Wednesday, March 16, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 15 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Weather


A man in the United States has been found guilty of aiding a Canadian woman and a British man to commit suicide. William Melchert-Dinkel was accused of searching on the Internet for depressed people, whom he encouraged to kill themselves. Nadia Kajouji of Brampton, Ontario was an 18-year-old student at Ottawa's Carleton University when she jumped into the Rideau River in 2008. She had chatted online with Melchert-Dinkel under the impression that he was an emergency room nurse from Minneapolis. The accused was tried in Minnesota.


WINNIPEG: Two Canadians are being sought on criminal charges related to terrorist activity in Afghanistan. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say that Ferid Ahmed Imam and Maiwand Yar conspired to participate as terrorist insurgents. Both allegedly underwent terrorist training in Pakistan. Imam was also charged in Brooklyn for his part in a 2008 conspiracy to attack New York subways with suicide bombers. Yar was once a mechanical engineering student at the University of Manitoba. He was last seen in 2007. Investigators believe the two men travelled to Peshawar in the northern frontier of Pakistan near Afghanistan, a region thought to harbour terrorists.


KAMLOOPS: A group of 27 Japanese students in Canada is seeking to return home to reunite with their families struggling in the aftermath of disaster. The students were studying at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. They were scheduled to return to Japan on Friday,the same day that the earthquake struck. All 27 students will fly to Tokyo on Wednesday. None of the students has lost family members, but two students are from Sendai, the region hardest hit by the disaster. Several other students from Japan remain at Thompson Rivers University. They're discussing how and when to travel home.


EDMONTON: Doctors in the province of Alberta say that the provincial government has apparently changed its plan to cut medical programs and reduce physicians' salaries. The Alberta Medical Association says that an agreement in principle was reached on a new funding deal for doctors. Programs will continue until June 30 while the two sides come to final terms on a three-year deal. Under the proposal, salaries will remain frozen for two years and then increase according to a cost-of-living formula. The Association says that relations with the government weakened after the government threatened to cut programs to intimidate doctors.


The Canadian province of Quebec has imposed an estimatedtwo-million dollar fine against Montreal's McGill University. The province is cutting the top-ranked university's government subsidy after finding it increased tuition fees for its Masters in Business Administration program by nearly 900 per cent. McGill raised the fees to $29,500 last fall, well above the provincial tuition cap, arguing it needed the extra cash to make its program competitive.


The Canadian government has released an updated citizenship guide for newcomers. It includes new sections pointing out that honour killings and forced marriages are not tolerated in Canada. The guide also adds a paragraph noting that gays and lesbians are protected under the law and can marry. The first version of the guide was released in 2009 and made no reference to gay rights.


The leader of Canada's official opposition Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff is promising that if he's elected in the next federal election, he would help fund a new sports arena in Quebec City. But Mr. Ignatieff did not promise a specific amount during a visit to Quebec City on Wednesday. The Conservative Party government has decided not to contribute to the arena's estimated 400-million dollar cost. Quebec City is hoping a new arena will help the city attract a National Hockey League team.


VICTORIA: British Columbia's new premier, Christy Clark, has appointed a cabinet of 18 ministers. Cabinet members include three of her former leadership rivals. Kevin Falcon was appointed finance minister, George Abbott will lead the education ministry and Mike de Jong has the health portfolio. Miss Clark will soon face a province-wide referendum on former premier Gordon Campbell's unpopular harmonized sales tax. Miss Clark hope that voters will support the tax because she says that it creates jobs. Mr. Campbell quit as an MLA on Tuesday, leaving a safe Liberal Party seat vacant in Vancouver for Ms. Clark to run in a byelection. Ms. Clark was elected party leader last month, but she has no parliamentary seat and may not sit in the legislature.


Health officials in Canada's Pacific coast province of British Columbia say there's no need for residents to worry about radiation from the nuclear accidents in Japan. Officials say it would take five to six days for winds to carry nuclear particles across the Pacific Ocean and by that time any radiation would have dispersed into the atmosphere. The statement comes as pharmacies report increased demand for potassium iodide as some people try to boost their immunity to any potential radiation drift.



Martial law was declared on Tuesday in Bahrain, where public protests against the government ruled by minority Sunni Muslims has led to deadly confrontations. On Tuesday, two men were killed in clashes in the Shi'ite area of Sitra. More than 200 people were wounded in various other incidents. The government has struggled to stop an uprising by the Shi'ite Muslim majority, and has drawn troops from Saudi Arabia. The three-month state of emergency will hand power to Bahrain's security forces, which are dominated by the Sunni Muslim elite. The move could further intensify protests.


Egypt is going to create a new national security force. The new force will replace a security agency that was known for brutality during the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak. The Interior Ministry says that the new force will guard internal security and fight terrorism in line with the law and human rights.


Thousands of people in northeastern Japan have been told to stay indoors. Radiation is leaking from the reactors at a nuclear plant damaged by Friday's earthquake and tsunami. The government has advised people living within 30 kilometres not to go outside. There have been explosions at three of the nuclear plant's reactors, and a fire in a fourth. The government also says the radiation levels are high enough to have an impact on human health. Japan has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to send experts to help try to prevent a meltdown at a nuclear plant. Officials are trying prevent a worst case scenario, a complete reactor meltdown. Friday's magnitude 8.9 earthquake has killed more than 10,000 people and has caused massive destruction. Aid and rescue teams are arriving from around the world.


Libyan rebels have lost control of their last town west of Tripoli. The loss of Zwara has forced the rebels to retreat to the east, where they still have some measure of control. But forces loyal to Colonel Moammar Gadhafi are pursuing the rebels, attacking them with missiles and jet fighters near the town of Ajdabiya. Attacks also targeted the road linking Ajdabiya to other rebel strongholds further east. Casualties were reported, but no precise numbers were available. The rebels are struggling to maintain an offensive, but they're running short of weapons and ammunition. The large city of Benghazi remains under rebel control. A doctor in the city of Misrata says that Libyan naval ships were blocking foreign aid ships. He says that the blockade has led to a shortage of medicine and fresh water. The rebels still hope that the international community will impose a no-fly zone around Libya, which would stop the air attacks. But despite support for a no-fly zone by the Arab League, no action has been taken. Foreign ministers of the Group of Eight declined on Tuesday to vote for a no-fly zone, but urged the United Nations Security Council to impose more sanctions on Libya. The G-8 ministers, including Lawrence Cannon of Canada, met in Paris.


France is trying to persuade its Group of Eight partners to support a push for the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone in Libya. The G-8 foreign ministers including Canada's Lawrence Cannon are into their second day of talks in Paris discussing possible action against Libya. Russia and Germany are said to be against a no fly zone requested by Britain and France. The zone would be an attempt to try to stop the advance of Muammar Gaddafi's troops which are crushing a revolt by poorly armed rebels against 41 years of authoritarian rule.


Two U.S. Senators are asking President Barack Obama to block Chinese mining projects in the United States and elsewhere until China opens trade in so-called rare earths minerals. Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Debbie Stabenow accuse China of restricting the sale of the metals which are necessary in making many high-tech products. The Senators claim Beijing has been reducing the amount available on the world market and as a result, the metal's price is very expensive.


The Canadian Medical Association Journal says abortions of female fetuses have led to a massive surplus of young unmarried men in China and India. The Journal says the situation raises concerns of an outcast group that could threaten the social fabric. The Journal says the trend began in the 1980s when ultrasound technologies made it easier for families to detect fetal sex early and to abort if it was not what the parents desired. Sons have traditionally been preferred over daughters in many parts of China, India and South Korea due to social, cultural and financial motivations. Sex-selective abortion is outlawed but can be difficult to enforce.


The Dalai Lama continues to face stiff resistance from Tibet's parliament-in-exile over his plans to retire as political head of the movement. Many parliamentarians are against the change. The 75-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader announced last week that he wanted to leave his role as political chief of the government-in-exile and hand his responsibilities to the next prime minister who will be elected on Sunday. Three parliamentarians have suggested a referendum among the 200,000-strong exiled community while others recommended the Dalai Lama remains political leader while the assembly assumes more responsibilities. The exiled Tibetan movement has been based in India since 1959 when the Dalai Lama fled his homeland after a failed uprising against Beijing's rule.


The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is warning the U.S. Congress that substantial military gains in Afghanistan could be jeopardized unless the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development receive adequate funding for non-military programs there. General David Petraeus Petraeus says the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan that is set to begin in July depends on the ability of the Afghan government and its forces to gradually take over security of the country and be able to deliver services to its citizens.


A warden of a Mexico prison was stabbed to death by a prisoners during a routine inspection of the facility. Rebeca Nicasio had replaced her predecessor who was fired after the mass escape of 151 prisoners in December. The prison is in Nuevo Laredo, a town on the US border. In a separate development, Mexican soldiers killed four alleged kidnappers during a gunfight at a ranch in in the town of China near the border with the U.S. state of Texas. Officials say two adults and two children, who had apparently been kidnapped, were freed and two other suspects were detained.



On the Toronto stock market on Tuesday, the composite index fell 72 points to 13,546.

The Canadian dollar fell 1.19 U.S. cents to 101.63 US cents.

The Euro rose 1.63 cents to CDN$1.37

And the price of a barrel of oil on the New York exchange fell US$4.01 to US$87.18.


VANCOUVER: Teck Resources has arranged a tentative deal to end a six-week labour strike at its Elkview coal operation in southeastern British Columbia. The mine near Sparwood is the second-largest of Teck's six operating coal mines. Teck and local members of the United Steelworkers of America reached a five-year collective agreement for about 700 mine workers. The union will vote on the deal before Saturday. Teck recentlysaw its first-quarter coal sales reduced by 13 per cent because of unusually bad winter weather. Rail shipments were delayed. Teck says that the strike at Elkview had not contributed significantly to the reduction in sales.


Sales of multi-million-dollar homes in the Vancouver area are strongly influencing the average price of Canadian homes. The Canadian Real Estate Association says that average prices were up 8.8 per cent last month. The average Canadian home cost CDN$365,000. But when Vancouver homes are excluded from the calculation, the national home price fell by 3.4 per cent.


In Asia today, Japan's Nikkei Index lost 1,015-points to close at 8,605. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 668-points to close at 22,678. On North American markets Monday, in Canada, the Toronto Stock Exchange lost 55-points to close at 13,619. The Canadian dollar lost 16-hundreths(0,16)of a cent U.S. to close at 102.82 while in the United States, the Dow Jones lost 51-points to close at 11, 993.



Here is Canada's weather on Wednesday, March 16. British Columbia will be mainly cloudy. The high temperature in Vancouver will be eight degrees Celsius. The Yukon: snow flurries. Whitehorse, minus four. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, minus 14. Nunavut: sunny. Iqaluit, minus 27. Alberta: cloudy. Edmonton, one. Saskatchewan: sunny periods. Regina, one. Manitoba: rain. Winnipeg, three. Ontario: showers. Toronto: 11. Ottawa, four. Quebec: rain. Montreal, five. New Brunswick: mainly cloudy. Fredericton, six. Nova Scotia: sunny. Halifax, five. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, four. Newfoundland: sunny periods. St. John's, three.

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