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Currency war warning

OTTAWA -- Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney is warning that the Canadian economy would be damaged by a global currency war and that it would do little good to join the manipulators in trying to boost exports.

The outgoing bank governor made the comments Tuesday to a Canadian parliamentary committee after he and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty signed a Group of Seven statement denouncing exchange rate manipulation.

The statement, issued in advance of the G20 meeting in Moscow later this week, urges nations to set monetary policy to suit domestic conditions, not in an effort to lower the level of their currencies and gain a competitive advantage in export markets.

The statement appeared centred on complaints about Japan, the world's third largest economy, which set in motion a series of policy actions that have contributed to a 15 per cent devaluation in the yen against the U.S. dollar over the past three months.

The U.S. and Europe have also maintained accommodating monetary policies, although Carney called them appropriate, given the circumstances in those economies.

But Carney acknowledged Canadian exports are a key reason why the economy remains weak and that the strong loonie has not helped. He estimated the appreciation of the currency over the past decade or so was responsible for two-thirds of the loss in Canadian competitiveness.

Alarm service launched

AAA Alarms has launched a wireless interactive home and business monitoring solution called Take Control.

The new service allows customers remote access to their residential or business monitoring system through their smartphone, computer or tablet.

The service costs $5.99 per month when added to an existing security system.

It allows customers to remotely arm and disarm their security systems; record and store live camera feeds from their home or office; lock and unlock doors; and receive security notifications and alerts.

With or without a security system, the service can also remotely view their home or business and adjust camera angles, allowing them to easily monitor vulnerable spots such as entrances.

New Flyer takes over

NEW Flyer Industries is taking over a large contract with Seattle Metro Transit from another North American bus maker that has shut down its operations.

Winnipeg-based New Flyer agreed to build up to 381 35-foot and 40-foot Xcelsior buses from a contract that Daimler Buses North America, Inc. originally signed with Seattle.

Last April, Daimler announced it was shutting down its Orion heavy-duty transit bus operation in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

The contract with Seattle, which expires on June 30, 2014, includes remaining base order buses consisting of a combination of 181 35-foot and 40-foot diesel-electric hybrid buses, as well as 200 option buses consisting of a combination of 35-foot and 40-foot buses.

Comcast hikes NBC stake

NEW YORK -- Comcast says it's buying General Electric's 49 per cent stake in the NBCUniversal joint venture for $16.7 billion. It comes several years early, as Comcast takes advantage of low borrowing costs and what CEO Brian Roberts calls a "very attractive price."

Comcast Corp. had bought a majority stake in the television and movie company in 2011. It had planned to take a larger stake in it over seven years, paying for it from operating cash.

But Roberts told The Associated Press the sale of its stake in pay TV network A&E and some wireless spectrum gave it plenty of cash on hand. He also says Comcast got a good deal given that the stock price of media conglomerates has been rising.

Intel ups its TV game

SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel Corp., the world's biggest chipmaker, is building an Internet television set-top box that it will sell directly to consumers, aiming to create a new market for its processors.

Erik Huggers, vice-president of Intel's digital home group, said Tuesday the device and related service, which will debut later this year, will deliver live TV, on-demand programming and other features. Huggers was speaking at a conference in Dana Point, Calif., hosted by AllThingsD.

Intel's set-top box will deliver a better viewing experience than traditional cable and satellite companies, as well as web-connected devices from Apple Inc., Roku Inc. and other manufacturers, Huggers said. The push into the media business is one of Intel's attempts to lessen its dependence on the personal-computer market, which is predicted to decline for a second year in 2013.

-- from staff, news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 13, 2013 B6

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