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Newsletter. Issue 2009-14. July 04, 2009

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UN Economic Conference Offers Hope to Developing World
By Joe De Capua | Washington D.C | 25 June 2009

Many NGO and humanitarian organizations are following developments at the U.N. economic conference in New York this week, waiting to see what will be done to help developing nations.

Among them is the Catholic development organization, CIDSE, which has presented a report on the crisis. The report, funded by the Dutch government, outlines the effects the downturn is having on developing countries. Aldo Caliari, director of the Rethinking Bretton Woods Project, and a member of CIDSE, spoke to VOA from New York about the UN conference.

"We are happy that the UN has been able to speak with one voice on the crisis. And this product that the UN has issued is actually a lot better... than what the Group 20 produced two months ago in London," he said.

However, he's concerned about whether the United Nations can act fast enough. "There are many millions of people who are falling into poverty?losing their jobs," he said.

Dealing with debt

This week's meeting could produce a new framework for debt relief.

"This would have to happen very fast because as we speak debt is mounting at such high levels. We never had a debt crisis in an environment where there is no trade, like now. Trade is contracting 10 percent worldwide," Caliari said. In March, a U.N. commission recommended the creation of a global economic council, saying it would be a "globally representative forum to address areas of concern in the functioning of the global economic system in a comprehensive way."

Caliari is calling for immediate approval of such a council.

"This is a proposal that has been put on the table, supported by many countries now. It would be a way to democratize decision-making in the system. I think with so many poor countries affected by a crisis in which they have no say it would be very important," he said.

However, the United States and other developed nations are opposed to a global economic council, reluctant to give up some of the control they now have to the United Nations.

"I think there is a question of who controls the decisions on global economic policy. But I think there is an undeniable argument of justice when you have seen that probably the United States is the country in the least tenable position in opposing such a council," he said. He said that's because the epicenter of the financial crisis is found in the United States "and now a lot of other countries are being affected by it."

The United States and other G-20 countries pledged over $1 trillion in April to spur the global economy. Much of that money will be funneled to the International Monetary Fund for loans to poor countries.


All eyes on Canada
Good migrations: Britons moving abroad

Excerpts from
Ben Quinn | The Guardian, Saturday 27 June 2009

Increasing numbers of UK nationals have become permanent residents in Canada, up from 5,199 in 2003 to 8,128 in 2007. Though it has not escaped the global downturn, the International Monetary Fund has identified Canada's economy as one which will recover strongly and quicker than others, thanks largely to a boom in sectors such as technology. Those qualifying for any of the 38 listed occupations, including financial auditor and cook, may have their visa applications prioritised, while rugged provinces such as Alberta also need workers in a range of sectors.

Traditionally Britons have tended to emigrate during the good years while preferring to stay put in uncertain economic times. However, the sign from this recession is that the "new" emigrants are bucking that tradition. While a different curve of emigration ? which included many retirees ? peaked in 2007 and began to decline early last year, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that a new trend for emigration began to pick up again in the second half of 2008.
More than 165,000 UK nationals had emigrated last year by September.

This year's yet-to-be published Brits Abroad report by the Institute for Public Policy Research will show most Britons now emigrating are highly skilled, although the net loss of such workers seems to be decreasing. Work, lifestyle and adventure are listed as the three main reasons for emigrating, although many of those moving for the latter two reasons will also be working.

But perhaps most interestingly, the report is expected to reveal how advances in remote working mean that a rising number of Britons are having their cake and eating it, by emigrating and retaining their jobs back in the UK.


Green shoots start to sprout in green sector- Canada's alternative energy sector growing
Sun Jun 28, 10:50 AM | By Susan Taylor

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's alternative energy sector is showing signs of a budding recovery, as companies resurrect financing deals and public offerings that withered with the recession, but that revival remains very fragile.

In recent weeks, companies ranging from water treatment firm GLV Inc to green building products maker Genesis Worldwide Inc have raised millions of dollars in share and debenture offerings. Geothermal firm Magma Energy Corp just raised C$100 million ($87 million) in a warmly received initial public offering and electric car maker Zenn Motor Co Inc has filed a preliminary, un priced prospectus to sell shares.

"It's the first green shoots appearing in the green energy area," said Duncan Stewart, analyst at DSAM Consulting.

"If you compare buying a cleantech stock to a computer, (investors) put it in a sleep mode. Now that they've turned the market back on, the first thing that pops up on their screen is: Note to self - Go buy some cleantech stocks."

The activity marks a thaw from the investment freeze that slammed cleantech firms -- which sell technology that boosts productivity while cutting costs and energy consumption -- particularly hard when the credit crisis took hold. Two months into 2009, for example, cleantech companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange had raised just C$4.7 million in financing deals. That grew to C$125 million by the end of April and then jumped another 22 percent to C$152.6 million at the end of May, according to the latest TSX data. As of May 31, four such companies had completed public offerings in 2009, bringing sector listings to 117 on the Toronto exchanges. There are more IPOs and financing deals to come after the sector bottomed out in the first quarter, said John McIlveen, research director at Jacob & Co Securities Inc, an investment bank that specializes in renewable energy.

"Most of the companies, for the past year, have had their stocks so depressed ... no one wanted to even issue shares at that level. There was too much dilution," McIlveen said. "The companies themselves put everything on hold because it was so expensive to issue equity. So now that stocks are rising again, and things are getting closer to their fundamental value, we'll probably see more issuers willing to go to market. And I think there is an appetite."

Legend Power Systems Inc hopes McIlveen is right.

Not long after Gerry Gill's Vancouver-based electrical energy conservation company went public last summer, markets collapsed and his efforts to drum up cash fell flat. Now, Gill believes the time is right to raise C$10 million in a private placement as environmental issues gain prominence and investors return to the green sector. After seven and a half years of research and development, his company wants to push into incentive-rich markets in Canada and the United States. "Even at this stage, it may be a bit dilutive. However, the opportunities are there," said Gill, the company's chief executive. "It's a little more work today than it has been in the past. I think we just have to put our nose to it, and get it done." Legend Power believes there is a C$100 billion opportunity in North America for its technology, which adjusts and optimizes the voltage between an electrical utility and a commercial customer to save energy. Market watchers say the current wave of financing deals, which is good for both the industry and investors, will likely gather steam.

"It's not too late to be looking at many of these cleantech stocks," said Stewart. "Many of them are up 50 to 100 percent from their lows, but they're still down 80 or 90 percent off their highs." But investors need to stay nimble, alert to plunging oil prices or sharp market declines that could scorch the green sector resurrection.

"It's incredibly fragile. It could go away in less than 24 hours," Stewart said.

($1=$1.15 Canadian)
(Reporting by Susan Taylor; editing by Rob Wilson)


Ontario Suspends Nuclear Reactor Procurement

QUEEN'S PARK, June 29 /CNW/ - The Government of Ontario today announced that it has suspended the competitive RFP to procure two replacement nuclear reactors planned for the Darlington site. Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman indicated that the government remains committed to the modernization of Ontario's nuclear fleet. "Emission-free nuclear power remains a crucial aspect of Ontario's supply mix" Smitherman said, "unfortunately, the competitive bidding process has not provided Ontario with a suitable option at this time" he added.

Proposal submissions were received from AREVA NP, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and Westinghouse Electric Company on February 27, 2009 and carefully evaluated. Only the submission from AECL was compliant with the terms of the RFP and the objectives of the Government. However, concern about pricing and uncertainty regarding the company's future prevented Ontario from continuing with the procurement at this time.

In March 2008, Ontario undertook a two phase competitive procurement process to select a nuclear vendor to build a two unit nuclear power plant at Darlington. The units are to replace older units as part of a strategy to renew Ontario's nuclear fleet. Nuclear power accounts for about 50 percent of Ontario's electricity needs and provides a reliable, stable and clean supply of base load electricity.


Harinder Takhar Promoted to Minister of Government Services in Ontario Government
South Asian Observer | Mississauga

Takhar Promoted to Minister of Government Services
( Jun 26 2009 )

Harinder Singh Takhar, who made history in 2003 by being appointed as Ontario?s first South Asian Cabinet minister, has been promoted in Dalton McGuinty?s latest cabinet shuffle. Takhar, who has served as Minister of Transportation, Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Minister of Small Business and Consumers Services, was appointed as Minister of Government Services by Premier McGuinty on Wednesday June 13, 2009.

The move is considered to be a major promotion for Takhar who represents the riding of Mississauga ? Erindale for the Liberals.  ?I am proud and humbled to have been given the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Ontario again,? said Takhar after the official swearing in ceremony which was conducted by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario at Queens Park. ?I look forward to the new portfolio and working with my colleagues in the McGuinty government to move our province forward and strengthen the economy in these challenging times.?

The Ministry of Government Services is one of the largest and most important ministries in the Ontario government.


Canadian Sikh Body Calls for Help to Sri Lankan Tamils
Jun 30 2009

Ottawa: The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) has called upon the world community and specifically the United Nations and the governments of Canada, the United States and U.K. to take timely and effective actions to put an end to the suffering of the innocent Tamil people of Sri Lanka who, after three decades of hardship resulting from a conflict between LTTE and the state, are now displaced from their homes.

Having completed their military campaign against the LTTE, the government of Sri Lanka must take all appropriate measures to mitigate the suffering of its innocent Tamil population and ensure their safe and expeditious return to their traditional historical places of residence.  ?The situation facing the hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees is abysmal and must not be allowed to continue. The lives of these innocent refugees cannot be sacrificed in the name of security? said Mr. Gian Singh Sandhu, senior policy advisor to the WSO.

Ram Raghbir Singh Chahal, International President, WSO, said, ?The world community of nations must not stand aloof and watch helplessly as more than 300,000 innocent people are driven from their homes to seek refuge without any NGOs being allowed to monitor the conditions or to render necessary humanitarian assistance.?

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