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27 February 2009

11 February was the 11th day of the eighth month of the 3rd year of Canadian national consciousness rising to invincibility.

11 February 2009

Dr William Overall, National Director of the Global Country of World Peace in Canada, presented highlights of news reports reflecting Canada's rising invincibility from Yogic Flying groups across Canada and the large Invincible America Assembly at Maharishi University of Management and Maharishi Vedic City, USA.

Extensive scientific research has documented the Maharishi Effect of rising coherence, harmony, and peace created in the collective consciousness of a nation by large groups of Yogic Flyers. The effect has been found to extend beyond national borders when the group is of sufficient size.

Following are press reports featured in Dr Overall's presentation:

The Financial Post - Consumer confidence shaky, but improving (11 February 2009) Canadians are more confident in the state of the economy in February than they were before the federal budget came down last month, according to TNS Canadian Facts' Consumer Confidence Index. The TNS survey interviewed 1,016 people 2-5 Feb. The overall consumer confidence index, which analyzes the results from three separate indexes, stands at 85.9, up from 83.5 in January. 'A slight improvement in consumer confidence is a welcome finding after months of deteriorating perceptions of the economy,' said Richard Jenkins, director of the marketing research firm's monthly tracking study. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers' estimation of the economy, household income, and employment in the next six months, rose from 84.1 in January to 86.5 in February. Consumers were making more major purchases in this period, sending the Buy Index up dramatically, to 95.6 from 88.5 in January.

The Canadian Economic Press - Employers expected to maintain contributions to employees' RRSPs despite downturn (11 February 2009) Most employees working for employers who contribute to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan do not believe that contribution will be affected by the current economic downturn, a survey has found. The CROP survey, conducted in January for the Ordre des conseillers en resources humaines agr´┐Żéés, found that 84% of employees think their employer's contribution will be equal to or above that of last year. The survey found that 69% of employees whose employer contributes to their RRSP believe the contribution will be at least equal to that of last year, while 15% anticipate an even greater contribution.

The Financial Post - Less risk in Canadian banks: UBS (11 February 2009) Researchers at Swiss investment bank UBS 'expect Canadian banks to continue to outperform their global peers given superior asset quality, capital, liquidity, and return on equity'. The researchers say they see less risk in the books of Canadian banks. 'Exposure to high risk toxic assets is fundamentally lower in Canada,' according to the UBS team. They also point to several other key metrics that indicate a healthier banking system, including more stringent underwriting standards for home loans. UBS notes that Canadian banks are less leveraged and also point to strong earnings flows. 'We think that earnings are the most important cushion for credit losses,' the researchers say.

From another Financial Post report: 'The first quarter's earnings [of Canadian banks] should be reasonably benign, which in this environment may be viewed as a huge positive,' said John Aiken, analyst at Dundee Capital Markets.

CBC News on new home prices in December (11 February 2009) Statistics Canada reported that contractors' selling prices for new homes decreased 0.1 per cent between November and December (less than the consensus forecast for a 0.3% contraction). However, prices increased by 0.2 per cent in Ottawa-Gatineau in December, while they stayed the same in Toronto, Quebec City, Montreal, and Vancouver. In year-over-year comparisons, the new housing price index rose by 0.4 per cent in December. The largest year-over-year increase was noted in St John's, at 24.4 per cent, while Regina came second at 21.7 per cent. In Quebec City, the 12-month growth rate was 5.4 per cent, while Montreal prices increased by 4.6 per cent. Compared with December 2007, new homes prices were 4.5 per cent higher in Ottawa-Gatineau and nearly two per cent higher in Toronto.

The Ottawa Business Journal - Contractors' selling prices grow more quickly in December (11 February 2009) Year-over-year growth in new housing prices accelerated slightly for the Ottawa-Gatineau region in December. The local new housing price index increased 4.5 per cent between December 2007 and December 2008, faster than the 4.3 per cent year-over-year growth seen for the previous month. Ottawa-Gatineau was one of only four cities to see an acceleration in the year-over-year increase in prices, with the others being Halifax, Hamilton, and Kitchener.

The Canadian Economic Press on Montreal existing home prices up in January (11 February 2009) Existing home prices in Montreal were up in January, the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board reported. House prices held firm, with the median price up 3% in the month compared to a year ago. The median price of single-family homes rose 3% to C$225,000, while condo prices were up 4% to C$181,000.

CBC News - Solar company plans $600M investment in UPM's former N.B. mill (11 February 2009) Umoe Solar is shining some positive light on the economic prospects for the New Brunswick city of Miramichi after the company told local politicians its plans in the area. Ernst Andersen, the director of human resources of the Norwegian solar company, met with Miramichi city councillors, local MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly), and Business New Brunswick Minister Greg Byrne on Wednesday where it detailed its plan for the former UPM paper mill. He told them about his company's plan to build a solar panel facility at the site. Umoe Solar will invest C$600 million in the facility, hiring 350 people, and that number could eventually double. Miramichi Mayor Gerry Cormier said it is good news for his community.

The Financial Post - Corporations have obligations to society: panel (10 February 2009) Consumers today are increasingly demanding that businesses adopt some form of corporate social responsibility (CSR), said a panel at Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies Symposium in Toronto. Valerie Chort, a partner with Deloitte & Touche's Enterprise Risk Services practice, said the main goal for companies is finding ways to adopt CSR policies that provide value to the company and stakeholders. 'If the world is changing faster outside your organization than inside, then the end is near,' she said. Ms. Chort said investors today are interested to see whether corporations are responding to changes such as the adoption of green technologies. The panel also said many consumers want to see businesses adopt CSR into their business models—many are willing to buy green products, for example.

The Calgary Herald on Alberta's green initiatives in throne speech (11 February 2009) The Alberta government said Tuesday it will forge ahead with billions of dollars worth of climate-change initiatives—including new consumer rebates for energy efficiency—pledging it won't let the environment take a back seat during economic turmoil. In its throne speech to launch a new session of the legislature, the government reaffirmed its C$2-billion commitment to carbon capture and storage, while its multibillion-dollar promise for a green transit fund will see a maximum C$50 million its first year. The government also said it will introduce a new consumer rebate program—most likely on energy-saving appliances and retrofits to homes—as part of an energy efficiency programme to spur Albertans to conserve and be more environmentally conscious. Environment Minister Rob Renner said he hopes to roll out the details in the next few weeks, but hinted that retrofits qualifying for rebates could include energy-efficient furnaces and washing machines. 'We're not going to compromise our commitment to the environment in an economic downturn,' Renner said in an interview. Public awareness and concern around environmental issues tend to drop when the economy sours, he said, and it's incumbent upon the government to ensure that doesn't happen.

CBC News - New deal with U.K. boosts Canadian access to Antarctic research stations (11 February 2009) Canadian scientists will have better access to British research stations in the Antarctic under a new deal between the two countries. In return, it will be easier for British researchers to use Canada's scientific facilities in the Arctic. Northern and Indian Affairs Canada formally announced that it had signed the memorandum of understanding, which establishes how the two countries will share polar facilities and infrastructure. That will provide new opportunities for joint field studies, the department said. A day earlier, Chuck Strahl, minister of Northern and Indian Affairs told CBC's The National he was 'delighted' to sign the deal, as it will allow the two countries to share expertise in polar research. 'In this case, with connections both to the north and south pole, we can do our best work, do our best science,' Strahl said. He added that such science will underpin the government's northern strategy on issues such as climate change. Anthony Cary, the British High Commissioner in Canada, said international partnerships are crucial to research on such topics as climate change. 'It's absolutely pointless trying to deal with the issue of global climate at the level of a nation,' he told CBC. 'So I think there has to be international collaboration. And we are only now starting to create the institutional structures to encourage that.' Wayne Pollard, a polar scientist at Montreal's McGill University who has conducted research at both poles, said he thinks Canada could benefit from better access to the Antarctic. Pollard believes scientists need to study both the Arctic and the Antarctic to fully understand natural systems on a global scale. Pollard said the agreement with the UK is just the beginning and there are already discussions underway with other countries about similar memorandums of understanding.

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