Wednesday, March 2, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 1 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Canada is preparing to send a navy frigate to the waters off Libya. It is expected to join a US carrier battle group. The announcement follows news that a Canadian military plane was turned back from landing in Tripoli Tuesday because of a shortage of ramp space at the airport. Ottawa sent the plane to pick up oil workers trying to escape the violence in Libya. Another flight is scheduled for Wednesday.

Canadians can continue to look forward to low-cost borrowing, even if, at the same time, the interest they'll earn on their savings will also stay low. Canada's central bank has decided to stay the course on interest rates. Even though inflation appears to be emerging as a problem elsewhere, the Bank of Canada says underlying price pressures in Canada remain subdued. It says the economic recovery in Canada is proceeding slightly faster than it had expected, but there's still plenty of slack in the economy. The bank will next revisit interest rates in mid-April.

A study done for the Salvation Army finds that one in four Canadians believes poverty is a lifestyle choice. In other words, if people are poor, they only have themselves to blame. 37 percent of Canadians who responded to the survey believe the poor still have it pretty good. The study reports that about three million Canadians live in poverty. That's roughly one in eleven, a level that has not changed over the past decade.

According to a Taliban communiqué, Canadian officials negotiating the release of a man they're holding captive in Afghanistan have failed, so far, to meet their demands. Just what those demands are have not been disclosed. 27-year-old Colin Rutherford of Toronto was detained a month ago in a city in Ghanzi province in the east of the country. Canadian officials say he was travelling there as a tourist, but according to the Taliban communiqué he was carrying papers that reveal he was on a mission to discover their hideouts. A spokesman for Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs says its officials are working with Afghan authorities to assist the family in securing Colin Rutherford's safe release.

The Canadian government is proposing new rules it says would eliminate 4.5 tonnes of mercury in products entering the marketplace each year. The new regulations would ban the manufacture, import and sale of most mercury-containing products in Canada. Some products, including scientific instruments, dental fillings and fluorescent lamps, would still be allowed. The public has until May 12th to comment on the new regulations.

The Canadian oil company, Suncor Energy, is saying little after the federal government imposed sanctions against Libya. Suncor has a 3.5 billion dollar investment in Libya's oil fields.The company has suspended operations and evacuated employeesafter the violent crackdown on protesters. Federal cabinet minister John Baird says he hopes disruptions to Canadian businesses in Libya wIll end soon, provided the sanctions are successful in toppling Mr. Gadhafi.

Canada used to be the number two automaker in North America. Now, for the third year in a row, it is third behind the US and Mexico. Mexico produced 19 per cent of North America's auto production in 2010 compared to Canada's share of 17 per cent. The US accounted for about 64 per cent of the more than 12-million vehicles produced last year. However, according to Toronto-based auto analyst Denis DesRosiers, the US share was as high as 80 per cent back in the 1970s.

Shelagh Grant has become the first Canadian woman to win the $15-thousand Lionel Gelber Prize. It is awarded to a non-fiction book on foreign affairs. Ms. Grant, a retired professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, was chosen for her book, Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America. The book is based on 30 years of research. The Lionel Gelber Prize was founded in 1989 by Canadian diplomat Lionel Gelber.

Hollywood actress and singer Jane Russell has died in California of respiratory failure. She was 89. Ms Russell shot to fame as a Hollywood sex symbol of the 1940s and 50s, first starring in Howard Hughes' 1941 western, The Outlaw. Some of her other memorable films include the 1948 film, The Paleface, with Bob Hope, and, in 1953, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in which she starred with Marilyn Monroe. Jane Russell was born in Minnesota, but her parents had spent the early years of their marriage in Edmonton, Alberta. And three of her grandparents were born in Canada.


The refugee crisis created by the revolt in Libya is escalating. At the Tunisian border crossing, soldiers fired into the air in an effort to subdue a wave of Egyptian labourers desperate to escape. Aid workers threw bottles of water and loaves of bread over the wall to a sea of men surging forward towards the safety of Tunisian soil, in a futile attempt to calm them. Tunisian officials were processing entrants as fast as they could, as medics plucked fainting men from the heaving mass sweeping over the chest-high steel gate. An estimated 140-thousand refugees have fled or are fleeing to Tunisia and Egypt. Meanwhile, Moammar Gadhafi remained defiant, dispatching forces to a western border area. But Tripoli is thought to be his last stronghold. Tribal leaders, officials, military officers and army units elsewhere are reported to have defected to the rebels, who claim the balance of the conflict was swinging their way.

Tunisia's Islamist movement, formed some 30-years-ago, has finally gained legal status. The interim government in Tunis announced that Ennhada, as the movement is known, along with other groups banned under the recently-deposed regime, were now considered legal. The leader of Ennhada (Awakening), Rached Ghannouchi, returned to Tunisia on January 30th after nearly 20 years in exile. He has said he will not run for the presidency, but his movement plans to take part in expected parliamentary elections this July.

In Zimbabwe, 45 people who were arrested for attending a lecture on the protests in North Africa, will be spending more time behind bars. They were remanded Tuesday to allow prosecutors time to build a case against them. They are accused of plotting an Egyptian-style uprising in Zimbabwe. If convicted of treason, they could face the death penalty. The group says what they attended was an academic lecture and denies wrongdoing. In Geneva, the UN high commissioner for human rights called for their immediate release. Navi Pillay says the unwarranted arrests represented a serious step backward toward establishing a consolidated democracy in the country. The US State Department commented that President Robert Mugabe had not learned the right lessons from the popular revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

Gunmen on motorbikes wounded 15 girls at a college party in northwest Pakistan Tuesday. Police say some of the victims are in a critical condition after the attack on the state-run, girls-only institution in the town of Mardan, 40 kilometres northeast of the regional capital, Peshawar. All the girls were aged 18 to 20. The attackers fled the scene and there was no claim for the attack. But Islamists opposed to co-education and advocating Sharia law have destroyed hundreds of schools, mostly for girls, in northwest Pakistan in recent years.

NATO says three of its service members have been killed in Afghanistan. One was killed Tuesday in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan and the other two died in a bombing in the east on Monday. It did not provide the victims' nationalities or any other details. A total of 68 NATO service members were killed this year, including 36 in February. Last year was the deadliest year of the nine-year Afghan war for the international forces, with 701 killed. Canada is also part of the foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The Obama Administration is calling on Chinese authorities to respect the rights of foreign journalists. It was responding to the police assault Monday in Beijing on a reporter with the US-based Bloomberg news agency. A White House spokesman said the detention or harassment of foreign journalists was unacceptable and disturbing. For its part, Beijing issued a warning of its own to foreign journalists to cooperate with police and respect the country's laws. The statement came after a crackdown on Chinese protesters responding to the uprisings in the Arab world. Chinese citizens have been urged to gather for peaceful demonstrations each Sunday afternoon at designated locations in cities across China to express public anger with the government.

The Russian foreign minister says if Iran took some "real positive steps" to meet international concerns about its nuclear program, then it's possible sanctions against the regime could be eased. The UN has imposed the sanctions over concerns Iran has embarked on a nuclear weapons program. Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Geneva, said negotiations with Iran on the issue must soon resume, at which time the world powers expect to reach agreement on concrete steps. Should that happen, he said, he could see some lessening of the sanctions.

A record 241 candidates have been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. There are reports that among them is WikiLeaks, the website that released classified cables. Also thought to be on the list are people linked to the revolutions in the Arab world. The winner won't be known before next October.


In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index declined 13.65 points to 14,122.85. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 168.32 points to 12,058.02 and the Nasdaq composite index fell 44.86 points to 2,737.41. The Canadian dollar closed 0.37 of a cent lower to 102.57 cents US. The US dollar stood at 97.49 cents Cdn, up 0.35 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5854, up 0.57 of a cent and US$1.6262, unchanged from Monday's close. The euro was worth C$1.3428, up 0.18 of a cent.


It almost made it to the auction block. But the net in which Sidney Crosby scored the gold medal-winning overtime goal at the Vancouver Olympics has had an 11th hour reprieve. The Montreal sports memorabilia dealer, Classic Auctions, revealed on Sunday that it was marking the first anniversary of Canada's Olympic triumph over Team USA by offering up the net for sale. But after that news got out, there were some urgent phone calls involving the Vancouver Olympics Organizing Committee and Classic Auctions, and a decision was made that the artifact would be withdrawn from sale. Instead, the net is to be donated to the Toronto hockey museum, which already has the puck Crosby shot for his gold-medal goal, the stick he used to shoot it and the gloves he tossed in celebration after the red light flashed to signal Canada's victory.

The Women's World Cup of soccer could be coming to Canada in 2015 by default. Zimbabwe has withdrawn its bid to host the tournament, leaving Canada as the only candidate. FIFA'sexecutive committee will meet over the next two days and decide if the Canadian proposal is acceptable.

Quebec City has come up with a name for an arena that hasn't been built which is supposed to house a NHL team that doesn't yet exist. It will be called the Videotron Amphitheatre. The city's mayor says the Quebec cable TV and Internet provider will pay $33-million for the privilege.


MARCH 2, 2011
Rain and plus 8 in Vancouver. Snow in Edmonton. Minus 20. Calgary will have some snow and a few sunny breaks. High minus 12. Same for Saskatoon, with a high of minus 20. Regina: snow and minus 18. Clear skies will prevail from Manitoba through western and central Ontario, with highs of minus 10 in Thunder Bay and minus 3 in Toronto. Ottawa and Montreal will see some snow with highs of minus 4 in Ottawa and minus 1 in Montreal. Snow and sunny breaks in Frederiction. High plus 2. Snow in Halifax and Charlottetown with highs of plus 1 and zero. St. John's will enjoy sunshine and minus 2. Whitehorse will have variable conditions, including some snow. High minus 21. Yellowknife will be sunny and minus 27. Iqaluit, snow and minus 18.

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