Tuesday, March 8, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 7 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


The foreign affairs critic for the opposition Liberal Party of Canada is urging the Harper government to be more proactive in dealing with Libya. Bob Rae says a victory by Moammar Gadhafi and his forces would simply not be acceptable. Mr. Rae says there are a range of options open to Canada. They include establishing diplomatic relations with the Arab League, "unrecognizing" the Gadhafi regime as the legitimate government of Libya, establishing direct contact with the opposition Libyan National Council, and consulting with the Arab League and the African Union on the steps that need to be taken to ensure the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime. Bob Rae did caution, though, that Canada has to walk a fine line to ensure the Libyan people do not perceive any Canadian action as Western imperialism. In more practical terms, he recommended that revenues from Libyan oil be held in trust and not allowed to be used to finance the regime, and that those serving under Col. Gadhafi be notified that they do so at their own peril.


Canadian ministers of health at the federal, provincial and territorial levels are launching a national initiative to deal with childhood obesity. Described as a national dialogue, it's is aimed at identifying ways for authorities to work together to promote and maintain healthy weights for children and youth. The program will also include a website and a national summit. A report and recommendations based on the information gathered will be released in November. According to national statistics, roughly one in four Canadian children is either obese or overweight.


A study conducted by Canada's Department of National Defense reveals that Canadian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2009 suffered traumatic brain injuries, known as TBI, at three times the rate of their American counterparts. The study, obtained by the Globe and Mail newspaper, concludes the reason for it was the higher risks the Canadian forces faced in the Kandahar region, home base of the Taliban. The hospitalization rate for Canadian soldiers with TBI was 71 per 10-thousand soldiers deployed, while the rate for US soldiers was 24 per 10-thousand. TBI can result in severe concussions, long-term memory loss, depression and behavioral changes.


Reports say the Canadian government is being asked to decide quickly on specifics of the training mission in Afghanistan so the military can get the best assignments. Other countries are also seeking prime instruction posts. The Canadian military wants to deploy a small number of troops at regional training centres in addition to stationing soldiers at classrooms in the Afghan capital, Kabul. The locations under consideration include the western city of Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif in the north and Jalalabad, near the border with Pakistan. Canadian officials are concerned that other countries, moving more quickly, could receive the prime classrooms and most desired locations. In the meantime, heavy rain is slowing down a major Canadian road project in southern Afghanistan. The military says downpours over the past couple of weeks have delayed construction of a 22-kilometre road in Kandahar's Panjwaii district. Military officials say the road will link rural villages, boost commerce and trade, and improve the freedom of movement for Afghans. The Royal 22nd Regiment hopes to have it finished in mid-April.


Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board has ruled that a Tamil migrant who arrived in the country last summer is not a threat to national security. The man, who cannot be identified, was among nearly 500 migrants from Sri Lanka who arrived by ship last August inBritish Columbia. The Ministry of Public Safety accused him and 31 others in the group of terrorism, war crimes or human smuggling. It said he was a member of the banned Liberation Tigers of Eelam, which Canada considers a terrorist group. However, the Refugee Board says the evidence suggests that was not the case and the man's refugee claims can proceed. About 100 migrants are still in custody.


A report being released today warns that Canada's economy will pay a price if there is no national childcare policy. The report by YWCA Canada says the lack of accessible and affordable child care is keeping women from fully participating in the workforce. The report says the current system ignores the progress women have made in education and employment over the past 30 years. It warns that unless the government takes action, Canada's ability to prosper will be hindered. Figures from Statistics Canada from 2009 indicate nearly two-thirds of women with infants are employed.


A Canadian man has been given a 14-year prison sentence in the United States for drug smuggling. Marc Andre Cusson, of the province of Quebec, led a scheme to import to the US tonnes of high-grade Canadian marijuana. The 41-year old Cusson also smuggled millions of dollars in US currency back to Canada. Cusson was arrested in 2002 and extradited to the U-S last year. He was sentenced by a court in Montpelier, Vermont.


Canadians who followed the rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69-days last year have a chance to get closer to the drama. One of the rescue capsules that was built to extract the men from the depth of 700 metres in October is on display inToronto until Wednesday of this week.



Libyan rebels ceded ground to Moammar Gadhafi's advancing forces Monday. The rebels began pulling back from the key oil port of Ras Lanuf as fighter jets targeted defences on the edge of town. After the bloodiest fighting of the three-week-old conflict Sunday, the United Nations demanded urgent access to scores of injured and dying in the western city of Misrata. A doctor there said 21 people, including a child, had been killed in shelling and clashes, and 91 people wounded. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon named former Jordanian foreign minister Abdul Ilah Khatib as his special envoy. After a briefing at UN headquarters in New York, Mr. Khatib will travel to Libya, where he plans to meet with all parties involved in the conflict. With the military situation worsening and population centres threatened, influential US politicians are arguing strongly for Washington to arm the rebels and secure a no-fly zone over Libya to thwart Kadhafi's air force. President Barack Obama said the US and its NATO allies are considering a military response, and Britain and France were drafting a UN resolution that would establish a no-fly zone.Monday brought the first explicit approval of action from the region. Gulf states called for a no-fly zone to be imposed in Libya, and for an urgent Arab League meeting to discuss the situation.


Ministers of Egypt's new government were sworn in on Monday. Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's government includes six new ministers in foreign affairs, oil, interior, culture, justice and labour. Mr. Sharaf himself was appointed last Thursday after demonstrations against the continuing presence of former president Mubarak's associates in the caretaker government. On Sunday, men in plain clothes armed with swords and petrol bombs attacked protesters in Cairo during a demonstration demanding reform of the security services. Observers say it appeared to be the first time armed men in plain clothes had deployed in force against reform activists in central Cairo since Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign and hand power to the military. The military has promised democratic elections but activists continue to demand deeper reform, including a major change to the police forces.


The country where all the Arab revolts started has a re-jigged administration today. Tunisia's prime minister has appointed six new people to fill posts vacated last week amid new questions about Tunisia's direction. But Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi kept the heads of the key defence, interior, justice and foreign affairs ministries. Mr. Essebsi himself was named just a week ago after his predecessor quit.


All but six people detained in Zimbabwe on allegations of plotting an uprising have been freed by the courts. The 39 were among 45 people arrested on February 19th while attending a lecture and watching television news footage of the uprisings in North Africa. Police accused them of plotting a similar revolt in Zimbabwe, which is under the iron fist of Robert Mugabe. But a magistrate ruled Monday that only six of the people detained be held to face charges of treason.


Trials of suspected terrorists, held by the United States at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, are set to resume. An order lifting a two-year ban on new trials has been approved by US President Barack Obama. It is the latest acknowledgement that the detention facility will remain open for some time to come. Closure of the facility - an Obama election campaign promise - has become untenable because of questions about where terror suspects would be held.


Russia will try to convince Georgia to drop its opposition to Russian membership in the World Trade Organization, when they meet for talks in Switzerland later this week. As a WTO member, tiny ex-Soviet Georgia has the right to veto any new entrant, and Tbilisi has been keen to use one of its few levers of international influence over Moscow. Russia, which opened negotiations to join the WTO in 1993, is the largest economy to remain outside the Geneva-based body. Georgia's opposition stems from its demand that Russia allow it to set up border checkpoints in Russian-backed rebel Georgian provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, that's all but impossible since Moscow recognized both regions as independent states after the war.


US Vice President Joe Biden will be visiting Russia later this week as part of an initiative to "reset" ties with Moscow. A statement issued prior to his departure from Washington said the aim was to further the prosperity of the two countries. On Thursday, Mr. Biden will deliver a speech on US-Russia relations at Moscow State University. Russian news agencies had previously said that Mr. Biden will be in Moscow to prepare for an eventual visit by President Barack Obama. But the White House has declined to say if Obama is expecting to return to Russia this year. Also on Mr. Biden's itinerary on this trip are visits to Moldova and Finland.


China's foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, has dismissed suggestions of heightened domestic tension following calls for anti-government protests inspired by the uprisings in the Arab world. Analysts say Chinese officials have been nervous following political uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. China's police have arrested activists and placed restrictions on foreign journalists attempting to cover proposed public rallies in China. Those behind the anonymous online calls in China for demonstrations each Sunday have tried to bring attention to public dissatisfaction with widening income disparity, corruption and misrule. This past weekend, Premier Wen Jiabao mentioned the fact there was great resentment in China over certain issues.


China has closed the Tibetan region to foreign tourists for the rest of the month of March. Travel agents say the move comes before the third anniversary of violent anti-government riots there. And the agents say they will have to wait for notification to see whether the region will be reopened in April. After anti-government riots in Lhasa in March 2008, foreign tourists were banned from travelling to the Himalayan region for more than a year. A report released by Human Rights Watch last year said Chinese security forces brutally beat and even shot dead some protesters during the 2008 unrest, and tortured many in the subsequent crackdown.


Monday's Markets

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 160.42 points to 14,092.35. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 80.22 points to 12,089.66. The Nasdaq Composite lost 39.04 points at 2,745.63. The Canadian dollar closed 0.12 of a cent lower to 102.79 cents US. The US dollar stood at 97.29 cents Cdn, up 0.12 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5765, down 0.48 of a cent and US$1.6204, down 0.70 of a cent. The euro was worth C$1.3596, up 0.07 of a cent.


On the markets at 2 p.m. EST: In Toronto, the S-and-P/T-S-X composite index lost 150.93 points to 14,101.84. The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 16.20 points to 2,423.63. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrials Average plunged 104.37 points to 12,065.51. The Nasdaq composite index fell 52.26 to 2,732.41. The Canadian dollar was trading at 102.68 cents U-S, down 23-100ths from Friday's close.


National Hockey League

Sunday's results: Calgary defeated Nashville 3-2 and Vancouver shut out Anaheim 3-0.

Davis Cup Tennis

Canada defeated Mexico 4-1 in American Group play in Metepic, Mexico on the weekend. On Sunday, Milos Raonic sealed the victory with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 win over Daniel Garza. Following Raonic's clinching victory, Frank Dancevic defeated Manuel Sanchez 6-4, 6-1. On Saturday, Raonic and Vasek Pospisil won the doubles match, defeating Luis Diaz-Barriga and Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. On Friday, Raonic and Dancevic split their singles matches with Raonic winning and Dancevic losing. Canada now advances to the second round against Ecuador July 8-10.

World Cup of Cricket

Led by captain Ashish Bagai, Canada defeated Kenya by five wickets Monday in New Delhi, India. Chasing 198, Bagai hit a four to seal the win, upping his personal total to 64 runs. It was Canada's second win in 16 matches at four World Cups. Canada is now 1-and-3 at this year's tournament.


Brad Gushue and Glenn Howard both improved to 3-1 in the morning draw Monday at the Tim Hortons Brier in London, Ont. Gushue's Newfoundland and Labrador rink scored three in the third end and then held off a rally by Saskatchewan's Steve Laycock to win 7-6. Ontario's Howard, meanwhile, scored three in the second end and never relinquished the lead in a 7-5 victory over British Columbia's Jim Cotter. Both rinks were slated to play in back in the evening draw when Gushue takes on Alberta's Kevin Martin and Howard faces Francois Gagne of Quebec. Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton leads the round-robin standings at 4-0, while Martin is second at 3-0.

Major League Baseball

Former Toronto Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun is retiring after 16 major league seasons. In recent years, Zaun had become a popular figure in Canada doing analyses of post-season games. The 39-year-old was at spring training on a minor league contract with San Diego following an operation last June to repair the labrum in his throwing shoulder. Zaun hit .265 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 28 games with the Milwaukee Brewers last season. He made his big league debut with the Baltimore Orioles in 1995 and played for nine teams. Zaun had a .252 career average with 88 homers and won a World Series title with the Florida Marlins in 1997.


MARCH 8, 2011

Vancouver, periods of rain, high 8. Edmonton, sunny, minus 11. Calgary, sunny, minus 2. Saskatoon, sunny with cloudy periods, minus 11. Regina, sunny with cloudy periods, minus 10. Winnipeg, cloudy with sunny periods, minus 7. Toronto, sunny with cloudy periods, zero. Ottawa, increasing cloudiness, minus 3. Montreal, sunny, minus 5. Fredericton, clearing, zero. Halifax, clearing by noon. High plus 1. Charlottetown, sunny, minus 3. St. John's, sunny with cloudy periods and a chance of showers, plus 6. Whitehorse, cloudy with a chance of flurries, minus 10. Yellowknife, sunny, minus 18. Iqaluit, sunny with cloudy periods, minus 23.

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