Sunday, March 27, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 26 March 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Election campaign underway

Canadians will go to the polls on May 2 after what's already shaping up to be a nasty election campaign. It kicked off on Saturday with Stephen Harper calling on voters to give his Conservatives a majority government, to avoid what he terms a "reckless opposition coalition." Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff dismisses that possibility, vowing not to form any coalition with the NDP or Bloc Quebecois and warning that the real danger is Mr. Harper's contempt for democracy. In a historic vote Friday, the House of Commons adopted a Liberal motion of non-confidence accusing the Conservative government ofcontempt of Parliament -- a Commonwealth first. NDP Leader Jack Layton, for his part, says he's open to working in some sort of coalition if need be. He says he'll do what it takes to form an alternative to a Conservative government led by Stephen Harper. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May meantime, says voters are looking for an end to the negative attacks they have been seeing in Canadian politics. Ms. May says she hopes to become the Green Party's first elected Member of Parliament.

Earth Hour observed in Canada

Many Canadians will turn off their lights for an hour Saturday night. They'll take part in a yearly event known as Earth Hour, to help raise awareness of climate change issues. More than 400 municipalities across Canada plan to participate this year, about 30 more than last year. Earth Hour is organized by the World Wildlife Fund, which estimates that one-billion people worldwide will take part.

Bank of Canada governor on global economy

Calgary: The governor of the Bank of Canada says G20 countries need to adjust to a major shift that's taking place in the global economy. Mark Carney says commodity prices will remain high for some time, because they're being driven by a sustained increase in demand from emerging economies in Asia and Latin America. There are concerns those economies could become overheated, as large amounts of foreign capital pour into them. Mr Carney calls the current international monetary system dysfunctional, and says long-term changes are needed to avoid more economic troubles. He says the goal should be to create a system that delivers stable exchange rates and domestic prices, and the ability to adjust quickly to change. Mr. Carney was speaking in Calgary, Alberta, at the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Japan radioactivity detected in Newfoundland

Trace amounts of radiation have made their way to eastern Newfoundland from Japan. Health Canada says it's detected minuscule traces of iodine 131. They know the radiation came from Japan based on the isotope's unique signature. But, Health Canada says the amounts so small, there's no cause for concern.



Libyan rebels have regained control of a key city, after international air strikes on Moammar Gadhafi's forces. The rebels were supported by air raids from Western allies in an all-night battle for the oil town of Ajdabiya. Gaddafi loyalists seized the town last week. Saturday's breakthrough came after a seventh night of bombardment by allies, including Canada, who are enforcing a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya. Pro-Gaddafi forces are still trying to recapture Misrata, the last major western Libyan town in rebel hands, and residents reported shelling continuing there late on Friday.


In Syria, dozens of protesters clashed with government forces in the coastal city of Latakia Saturday. Demonstrators in the town of Tafas meantime, set fire to a police station and to the offices of Syria's ruling Baath party. More than a week of protests in the city of Daraa spread to the rest of the country Friday with tens of thousands of protesters joining in the demonstrations. Syrian troops and soldiers opened fire in at least 6 places, killing some 20 protesters.


In Japan, government officials are describing the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant as very unpredictable. High levels of radioactive iodine have been detected in the seawater near the plant. Meantime, there's a new concern about the seawater being used to cool the damaged reactors. There are fears that the saltwater is corroding the reactor which could lead to the release of more radiation. U-S naval barges are being used to haul freshwater to the plant and to extract highly radioactive water near the reactors. The confirmed death toll from Japan's March 11th earthquake and tsunami has risen to over 10-thousand, with more than 17-thousand still listed as missing.


China is expressing faith in the safety of its nuclear power technology and says it intends to go ahead with plans to expand its domestic industry despite the nuclear crisis in Japan. The country's nuclear safety director Tian Jiashu of the Environmental Protection Ministry says China has drawn on the best nuclear energy standards and practices among industrial nations. Mr Tian says China suspended approvals for new projects this month pending a safety review but will not scrap its expansion plans. In his words: "We're not going to stop eating for fear of choking." China's state broadcaster CCTV said earlier in the week that technicians have been assessing safeguards at the coastal Daya Bay nuclear plant just north of Hong Kong, including sea walls aimed at protecting the facility from a tsunami. In the past 20 years, China has built seven nuclear power plants containing 13 reactors.


A major Asian battle against poachers is starting to pay off: India's tiger population has gone up for the first time in decades. It's only a modest increase though. The latest census report finds the number of tigers in India has risen by about 100 animals in the last 5 years, to some 1500. There were an estimated 40,000 tigers in India in 1947 when the country gained its independence from Britain. India's Tiger population is under extreme pressure from poachers who sell their body parts in China where they are highly prized as aphrodisiacs and as ingredients in folk medicines.


Geraldine Ferraro has died. Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice-president on a major U.S. party ticket, was 75. She passed away Saturday at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was being treated for blood cancer. Ms Ferraro was an obscure Queens congresswoman when she was chosen by Walter Mondale as his running mate in the 1984 presidential election. They were defeated by incumbents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, who won the election in a landslide.


New Brunswick: Moosehead deal

A five-week work stoppage at Moosehead Breweries is as good as over. The New Brunswick brewery says it has reached a memorandum of agreement with its unionized employees and union leaders say they will unanimously endorse the deal. A ratification vote will be held Wednesday. In the meantime, the company says pickets have been removed and work will resume Sunday.



Canada is headed for the gold medal round at the Capital One World Women's Curling Championship after winning playoff games on Saturday against host Denmark and China. Regina skip Amber Holland, who has won nine of her last 10 games, including five straight must-wins, meets two-time world champion Anette Norberg of Sweden in Sunday's final. Norberg handed Holland her last loss, a 5-4 decision in Draw 14 of the round robin.


BEIJING -- Canada's Jennifer Abel won her second bronze medal on this season's FINA World Series diving circuit Saturday with a third-place finish in the women's three-metre springboard. Minxia Wu led China to a 1-2 finish with 402.30 points, edging He Zi, who finished with 400.20. Abel, a 19-year-old Olympian from Laval, Quebec, maintained a spot in the top three through the competition en route to a score of 382.05, a 60-point improvement on her score last week in Moscow. Roseline Filion of Laval and Meaghan Benfeito of Montreal were fourth, 11 points out the medals.

Exhibition Baseball

Exhibition baseball action Saturday: The Toronto Blue Jays defeated aPhiladelphiasplit squad7-6.



Canada's weather for Sunday. In the Canadian north, light snow in Iqaluit and minus 3 degrees Celsius. Sunny in Yukon and minus 6 degrees in Whitehorse. Variable cloudiness in British Columbia with a high of 10 in Vancouver. Overcast skies across Alberta and Saskatchewan and sunny in Manitoba with highs of zero in Edmonton, minus 5 in Regina and 2 in Winnipeg. Sunny in Ontario and Quebec and mainly cloudy in the Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Flurries in Newfoundland. Some temperatures: minus 1 in Toronto, minus 2 in Ottawa, zero in Montreal, minus 1 in Halifax and zero in St. John's.

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