Current affairs

January 30, 2022

A look at Super Bowl ticket prices through the years

The worst-kept secret in sports may revolve around Super Bowl tickets, which advertise a face value but usually sell for two, three, four times that figure.

This year, certainly, will be no different: tickets for Sunday’s game in Indianapolis technically cost between $800 to $1,200, but only a select number of fans get the chance to buy them for that.

Instead, provided you’re not a Colts season ticket holder, league sponsor or other VIP, your charge for going to the Super Bowl this year should came at an average clip somewhere between $2,800 and $3,623, according to new reports from StubHub and Ticket Exchange.

That’s a lot, but how does it stack up against prices from Super Bowl’s past?

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January 26, 2022

Facebook pays best in Silicon Valley: report

Employment at firms in Silicon Valley and other California locales are the stuff of legend.

If it’s not outrageous perks, like the lounge-style offices Google’s known for around the world, it’s an ultra secretive, privacy-obsessed business culture like the one that’s been reported at Apple.

But who pays the most?

We know that, for better or worse, California’s tech jobs are as coveted as they come, though which big name employers pay its employees best?

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Is it right to deny asylum seekers access to legal aid?

Mimicking a similar exodus from the Czech Republic a couple of years ago, Canada has been witnessing a sharp spike in applications for refugee status from Hungarian Roma families visiting Canada.

Until recently, legal aid used to regularly approve funding of around $3,000 to Roma claimants to hire lawyers to argue their cases at the Immigration and Refugee Board.

But, according to one immigration lawyer, that’s no longer the case. And he thinks that’s more than unfair.

The issue of Roma asylum seekers has become contentious in recent years, particularly after Immigration Minister Jason Kenney chose to label many of the claims "bogus", leading to a threat of class action suit from various Roma asylum seekers.

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January 25, 2022

Charity donations picked up in 2011: report

If you’re like me, who’s tasked with scouring financial headlines and articles all day, you really have no idea what shape the economy is in.

Well, you see the news. You know. Every story contradicts; one step forward, two steps back, another ahead to bring things even.

So what I’ve found is, since the recession’s outset in 2008, it takes a story that makes layman’s sense to put the economy in perspective.

Like this one: if you want proof things repaired last year, consider that people gave more to charity in 2011 than they did in 2010.

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January 24, 2022

Starbucks to serve beer and wine at some U.S. stores

Let’s brainstorm together: if there is one place on earth where people linger too long, where is it?


Indeed, there are few social meeting spots as cliché as the coffee chain, yet still it persists, Starbucks being the  place you want to be if your desire is to be seen in public typing on your laptop, studying for an exam or wearing a cashmere scarf with glasses absent prescription frames.

Business-wise, having people spend incredible stretches of time in your outlets is a big money maker for Starbucks, though in the U.S. the franchise has found a way to lure customers in for even longer.

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January 23, 2022

Walmart launches 'American Idol'-like contest for products to win placement in its stores

When a company gets as big as Walmart, how does it stay fresh?

From a consumer standpoint, Walmart is nothing coveted – even in the department store sector, it has zero of the cache a name like Target does – and from an activist viewpoint, the retailer is reviled, the corporate giant that ruins communities, not helps them.

Of course, Walmart can simply look down on its detractors from Mt. Dominance, but you get the sense the Ark.-based store wants more. It wants to be loved.

Well, here’s a way the retailer can get a little buzz. Walmart has just kicked off a contest called “Get on the Shelf,” an American Idol -like campaign where small-time products compete for placement on Walmart’s shelves.

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January 20, 2022

Will the iPad become the universal textbook of the future?

Late last year, we discussed an intriguing story about Apple, the company that was in the push toward a new, lucrative sector.

According to New York Times, Apple, under the reign of CEO Tim Cook, was to become the new name in corporate communication, supplanting RIM and turning businesses from using BlackBerries to using iPhones.

Certainly, if Apple could corner the corporate market, that’s a big win, though the Cupertino-based tech giant isn’t done yet.

The latest market Apple wants to dominate, as the company announced today, is the textbook biz.

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January 19, 2022

Inside the hostile, secretive work environment at Apple

As a company, few enjoy the kind of PR Apple does.

Well, okay, every once in a while there’s a terrible tale of suicides or employee mistreatment at the tech maker’s Chinese factories, but all in all it’s “Look how many people lined up for the iPad 2!” rather than “Oh, look how the iPad 2 is actually made.”

Though in the wake of the still-gushing news reports over Steve Jobs, here’s a bit of a drag on the good vibes at Apple.

According to a new book, working at Apple, which is being described as a house of “secrecy, stealth and discipline,” is a generally lousy affair, and several past and present workers at its California headquarters have had no qualms blasting their employer.

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January 18, 2022

Where are the anti-sweatshop nations?

In the world of manufacturing, there are few issues more polarizing than blue-collar wages.

For a fair and reasonable society to run, you’ve got to pay your factory worker a competitive wage. This much we know. What we also know, unfortunately, is that without government intervention, no company in its right mind is going to continue manufacturing in countries like Canada, where labour costs are sky-high compared to the developing world.

So, of course, companies (though not all companies: big ups, Canada Goose) outsource, and they make their goods in places like Vietnam and Peru and wherever else the cost of labour will most pad profit margins.

We know the horrors of sweatshop compensation in those nations, but which countries remain stubborn and continue paying its blue-collar workers most?

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January 17, 2022

Burger King to try its hand at home delivery

I, for one, happen to have a particular penchant for a Quizno’s sub. You will not be allowed to hold this against me.

Don’t fret, though. Quizno’s didn’t sponsor this post. Just wait … I’m about to trash the restaurant.

In some markets, as you may know, Quizno’s offers home delivery. On the surface, this is a wonderful idea, but even the restaurant’s most loyal fans will tell you it just ain’t right. The greatest thing about Quizno’s is getting a sub hot out of the oven, not soggy out of a bag.

It’s fine, though, Quizno’s. Your in-restaurant experience is still second to none, but delivery for your type of food simply falls short. Why do we bring this up? Because Burger King is trying its hand at home delivery now, and we wonder how the result will be any different.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...