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Algiers gripped by World Cup fever

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Algiers – Algiers was vgripped by World Cup fever on Tuesday, with giant flags hanging from buildings and cars parading through the streets in the national colours as Algeria’s first match in Brazil kicked off.As the Desert Foxes launched their campaign against Belgium at 1600 GMT, at Brazil’s Mineirao stadium, there was a carnival-like atmosphere in the capital.At the landmark central post office building, where a giant screen has been installed, hundreds gathered clad in patriotic hats and scarves, blowing whistles and South African vuvuzelas. Earlier, the blare of car horns resounded in the city centre, while shops rigged up televisions to attract customers.“I took the afternoon off so as not to be caught in the traffic and so I could watch the match,” said Kamel, in his 30s, convinced that Algeria’s Bosnia-born coach Vahid Halilhodzic can get them through to the knock out stages.“Hope is allowed right up to the final whistle,” joked his girlfriend Leila, who mentioned cited modest aspirations: “an honourable participation.”The crowds went wild when star midfielder Sofiane Feghouli scored from the spot in the 24th minute.Many across the city took the afternoon off work to watch the match, whether in public, or in the calm of their homes.While discussions about the likely score sometimes verged on the surreal, few doubted that Algeria would win.Kheira, in his 70s, said she had prepared snacks and bought cakes for her five children, their spouses and her nine grandchildren to watch the match at her home.“This is an opportunity to meet up and I hope we will be celebrating afterwards,” she said, ululating as passers-by clapped and youths chanted “One, two three, viva l’Algerie!”Algeria is the only Arab country represented in the World Cup, and the match has generated intense excitement in neighbouring countries, notably Morocco, where most football lovers are rooting for Algeria despite the long-standing animosity between the two regimes. read more

Fate of Bombardier Incs lone Canadian CSeries order rests on federal election

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MONTREAL — The fate of Bombardier Inc’s lone Canadian CSeries order appears to hinge on the results of Monday’s federal election.Porter Airlines, which placed a conditional order in 2013 for 12 of the 110- to 125-seat planes, hopes to get permission to fly it on a lengthened runway at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.However, both the Liberals and NDP oppose amending an agreement with the city of Toronto and PortsToronto that would permit jets at the island airport even though CSeries testing suggests it’s the quietest commercial jet in its class that is currently available.If I were Bombardier, I wouldn’t count on those ordersThe Conservatives said they would “consider a proposal” from the city and port authority once a formal request is made. It said the government approved a passenger tunnel that was previously scrapped by the Liberals.“This highly popular airport is a vital economic driver in this city,” a party spokesman said Friday. “Liberals just don’t get it.”Polls suggest the Liberals hold a slight edge and could form a minority government. The head of a local community group opposed to jets at the airport believes the proposal is “dead” if either of the opposition parties are victorious.“If I were Bombardier, I wouldn’t count on those orders,” said CommunityAir chairman Brian Iler.He said the issue could be resolved quickly if the new government in Ottawa quickly announces its unwillingness to reopen the agreement.Crunch time for Bombardier Inc: 5 ways the company can raise cash and boost confidenceBombardier Inc’s CSeries development enters home stretch with testing over 90% completeBombardier Inc’s Airbus talks signal ‘the beginning of the end’ for CSeries, experts sayRegardless of the election, PortsToronto said it will continue to work on studies requested by Toronto City Council and deliver them early next year.Porter wouldn’t comment on the electoral impact on its CSeries order, but Bombardier says it’s not concerned about the order.“They’re going through the appropriate channels; we’re following the due process and we’ll see what results,” said spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera.The potential loss of a Canadian order comes as Bombardier scrambles to find a partner for the aircraft, after approaching Airbus, that helps to address its financial challenges. The company has booked orders and commitments for 603 CSeries aircraft, including 243 firm orders.Porter’s conditional order is valued at US$870 million, rising to nearly US$2.1 billion if it exercises options for another 18 aircraft.Bombardier says it is pitching the plane to several airlines around the world, including, reportedly, Air Canada.Analyst David Tyerman of Canaccord Genuity isn’t counting on Porter getting a hold of the airplane because political developments are difficult to predict.“What they say now and what they do later could change but obviously (the opposition parties’ positions) would reinforce my view that I cannot count on this order,” he said in an interview.Montreal-based Bombardier said the commercial aircraft has undergone 90 per cent of the testing required to win certification this year before entering into service in the first half of 2016. read more