companies in their early stages, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Bombardier Recreational Products and BTI Systems.


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October 13, 2014

McDonald’s invites icky questions about its food

Filed under: management, news — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 5:52 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s wants to explain why its burgers may not rot and that there are no worms in its beef.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain is confronting unappetizing questions as part of a U.S. campaign to beat back perceptions that it serves Frankenfood. The company has run similar campaigns in Canada and Australia and said Monday it’s bringing the effort to its flagship market.

The push comes as McDonald’s fights to boost its performance in the U.S., where sales slid 1.5 percent at established locations in the most recent quarter, following a 0.2 percent dip for last year. In addition to increased competition, McDonald’s is trying to keep up with changing tastes, with places such as Chipotle marketing their food as more wholesome alternatives.

To improve the image of its food, McDonald’s recently rolled out chicken wraps with sliced cucumbers and the option to substitute egg whites in breakfast sandwiches. It also plans to eventually let people swap out the french fries in value meals with options like salad or vegetables.

For its latest campaign, among the first issues McDonald’s addresses are widely circulated online images and videos that show its burgers staying in tact after several weeks or even years. On its webpage, McDonald’s says that’s likely because the food has dehydrated, and that food needs moisture to form mold.

The company’s responses to other questions such as “Does McDonald’s beef contain worms?” are more direct: “No. Gross! End of story.”

A video posted on the company’s home page also showed Grant Imahara, a former host of the TV show “Mythbusters,” touring a Cargill beef plant where McDonald’s patties are made.

“Are there lips and eyeballs in there, Jimmy?” Imahara asks a plant supervisor, who explains that the patties only have beef trimmings. Another guide says the patties do not contain lean finely textured beef, an ingredient widely referred to as “pink slime” that became the subject of controversy a few years ago. McDonald’s stopped using the ingredient about three years ago.

Ben Stringfellow, vice president of communications for McDonald’s USA, said in a phone interview that the campaign is a new way of engaging with customers more directly. He noted people are demanding for more information about products across the board, not just from McDonald’s.

“In many ways, it’s the way the world is going,” he said.

National TV ads will begin airing Monday letting people know about the push. McDonald’s says people can submit questions via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The company plans to respond to the most common questions with videos or other posts, as well as responding one-on-one to questions, Stringfellow said.

Laura Ries, a marketing consultant based in Atlanta, noted McDonald’s risks bringing up unappetizing thoughts some people may never have heard about.

“I didn’t know people thought there were worms in its beef, or that they didn’t use real chicken,” Ries said.

Still, she agreed that companies have to be more responsive to questions from customers, especially at a time when people can amplify their concerns and criticisms to bigger audiences on social media.


Follow Candice Choi at


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October 12, 2014

USDA ups estimate of expected record corn, soybean harvest

Filed under: Mortgage, money — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 7:44 am

DES MOINES, Iowa • The expected record corn and soybean harvest will be slightly bigger than previously estimated, the result of late summer warmth that helped fill cornstalks with ears and soybean plants with bean pods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday.

Farmers are expected to bring in 14.5 billion bushels of corn, up 80 million bushels from the September estimate. It’s the third consecutive month the USDA has increased its estimate of the corn harvest as favorable weather helped the crops develop. And soybean farmers will harvest an estimated 3.93 billion bushels, up 14 million bushels from last month’s estimate.

It’ll be a banner year for corn, with farmers expected to harvest a national average of 174.2 bushels per acre, a significant increase over the record of 169 set in 2009. Though the USDA lowered the number of acres planted by 1 percent to 90.9 million acres, the increased yield pushed the total expected harvest higher.

Twenty-two states expect a record high corn yield for 2014, and 10 states will set a benchmark for number of ears, including Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Ohio.

Sixty percent of the corn crop was mature at the end of September, 10 percentage points behind the five-year average, but only 12 percent of the nation’s crop was harvested because while the crops are in good shape they were planted late and aren’t quite fully mature. That’s slightly ahead of last year but 11 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Soybean farmers will see records fall, too, as 12 states will set new yield benchmarks, including Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The national average yield was boosted to 47.1 bushels per acre, up from the record of 44 set in 2009.

Just 10 percent of soybeans have been harvested, seven percentage points behind normal in most places, and more than 10 percentage points behind in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas.

Ohio’s farmers are expected to see record corn and soybean yields.

Bill Bayliss, who grows both crops plus wheat in west-central Ohio, attributes it to weather that cooperated through the growing season.

“Unusually cooler weather and kind of consistent not big gully-washer downpours but just consistent rain made good growing conditions,” said Bayliss, who farms about 2,000 acres near West Mansfield.

He said harvest is about two weeks behind schedule as a result of late planting.


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October 10, 2014

Preliminary results show activist investor wins all 12 seats on board of Darden Restaurants

Filed under: Mortgage, economics — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 9:40 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Preliminary results show activist investor wins all 12 seats on board of Darden Restaurants.


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October 7, 2014

Banks Indonesia Holds Interest Rate Citing Inflation Risk - Bloomberg

Filed under: marketing, term — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 6:08 am


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October 5, 2014

Putin Clans Said Gridlocked Over Arrest as Sanctions Bite - Bloomberg

Filed under: Homes, marketing — Tags: , , , — Gogo @ 8:04 pm


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