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Richardson expands canola operations

RICHARDSON Oilseed Ltd. is ramping up its canola-processing operations on the Prairies, with two major plant expansions underway or in the works.

The Winnipeg-based firm, which is one of North America's largest canola-oil processors, announced Wednesday it will be more than doubling the processing capacity at its plant in Lethbridge, Alta.

It said the scope, design and cost of the project will be finalized over the next eight months. Construction will get underway early next year and should be completed by the end of 2015.

Richardson is also in the midst of expanding the processing capacity of its Yorkton plant by 25 per cent to 3,000 tonnes per day from the current 2,400 tonnes. That project will be completed before the end of this year. The cost has not been disclosed.

"Global demand for canola and canola oil continues to increase due to strong consumer demand for healthier food products," said Patrick Van Osch, the company's senior vice-president.

Richardson Oilseed is a wholly owned subsidiary of Winnipeg-based Richardson International Ltd., Canada's largest, privately owned agribusiness.

Fellow minister raps Flaherty move

OTTAWA -- Not everyone in the Conservative cabinet is backing Jim Flaherty's latest intervention in the mortgage market.

Small Business Minister Maxime Bernier says he believes the finance minister overstepped his bounds by having his office phone Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) and ask they withdraw their discount on five-year mortgages to 2.89 per cent from 3.09.

Bernier told reporters Wednesday he would not have done it.

"Me, personally, I would not dictate to businesses what prices to decide," he said.

"It's the market. It's supply and demand that decides the prices. It is the case for interest rates, it is the case for other products, too."

In the House of Commons later, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair questioned which minister -- Bernier or Flaherty -- speaks for the government.

"Which minister has the prime minister's confidence, the minister of small business or the minister of finance?"

Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not respond directly but did appear to echo Flaherty's justification for intervening.

H-P claims mobile 3D breakthrough

LOS ANGELES -- Researchers at Hewlett-Packard Co. say they've developed a way to put glasses-free 3D video on mobile devices with a wide enough viewing angle to allow viewers to see objects more fully just by tilting the screen.

Glasses-free 3D in itself is not unique -- companies such as MasterImage 3D and Stream TV have demonstrated the technology on tablets and flat-screen TVs at consumer electronics shows.

But H-P's researchers have found a way to make images viewable from angles up to 45 degrees from centre in any direction, up, down, side-to-side or diagonally. That means, for instance, viewers can see a person's face with one ear blocked from view, but reveal it by swivelling the screen.

Rogers has more mobile-payment phones

TORONTO -- Wireless carrier Rogers is offering seven more smartphones that allow consumers to do mobile payments at "tap and pay" terminals across the country.

These BlackBerry and Android devices are enabled with a short-range wireless technology, called near-field communications, that transfers data when the smartphone is tapped against a contact-less terminal.

Rogers Communications says these smartphones securely store information for payment cards and loyalty cards that offer reward points.

The carrier has added three smartphones using the Android operating system and four BlackBerry models that work with MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave terminals.

Wal-Mart expands checkout-scan test

NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding a test of a new checkout program that allows shoppers to scan items with their smartphones while they're in the aisles and then pay at self-checkout terminals.

The world's largest retailer launched what it calls its "Scan & Go" program late last year in about 70 stores in Atlanta and in the Bentonville, Ark., area, where the retailer is based. It is now testing the program in more than 200 stores in markets including Dallas, Houston, Austin, Denver, Portland, Seattle and Phoenix.

The pilot program will still be in a small number of Wal-Mart's more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. But it's part of the company's overall strategy to involve customers' increasing use of smartphones.

More than half of Wal-Mart's customers have smartphones, and 40 per cent of traffic from walmart.com is coming from shoppers' mobile devices, said Gibu Thomas, senior vice-president of mobile and digital initiatives at Wal-Mart's global e-commerce division.

-- staff / from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 21, 2013 A18

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