August 13, 2013 / 10:50 AM / in 4 years

PRESS DIGEST-Canada-Aug 13

Aug 13 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* Canada’s refugee board is likely to look favorably on claims of persecution by gay asylum-seekers from Russia, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said. Alexander said on Monday that Russia had taken the wrong path in restricting the fundamental rights of its gay community, and that any refugee claims “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system”. ()

Reports in the business section:

* When BlackBerry Ltd launched its long awaited new smartphone back in January, it was presented as a game changer that would silence critics and win back consumers. Monday’s announcement that the company is pursuing “strategic alternatives” for its future, including a possible sale, is a tacit admission that its turnaround plan isn’t working. ()

* A rush of foreign investment in Mexican oil production in the wake of Mexico’s energy reforms threatens to fuel competition against Canada in the race to supply the U.S. Gulf Coast market with crude. Government reforms would allow private ownership of oil, creating opportunity for the Canadian service sector but also injecting more competition for producers. ()

* Under pressure to protect its profitable credit card business, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is negotiating to split its lucrative Aeroplan portfolio with Toronto-Dominion Bank, hoping to stave off a battle with rival banks looking to steal clients. ()


* Senator Pamela Wallin struck a defiant tone, calling an independent audit of nearly four years of travel claims “fundamentally flawed and unfair”, but said she will repay any disallowed expenses, with interest. Wallin said the accounting firm used more recently established rules governing Senate travel and expenses to assess the validity of earlier claims. Sources say the audit recommends she pay back C$121,000 ($117,500)in travel costs, and that an additional C$21,000 worth of claims be more closely examined. ()

* Little more than six months after the government first unveiled a list of so-called “safe” countries considered to be unlikely producers of refugees, the number of asylum claims has dropped dramatically. Canada received half as many asylum claims in the first half of this year as it did during the same period last year - 4,558 compared to 10,375. ()


* With BlackBerry Ltd putting itself up for sale and its single largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial CEO Prem Watsa, resigning from the company’s board of directors on Monday, a Canadian-led takeover is now one of many possibilities for the mobile computing pioneer. ()

* Wireless stocks such as BCE Inc, Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp are pricing in a greater than 50 percent chance that Verizon Communications Inc enters Canada and becomes the country’s fourth major wireless operator, according to RBC Capital Markets. ()

* More than 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of new rail terminal oil capacity is expected to be built by 2015, rivaling the 850,000 bpd being proposed by TransCanada Corp for the Keystone XL pipeline, according to an Arc Financial Corp report. Gibson Energy Inc, Altex Energy Ltd and Tundra Energy Marketing Ltd have set up joint ventures with rail operators and producers to build new terminals and transport landlocked Western Canadian crude to markets across North America. ()

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