Thursday, March 3, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 2 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


HALIFAX: The Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Charlottetown left Halifax, NS Wednesday bound for the Libyan coast. Government officials said its mission is focused on bringing humanitarian aid to the region and to help Canadians and others who want to leave Libya. However, the mission could evolve into major aid lifts or even a blockade to hem in the Gahhafi regime in Libya. The Charlottetown is carrying 240 Canadian Forces members and a Sea King helicopter. It will join an international flotilla assembling in the Mediterranean. It could take up to 12 days for the vessel to reach its destination, depending on sea conditions in the North Atlantic.



OTTAWA: Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday another military plane will make another attempt to rescue Canadians caught in Libya. Mr. MacKay said the situation around the airport in Tripoli remains volatile and it's taking an internationally co-ordinated effort to make sure those who want to get out of the country can do so. A Canadian military Hercules transport en route to pick up stranded oil workers was turned backon Tuesday.


OTTAWA: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Wednesday he will hand down his budget on March 22. It could trigger a general election in May if it does not include measures to win support of at least one opposition party. The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois are not expected to support it. If the left-of-centre New Democratic Party joins them, the budget will be defeated and an election will follow. Mr. Flaherty says there won't be any big new spending and insists he won't raise taxes. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party won a minority government in a general election in October of 2008.


OTTAWA: Canada's Federal Court of Appeal says the agency Elections Canada was right in not being satisfied with the way the governing Conservative Party reported national advertising expenses for the 2006 election. Four Conservative party members, including two Senators, are charged with violating spending rules. Elections Canada alleges the Conservative Party exceeded its spending limit by more than $1 million.


OTTAWA: Canada's justice minister, Rob Nicholson,is accusing opposition Members of Parliament of weakening legislation aimed at restoring special powers to the Anti-Terrorism Act. The House of Commons public safety committee voted to revive extraordinary anti-terrorism provisions but only for two years rather than five. The special measures would allow authorities to arrest and hold suspects to prevent a terrorist attack or compel them to appear before a judge in an investigative hearing.


OTTAWA: A senior's lobby group is calling on the federal government to add the offence of elder abuse to the Criminal Code. The call from the group CARP comes as police in Toronto allege that a 68-year-old woman was made to live in a freezing garage for four months. The woman's son and daughter-in-law face charges of failing to provide the necessities of life and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. CARP also wants a special telephone number to report abuse and increased support for victims.


VANCOUVER: The head of the nurses union in the West Coast province of British Columbia says it's shocking that overcrowding of the emergency ward at a hospital in the city of New Westminster forced doctors to treat patients at a local restaurant. Debra MacPherson calls overcrowding a deliberate government strategy to open the door to wider private medical care in the province. She says it happens all too often.


MONTREAL: The government of the province of Quebec is going to fine a major university fori ncreasing the tuition for a business program by nearly 900 per cent. The provincial government says the$29,500 charged by McGill University goes well beyond the provincial limit of almost $1,700 per semester. McGill argues it needs the money to improve the quality of its business administration program.


OTTAWA: A new study released in Canada and the US finds more than one-third of Americans are obese. That compares with less than a quarter of Canadians. An epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia says it's not clear why there is such a difference. In another mystery, the study found there was little difference for children. The childhood obesity rate was 15.5 per cent in the United States and 12 per cent in Canada, but the difference was not statistically significant. This study is the first time the CDC has compared American obesity rates with another country.


TORONTO: A lock of Canadian singing sensation Justin Bieber's hair that was salvaged from his recent haircut sold for US$40,668 on Wednesday. The winning auction bid came from the online casino The hair was enclosed in a Plexiglas box signed by the Stratford, Ont., singer. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Gentle Barn Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides a safe haven for abused children and farm animals. has won similarly high-profile auctions in the past, including the purchase of Montreal-raised TV star William Shatner's kidney stone.



Forces supporting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday made a new major push into eastern Libya, where his opponents are largely in control and in a defiant speech Colonel Gadhafi vowed to regain control of eastern cities held by his opponents, as well as its oil-producing regions. Both air and ground attacks were reported in eastern Libya. There's international concern that a confrontation between rebels and government forces could descend into a long civil war unless the Mr. Gadhafi resigns. There are reports that the rebels might seek foreign military help. That possible request is considered a sensitive topic for Western countries aware that Iraq suffered years of violence after a 2003 US-led invasion into Iraq toppled the Saddam Hussein regime.


Europe and the United States sent planes, ships and funds on Wednesday to help a massive evacuation effort at Tunisia's border with Libya. Most of the thousands massing at the border were male foreign migrant workers, with 85 percent originating from Egypt, while the others were from as far afield as Bangladesh, China and Vietnam. The United Nations has set up a huge transit camp for those who have already crossed over from Libya, but who are now stuck waiting for onward transportation.


The United Nations has suspended Libya from the UN Human Rights Council. It's the latest international move to stop Libya's violent crackdown on protesters. The resolution sponsored by Arab and African states also expressed concern about the human rights situation in Libya. The vote does not permanently remove Libya from the council, but prevents it from participation until the General Assembly determines whether to restore the country to full status. Last weekend, the 15-member Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Libya. That was followed by a travel ban and assets freeze on Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi, his family and top associates.


At least two prisoners were killed and 10 wounded Wednesday when guards opened fire during a riot at a jail near the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria. Thousands of inmates began rioting in Damanhur prison, breaking down cell doors and attempting to escape. Twelve people were killed in riots at the same prison on Jan. 28 at the start of the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak. Meanwhile, a state-owned Egyptian newspaper said Wednesday Mr. Mubarak is being treated in hospital in Saudi Arabia. It's the latest media report about the ex-president's health and it comes after the ruling Egyptian military denied earlier speculation of Mr. Mubarak's' hospital stay.


Thousands of anti-government protesters marched on the Interior Ministry inthe capital, Manama, on Wednesday, demanding the release of all political prisoners. Last week, Bahrain's king released 23 high-profile activists who had been on trial for allegedly trying to overthrow the monarchy. The Shiite opposition says at least 200 others remain jailed for political reasons


Two protesters were reportedlyshot and killed in anti-government protests in the town of Sadrin southern Yemen on Wednesday. Witnesses said security forces fired tear gas and shot at hundreds of protesters, and the demonstrators responded by setting three of their vehicles on fire. Yemen has seen large protests in recent weeks demanding the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Key tribal allies of Saleh have also joined the protests.


The Israeli military on Wednesday shut down one of the two cargo crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip. A statement said the Karni crossing in northern Gaza was ordered closed for security reasons, but it would not reduce the amount of goods transferred into Gaza. That means expanding the other crossing, at the southern end of Gaza. Both have been operating below capacity. The UN says the increased distance will add up to 20 per cent to transport costs for aid to Gaza. The Karni crossing was not expected to be open after Wednesday.


A top human rights official has condemned the killing of the only Christian member of Pakistan's federal Cabinet Wednesday. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on Pakistan's government to declare a moratorium on its blasphemy laws and order an independent review of them. Pakistan's minority affairs minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, was the second high-profile opponent of blasphemy laws assassinated in two months. The laws impose the death penalty for insulting Islam. The governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by a bodyguard in January after he called for a pardon of a Christian woman sentenced to death under those laws.


Lawmakers are demanding that the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan be brought before parliament to explain an increase in civilian casualties. The lawmakers denounced two recent incidents in Kunar province in which they said more than 75 civilians were killed, about half of them children. Afghan President Hamid Karzai also condemend the killings as merciless. Mr. Karzai has long criticized foreign troops for the killing of civilians in his country.


Bangladesh's central bank on Wednesday fired Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus from the celebrated microfinance lender he founded. The firing ended months of political pressure for him to quit. Mr. Yunus, the 70-year-old leader of Grameen Bank, has been locked in a power struggle with Bangladesh's prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, for several years. Bangladesh Bank said Grameen had failed to seek its prior approval when Mr. Yunus was reappointed managing director in 2000, violating one of the statutes of the partly state-owned company.


Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev marked his 80th birthday on Wednesday by advising Vladimir Putin against running for president. Mr. Gorbachev also said that Russia must "definitely" draw lessons from the social revolutions now striking North Africa and the Middle East. He said the "vertical of power" that the Kremlin has built to oversee the country's politics and economics "has rotted to its core" and issued a direct challenge to the country's de-facto leader, Mr. Putin, to step aside. Russia's state-controlled media has spent the week devoting remarkable attention to Mr. Gorbachev, despite polls showing that he remains more marginalised in society today than at any time in the past. But none of the broadcasts painted him as the man who helped alter the course of history by ending the Cold War without armed conflict and permitting Russians to enjoy their first taste of press freedom. Later, President Dmitry Medvedev decorated Mr. Gorbachev with Russia's highest state honour on his 80th birthday. The Andrei Pervozvanny Order, a Tsarist-era medal, was restored as Russia's top honour in 1998. The ceremony took place at President Medvedev's suburban Moscow residence.


China's government has formally banned reporting without permission on a popular Beijing shopping street where police assaulted some foreign journalists who gathered there on Sunday for a protest. Officials say the ban on reporting without permission in Wangfujing had been in place since 2000 but had only been put in written form in January of this year when the rules were updated. Some foreign reporters were harassed or beaten up by police last weekend in Wangfujing. The incident occurred after an online message from abroad urged a pro-democracy gathering inspired by the so-called Jasmine Revolution in the Arab world where protesters are demanding reform. Chinese police prevented the demonstration in Wangfujing from occurring.


Britain is cutting 16 countries--including Russia and China--from the list of nations it gives financial aid to and said it would no longer fund four "irrelevant" UN aid organisations. Angola and Vietnam are also among countries that will see their aid budgets phased out between now and 2016. International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the government was halting contributions to the four United Nations aid organisations because they "performed poorly or failed to demonstrate relevance". He told parliament it was "no longer acceptable" for Britain to fund the UN Industrial Development Organisation, UN-Habitat, the International Labour Organisation, and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Under the new aid policy, Britain will spend more in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Somalia to provide greater security for British interests.


Mexican police found a mass grave Tuesday containing at least 17 bodies in the Pacific Coast state of Guerrero, a region known for its drug violence. Three mass graves have been found in Mexico in the last year, each full of bodies placed there by drug cartels. Two were in Guerrero, with 55 bodies found in June in Taxco and 18 in November near the beach resort of Acapulco. The third was found in Nuevo Leon state, in the north, containing 51 bodies. More than 34,600 people have died in battles involving rival cartels and security forces since the government crackdown began four years ago.


Police say they have detained the motorist who ran down dozens of bike-riding activists in southern Brazil and injured at least 40 people. A police statement said Ricardo Jose Neis was taken into custody Wednesday morning in the city of Porto Alegre after a judge ordered his preventive detention. Prosecutors say they are considering charges of attempted homicide. Mr. Neis is accused of speeding through a pack of more than 100 cyclists taking part in a pro-bicycle demonstration Friday in Porto Alegre.


Gunmen shot dead Pakistan's only Christian government ministerWednesday for challenging a law that mandates the death penalty for insulting Islam. Analysts say the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, minister for minorities, is the latest sign of deep political instability in Pakistan. Frequent militant attacks and chronic economic problems have raised fears for Pakistan's future. He's the second top official killed this year over the blasphemy law. Pakistani Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the killing of Mr. Bhatti while he was travelling in a car near a market in the capital, Islamabad.



In Toronto, the TSX gained 21.17 points to 14,144.02. The Canadian dollar closed 0.27 of a cent higher to 102.84 cents US. The US dollar stood at 97.24 cents Cdn, down 0.25 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5876, up 0.22 of a cent and US$1.6327, up 0.65 of a cent. The euro was worth C$1.3483, up 0.55 of a cent. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 8.63 points to 12,066.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 10.66 points.


MONTREAL: The Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier Aerospace says it has received an order for what it calls the "largest business aircraft sale" in the company's history. Montreal-based Bombardier says the order calls for as many as 120 aircraft to be sold to the US company of Berkshire Hathaway's NetJets Inc., in a deal that could be worth US$6.7 billion. Bombardier says NetJets has already placed a firm order for 50 Global business jets, a transaction valued at approximately US$2.8 billion. The deal also has the option for an additional 70 Global aircraft to be ordered which would bring the total value of the deal to over US$6.7 billion.


OTTAWA: The Supreme Court of Canada will hear a dispute over whether broadcasters can charge cable and satellite providers for carrying their programs. Rogers Communications plans to ask the high court to hear an appeal of a ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal upholding the charges. The Federal Court cleared the way for broadcasters such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, to charge cable and satellite providers for carrying their programs. Currently, they carry network television programming without paying for it. Private and public broadcasters had warned that without the extra funds, they would have to shut down more local stations and cut back on Canadian productions. The cable and satellite companies warned that the federal court decision handed down Monday could eventually lead to higher fees for consumers.



Canada's Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw skied into the record books Wednesday with a photo finish win over Norway in the men's classical-style team sprint at the Nordic world skiing championships. Harvey edged Ola Vigen Hattestad at the line to earn Canada its first medal in men's competition at the world championships. The only other Canadian cross-country skier to win a medal at the world championships is Sara Renner, who took bronze in a classic-ski sprint race in 2005.


Vasek Pospisil will replace Daniel Nestor on Canada's Davis Cup team for this weekend's Americas Zone Group I first round tie against Mexico. Nestor is suffering from an inflamed Achilles tendon and needs temporary rest and treatment. Nestor is third-ranked doubles player in the world and holds the record for most years played by a Canadian in Davis Cups at 18, most wins (42), most doubles wins (27) and most ties played (38). Pospisil will be joining Frank Dancevic, Peter Polansky and Milos Raonic on the team led by captain Martin Laurendeau of Montreal to face Mexico from March 4-6.


Tuesday's results: Montreal defeated Atlanta 3-1, Boston shut out Ottawa 1-0, Calgary shut out St. Louis 6-0, Edmonton defeated Nashville 2-1 in a shootout and Vancouver defeated Columbus 2-1 in a shootout.


Tuesday's result: Toronto defeated New Orleans 96-90.


The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have waived running back DeAndra' Cobb and linebacker Otis Floyd. Cobb led the team in rushing last season but became expendable when Hamilton signed free-agent all-star rusher Avon Cobourne last month.



Vancouver has showers with a forecast high temperature of seven degrees Celsius. Calgary has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of minus-six. Regina is cloudy, minus-seven. Winnipeg is sunny, minus-19. Toronto has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of minus-four. Ottawa is sunny, minus-eight. Montreal is sunny, minus-11. Fredericton and Charlottetown are sunny, highs of minus-10. Halifax has a mix of sun and cloud, minus-eight. St. John's has flurries, minus-one. Whitehorse has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of minus-14. Yellowknife is sunny, minus-29. Iqaluit is sunny, minus-22.

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