Tuesday, March 1, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 28 February 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Speaking in Geneva at a meeting of foreign ministers, Canada's Lawrence Cannon says Gadhafi stepping aside and halting the violence in Libya is the only acceptable course of action for him. Mr. Cannon told the UN Human Rights Council that leaders like Gadhafi in other countries must also accept what he called the "tide of change" that's sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. He said leaders such as Gadhafi and Iran's ruling clerics will be "overwhelmed" if they try to defy it.

The Government of Canada has announced legislation to enforce the sanctions against Libya announced Sunday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The legislation will cover an arms embargo, a cessation of financial dealings with the government of Libya and its institutions and agencies, including the Libyan Central Bank, as well as an asset freeze and travel ban against Moammar Gadhafi and members of his family. Canada will also freeze Libyan government assets.

A Canadian Military supply plane flew 33 Canadians out of Libya to Malta on Monday. It is not clear how many Canadians are still trying to get out of Libya, but if recent estimates were correct there should be roughly 65 remaining.

A Canadian man remains captive in Afghanistan. Colin Rutherford, who is from Ontario, was detained a month ago in Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan. His Taliban captors accuse him of spying and say they found documents in his possession to prove it. The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Mr. Rutherford was missing, but insist he was travelling in the country as a tourist. It says it is now working, in cooperation with Afghan officials, to secure his release.

Canada's economy enjoyed a growth spurt in the final quarter of 2010. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) rose by 3.3 percent. For the year, it was up 3.1 percent, in stark contrast with the 2.5 percent decline the previous year. Much of the fourth quarter growth was attributed to higher exports, along with renewed activity in the mining, oil and gas sectors. Manufacturing, however, declined following five consecutive quarterly increases. Bank of Montreal economist Douglas Porter says the strong hand-off points to even better first quarter growth this year of around 3.5 per cent. He's now joined the Royal Bank and Merrill Lynch in projecting three-plus growth for all of this year, well above the Bank of Canada's 2.4 forecast. Porter says that might get Bank governor Mark Carney thinking about interest rate hikes sooner rather than later. Mr.Carney will deliver a short analysis along with his decision on interest rates at the bank's next scheduled setting tomorrow.

A report from a major Canadian banks says Canadians are saving less of their income than Americans, and the gap is widening. Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, reports the gap in savings rates between Canada and the United States now sits at an all-time high. Canadians, he says, are spending nearly 96 per cent of their after-tax income. His report, titled Back to Old-Fashioned Saving, suggests the average U.S. consumer has been jolted into saving more by the recent collapse of the U.S. real estate market. However, in Canada, where there has been no shock in the housing market, Canadian consumers have felt less compelled to change their financial ways.

A report compiled by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association along with a number of public sector unions calls for a public inquiry into police action at last summer's G-20 summit in Toronto. Entitled "Breach of Peace", the report says an inquiry is needed to determine who was responsible for what it described as "serious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms." More than 11-hundred people were arrested when thousands of police cracked down on protesters. The report's authors argue that police leaders in charge of security need to answer for what they call "an alarming number of incidents" of illegal arrests, detentions and police brutality. However, the Premier of the province of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, rejects the call for a public inquiry. He says there are already five reviews underway, and that is sufficient.

A study done for the British Council ranks Canada third in the world after Sweden and Portugal when it comes to integrating immigrants. The survey of 31 countries by the Migration Policy Group, pointed to Canadian efforts to recognize the credentials of foreign-trained professionals. But the study also says there are areas where Canada can improve and learn from others. It refers specifically to the large backlog for processing immigrant applications.


The fighting in Libya continues. Reports indicate that opponents to the Moammar Gadhafi have seized a number of towns in his traditional western stronghold. International pressure is also building for Mr. Gaddafi resign. The unrest that began in Libya nearly two weeks ago has killed at least one thousand people and set off a humanitarian emergency as almost 100-thousand migrant workers fled the country. This past weekend, the United Nations Security Council imposed a travel and assets ban on Mr. Gadhafi's regime and ordered a probe into possible crimes against humanity. Canada has also imposed sanctions, adding to those agreed to by the UN.

The crisis in Libya continues to be the focus on the international community. In Washington, US President Barack Obama met Monday with UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon. In Geneva, the foreign ministers from more than a dozen countries, including Canada's Lawrence Cannon, met to review the Libyan situation.

Unrest continues in the Gulf state of Oman. Protesters set a supermarket ablaze Monday and rallied at two places in the seaside town of Sohar. One person was confirmed dead Sunday after police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of demonstrators there. Oman, ruled by a powerful family dynasty, marks the latest flashpoint in the Arab world's challenges to authority and suggests that demonstrations could widen in the Gulf with protest rallies planned next month in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Sweden today is marking the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Olaf Palme. It was on this day in 1986, as he left a cinema accompanied by his wife, Lisbeth, that a lone gunman shot him twice in the back. Lisbeth Palme was grazed by a bullet. Despite leads numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the case has never been solved. At his Stockholm grave today, where roses were piled high, the current leader of the Social Democratic Party, Mona Sahlin, laid a wreath in his memory.

A suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth diseases has prompted a ban on all meat exports from South Africa. Of 600 animals tested, half were found to be positive. The disease does not infect humans, but is highly contagious and potentially deadly in cattle, goats, sheep and other cloven-hoofed animals. South Africa has temporarily suspended its status as a recognized foot-and-mouth disease-free country under the World Organization for Animal Health.

The Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran is facing months of delays. A broken pump has forced the removal of the reactor's fuel. That's the word reaching Vienna, headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The billion dollar plant has yet to start injecting power into Iran's national grid.

The Russian space agency has been severely criticized by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov for what he described as "childish" errors. He was speaking at a meeting of the directors of Roskosmos, after a recent series of launch failures and malfunctions. In December three Glonass navigation satellites ended up plummeting into the Pacific off the US state of Hawaii due to what officials concluded was a simple fuel miscalculation. The failures have been particularly painful as Russia gears up to celebrate in April the 50th anniversary of Yury Gagarin becoming the first man in space, still seen as one of the most important achievements in its history.


The S&P/TSX composite index added 84.37 points to 14,136.5 The TSX Venture Exchange gained 15.92 points to 2,391.54. to 12,226. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 96 points, or 0.8 per cent. The S&P 500 index was up seven, or 0.6 per cent, to 1,327. The Nasdaq composite was up one, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,782. The Canadian dollar rose 0.76 of a cent to 102.94 cents US - its highest value since November 2007. Oil prices lost 91 cents to US$96.97 a barrel.

The Western Grain Elevator Association says Canadian Pacific Railway is continuing to fall down in providing railcars to transport grain. Executive director Wade Sobkowich says they thought things would improve with the imminent release of the federal Rail Freight Service Review Panel's final report. But that hasn't happened. He says CPR has accepted only 65 per cent of the car orders it received and provided only 30 per cent on time. He says the performance is the worst anyone in the association can remember.

Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar, will inaugurate service to Canada this summer when it begins thrice-weekly flights to Montreal on June 29th. Montreal will become the airline's fourth destination in North America.

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust says fourth-quarter profits rose 551 per cent to $179.4 (m) million as it booked a one-time tax gain. Canada's largest real-estate investment trust said the earnings were equal to 72 cents per unit, rising from $27.5 (m) million a year ago, or 11 cents per unit. RioCan says the results included a one-time, non-cash reversal on future income taxes worth $150 (m) million, part of its process to comply with the changes to the tax rules for trusts.


Canada has dropped to 0-and-2 at the Cricket World Cup, losing a lopsided decision to Zimbabwe. After Zimbabwe opened with a 289-run total, Canada was bowled out for just 123 runs. Canada's Nitish Kumar became the youngest player to appear at the World Cup at 16 years and 283 days. He was caught and bowled for just one run.

Sunday's results: Atlanta defeated Toronto 3-2 in overtime, Calgary shut out St. Louis 1-0 and Boston defeated Edmonton 3-2.

Sunday's result: Dallas defeated Toronto 114-96.


MARCH 1, 2011
The sun will make a comeback over much of the country Tuesday as March arrives. Even rainy Vancouver will have a few sunny breaks, with a high of plus 6. Mostly sunny and cold in Edmonton. High minus 20. Snow and minus 18 for Calgary. Saskatoon will have sunshine and snowflurries. High minus 23. Mainly sunny in Regina. Minus 22. For Winnipeg, snow and minus 19. Thunderbay, minus 1 with snow. From Toronto east to Charlottetown, sunny skies will prevail, with highs of zero in Toronto, minus 1 in Ottawa, minus 3 in Montreal, minus 6 in Fredericton and minus 2 in Charlottetown. Halifax and St. John's will see rain and wet snow with highs of zero and plus 5. In the far north, sunny and minus 18 in Whitehorse, and minus 23 in Yellowknife with clear skies. Iqaluit will see a mix of sun and snow, with a high of minus 17.

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