Thursday, March 24, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 23 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


VANCOUVER: Canada has implemented further control over Japanese food imports. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says that milk products, fruit and vegetables from areas closest to the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant will only be allowed entry with documents verifying their safety. Many top Japanese imports such as non-fermented green tea, sesame oil, scallops, sauces, and enzymes will not be affected by the new controls. Japanese products make up only three-tenths of one per cent of Canada's food imports.


Canadian fighter jets bombed a Libyan supply depot in separate attacks on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The attacks are the first sorties by Canadian aircraft in the allied campaign to protect civilians in Libya and enforce a no-fly zone. No details were reported about the consequences of the attacks. The international military effort to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya was in its fifth day.



OTTAWA: Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, is defending his minority government's latest federal budget in a last effort to avoid a federal election. Opposition Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff plans to introduce a non-confidence vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday. As a result, Mr. Harper's government could be defeated as early as this week, leading to an election in May. The budget was brought down on Tuesday by finance minister Jim Flaherty, but the three opposition parties all rejected it. If a non-confidence vote passes, it means that an election is virtually inevitable. The budget's proposals included improved pensions for senior citizens, financial support for caregivers at home, and an extension of a plan to help home improvements. Canada's economy is still recovering from the global recession, and the budget avoided any major new spending cuts or projects, and included a modest attempt to bring down the federal deficit. But opposition parties remained dissatisfied. Mr. Harper says that the opposition still has time to reconsider his budget and prevent an election.



NEW ORLEANS: U.S. government officials say that a mechanical defect led to the blowout at the BP offshore oil platform last year. The blowout led to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A report on the accident found that a trapped piece of pipe blocked the functioning of a mechanism designed to prevent blowouts. In case of an explosion, the mechanism is supposed to lock in place to stop oil from spilling. The mechanism weighing 272 tonnes was raised from the Gulf sea floor last September. The oil spill led to calls for better means to prevent spills at offshore oil platforms around the world, including those off Canada's Atlantic coast.


LOS ANGELES: The American film actress, Elizabeth Taylordied on Wednesday.She was 79. She died of heart failure in Los Angeles, where she'd been in a hospital for the past six weeks. Miss Taylor first gained fame in the 1940s as a child actress. She won two Academy Awards for best actress. As one of the most famous women in the world, her private life was widely publicized, particularly her eight marriages. She was twice married to actor Richard Burton, the first time in a ceremony in Montreal.


Major world powers will meet in London next week to discuss the future NATO's no-fly zone over Libya. Among those attending will be delegates from the United States, and from European, African and Arab nations. The meeting aims to show that a broad international group is implicated in maintaining the no-fly zone, not just NATO. In Libya, a rebel group says that it would respect foreign oil contracts if Moammar Gaddafi is overthrown. The Libyan National Council also says that it would create a secular democracy with a new constitution. The Council hopes that allied strikes against Colonel Gaddafi's forces could allow the Council to take power within two weeks. But one of the Council's 31 members, Ali Zeidan, insists that Libyans, not foreign allies, should decide Colonel Gaddafi's future. Allied warplanes are maintaining a no-fly zone over Libya. Attacks over the past four days have destroyed Colonel Gaddafi's artillery, tanks and anti-aircraft installations. NATO warships have also started patrolling off Libya's coast to enforce an arms embargo. Canada is providing six jet fighters and a navy frigate as part of NATO's force in the region.

United Nations

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is calling on all nations to support efforts to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Ban says thousands of lives are at stake and the situation could turn into a humanitarian emergency. Meanwhile, France says it agrees with the US that NATO should have a role in coalition's military operations in Libya. Separately, British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said that he and US President Barack Obama also agreed that NATO should play a key role in commanding the military campaign in Libya. The issue of who will be in charge of the operation launched last week has become a point of contention between the allies.


Agence France Presse says the Libyan government has released three journalists captured last week. The journalists ran into a military convoy about 12 kilometres outside the eastern city of Ajdabiya on Saturday and were detained. Meanwhile, the New York Times says Libyan soldiers physically abused its journalists and threatened to kill them during six days of captivity. Libya released the four journalists on Monday. The journalists say they were captured when they mistakenly drove into a checkpoint manned by Libyan forces. Their driver is still missing.


Tokyo's utility company says black smoke has been seen emerging from Unit 3 of the crippled nuclear plant in north-eastern Japan, prompting a new evacuation of the complex. Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that workers from the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been temporarily evacuated. Operators of the power station have been desperately trying to cool the reactors and spent fuel pools at the plant after it was damaged by this month's tsunami, which knocked out power to the cooling systems. Earthquake and tsunami survivors in devastated towns along Japan's northeast coast buried their dead in makeshift graves en masse on Wednesday. Japan's police agency said Wednesdaymore than 9,400 people are dead after an earthquake and tsunami. More than 14,700 are missing. Those tallies are likely to overlap, but police officials estimate that the final figure will likely exceed 18,000 deaths. The disasters have displaced nearly 500,000 people. Japan's government says the economic toll from the earthquake and tsunami could reach $309 billionUS.


The opposition is rejecting and will contest the legality a parliamentary vote on Wednesday approving a declaration of a state of emergency. The state of emergency was declared by embattled President Ali Abdallah Saleh last Friday after 52 demonstrators were gunned down by regime loyalists during a demonstration. On Tuesday, Mr. Saleh offered to quit by January--20 months earlier than planned. However, that failed to appease the opposition. His regime has been hit by a wave of defections in the ranks of the military, among influential tribal chiefs, Muslim clerics and senior diplomats as well as within Mr. Saleh's own ruling party. Yemen has been the scene of deadly protests demanding the end of Mr. Saleh's three-decade rule.




A bomb explosion at a bus station in Jerusalem killed one woman and injured about 30 others on Wednesday in the first attack in the holy city in seven years. The bomb was planted inside a bag. No individual or group claimed responsibility. Police called it a terrorist attack. The bombing came amid an upsurge of violence on the Gaza border. The violence has raised fear of a new war between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.


Witnesses say Syrian security forces fired Wednesday on anti-regime protesters near a mosque, killing five and wounding scores of others. The government blamed a "gang" for the violence. Hundreds of people had gathered at the Omari mosque, the focus of rallies in the flashpoint southern town of Daraa since Friday, to prevent police from storming it. Security had been increased after they set up tents to camp there. Syria remains under a 1963 emergency law banning demonstrations. It has seen a string of small but unprecedented protests demanding the end of President Bashar al-Assad's regime for the past week.


Egypt's stock exchange reopened Wednesday after a nearly two-month closure--the result of the mass protests that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian Exchange has been closed since Jan. 27 as the demonstrations paralysed Egypt. Analysts expected sharp losses as investors pull their money from the market amid ongoing investigations of former regime officials and some of the country's top businessmen whose companies are listed on the exchange. The exchange's benchmark index lost just over 16 per cent in two consecutive trading sessions before it shut. Officials kept it closed to enact new measures to ease investor concerns about a possible market collapse. On Wednesday, the exchange clawed back some of its early losses but still closed sharply lower. The main EGX-30 index shed an initial 9.93 percent to 5,085.63 within little more than one minute of reopening, prompting officials to suspend trading for half an hour in line with emergency regulations. It rebounded slightly to close down 8.92 percent at 5,142.71.


Turkey says it has seized the cargo of an Iranian plane bound for Syria because the shipment violated UN sanctions. The Turkish Foreign Ministry did not disclose the content of the seizure, but the UN sanctions against Iran ban the export of arms and prohibit nuclear enrichment. Turkish media said Wednesday the plane was carrying light weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket launchers and mortars. Turkey says the plane, which had landed in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir on Saturday for the search, returned to Iran Tuesday night without the seized cargo. The Turkish government says it routinely searches Iranian cargo planes flying over Turkey.


An international rights group says in a new report that a secretive police unit in Uganda frequently operates outside the law, carries out torture and in some cases kills suspects. The Human Rights Watch report released Wednesday says the police force known as the Rapid Response Unit has a history of violent and unlawful operations since it was formed under a different name in 2002 by President Yoweri Museveni. Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said the unit tortures, detains and in some cases kills suspects. The new report recommends that Uganda's police issue orders to end the illegal detention and torture of suspects. A Ugandan police spokesman said he didn't have any immediate comment because he hadn't seen the report.


The Mexican government says a Mayan statue that sold for the record price of $4.2 million at a Paris auction this week is a fake. Mexico's foreign ministry and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in a joint statement, "The piece... is a fabrication, because it belongs to none of the pre-Hispanic cultures in Mexico." The statement said INAH experts had determined it was a fake because it did not match the style of the period it was supposedly from, and that the Mexican embassy had informed French authorities. The 165.5-centimeter god, with legs slightly bent and wearing sandals with long leather straps, was said to be from the Maya late classical period (550-950 AD). The piece was part of a private collection of some 200 sculptures belonging to Swiss industrialist Henry Law.

El Salvador

US President Barack Obama is leaving Central America earlier than scheduled, cutting short a tour dominated by the US-led military action in Libya. The president eliminated a visit to Mayan ruins from his itinerary Wednesday, permitting him to leave a few hours earlier. Aides have taken pains to portray Mr. Obama as fully engaged in the deployment of missiles and warplanes in North Africa even as he devoted his public time to bridge-building with Latin American leaders. Mr. Obama's three-country, five-day tour was meant to re-establish US leadership in the region. The president travelled to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador.


Egypt's supreme state security court has convicted and sentenced a man to five years in prison for throwing a makeshift bomb at Cairo's main synagogue. Gamal Hussein, 50, entered a downtown hotel in February last year and tossed the suitcase containing explosives out of the window at the synagogue across the street before fleeing. The suitcase briefly caught fire but fell across the street from the historic synagogue, known as Shaar Hashamayim, or the Gate of Heaven. No one was injured. Authorities said Hussein was repeatedly jailed for drug dealing and was implicated in attacks organized in the 1980s by Islamic militant groups targeting video stores. Hussein shouted at the judge "Your verdict is a failure! You all are infidels!"


The Tibetan parliament-in-exile says it will discuss dividing the Dalai Lama's political power among three members of the assembly. Parliament member Dawa Tsering says a special committee presented a report recommending the changes Wednesday. He says the report suggests distributing the Dalai Lama's power among the prime minister, parliament's chairman and deputy chairman. Such changes would require constitutional amendments. Mr. Tsering says the assembly will discuss the report Thursday and may seek a referendum on the changes. The parliamentary session--being held in Dharmsale, India--is to end Friday. The Dalai Lama has insisted on shifting his political power to elected officials, though he remains the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.



On the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday, the composite index rose 87 points to 14,087.

The Canadian dollar fell .09 US cents to 101.97 US cents.

The Euro fell .84 cents to CDN$1.3834.

The price of a barrel of oil on the New York exchange 78 US cents to US$105.75.


MONTREAL: Hydro-Quebec says that its net profit in 2010 decreased more than 12 per

cent or CDN$356 million to CDN$2.52 billion. The provincial utility blamed the decrease on lower water

levels due to smaller rainfall and reduced exports. Revenues were about the same as 2009 at CDN$12.3 billion.

Hydro-Quebec paid the provincial government a CDN$1.89-billion dividend.


National Hockey League

Tuesday's results: Buffalo shut out Montreal 2-0, Carolina defeated Ottawa 4-3, Toronto shut out Minnesota 3-0 and Nashville defeated Edmonton 3-1.


Canada's Amber Holland is 4-and-3, and riding a three-game winning streak into Wednesday's play at the world women's curling championship in Denmark. Canada is tied for third with China, Russia, and Denmark. Sweden leads at 6-and-1, and Switzerland is 5-2. Canada plays both Switzerland and Sweden on Wednesday.

Canadian Football League

Former Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Danny McManus has been promoted. McManus had served as Hamilton's southeast regional scout the past two seasons, and is now the team's head US scout. McManus, who played in the CFL for 17 years, will be inducted later this year into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.



Here is Canada's weather on Thursday, March 24. British Columbia will be mainly cloudy. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 11 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: variable cloudiness. Whitehorse, four. Northwest Territories: mainly cloudy. Yellowknife, zero. Nunavut: sunny. Iqaluit, minus 17. Alberta: overcast. Edmonton, minus three. Saskatchewan: sunny periods. Regina, minus eight. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, one. Ontario: sunny. Toronto: two. Ottawa, zero. Quebec: variable cloudiness. Montreal, two. New Brunswick: sunny periods. Fredericton, one. Nova Scotia: increasing cloudiness. Halifax, two. Prince Edward Island: cloudy. Charlottetown, zero. Newfoundland: snow flurries. St. John's, one.

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