The Canadian economy contracted in March for the first time in nearly three years, but it was far too early to tell whether that marked the beginning of a trend. Statistics Canada reported that the gross domestic product fell by 0.3 per cent in March, the first major decline since October, 1986, when the GDP fell by 0.5 per cent.
THE IMF SEEKS DEBT ACTION
The International Monetary Fund has warned major banks to help solve the Third World debt crisis by voluntarily reducing the amount owed by some countries or risk a major confrontation with the debtor nations as they fall into political turmoil or default on the money owed.
A FARM INCOME FALL
Net farm income dropped by 11 per cent in 1988 because last summer’s drought damaged crops across the Prairies and Ontario, Statistics Canada reported last week.
VARITY LOOKS SOUTH
Toronto-based Varity Corp., a giant Canadian manufacturer of farm equipment and industrial machinery—formerly known as Massey-Ferguson—may move to the United States. Varity is expected to unveil its relocation plans later this year. Management said that such a move would enhance shareholder value.
AIDS TAX RULING
A federal government decision to disallow tax deductions on reserves set aside for AIDS claims will cost the life insurance industry millions of dollars. The industry set aside $750 million to meet future AIDS claims.
The United States asked Switzerland to extradite Saudi financier and arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi to face racketeering and other charges related to alleged thefts from the Philippines government by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. Khashoggi, 54, has been in prison since he was arrested on April 18 at the request of the U.S. Embassy.
BREWING A NEW FIRM
The Labatt Brewing Co. announced that it has bought out two major Italian breweries to tap the European market. Labatt will hold a 70-per-cent stake in the new venture with BirraMoretti SpA, based in Udine, and with Prinz Brau. The new company will operate under the name Moretti.
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