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Friday, July 18, 2014

Maritime provinces cleaning up after remnants of Hurricane Arthur

   Canada column for Sunday, July 13/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Power is gradually being restored across Canada’s Maritime provinces after a hit last weekend by the remnants of Hurricane Arthur.
   The storm cut electricity to more than 250,000 residences and businesses, with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia receiving the most damage.
   There are more than 1,000 power workers repairing blown-down lines and cutting away broken trees and limbs brought down by the storm.
   In New Brunswick, the hardest-hit areas were around Fredericton and in the southwestern part of the province, with thousands of felled trees and downed power poles.
   About 80 percent of the service has been restored with work continuing over the weekend, said Meghan Gerrish of New Brunswick Power.
   The provincial government opened 33 reception centers assist those without electricity as the Emergency Measure's office said Arthur was so powerful it pulled down trees that would have withstood a typical storm.
   Bob Hanf, president of Nova Scotia Power, said damage was as severe as that done by Hurricane Juan in 2003.


   A year-long slump in job creation continues as Statistics Canada reported the unemployment rate climbed one-tenth of a point to 7.1 percent in June.
   There was an increase of about 25,000 people seeking jobs last month while economists had predicted strong job growth after a gain of 25,800 jobs in May.
   The economy added only 72,000 new full-time and part-time jobs in June.
   Across the country, Alberta was the only province showing substantial job growth, with full-time jobs rising by 19,500.


    News in brief:
   - There is still no sign of Nathan O'Brien, 5, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes of Calgary who have been missing since June 29. Police have been searching a rural property where Douglas Garland, 54, lives and have taken him in for questioning. It was confirmed by police that Garland had business dealings with the couple and his sister is in a “common-law relationship” with a member of the Liknes family.
   - The Canadian Environmental Law Association says Canada should ban two antibacterial chemicals found in many consumer products and that have turned up extensively in the Great Lakes. The group said Canada, the United States and all provinces and states bordering the lakes should prohibit the use of triclosan and triclocarban. They are used in products such as toothpaste, body washes, bar soap and clothing.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is lower at 93.33 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0715 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is unchanged at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,103 points and the TSX Venture index 1,023 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is down at $1.3484 (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (July 9) 20, 25, 28, 31, 37 and 41; bonus 16. (July 5) 11, 19, 30, 33, 38 and 41; bonus 24. Lotto Max: (July 4) 5, 10, 11, 20, 26, 38 and 46; bonus 44.


   Regional briefs:
   - A freight train derailment on the main line between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal has forced Via Rail passengers onto buses. No one was injured when 26 cars of a CN Rail train derailed at Brockville, Ontario about 4 a.m. on Thursday. The rail cars were carrying new cars and carbon powder while 13 were empty fuel tankers.
   - Forest fire crews are trying to keep a blaze from reaching oil and natural gas wellheads in northeastern British Columbia. The fire, southeast of Tumbler Ridge, has quadrupled in size to about 8,000 acres and was headed toward the border with Alberta. About 200 people were forced to leave two oil and gas camps in the area.
   - Flood waters from the Assiniboine River have started to subside near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. More than 700 people left their homes as the provincial government declared a state of emergency. Military personnel helped place hundreds of thousands of sandbags around homes while dikes and riverbanks were reinforced.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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