Saturday, March 19, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 18 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

PM to Paris for no-fly summit

Canada will send six CF-18 fighter jets to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, despite the declaration of a ceasefire Friday by the Libyan government. The planes will join an international effort authorized by the United Nations Security Council on Thursday night. Britain and France have already said they will send planes to the mission. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement Friday in Ottawa. Mr. Harper said he was encouraged by the ceasefire announcement, but that international assets must still be deployed to make sure there is no further bloodshed. The mission will involve about 125 Canadians. Prime Minister Harper is heading to France for an emergency summit on the crisis in Libya. He will join the leaders of France, Britain, the Arab League and the United Nations for Saturday's talks in Paris on the international intervention in Libya.



Canada to inspect all nuclear plants

In the wake of Japan's nuclear disasters, Canada's Nuclear Safety Commission is calling for safety checks of Canadian nuclear power plants. The order was sent to all agencies and companies dealing with nuclear power in Canada. The Commission wants all plants to have a contingency plan ready in case of floods or other natural disasters. Canada has seven nuclear plants generating about 15 per cent of the country's electricity. Safety reports must be submitted within two weeks.



Immigration consultants face regulation

The Government of Canada has decided to regulate immigration consultants. Until now, there has been no government oversight of their business. But in the face of numerous complaints about shoddy and dishonest practices and practitioners, the government will create a new agency to regulate consultants and impose penalties on those found to be in breach of the regulations.



Inflation dips

Despite rising costs for gasoline, Canada's annual inflation rate edged down one-tenth of a point to 2.2 per cent in February. Energy prices, particularly the cost of gasoline, contributed to keeping inflation above the Bank of Canada's ideal two-per-cent level. But the central bank's other key measure - underlying core inflation that excludes volatile items like energy - fell to 0.9 per cent.



Canadians give

Canadians have been contributing to relief efforts in Japan. The Canadian Red Cross has received more than seven million dollars from individuals and companies. A spokeswoman says the money will help fund evacuations, medical care and the distribution of emergency goods such as food, water and shelters. The Canadian government has also provided a victim identification team as well as technical expertise and equipment to help Japan stabilize its nuclear reactors. Japan's ambassador to Canada Kaoru Ishikawa says he and his stricken country are touched by the millions of dollars Canadians have donated.



Pie thrower barred

An American woman who felt strongly enough about the controversial Canadian seal hunt to throw a pie in the face of Canada's fisheries' minister has been barred entry to Canada for two years. In addition, Emily McCoy is prohibited from contact with any Canadian institutions such as embassies or consulates. A judge in Milton, Ontario, which is just outside of Toronto, convicted Ms. McCoy of assault for shoving a tofu cream pie in Gail Shea's face at an event in Burlington, Ontario, in January.





International

Japan: Nuclear severity rating increased

Japan continues to conduct water cooling operations to avert a catastrophe at its quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant. Using a fleet of fire trucks, workers today unleashed high-powered streams of water aimed at the the Number One power station, which suffered critical damage in last week's earthquake and tsunami. They are trying to douse overheating fuel rods at the station. On Thursday. military helicopters ran the first mission to empty more than seven tonnes of water each onto the facility. Five special fire trucks later joined that effort. Meanwhile, the fuel rod pools at reactors three and four may be boiling and are not fully covered by roofs that would reduce radiation leaks. The UN's nuclear agency says there has been "no significant worsening" of the crisis. However, Japan's nuclear safety agency today raised the rating of the country's nuclear accident from four to five on a seven-level international scale. The scale defines a level four incident as having local consequences and a level five incident as having a wider impact. The World Health Organization says the radiation risk remains highly localized, with no sign of an immediate threat elsewhere in Asia. The official number of dead and missing from last Friday's earthquake and tsunami has now risen to over 16,500. However officials say that number will rise as recovery operations continue.



Libya: No-fly summit Saturday

Envoys from Western and Arab nations will meet in Paris on Saturday to decide what action, if any, should be taken against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The summit follows the UN Security Council vote Thursday to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. In response, Libya announced on Friday an immediate ceasefire in its attacks on rebel forces. Libya's foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, said that the action was taken to avoid hurting civilians in the city of Bengazi, where rebels are making a stand. Mr. Koussa said the cease-fire "will take the country back to safety" and ensure security for all Libyans. However, according to insurgents, forces loyal to Gadhafi were still attacking rebel positions on Friday.



Yemen: State of emergency

At least 40 people have been killed by security forces who opened fire on an anti-government demonstration in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Friday. Witnesses said dozens were wounded. The death toll is among the highest in the month of violence that has shaken Yemen, with protesters demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down. He has, instead, declared a nationwide state of emergency. US President Barack Obama on Friday strongly condemned the crackdown against demonstrators and called on the key US anti-terror ally to live up to a pledge to allow peaceful protests.



Ivory Coast: Human toll mounts

Fighting is intensifying between rival presidential camps in Ivory Coast. On Thursday, at least 25 people were killed when forces supporting Laurent Gbagbo fired mortars at a market in Abijdan within a neighbourhood largely loyal to his rival, Alessane Ouattara. The United Nations is considering the attack as a crime against humanity. Both rivals claim to have won the presidential election last year, but the international community recognizes Mr. Ouattara as the winner. In recent weeks, the conflict has deteriorated into a virtual civil war.



Uzbekistan: It could happen here

Memorial, a prominent Russia-based human rights group, said the West should not overlook Uzbekistan's human rights record. In a reference to the uprisings in the Arab world, Memorial said such events could well be repeated in Central Asia. It cautioned that the "current realpolitik pursued by the United States and the European Union regarding Uzbekistan needs to be revised" in light of those developments. Memorial notes that repression is on the increase in Uzbekistan and veteran leader Islam Karimov may end up openly fighting his own people like Libya's Moammer Gadhafi with disastrous consequences for the region.



Bahrain: Protesters undeterred

Thousands of Shiites defied martial law to renew their pro-democracy protests on Friday, as they gathered after prayers to bury a victim of the security forces' bloody crackdown. More than 5,000 chanted slogans for a "free Bahrain" and denounced a Saudi-led military force sent to help put down the unrest, during a funeral in the town of Sitra which was the scene of violent clashes on Tuesday. Mourners said Ahmed Farhan died instantly when he was shot in the head from a helicopter on Tuesday, shortly after the US-backed government declared martial law in a bid to put down a month of Shiite-led unrest. In the nearby Shiite town of Diraz, just outside of the capital,thousands poured out of mosques after Friday prayers and promised to "sacrifice blood for Bahrain." They also called for restraint and non-violence in the face of alleged crimes by the Sunni-ruled kingdom's police and military.



Haiti: Aristide ends exile

Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has arrived in Port-au-Prince after seven years in exile in South Africa. Within moments of his arrival, he criticized Haitian authorities for barring his Lavalas party from taking part in the elections. Haiti's electoral council barred Lavalas for technical reasons that its supporters say were bogus. Mr. Aristide said that by excluding Lavalas they were excluding the majority of the population. The second round of the Haitian elections is set for this Sunday.



Brazil: Airport upgrade urged and Airbus probed

The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned Brazil Thursday it needs to upgrade its airports ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's president, said Brazil has inadequate airport infrastructure to handle the surge in traffic that will come with the high profile games. Meanwhile, the president of Airbus, Thomas Enders, says his company will face a criminal probe for alleged manslaughter in connection with the 2009 crash of a plane en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with the loss of 228 lives. The move came after investigating magistrate Sylvie Zimmerman summoned Airbus and Air France to appear in court to be possibly placed under judicial investigation. The crash has been partly blamed on malfunctioning speed sensors used by Airbus, with Air France accused of not responding quickly enough to reports that they might be faulty. Air France is to appear in court on Friday. The announcement came ahead of the resumption of a search for the plane's wreckage in the Atlantic using a German mini-submarine. So far only three percent of the plane and around 50 bodies have been found from the wreckage. No charges have yet been brought in the case, which had been suspended until the plane's black box flight recorders was found. A third search of the ocean floor to try to locate the black boxes ended in failure last May.





Financial

Markets

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 43.73 points at 13,789.88. TSX Venture Exchange: 2,243.87 up 54.51 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 81.88 points (0.7 percent) to 11,856.47. TheS&P 500 added 5.26 (0.41 percent) to 1,278.98. The Nasdaq Composite picked up 7.62 points (0.29 percent) at 2,643.67. The Canadian dollar settled at 101.41 cents US on Friday, up 0.02 of a cent. The U.S. dollar stood at 98.61 cents Cdn, down 0.02 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.6004, up 0.87 of a cent and US$1.6230, up 0.92 cents. The euro was worth C$1.3977, up 1.46 cents. Oil futures: Light, sweet crude: US$101.07, down $0.35.





Sports

Snowboarding

Canada's Dominique Maltais just missed the podium at a World Cup snowboard cross race on Friday. Maltais, of Petite-Riviere-St-Francois, Que., finished fourth in the women's event. American Lindsey Jacobellis took top spot, finishing ahead of Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic and Deborah Anthonioz of France. Maltais still leads the World Cup standings. Alberto Schiavon of Italy topped the men's competition ahead of Americans Jonathan Cheever and Nate Holland. The two winners were fastest in qualification on Thursday and remained consistent on a course peppered with 18 features.





Weather

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Most of Canada will enjoy a sunny start to the weekend, although Vancouver will be an exception, with rain and a high of 8. Another exception is Calgary, with snowflurries and a high of minus 1. But sunshine will prevail in Edmonton, high zero, Saskatoon, minus 2, and Regina, zero. Rain for Winnipeg and plus 3. Back to sunshine for Toronto, plus 4, Ottawa, plus 2, Montreal plus 2, Quebec City plus 1, and Fredericton plus 4. Charlottetown will see flurries and minus 2. Halifax will have variable skies with flurries and a high of zero. St. John's, snow mixed with rain. High 3. For Whitehorse, sunny and minus 1. Yellowknife, sunny, minus 15. And Iqaluit, variable conditions with flurries. High minus 19.





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