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TMCNet:  Business News as of 6 p.m. ET

[December 17, 2012]

Business News as of 6 p.m. ET

(Canadian Press DataFile Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Monday, Dec. 17 6 p.m. ET BUSINESS NEWS ADVISORY Here are the top Business News stories from The Canadian Press as of 6 p.m. ET. All times are Eastern unless otherwise stated. Coverage plans are included when available. Entries are subject to change as news develops.


Queries should be addressed to the business desk at 416-507-2138. To reach CP Business by email, send messages to business(at)thecanadianpress.com.

____ TOP BUSINESS NEWS THIS HOUR ___ Triggers could fuel pension reform: Flaherty Finance-Ministers-Pensions OTTAWA _ Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says there still isn't enough support from the provinces to expand the Canada Pension Plan.But Flaherty, who spent the day meeting with his provincial counterparts, says the issue is far from dead. PHOTO. Will be Writethru; moves Business and National __ Carney stay with Liberal not conflict: BoC Carney-Liberals OTTAWA _ The Bank of Canada tried to quell questions about its governor's impartiality and judgment Monday, saying Mark Carney was not afoul of conflict rules by vacationing in the summer at the cottage of the Liberal finance critic.The central bank confirmed a weekend report that Carney stayed at Scott Brison's Nova Scotia cottage while key members of the Liberal party were courting him for the leadership. PHOTO. Moves Business and National ___ CREA cuts home sales forecast for '12 and '13 CREA-Home-Sales OTTAWA _ The Canadian Real Estate Association cut its sales forecast for this year and next on Monday as it reported slower sales for November in the wake of tighter lending rules that came into force in the summer.The industry association now expects home sales this year to slip 0.5 per cent compared with 2011 to about 456,300. PHOTO. Moved Business and National __ Sun Life sells U.S. annuity business Sun-Life Sun Life Financial will focus on growing its U.S. group insurance and asset management businesses after selling the more volatile variable annuity life insurance unit for US$1.35 billion to Delaware Life Holdings, a company owned by shareholders of Guggenheim Partners. Dean Connor, the Toronto-based company's president and chief executive officer, called the transaction a "transformational change" for Sun Life. PHOTO.

___ Rogers taking orders for BlackBerry 10 RIM-BlackBerry TORONTO _ Rogers Communications says its current wireless customers will be able to place orders for BlackBerry 10 devices starting Monday.The new BlackBerry 10 devices on offer will be "all-touch" and won't have the physical keyboard that BlackBerry users are used to typing on.

___ Inmet cautious on First Quantum takeover bid Inmet-First-Quantum TORONTO _ Copper miner Inmet Mining Corp. (TSX:IMN) is taking a cautious approach to a renewed, $5.1-billion takeover bid for the company by rival First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSX:FM).Inmet said Monday that it has not yet received the unsolicited offer announced on the weekend by First Quantum and is urging shareholders to take no action until it can evaluate the details.

___ TransCanada signs Ontario power plant deal TransCanada-Power-Plant TORONTO _ The Ontario Power Authority announced Monday it had signed a contract with TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) to own and operate a gas-fired generating station near Kingston that was originally planned for the Greater Toronto Area.The 900-megawatt facility will be located near Ontario Power Generation's Lennox Generating Station property in Napanee instead of Oakville, a move the Liberal government said would cost taxpayers $40 million. Moved Business and Ontario/Quebec regional ALSO IN THE NEWS ___ Stock markets divided as fiscal cliff looms Dollar-Markets TORONTO _ North American markets split directions as the Toronto Stock Exchange moved lower on widespread weakness, while Wall Street got a boost from talks to resolve the "fiscal cliff."The S&P/TSX composite index fell 15.37 points to close at 12,281.35.

___ Loonie higher as US leaders meet over budget Loonie TORONTO _ The Canadian dollar moved higher Monday as key commodity prices gained traction and some progress was made south of the border toward avoiding the so-called "fiscal cliff."The loonie ended the session up 0.29 of a cent to 101.66 cents US.

___ Oil up on hopes of 'fiscal cliff' resolution Oil-Prices NEW YORK _ The price of oil finished higher Monday as political leaders in Washington appear closer to a resolution in critical budget negotiations.President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House on Monday in hopes of making more progress toward avoiding the "fiscal cliff," a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that go into effect on Jan. 1.

___ Obama, Boehner meeting at the White House US-Fiscal-Cliff-Obama-Boehner WASHINGTON _ A White House official says President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are meeting at the White House to discuss the pending fiscal cliff and deficit reduction. The meeting comes as Boehner is offering $1 trillion in higher tax revenue over 10 years and an increase in the top tax rate on people making more than $1 million a year.

___ Ottawa seeks comments on proposed potash mine Encanto-Potash REGINA _ Federal regulators want to hear from the public about a plan to build a $2.4-billion potash mine on aboriginal land north of Regina.The joint proposal is being put forward by Encanto Potash Corp. (TSXV:EPO) and the Muskowekwan First Nation under the name First Potash Ventures. Will be writethru. Moves on west-regional and business wires. Guard against duplication ___ Air Canada to launch discount airline Tuesday Air-Canada TORONTO _ Air Canada plans to launch its new low-cost airline Tuesday in Toronto. The company gave few details but promised more information would be released at the event. PHOTO.

___ TMAC to buy Hope Bay project in Nunavut TMAC-Newmont-Hope-Bay TORONTO _ TMAC Resources Inc. has signed a deal to buy the Hope Bay Project in Nunavut from Newmont Mining Corp. of Canada Ltd. Financial terms of the agreement were not immediately available.

__ CRTC seeks public input on 911 improvements CRTC-Reviews-911 OTTAWA _ The federal telecom regulator has begun a public consultation about the future of 911 emergency phone services in Canada. The CRTC says it's looking for ways to improve 911 services in light of changing technology to next-generation networks based on Internet Protocol. Moves Business and National ___ Newfoundland to proceed with Muskrat Falls Muskrat-Falls ST. JOHN'S _ The government of Newfoundland and Labrador says it will proceed with development of the multibillion-dollar Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.Premier Kathy Dunderdale, speaking at the provincial legislature late Monday in St. John's, said the decision marks a significant day in the province's history. PHOTO. Moves National, Atlantic and Business; please guard against duplication __ Iristel launches local phone service in North Iristel-North-Phones TORONTO _ Iristel says it has launched local phone service in Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Inuvik to compete with Bell's Northwestel. Iristel says consumers and business in these communities can keep their existing phone numbers if they switch to the voice-over-Internet service.

___ Athabasca Oil outlines 2013 capital plans Athabasca-Oil-Outlook CALGARY _ Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH) says it plans to spend $798 million on capital projects next year to develop its light and heavy oil assets in Alberta. The budget includes construction of the Hangingstone oilsands project near Fort McMurray, Alta. Will be updated ___ Apple sells 2M iPhone 5s in China in first 3 days US-Apple-China NEW YORK _ Apple said Monday that it sold more than 2 million iPhone 5s in China in their first three days of availability, setting a record for that market.The iPhone 5, which launched in China on Friday, will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December.

___ Ivernia CEO Alan De'ath stepping down Ivernia-Enirgi TORONTO _ Base metals miner Ivernia Inc. (TSX:IVW) has signed a management services agreement with its majority shareholder as part of a restructuring move that will also see current president and CEO Alan De'ath take early retirement. Under the agreement with Enirgi Group Corp., which holds 58.9 per cent of the Toronto-based Ivernia's stock, Enirgi president and CEO Wayne Richardson will take over as head of Ivernia effective Dec. 28. "De'ath in following correct ___ CVTech wins $29 million Hydro-Quebec work CVTech-Hydro DRUMMONDVILLE _ Powerline maintenance and services company CVTech Group (TSX:CVT) has been awarded three Hydro-Quebec contracts valued at $29 million that will employ about 200 employees.The public electricity utility exercised an option to renew a contract for one year to build, maintain and modify overhead distribution networks in the Montreal and Richelieu areas of the province at a cost of $15 million. About 100 employees will conduct the work.

___ Urbana gets major role at CNSX market Urbana-CNSX TORONTO _ Three representatives of Urbana Corp. (TSX:URB) have been elected to the seven-member board of the Canadian National Stock Exchange as part of a major investment in the privately held market operator. Toronto-based Urbana, which invests in numerous securities market operators, has agreed to buy up to 49 per cent of CNSX _ which competes with the larger, better-known TMX Group (TSX:X), owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

___ Regulator wants input on fracking rules Alta-Fracking-Rules CALGARY _ A growing use of fracking in the oilpatch has Alberta's energy regulator looking for public input on new rules that could require companies to submit development plans for entire regions at a time."We want to make sure that communities are fully engaged and have a voice early on so that they don't feel that they're being worn down incrementally," Bob Curran, spokesman for the Energy Resources Conservation Board, said Monday. Moves on west-regional and business wires. Guard against duplication __ Inmet cautious on First Quantum takeover bid Inmet-First-Quantum TORONTO _ Copper miner Inmet Mining Corp. (TSX:IMN) is taking a cautious approach to a renewed, $5.1-billion takeover bid for the company by rival First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSX:FM).Inmet said Monday that it has not yet received the unsolicited offer announced on the weekend by First Quantum and is urging shareholders to take no action until it can evaluate the details.

__ Patheon Q4 loss soars to $23 million Patheon TORONTO _ Patheon Inc. (TSX:PTI) is reporting substantially increased net losses for both its fourth quarter and full year, with the contract drug manufacturer citing a big income tax charge as well as the cost of closing its Swindon, U.K., facility.The Toronto-based Patheon said Monday that its net loss in the three months ended Oct. 31 was $23.1 million or just under 18 cents per diluted share for a period in which it booked $39.8 million for income taxes.

___ Draghi: ECB to keep monetary, bank policy separate EU-European-Central-Bank FRANKFURT _ The head of the European Central Bank says the institution will be careful to keep its monetary policy functions separate from its new banking supervisory responsibilities when it takes over as Europe's top bank watchdog.Mario Draghi said Monday the bank will draw on the experience of other central banks and set up procedures "that ensure functional separation." PHOTO.

___ Trim gender gap to boost economies, OECD says EU-OECD-Gender-Gap PARIS _ Governments looking to boost growth should focus on further narrowing the "gender gap" that continues to hold women back in education, employment and entrepreneurship, a new report said Monday.Women continue to earn less than men, are less likely to make it to the top of the career ladder and are more likely to spend their final years in poverty, according to "Closing the Gender Gap," released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

___ (c) 2012 The Canadian Press

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