Friday, March 11, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 10 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Libyan sanctions working but more needed--Cannon

OTTAWA: Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says he thinks sanctions against Libya are working but more are needed. Mr. Cannon made the commentas pro-Moammar Gadhafi forces continued to make gains against rebels on Thursday. Mr. Cannon said instituting a no-fly zone will be up for discussion early next week when he joins fellow G8 foreign ministers in France for talks on the Libyan crisis. Mr. Cannon says all options for Libya remain on the table.

Fighter jets cost higher than orginal estimates

OTTAWA: Canada's parliamentary budget officer says the government is vastly underestimating the cost of buying new jet fighters. Kevin Page says the F-35 jet fighters will cost about $22 billion. If long-term maintenance is also considered, the cost rises to about $29 billion. Mr. Page's estimates are billions of dollars more than the government announced. His figures are higher because the Defence Department's initial estimate failed to include set up costs and other expenses. As well, the cost of each plane is much higher than the government announced price. Mr. Page's report came at the request of the opposition Liberal Party. The government says that the new jet fighters are needed to replace an aging military fleet.

Opposition critical of government after speaker's rulings

OTTAWA: The leader of Canada's opposition Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff, says two rulings by the Speaker of the House of Commons on Wednesday show Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party minority government cannot be trusted to govern. Speaker Peter Milliken ruled against the government on two major issues. He found that International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda breached parliamentary privilege by misleading Members of Parliament about the alteration of a document. He also found that the government breached parliamentary privilege by refusing to provide all documents requested by the opposition on the cost of its crime bills and tax cuts. A Commons committee must now decide what action to take against the Conservatives.




Police investigating hockey hit

MONTREAL: Montreal police confirmed Thursdaythey had opened a criminal investigation into the devastating hit that placed Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty in the hospital with a cracked verterbra. Police said they were acting on a complaint about the hit delivered by Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara on Tuesday at Montreal's Bell Centre. The request for the investigation was made by the Province of Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne. A spokeswoman for Mr. Dionne said he initiated the process after seeing television footage of the incident. Mr. Chara was given an interference penalty and a game misconduct after the incident. Buton Wednesday, the NHL decided against issuing a fine or suspension to Mr. Chara. Meanwhile in Washington, DC, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman refused to comment on the incident. Mr. Bettman's was attending a previously scheduled briefing on the state of hockey in America and the relationship between hockey and education and physical rehabilitation.

Youth hockey player charged with assault

SUDBURY: A high school hockey player has been charged with assault after a referee had his feet swept out from under him at a tournament in Sudbury, Ont. Police allege it happened Tuesday during the Northern Ontario Secondary School Association Hockey Championship at the Countryside Arena. The referee suffered a minor injury when he fell backwards and hit his head on the ice. At the time, a 19-year-old player was ejected and the game called. Police say that after interviewing witnesses, the player was charged Wednesday with assault with a weapon. He was released on a promise to appear, and is due in court Apr. 13.

Navy looking for new designs

OTTAWA: The Canadian navy is looking for consultants to help it adapt foreign designs for the replacement of its 40-year-old supply ships. The consultants will be asked to assess the risks and cost of altering current German and Spanish military supply-ship designs to Canadian needs. The request for professional services, issued by the Public Works Department, signals a major turn in the shipbuilding program, first begun seven years ago by the then Liberal Party government.



Government announces cancer funding

TORONTO: The federal government is putting $250 million over five years into fighting cancer. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement Thursday in Toronto. The funding will go to the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and begin in April 2012. The government had previously given the group a similar amount which runs out this year. The partnership is a non-profit organization set up in 2006 that aims to help Canadians deal with cancer.

Time standing still in Saskatchewan

REGINA: Virtually all regions of North America will move time forward this weekend. Everyone loses an hour of sleep as clocks "Spring Forward" one hour to switch from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time. Not in the prairie province of Saskatchewan, however. The Saskatchewan Party government in the province says it will not hold a referendum on daylight time in conjunction with a provincial election in November. Municipal Affairs Minister Darryl Hickie says a recent poll commissioned by the province shows that two-thirds of just over 1,000 people surveyed opposed making the switch. Mr. Hickie says the government has decided there's no need to go through the effort and expense of a referendum. Saskatchewan is the only province that stays on central standard time all year. The issue has been divisive for decades and the Saskatchewan Party promised during the 2007 election campaign to hold a referendum.



Forces loyal of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi continued to make gains Thursday in the fight against rebels attempting to overthrow Mr. Gadhafi. Relentless pounding by pro-Gadhafi forces sent rebels fleeing from the key eastern oil hub of Ras Lanuf. In the West, Libyan forces appeared to win control of the town of Zawiyah near Tripoli after intense fighting. The town had been under assault for several days. With their fighters in retreat, the opposition appealed to Western powers meeting in Brussels to follow the lead of France, which officially recognised the rebels' national council as Libya's "legitimate representative."


NATO defence ministers have decided against creating a no-fly zone around Libya. The ministers, including Peter McKay of Canada, met on Thursday in Brussels. A no-fly zone would prevent Colonel Moammar Gadhafi's jet fighters from further attacking rebels advancing on the capital, Tripoli. NATO's head, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that a no-fly zone requires further planning. At the same time, he expressed NATO's concern about violence against Libya's citizens. He said that NATO would increase its naval blockade of Libya and look at boosting humanitarian aid.


Sunni and Shiite Muslim politicians have met to try to calm sectarian tensions that have escalated into street fights after weeks of protests aimed at bringing down the government. They agreed to establish a mechanism for direct contact between the two sides to face any violations that might happen at street level and resolve them immediately. Bahrain is experiencing the worst unrest since the 1990s after a youth movement took to the streets last month, emulating revolutions that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.


The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei announced Thursday he will be a candidate in Egypt's presidential election this year. He also called for a completely new constitution instead of temporary amendments. It was the first time that Mr. ElBaradei had officially announced his political intentions since President Hosni Mubarak stepped down following a popular uprising last month. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took power after Mr. Mubarak was ousted and said it would hold a parliamentary election in June followed by a presidential ballot six weeks later.


President Ali Abdullah Saleh is promising to hold a referendum on a new constitution later this year. He also ordered his security forces to ensure the safety of anti-government protesters after weeks of unrest in which some 30 people have been killed. However, his promises were rejected by the opposition which has vowed to increase protests after Mr. Saleh refused demands to resign this year. He gained power in a military coup in 1978 and became president of a reunified Yemen in 1990.

Middle East

Envoys of the Middle East Quartet met with Israel's chief peace negotiator Yitzhak Molcho Thursday to try to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Quartet officials were also expected to meet chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat in the West Bank town Jericho. Leaders of the Quartet, which groups the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, are expected to meet in Paris later this month for further talks on the peace process. The talks broke down in late September after Israel refused to extend a moratorium on settlement construction.


US Vice-President Joe Biden told a group of Russian human rights activists, journalists and religious leaders on Thursday that Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization could hinge on its commitment to protect human rights. Mr. Biden said the Obama administration regards fully integrating Russia into the world economy as key to its development and stability, placing less emphasis on worries about Russian rule of law and democratic backsliding. But Mr. Biden's comments to the mainly anti-Kremlin activists suggested the issue remains a concern in Washington. Mr. Biden later met Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to discuss WTO entry and visa issues. Mr. Putin proposed that Russia and the US should abolish visas. Mr. Biden's reply to the visa proposal idea was not audible to reporters present at the negotiations, although his English-to-Russian translator quoted the US vice president as saying it was a "good idea".


Japan's new foreign minister is pledging to reset strained relations with China and resolve diplomatic spats stemming from overlapping claims to islands in the East China Sea. At the same time, Takeaki Matsumoto renewed concerns Thursday about Beijing's expanding military and maritime activity in the region. Mr. Matsumoto took office Wednesday after his predecessor suddenly resigned over a political donations sandal. Japan and China got involved in a diplomatic spat last year over islands in the East China Sea that both claim. Mr. Matsumoto and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, spoke on the phone earlier Thursday and agreed to co-operate to improve ties ahead of the 40th anniversary of the 1972 signing of their peace treaty.



US officials have charged 35 Mexican gang members for a number of crimes, including murder and drug smuggling. The charges also included 10 people accused of a March, 2010 shooting of US consulate employees in Ciudad Juarez. The incident claimed the lives of Lesley Enriquez, an American working at the consulate, her American husband, Arthur Redelfs, and Jorge Alberto Salcido, the Mexican husband of another US consular employee. They were ambushed minutes apart after they left a birthday party.


Cuba has granted exit visas to 13 relatives of dissident Orlando Zapata, who died in February, 2010 after an 85-day hunger strike. His mother, Reina Tamayo, says family members plan to travel to the United States. The 13 relatives had already received US visas last month allowing them to enter the United States. Mr. Zapata had been jailed since 2003. He went on hunger strike to protest prison conditions that he blamed for his deteriorating health.


The Dalai Lama announced Thursday he is resigning as political head of Tibet's exiled government. He said he will seek an amendment allowing him to resign his political office when the exiled Tibetan parliament meets next week. But the Dalai Lama said he will continue to talk about the Tibetan cause in his major role as its spiritual figurehead. He made the announcement during a speech in India on the anniversary of a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule. China, which calls the 75-year-old Nobel peace laureate a "splittist" seeking Tibetan independence, responded to the announcement by accusing the Dalai Lama of playing tricks to deceive the international community.


Police on Thursday broke up a protest of more than 1,000 Tibetan exiles demanding an end to the Chinese rule in their homeland. The protesters chanting anti-Chinese slogans gathered at a Buddhist shrine in the northeastern edge of Kathmandu on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the March 10 riots in Tibet that led to the Chinese crackdown and the Dalai Lama's dramatic flight across the Himalayas. Police in riot gear told the crowd to disperse then pushed them back with bamboo batons. No serious injuries were reported. One protester said at least eight Tibetans have been detained.


China said Thursday that the Dalai Lama was playing "tricks" on the world, after the Buddhist monk announced plans to step down as political head of the exiled Tibetan government. Qiangba Puncog, head of the Tibet region's delegation at China's ongoing annual parliamentary session, blasted the Dalai Lama's announcement as "another political show." The Dalai Lama was just 15 when he was appointed "head of state" in 1950 after Chinese troops moved into Tibet. He fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

United States

A key US congressional supporter of the Dalai Lama on Thursday urged China not to try to divide Tibetans after the spiritual leader said he would step down from his political role. Nancy Pelosi, the top lawmaker of President Barack Obama's Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, hailed the Dalai Lama's "extraordinary commitment to democracy" after he said he would quit as head of Tibet's exiled government. Ms. Pelosi, who represents San Francisco's Chinatown and is close to the Tibetan spiritual leader, also urged China to free political prisoners including the young man chosen by the Dalai Lama to the important position of Panchen Lama.


At least 22 people were killed and some 135 others injured Thursday in an earthquake that struck a remote area of southwest China near the border with Burma. The epicentre of the 5.4-magnitude quake was located about 225 kilometres west-southwest of Dali in Yunnan province. A massive earthquake rocked the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan in May, 2008, leaving nearly 87,000 people dead or missing.


Thursday's markets

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index dropped 246.13 points to 13,638.58. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 228.48 points to 11,984.61. The Nasdaq composite index fell 50.7 points to 2,701.02. The Canadian dollar settled at 102.50 cents US, down 0.73 of a cent. The US dollar stood at 97.56 cents Cdn, up 0.69 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5660, down 0.37 of a cent and US$1.6052, down 1.52 cents. The euro was worth C$1.3454, down 0.18 of a cent.

Some banks unhappy with proposed market merger

TORONTO: Some major Canadian financial institutions are against a proposed merger between major stock exchanges in Canada and Britain. The banks--Toronto Dominion, ScotiaBank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the National Bank-- say the the merged company of the London and Toronto exchanges would be based in London. And, they add, that would bring the decision-makers to England, leaving Canada with less financial influence.

Trade surplus narrows in January

OTTAWA: Canada's trade surplus narrowed sharply in January, falling to 116 million dollars from 1.7 billion in December. Exports rose by 0.8 per cent but imports rose 5.3 per cent. Imports were led by a 16.6 per cent increase in volumes of automotive products. Exports of industrial goods and materials as well as energy products increased during the month while exports of machinery and equipment declined.


National Hockey League

Wednesday's results: Calgary defeated Dallas 4-3 in a shootout and Washington shut out Edmonton 5-0.

The Brier

In curling, Brad Gushue scored three points in the eighth end to rally past Jeff Stoughton 8-5 at the Tim Hortons Brier on Thursday. Gushue's Newfoundland and Labrador rink moved into a tie atop the standings with Stoughton and Ontario's Glenn Howard at 8-2. Howard beat Kevin Koe of Northwest Territories/Yukon 9-2 in seven ends to join the leaders. British Columbia's Jim Cotter hammered Eddie MacKenzie's PEI. rink 7-1, while New Brunswick's James Grattan scored two points in the tenth end to beat Saskatchewan's Steve Laycock 6-5.

National Basketball Association

Wednesday's result: Utah defeated Toronto 96-94.

Figure Skating

Canada's top pairs figure skating team is breaking up. Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison announced Thursday they are ending their partnership. The announcement comes five months after Davison had season-ending knee surgery. The two won bronze at the 2008 world championships.


Friday's weather

Vancouver has rain with a forecast high temperature of eight degrees Celsius. Calgary is sunny with cloudy periods with a chance of morning flurries and a high of minus-two. Regina is cloudy with a chance of morning flurries followed by a mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon. The forecast high: minus-three. Winnipeg is cloudy with freezing rain in the morning followed by showers around noon and afternoon snow. The high: four. Toronto has rain and a high of four. Ottawa has rain, a high of six. Montreal has periods of rain, a high of six. Fredericton is cloudy with a chance of morning flurries or ice pellets followed by periods of rain. The high: seven. Charlottetown and Halifax are cloudy with a chance of showers, highs of five. St. John's has a mix of sun and cloud with a high of one. Whitehorse is sunny with cloudy periods, a high of minus-13. Yellowknife is sunny, a high of minus-26. Iqaluit has periods of snow ending in the afternoon followed by clearing skies. The high: minus-18.

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