Canada applies to join China’s World Bank

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Canada has applied to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, breaking with the Harper government’s reservations about the new Beijing-led lender. The membership would provide a lift for the Chinese-led organization of 57 member countries that wants to expand by another 30 or so. The bank, founded last year to fund roads, power lines and other needed infrastructure projects in Asia, is seen as a counterweight to the World Bank. “Canada’s membership will create commercial opportunities for Canadian companies and create jobs for the middle class,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau at a news conference. (The New York Times)

Three of the world’s biggest insurers have called on G20 leaders to stop funding fossil fuels by 2020 when they meet in China this week. The G20 has already committed to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” over the “medium term.” In May, the G7 nations pledged to achieve this by 2025. When the leaders of the 20 largest economies meet in Hangzhou on Thursday and Friday, they must commit to an end to assistance for fossil fuel companies within four years, said a joint statement from insurers Aviva, Aegon and Amlin. (The Guardian)

The foreign property-transfer tax is a good thing, and don’t let anyone try to tell you differently—least of all realtors, writes Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason. The real estate industry can’t separate the public good from its own self-interest, says Mason. “The idea that this tax is going to kill the real-estate business in B.C. is ludicrous.” (The Globe and Mail)

New child benefits and CPP could see a middle-class family lose 70 cents of each extra dollar earned, according to analysts at the Fraser Institute. Last month the federal government’s new Canada Child Benefit program came into force, replacing and consolidating an assortment of previous programs. But little attention has been given to how this will affect the amount of money you lose to taxes when earning an additional dollar of income and the resulting work disincentives faced by some moderate- and middle-income Canadians. (Financial Post)

Why they did it: Madoff and other high-profile fraudsters explain their motivation. A new book by Harvard Business School professor Eugene Soltes offers some interesting theories including that many senior business people operate in a moral grey zone. To research the book, Soltes wrote letters to some four dozen convicted criminals, ranging from Ponzi scheme legend Bernard Madoff to Andrew Fastow, late of Enron Corp., to Dennis Kozlowski, once the chief executive of Tyco International Ltd.—and many of them wrote back. (Bloomberg)