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Required reading: Five essential stories of the week

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Each week, Report on Business editors choose five stories that shouldn't be missed. Here are the 'must reads' for the week of Nov. 9, 2009 :

Missy the million dollar Holstein

She is long, leggy and classy. Her frame is all smooth lines and voluptuous curves. Every beauty contest she enters, she wins.In short, she is the Claudia Schiffer of the milking parlour. Her name is Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy - she goes by Missy for short - and, as of last week, she is worth $1.2-million, gaining her entrance to a pantheon of million-dollar North American cows that contained only five Holsteins before her. Nathan Vanderklippe reports:

Department stores fight for beauty market

When it comes to beauty, the department store is beginning to take on the hue of a chain drugstore. Once dominant in beauty products with their prominent cosmetics sections, department stores are locked in a battle with rival retailers over lipsticks, lotions and eyeliners. Now they're testing more customer-friendly methods that appeal to a younger woman, echoing the formats of Shoppers Drug Mart and others. Marina Strauss reports:

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New home buyers take risks with low rates

Mike Averbach says he has never been busier. The Vancouver mortgage planner has been doing brisk business lately as would-be homeowners scramble to secure cheap mortgages to get in on a real estate market that has quickly and sharply rebounded from the economic slump. The flurry around Mr. Averbach's business illustrates the efforts some first-time buyers are going to in order to win rich bidding wars. It's these buyers who have raised fears of a bubble, negotiating mortgages at historic lows, opting for 35-year terms and making small 5-per-cent down payments to keep monthly outlays down and put previously unaffordable homes within their reach. Steve Ladurantaye reports: Cat:e528746c-3414-401a-b14b-50247e3bdf01Forum:d0fa4e14-88d2-41f9-8a19-896bdff9544b

Canadians sock cash away in TFSAs

When Tiana Mah and her husband renovated their newly purchased home in Vancouver's Cambie Village area in May, they didn't apply for a line of credit or dip into a chequing account. That would have been so 2008. Instead, they paid for the refinished oak floors, the new bathroom and wiring with money from the new rainy-day fund Canadians are learning to tap: a Tax-Free Savings Account. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty promised an evolution in Canadian spending habits when he created TFSAs in his 2008 budget. He appears to be getting one. Roma Luciw and Kevin Carmichael report:


Flickr co-founder back with new Web startup

The last time Stewart Butterfield invented the future it was by accident. In late 2003, his Vancouver startup was almost out of money and it had to abandon work on Game Neverending, a Web-based video game heavy on social interaction. The nine-person company stripped down what they had built and what emerged was Flickr, the photo-sharing website that now ranks among the world's most popular. A year after Flickr launched, Yahoo Inc. bought it for $30-million (U.S.) as the hurricane of social media began to swirl. Mr. Butterfield worked at Yahoo for a few years in California, but he tired of the big-company scene and quit in the summer of 2008. Now he's back in Vancouver, and his new company, Tiny Speck Inc., has big plans to tap the online interactive wave he helped create. Can Mr. Butterfield hit another grand slam? David Ebner reports:

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