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A person uses the Blackberry Bold 9900 at a release party to promote the BlackBerry OS 7 devices in Toronto August 3, 2011. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)
A person uses the Blackberry Bold 9900 at a release party to promote the BlackBerry OS 7 devices in Toronto August 3, 2011. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)

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These are stories Report on Business is following Wednesday, Oct. 12. Get the top business stories through the day on BlackBerry or iPhone by bookmarking our mobile-friendly webpage.

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RIM troubles spread Research In Motion Ltd. scrambled today to try to fix a problem frustrating millions of BlackBerry users around the world.

It was the third day of troubles that began with customers in India, the Middle East, Africa and regions of Latin America, and spread today to parts of North America with sporadic outages.

"The outage is the largest disruption to RIM's service since December, 2009, when similar outages impacted North America," said analysts Mike Abramsky and Paul Treiber of RBC Dominion Securities.

"Following recent high-profile sovereign challenges to open up RIM's secure networks (which nearly shut down its service in India, UAE, others), these outages create another highly visible PR challenge, coming in markets where the company is still growing."

As for shareholders, the analysts said, "while RIM attributes the fault to an unforeseen technical issue, the outages sustain investor concerns over the company regarding the value and relevance of RIM's proprietary network architecture."

The company said the troubles began when a router switch malfunctioned, and a back-up system didn't work. Then, a huge backlog of e-mail had to be dealt with, and it apologized to its users.

My own IT department says RIM's working on the problem, but there's no ETA on when things will be back to normal.

This is not RIM's finest hour, particularly today as The Wall Street Journal and New York TImes each come out with glowing reviews for the iPhone 4S from Apple Inc. .

Flight attendants scrap strike Flight attendants at Air Canada have called off a strike planning for tonight after Labour Minister Lisa Raitt asked the Canada Industrial Relations Board to examine the breakdown in contract talks, The Globe and Mail's Brent Jang reports.

Ms. Raitt effectively rendered the strike illegal, so "there will be no right to strike (or lock-out),” said the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 6,800 flight attendants. “Our strike is suspended indefinitely. Therefore, the union advises you that you cannot strike.”

Harrisburg seeks bankruptcy Pennsylvania's state capital is in a spot of trouble, turning to the courts for bankruptcy protection.

Stung by high debts and an ill-fated trash incinerator project, the city had been the target of the state Senate, which was considering taking over the municipality.

The move followed a slim majority vote by city council last night. The mayor didn't agree, and there are questions surrounding the council's legal authority to do it.

Barroso calls for action The chief of the European Commission today unveiled what he called a "roadmap" to solve the continent's troubles, but I'm not sure what's there besides words.

Jose Manuel Barroso gave the European Parliament a five-point plan that includes shoring up the banks in the region and moving up the date for a permanent rescue fund by one year.

Ailing banks shouldn't pay dividends or bonuses, and they should try to get money from investors before resorting to government help, Mr. Barroso proposed. He also promised a plan on a common European bond. And Greece should get the next tranche of its bailout money.

"Confidence can be restored through an immediate deployment of all the elements needed to solve the crisis,” Mr. Barroso said.

I'm not alone, by the way, in thinking that the actual plan was a let-down given all the hype in the run-up.

"EU Commission President Barroso’s speech on bank recapitalizations didn’t really contain anything earth shatteringly revolutionary, but markets seem to be buying into the optimism and pushing to their highest levels since early August," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Soros, others issue warning About 100 leading figures in Europe, including George Soros, are urging governments to take steps to ease the raging debt crisis, warning the troubles in the euro zone could blow up the financial system.

"The euro is far from perfect," the group wrote in an open letter in a German newspaper, according to Agence France Presse.

"The current crisis has shown that. But as a reaction that, we need to revise the weaknesses in its make-up rather than allow the crisis to undermine, even destroy, the world's financial system."

Besides Mr. Soros, the group includes a former German finance minister, former French foreign minister, noted economists and the one-time commissioner of economic and monetary affairs for the EU.

The group called for a pan-Europe institution to pump money throughout the monetary union, greater market oversight, and a new economic plan for the EU.

Mosaid sees possible new bid Mosaid Technologies Inc. says it has a private equity firm that has signed an indication of interest to make a bid that's "meaningfully superior" to a $38-a-share hostile bid from Wi-LAN Inc. , Streetwise columnist Boyd Erman reports.

The information comes from an affidavit filed yesterday by Neil Selfe, an investment banker working for Mosaid as it seeks alternatives to the Wi-LAN bid, which is worth about $480-million in total.

Liz Claiborne in several deals Liz Claiborne is getting rid of ... Liz Claiborne.

The company unveiled a series of moves today, including a deal to sell its Liz Claiborne, Monet and Kensie brands.

The Liz Claiborne and related Liz brands are being sold to J.C. Penney, but it will be the exclusive supplier of related jewelry to, and will develop exclusive brands for, the retailer.

The good, the bad, and the arguably funny today 1. Princesses should have the same rights as princes when it comes to ascending to the throne, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron says. He has sent letters to the prime ministers of several ex-colonies - he calls them realms - to promote gender equality in this area where it's an "anomaly," meaning sons wouldn't automatically have precedence over daughters. Under Mr. Cameron's proposal, a daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would also have precedence over a kid brother. I hope it's a girl. I agree with Mr. Cameron that the laws of royal succession are ridiculously outdated, but, then, so is the concept of kings and queens. I'll also note that today, Mr. Cameron got a six-month progress report showing that women account for just 14.2 per cent of directors in FTSE 100 companies, though that's up from 12.56 per cent two years ago.

2. “Class warfare by the 99 per cent? Of course, they’re fighting back after 30 years of being shot at." A wise comment by Pimco's Bill Gross on the "Occupy Wall Street" protest.

3. Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou also expressed support for the protesters today, citing the "many anti-Wall Street citizens who rightly protest against the inequalities and injustices of the system." The Greeks protesting Mr. Papandreou's cutbacks, however, should "act in the interest" of Greece.

4. "It is noted that the current revenue shortfall is expected to be tackled during the next three months, based on the anticipated performance of the tax regulations included in the implementing Law of the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2011-2015." That's what Greece's finance ministry said in a news release related to its January-September budget numbers, just as the country's tax inspectors were plotting a strike for next week.

5. "The City of Harrisburg is a dynamic, vibrant and diverse city that is on the move. We are a city of warm, wonderful people committed to a common vision of mutual respect, personal responsibility and civic pride. It’s a great place to call home!" The website of the Pennsylvania municipality, the state's capital, notes that it was incorporated as a borough in 1791 and as a city in 1860, but neglects to mention that it filed for bankruptcy protection, citing fat debts and "imminent jeopardy" from legal action. Oh, and the state wants to take it over.

6. Just 13 per cent of Americans approve of how Congress is doing its job, according to a new Gallup poll. That surprise anyone?

7. "In Florida, Governor Scott is serious about getting Floridians back to work, and that begins with repurposing our unemployment compensation system to become a reemployment system that is focused on identifying jobs and getting Floridians prepared for their next opportunity." What today's 2012 Job Creation and Economic Growth Agenda from Governor Rick Scott also says, in less polite terms, is that the state, whose jobless rate tops 10.5 per cent, will "require unemployment recipients who fail basic job skills testing to enter a work force training program to learn those basic skills in order to continue receiving benefits."

8. Already dogged by cocaine, Colombia's government is now fretting about illegal gold mining as a new source of financing for rebels. “It’s something that has been growing fast, and in some ways it’s Colombia’s next major threat from the point of view of illegal groups, Mines and Energy Minister Mauricio Cardenas told Bloomberg News. “We have to combat this very effectively, very fast. We cannot let this problem grow.”

9. "If the government of Canada were a corporation, our Prime Minister would be the CEO, our Minister of Finance would be the CFO, and I would be the chief operating officer, the chief IT officer, the comptroller general and the vice-president of human resources all rolled into one - except I only get one paycheque!" The irrepressible Tony Clement, describing his Treasury Board job to a business audience in Washington today, promoted Canada and, clearly, himself.

10. Best line of the day, from blogger @FatAndWide on Twitter: "Lisa Raitt has given RIM until midnight tonight to get back to working or she will intervene."

Headlines of note

In Economy Lab Stephen Gordon takes a look at what he sees as the greater incentive among separate school administrators to provide higher-quality education.

In International Business A new generation of migrant workers is different from those that came before, less willing to put up with long hours, poor working conditions and low pay, Carolynne Wheeler reports from Beijing.

In Globe Careers Unfortunately in today’s marketplace an old-fashioned resume just isn’t enough, Glenn Llopis of Forbes.com writes.

From today's Report on Business

Report Typo/Error
  • Apple Inc
  • Updated November 22 4:00 PM EST. Delayed by at least 15 minutes.

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