Friday, March 4, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 3 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

AIRLIFT SUCCESSFUL

Another 14 Canadians have been evacuated from Libya. They were among 31 people aboard a Canadian Forces Hercules that was sent to Tripoli from Malta to pick up foreign nationals. The successful operation came after three Dutch commandos and their helicopter were captured during a botched rescue attempt in territory controlled by forces loyal to dictator Moammar Gadhafi.



LIBYA: AID AND ASSETS

Canada is pledging humanitarian aid for the growing crisis in Libya as that country edges closer to civil war. Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, says Canada will donate five-million dollars in aid to be used for relief, medical aid and shelters. And Mr. Harper again called for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to end his violent crackdown on civilians, and to resign. Meanwhile, in Ottawa, the Government introduced legislation in the House of Commons on Thursday to allow it, under specific circumstances, to freeze any assets held by foreign leaders. The Freezing Assets of Corrupt Regimes Act, which fills a gap in existing law, would allow the government to freeze the assets of foreign "politically-exposed persons". To invoke its provisions, the government would need a formal, written request from the foreign state in question, asserting the assets had been misappropriated from the state, or inappropriately acquired by virtue of the person's office or family connection.



PROMINENT COLUMNIST DIES

Toronto Star columnist James Travers has died. He was 62. Star publisher John Cruickshank says the veteran national affairs writer died following a stay in an Ottawa hospital last week. The cause of death was not immediately released. Travers began his journalism career in 1972 and eventually became a foreign correspondent and editor for Southam News. He became editor-in-chief of the Ottawa Citizen in 1991 and held the job for five years before moving to the Star.Travers is survived by his wife and two sons.



THREE'S A CROWD

A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks reveals Canadian concerns about involving Mexico in trade and other talks with the United States. Mexico, along with Canada and the US, is party to the North American Free Trade Agreement, but according to the cable, Canada fears Mexican involvement in ongoing talks could threaten the special bilateral relations Canada enjoys with the US, its largest trading partner. Recent negotiations between Canada and the US on border security and its impact on trade, reflect Ottawa's wish to keep Mexico out of high-priority negotiations. That marks a dramatic shift from the previous three-way approach. The US diplomat quoted in the leaked memo does stress that Canada has assured the Americans "it does value" summits among all three North American leaders.



DANCERS DEFECT

The National Ballet of Cuba says five of its members, including one of its leading dancers, have decided to stay in Canada, after performing in this country. A spokeswoman with the National Ballet of Canada confirmed Wednesday that the Cuban dancers are in the city of Toronto.



AIR INDIA - STILL WAITING

The head of a Canadian public inquiry into the 1985 Air-India bombing is puzzled and disappointed that the federal government has not done anything about his recommendations. John Major, a former justice with the Supreme Court of Canada, says the public has a right to know if the government is rejecting his five-volume report, or of not, what's going to be done about it. The Air India plane exploded in mid-air near the coast of Ireland in June, 1985 killing all 329 aboard. Most of the victims of the bomb attack were Canadians of Indian origin.





International

LIBYA-CHAVEZ

Libya's envoy to the United States says opposition forces will reject a Venezuelan proposal for a mediated end to deadly violence there. Ali Aujali - repudiated by Tripoli since he turned on embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi - vowed "no negotiations and no concessions." His comments came after a Venezuelan minister said Libya and the Arab League were considering a mediation proposal by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Chavez has proposed creating an international peace mission with forces from friendly nations to try to mediate the unrest gripping Libya and avoid civil war.



LIBYA

Reports say Libyan warplanes attacked a rebel-held oil port Thursday in the eastern town of Brega. The area was the site of a fierce battle Wednesday between supporters of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and armed rebels who repelled the attack. Gadhafi loyalists were trying to retake control of the strategic oil installation. The rebels are calling for United Nations-backed air strikes on foreign mercenaries it said were fighting for Gadhafi. But Western officials expressed caution about any sort of military involvement, including the imposition of a no-fly zone.



EGYPT

Egypt's prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, resigned Thursday. He was appointed prime minister by president Hosni Mubarak in his final days in office, before he was ousted on February 11th after an 18-day popular uprising. But there have been protests and political pressure for Mr. Shafiq to step down. He will be replaced by former transport minister Essam Sharaf. Observers say Essam Sharaf's appointment was timed to defuse calls for another mass rally by protesters on Friday, after a first cabinet shuffle by Mr. Shafiq failed to please protesters who want a clean break with the Mubarak era.



IRAQ

In Iraq, a suicide bomber killed at least 10 people and wounded 26 others Thursday at a government bank in the northern town of Haditha. Police say people were collecting their salaries at a branch of the state-owned Rafidain bank in Haditha when the bomber blew himself up.



CHINA

Chinese police have threatened to cancel the visas of dozens of foreign journalists if they continue, what the police say is, illegal reporting from areas where overseas websites have called for anti-government demonstrations. Some foreign reporters were also harassed or beaten up by police or plainclothes security last Sunday, in Beijing's Wangfujing shopping street, one of the designated protest sites. Police have arrested dozens of dissidents since online messages from abroad urged pro-democracy gatherings in Chinese cities. The messages were inspired by the so-called Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, which saw the overthrow of that country's president.



AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, has warned that civilian casualties in the war are a serious problem that needs to be better addressed by the US-led coalition. Mr. Karzai made his comment during a telephone conversation with US president Barack Obama on Wednesday, the same day that NATO forces admitted accidentally killing nine Afghan boys in northeast Afghanistan. Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between NATO forces and Mr. Karzai. Canada is also part of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan.



FOOD

Food prices have reached an all-time high, and the Food and Agriculture Organization warns they could go even higher if the price of oil continues to increase. The FAO's food price index was up 2.2 per cent last month - the eighth consecutive month that food prices have risen.



RUSSIA-CHECHNYA

The leader of the Islamist rebels in Chechnya has issued a videotaped appeal for recruits for what he described as a "total war" against Russia. Doku Umarov, Russia's most wanted man, said a "total war is in progress" and urges his followers to "fight the enemy" wherever they can. Umarov, whose Caucasus Emirate group aims to impose Islamic rule throughout the Northern Caucasus, has claimed responsibility for the Moscow airport attack in January that killed 37 and the 2010 metro attacks that killed 40.



NEW ZEALAND

Rescuers in New Zealand say there's no chance of finding any more survivors from the 6.3 earthquake that struck the city of Christchurch more than a week and-a-half ago. Although more than 200 people are listed as missing, many of them are among the 161 bodies recovered but not yet identified. The quake brought down or badly damaged office towers, churches and thousands of homes and other buildings in the city of 350-thousand people. The February 22nd quake was one of New Zealand's worst disasters.





Financial

MARKETS

S&P/TSX composite index advanced 70.7 points to 14,214.72. The Dow was up 191 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 12,258. The S&P 500 up 22, or 1.7 per cent, to 1,330. The Nasdaq compositeup 50, or 1.8 per cent, to 2,798.The Canadian dollar closed 0.02 of a cent higher to 102.86 cents US on Thursday. The U.S. dollar stood at 97.22 cents Cdn, down 0.02 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5818, down 0.58 of a cent and US$1.6270, down 0.57 of a cent. The euro was worth C$1.3570, up 0.87 of a cent.



NEWFOUNDLAND A-Plus

Newfoundland and Labrador's credit rating has just taken a jump to A-plus, its highest ever. Standard and Poor's Rating Services announced the upgrade Thursday. The bond-rating agency cites the province's improved economic standing, declining debt burden and strong liquidity position.



WOMEN UNDER-REPRESENTED

When it comes to the top jobs at major Canadian corporations, it's still pretty much a man's world. According to a study done by the women's advocacy group Catalyst, 17.7 per cent of senior officer positions were held by women in 2010, a modest increase from 16.9 per cent in 2008. At Crown corporations, which are independently-operated federal government entities, women do fare better, filling 27 per cent of top jobs in 2010. According to the survey, the worst sector was publicly traded companies, where women held only 14.3 per cent of senior officer jobs last year, up from 13.9 per cent in 2008.





Sports

WOMEN'S SOCCER

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada is proud it's won the right to host the Women's World Cup of soccer in 2015. Mr. Harper says he looks forward to cheering on the home team. Soccer's governing body FIFA has confirmed Canada as host of the 24-country soccer tournament. There was little suspense leading up to the announcement after Canada's only competition - Zimbabwe - pulled out earlier this week. The Canadian women are currently ranked ninth in the world.



CRICKET

Fast bowler Harvir Baidwan grabbed three wickets and helped a spirited Canada bowl out Pakistan for just 184 in their World Cup Group A match on Thursday. Baidwan (3-35) rocked the top order and then wrapped up the innings when he bowled No. 11 Saeed Ajmal as Pakistan was dismissed in 43 overs. Canadian seamers used the overcast conditions to perfection after Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi made a surprise move and chose to bat first. All the Pakistan batsmen struggled to negotiate the swing of Baidwan and later burly Balaji Rao (2-50) tied them down with some superb legspin bowling. Afridi and Abdul Razzaq also failed to lift the tempo and Canada will now fancy its chances of causing the World Cup's second upset after Ireland beat England on Wednesday in Group B.





Weather

FRIDAY MARCH 4th

Vancouver: Rain. High plus 7. Edmonton: Cloudy. High minus 14. Calgary: Snow. High minus 13. Saskatoon: Variable skies with flurries. High minus 16. Regina: Mainly sunny. High minus 15. Winnipeg: Sunny. High minus 9. Toronto: Rain. High plus 5. Ottawa: Rain or flurries. High plus 3. Montreal: Flurries. High minus 1. Sunny skies for the Maritimes. Highs of minus 5 for Fredericton, minus 3 in Halifax and minus 9 in Charlottetown. St. John's: Variable skies with flurries. High minus 6. Whitehorse: Cloudy. High minus 15. Sunny with highs of minus 28 in Yellowknife and Iqaluit.





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