Wounded Warriors Project Super Bowl Ad

One of the more important Super Bowl commercials came from the Wounded Warriors Project, in which the narrator of the ad delivered an important message to viewers.

“Without the sacrifice of our military and their families, they’d be no Super Bowl.”

CLICK HERE to see the rest of the 2013 Super Bowl commercials as well as all of the best, worst and most unforgettable from the past.

As the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens battled for the right to lift the Lombardi Trophy, Super Bowl advertisers competed for another prize: your attention. Each time that CBS cut away from Super Bowl XLVII to pay the bills (or because the lights went out), another group of blockbuster commercials and movie trailers were unveiled (although many had been teased). At your Super Bowl party, were people paying closer attention during the game or the commercial breaks?

While memorable Super Bowl commercials like Apple’s ‘1984’ and Snickers’ spot that featured Betty White will be remembered so many more are soon forgotten or, even worse, ridiculed as super fails. Will this ad make this year’s best list? Is it controversial? Or, even worse, destined to be forgotten?

Nokia “looking closely” at tablets, with “first focus” on Microsoft’s platform

A Nokia-built, Windows-powered tablet has been rumored before, and it’s being rumored again. Speaking in Sydney, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said the company planned to “broaden its portfolio,” and tablets were something Nokia was “clearly looking at very closely,” reports the Australian Financial Review.

Elop talked up the promise of a Windows ecosystem, with Lumia buyers using Windows Phone with Windows tablets, PCs, and consoles to achieve a “pretty integrated experience.” As a result, he said, “Our first focus on what we look at is clearly in the Microsoft side.”

After prompting from a PR handler, he followed with “But we have made no decision or announced nothing [sic].”

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Outgoing EPA chief convinced Obama serious on climate change

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The departing chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa P. Jackson, says she cringes whenever she is asked if President Barack Obama is truly serious about confronting climate change.

Energy board grants export licence to proposed Shell-led LNG project in B.C.

CALGARY — The National Energy Board has granted an export licence to LNG Canada Development Inc., a liquefied natural gas terminal proposed by Shell Canada Ltd. and three Asian partners in Kitimat, B.C.

Over a 25-year period, LNG Canada is allowed to export 670 million tonnes of natural gas, which will have been chilled into a liquid state, enabling it to be transported around the world via tanker.

Annually, LNG Canada will be able to export 24 million tonnes of gas.

The federal energy regulator says it’s satisfied that the amount of gas to be exported doesn’t exceed what will be needed within Canada.

The LNG Canada partnership includes Shell, South Korea’s Kogas, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. and China’s PetroChina Company Ltd.

They have picked Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) to build a 700-kilometre pipeline connecting prolific shale gas fields in northeastern B.C. to the port of Kitimat.

There are several projects in the works planned for both Kitimat and Prince Rupert, B.C., to export natural gas to lucrative Asian markets.

The North American price of natural gas has been depressed in recent years, as advances in drilling techniques unlock huge supplies from shale formations across the continent, leading to a supply glut.

Companies hope by connecting that fuel to higher-demand Asian markets, their product will fetch a much better price.

Last week, pipeline firm AltaGas Ltd. (TSX:ALA) and a Japanese company formed a partnership to explore shipping liquefied gas to Asia.

Malaysia’s Petronas, which recently acquired Progress Energy Corp. for $6 billion, is planning to build an LNG facility near Prince Rupert capable of processing 12 million tonnes of gas per year.

U.S. energy giants Chevron Corp. and Apache Corp. are jointly developing another LNG terminal in Kitimat B.C. Chevron got involved in that project only recently after it bought out the stakes of Encana Corp. and EOG Resources. That plan envisions processing 10 million tonnes of gas per year.

Another proposal called BC LNG, owned by the Haisla First Nation and Houston-based LNG Partners, expects its first shipment in 2014.

‘Steer The Script’ Super Bowl Ad

Jimmy Fallon has quite a bit of influence.

The late night talk show host teamed up with Lincoln for the car company’s “Steer The Script” campaign. Fallon promoted the campaign and fans tweeted their favorite road trip stories to Lincoln, according to thefw.com.

The best five were meshed into one commercial, which resulted in a woman bonding with a German hitchhiker as the two enjoy their own road trip.

Did it work? Or do too many script writers spoil the story line?

CLICK HERE to see the rest of the 2013 Super Bowl commercials as well as all of the best, worst and most unforgettable from the past.

As the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens battled for the right to lift the Lombardi Trophy, Super Bowl advertisers competed for another prize: your attention. Each time that CBS cut away from Super Bowl XLVII to pay the bills (or because the lights went out), another group of blockbuster commercials and movie trailers were unveiled (although many had been teased). At your Super Bowl party, were people paying closer attention during the game or the commercial breaks?

While memorable Super Bowl commercials like Apple’s ‘1984’ and Snickers’ spot that featured Betty White will be remembered so many more are soon forgotten or, even worse, ridiculed as super fails. Will this ad make this year’s best list? Is it controversial? Or, even worse, destined to be forgotten?

Patrice Peyret: Prepaid Is the New Checking (With Help From Your Cellphone)

Did you notice? After years of being two separate product lines, prepaid card accounts and checking accounts are merging into a single new offering:

  • American Express calls Bluebird “The Checking & Debit Alternative by American Express
  • Simple‘s tag line is “Worry-Free Alternative to Traditional Banking
  • GoBank‘s pitches itself as “A New Kind of Checking Account
  • … and of course, at Plastyc, we have had UPside and iBankUP providing “The Power of a Bank Account in a Phone” for a few years now

All the above products are built from a prepaid card foundation, with multiple add-ons to expand their usefulness, not the least of which is a mobile application that turns customers’ smartphones into mobile checkbooks.

The convergence comes after a number of changes in best practices, regulations and innovations for prepaid cards:

  • FDIC “pass-through” insurance applies to individual prepaid card accounts
  • Prepaid cards are routable via ACH allows direct deposits and bank transfers
  • Cards able to receive federal funds have Reg E consumer protection
  • On-demand paper checks enable payments to anyone
  • New services like Walmart’s Rapid Reload™ allow cashing checks directly into cards at low costs
  • Mobile Remote Deposit Capture allows depositing of paper checks 24×7

This results in an all-around equivalence between checking accounts and prepaid card accounts, from a consumer stand-point.

Phone + card = 21st Century checking

Even major market players like H&R Block are deploying prepaid-based financial services that provide a full-blown replacement for a checking account: look at the Emerald Card, which is now available with optional access to a line of credit product called Emerald Advance and a Savings accounts.

How should banks react to this new market reality? I believe they should think hard about introducing “prepaid as the new checking” if they want to serve more customers at a lower cost.

For consumers, the upside is more access to premium services even if you keep a low balance.

US appeals court to Apple: No cutting in line

Apple won’t get to leapfrog the three-judge panel in its renewed request for a permanent injunction against Samsung’s products. An appeals court ruled on Monday that Apple would still have to face a three-judge panel required as part of the appeals process—a process Apple hoped to skip in order to go straight to a full-court appeal. Meanwhile, Samsung gets to continue selling its devices in the US, despite the $1 billion verdict from 2012 saying the company violated Apple’s patents.

Following last year’s patent verdict, Apple asked the court for a permanent ban on the sale of Samsung’s devices that were found to violate Apple’s intellectual property. As we pointed out last August, the devices in question are mostly out-of-date smartphones that customers aren’t likely to be buying anyway. Although some can still be purchased for cheap or free through US carriers, most aren’t even available on the market in the US simply because of the normal product refresh cycle.

Apple wanted to ensure they couldn’t be sold in the US at all, but the company was denied that request because the court felt Apple hadn’t proven Samsung’s infringement caused “irreparable harm.” Apple naturally appealed that decision, but it requested to have the appeal expedited so the devices could be (potentially) banned sooner rather than later.

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Air Canada plans appeal of heavy maintenance court ruling

MONTREAL — Air Canada is contravening federal law by not maintaining heavy-maintenance operations in Canada, the Quebec Superior Court ruled Monday.

In a 39-page ruling, Justice Martin Castonguay said the airline has an obligation under the Air Canada Public Participation Act to maintain such operations in Montreal and Winnipeg, along with Mississauga, Ont., where smaller overhaul work was completed by Aveos Fleet Performance until it closed last year.

Quebec’s former Liberal government launched a lawsuit against the airline last April following the closure of Aveos, whose bankruptcy resulted in 2,600 employees losing their jobs, including 1,800 in Montreal.

Aveos had announced plans to liquidate its assets under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act on March 20, citing a decline in business from Air Canada. Various parts of Aveos have been sold off to businesses in Canada and abroad.

“The court concludes that Air Canada doesn’t respect the law put in place when it privatized in 1988,” the judge wrote.

Castonguay said Parliament couldn’t have envisioned 25 years ago that the carrier would let go highly specialized jobs in Canada, only to create the same specialized jobs abroad.

After Aveos closed, Air Canada gave American company AAR a five-year renewable contract to maintain its airplanes in a specially built facility in Duluth, Minn., that employs 350 workers.

“If Air Canada wants to modify its business plan so significantly, it must be supported by a legislative change,” added Castonguay.

Quebec’s former government argued that a federal law passed in 1988 required the airline to maintain those aircraft overhaul functions in Canada even though it obtained contrary legal advice from the federal Justice Department.

Montreal-based Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) had argued that it respected the law by conducting aircraft maintenance at its three Canadian facilities. It also told the court that the Quebec and Manitoba governments have no jurisdiction because aviation is a federal matter.

It frequently cited a ruling by Ontario Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould that concluded the carrier met the act’s requirements by having its own overhaul and maintenance operations.

“Air Canada will be appealing this Quebec Superior Court decision, given the importance of the matter, and makes no further comment at this time,” spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur wrote in an email.

But Castonguay said his ruling isn’t inconsistent with Newbould’s decision because it was rendered when Air Canada continued to contract work to Aveos in addition to what it completed internally.

The union representing former Aveos employees said it is pleased with the ruling.

“We hope it will help us to get our guys back to work, but Air Canada contests the Quebec Superior Court decision so the battle will continue and we hope to eventually be the winners,” said Georges Bujold, general chairman, eastern region, for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

He said workers shouldn’t expect to get their jobs back quickly because the legal process could be dragged out for months and months if the case eventually winds its way to the Supreme Court. Forcing Air Canada to provide heavy maintenance work in Canada would also be costly if it is forced to cancel long-term contracts.

Bujold added the union is concerned that the Harper Conservatives will change the law to short-circuit the legal challenges.

“We never know with the Tories what position they would take but it wouldn’t surprise the IAM that Air Canada would make that request to the prime minister or the minister of transport to revisit the Air Canada Act and make those modifications.”

Quebec said the closure of Aveos caused the loss of 1,785 jobs and $18.5-million of taxes, while Manitoba claimed nearly 600 jobs lost and $5.5-million of taxes.

The court heard that Air Canada paid Aveos $450-million to do work in 2011 alone, but that the company faced growing problems after the airline began to pull back the volume of repair work.

The Quebec government couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, but Manitoba welcomed the court ruling.

“This is a positive ruling for Manitoba as the Quebec Court has ruled that by closing its maintenance and overhaul facilities in Montreal it is in violation of the Air Canada Public Participation Act,” said Rachel Morgan, press secretary to cabinet.

“Unfortunately, it appears that Air Canada will appeal this ruling. If so, Manitoba will consider its options.”

After Quebec filed its lawsuit, the Harper government reiterated that it had no power to save Aveos jobs.

In Ottawa, Transportation Minister Denis Lebel reiterated that the federal government has no power to save the Aveos jobs.

“Air Canada is a private company in the same way (as) Aveos,” Transportation Minister Denis Lebel said in the House of Commons.

“We presented a legal opinion which confirms that Air Canada respect the laws and we will let the Air Canada people take their business decisions.”

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Air Canada’s shares closed down five cents, or 2%, at $2.43 in Monday trading.