Saturday, April 9, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 8 April 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Former US president Bill Clinton will make the major address next month at the opening of a new academic centre at a university in Nova Scotia. The Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership at Saint Francis Xavier University is named for the former New Brunswick premier and one-time ambassador to the United States. Mr. McKenna, a graduate of the university, donated $1 million toward the project.


A five-year-old girl from Canada has died in the Bahamas. Police say she died on Thursday, a day after an accident at the Atlantis Resort water park. They have declined to identify the girl or to provide any details about what happened. But the company that owns the park has issued a statement saying the child drowned and that it's doing everything it can to assist the family. The water park has several pools, water slides and a river ride.


Canada's Foreign Affairs Department says it's trying to help a Canadian who is being held in Lebanon. A colleague identified the man as Henk Tepper from New Brunswick. Mr. Tepper, a farmer, was detained while delivering a shipment of potatoes but says he does not know why. Foreign Affairs officials are not commenting on the case because of Privacy Act restrictions.


A Tamil migrant seeking refugee status in Canada is being accused of helping organize a human smuggling operation. The man was aboard the cargo ship MV Sun Sea when it arrived off the Pacific Coast province of British Columbia last August carrying 492 Tamil migrants. A lawyer for the Canada Border Service Agency told the man's refugee hearing on Thursday that he should be deported to Sri Lanka because he helped organize the shipment of human cargo. The man's lawyer denied the charge, insisting his client was merely a deckhand on the ship, working to pay his way to Canada. The man is the first Sri Lankan refugee claimant from the Sun Sea to face Immigration Refugee Broad allegations of human smuggling. The Canadian government has accused more than 30 of the passengers of having links to terrorism, war crimes or human smuggling.


A coalition of US mayors is urging Canadian voters to ask candidates in the current federal election campaign many questions about clean-energy alternatives to oilsands production in the western province of Alberta. The mayors say they want to block a proposed pipeline that will be built to transfer oil from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast. The mayors say Canadians should take advantage of the election campaign to have a debate about North America's shared energy and greenhouse-gas reduction challenges.


The Ontario government is giving nurse practitioners the power to admit and discharge patients from hospital. Premier Dalton McGuinty announced Friday that nurse practitioners can start discharging patients this July, and will be able to admit patients to hospitals starting in July 2012. Nurse practitioners can already admit, treat and discharge patients in emergency rooms and those who are in primary care, but only doctors can discharge patients who are in hospital. The Registered Nurses' Association wants nurse practitioners to admit and discharge patients to help ease congestion, and prevent patients from being stuck in hospital on a weekend if they don't see a doctor on Friday. Ontario becomes the first province to give nurse practitioners the additional authority, which the government says will help patients get home to their families sooner.


The US Government Accountability Office says the US plane manufacturer Lockheed Martin seems unable to control the soaring costs of the Stealth fighter bombers Canada plans to buy. The GAO says the high-tech planes--that can avoid radar detection--would be much more expensive than Canada's Conservative Party government estimates. The latest assessment says after more than 13 years of development and production, the Stealth aircraft has not fully demonstrated that its design is stable. Canada's official opposition Liberal Party has promised to cancel the multi-billion dollar purchase and hold an open competition to replace the Canadian Air Force's aging CF-18s.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday unveiled his Conservative Party's platform as the runup to Canada's May 2 General Election continued. The $6.6-billion platform pledges to eliminate the deficit by 2014--a year earlier than scheduled by cutting government spending. However, the platform does not say exactly what will be slashed to save the $11 billion needed eliminate the deficit. The platform focuses on five priorities: creating jobs, supporting families, eliminating the deficit, getting tough on crime, and investing in the North. The platform pledges to bundle a number of crime bills into an omnibus piece of legislation that the Conservatives would pass within the first 100 days of Parliament. It also includes bedrock Tory policies, like eliminating per-vote subsides and promises of Senate reform. Meanwhile, Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff said Friday a Liberal government would invest billions of new dollars into health care once the current health accord with the provinces ends in 2014. Mr. Ignatieff said he would maintain annual increases to health-care funding of six per cent, or about $2 billion a year. And he challenged Prime Minister Harper to say how he will pay for rising health-care costs while maintaining huge expenditures on "jets, jails and corporate tax breaks." In British Columbia, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton said he wants to put the navy at the centre of Canadian defence policy. Mr. Layton said a New Democratic government would review the purchase of the F-35 stealth fighter and possibly put the CF-18 replacement out to open tender. He said replacing the navy's aging supply ships, which was first proposed under the Liberal Party government of Paul Martin seven years ago, would be his top defence priority.


A funeral was held Friday for the most recent Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan. Friends, family and colleagues are gathered at CFB Valcartier near Quebec City for Cpl. Yannick Scherrer's funeral. Cpl. Scherrer was killed Mar.27 by an improvised explosive device near the village of Nakhonay, southwest of Kandahar City. The 24-year-old Montreal native is the only Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan this year. Cpl. Scherrer was a member of the 1st Battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment and was on his first tour in the country. His death brought to 155 the total number of Canadian military members who have died as part of the Afghan mission since it began in 2002.


Ontario's top court on Friday reserved its judgement on whether a Supreme Court judge was right in allowing an admitted al-Qaida collaborator toremain free. The Ontario Court of Appeal heard arguments from the federal government that Justice Christopher Speyer wrongly decided to stay extradition proceedings against Abdullah Khadr. Ottawa argues that Mr. Khadr should be handed over to the United States to be tried on charges of supplying weapons to al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Court documents filed by the government prior to the appeal contest that allowing the Ottawa-born Khadr to walk the streets is a security threat to Canada and the international community. A lawyer representing Ottawa argued that Justice Speyer was beyond his jurisdiction in ordering the stay.



The State Department's annual human rights report says the revolutions of the Middle East and North Africa have been aided by the Internet, but the report points to another trend occurring simultaneously: governments fighting the power of the Internet. Friday's report says governments around the world are "spending more time, money and attention in efforts to curtail access to these new communications outlets." It says more than 40 governments are blocking their citizens' access to the Internet through regulatory restrictions and technologies "designed to repress speech and infringe on the personal privacy of those who use these rapidly evolving technologies." The report released singles out countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Vietnam and China as examples.


Two Hamas militants were killed Friday in an Israeli air attack on Gaza. The attack came just hours after the movement called a truce following a day of confrontations with Israel. The latest violence began Thursday afternoon when Hamas militants fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus, critically wounding a teenager and lightly injuring the driver. Israel responded immediately, launching more than a dozen strikes on targets across Gaza which by evening had killed four and injured more than 30. The deaths forced Hamas leaders to announce a fresh truce. In all, seven people have been killed in Gaza since the bus was hit by the missile as it passed near the border. Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said all necessary action will be taken to protect his country and its citizens.


Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa said Friday he's committed to reform. But he also warned there would be no leniency for those who tried to divide the kingdom. His comments came after weeks of protests were stopped by a security crackdown. Since the crackdown, members of leading Shiite opposition group Wefaq have complained of dozens of disappearances. They claim hundreds of people, including politicians, activists and doctors sympathetic to protests, were arrested and several hundred workers, mostly Shiites, have been fired. Shiites, who make up at least 60 percent of the population, have long complained of discrimination when competing for jobs and services. They are demanding better representation and a constitutional monarchy.


A UN human rights panel on Friday expressed rare public concern at a wave of reported arrests of activists and lawyers in China. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances warned that so-called enforced disappearances were a crime under international law. The Geneva-based panel said the disappearances represented "the continuation of a disturbing trend in the suppression of dissidents" in China. In a statement, it expressed "serious concern at the recent wave of enforced disappearances." The panel was set up in 1980. It acts on individual cases brought by families to help them find missing relatives by trying to establish contact with the government concerned and ensuring that cases are investigated. It normally carries out its work on such cases confidentially.


The Foreign Ministry on Friday removed all references to detained artist Ai Weiwei from an official transcript of a news conference given by a ministry spokesman. Critics say it's an apparent sign the government wants to stifle discussion of the case. Ten of the 18 questions asked at the news conference were about Mr. Ai, a prominent artist and activist who was arrested Sunday at Beijing's international airport before boarding a flight for Hong Kong. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had told the news conference that Mr. Ai was being investigated for economic crimes, but he gave no details. He said the case had nothing to do with freedom of expression, although Mr. Ai has often been a target of government harassment. Mr. Ai is the most prominent target so far in China's massive crackdown on dozens of lawyers, writers and activists following online calls for protests similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa.


Gunmen ambushed a car in southern Baghdad on Friday, killing a journalist and a rights activist. One of the victims was Taha al-Samad, the head of Al-Masar television channel, and the other was bed Farhan, the head of the Political Prisoners' Association. eporters Without Borders condemned Samad's killing.It said he was the fifth journalist killed in Iraq this year, and the tenth since last August, when the United States announced an end to combat operations and pulled out most troops, with fewer than 50,000 remaining until a full pull-out late this year.


President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Friday rejected a mediation offer by Gulf nations that called on him to resign. Mr. Saleh denounced the proposal in a speech before tens of thousands of cheering supporters in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. Nearby, an even larger group of demonstrators demanded his ouster as did hundreds of thousands of other protesters across the country. Two people were shot and seriously wounded in the southern town of Taiz after police fired teargas at a protest there. More than 120 people have been killed since Yemen's protests calling for the removal of Mr. Saleh began on Feb. 11, inspired by popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Meanwhile, reports out of Washington indicate that the United States froze its largest aid package for Yemen in February after popular protests broke out against Mr. Saleh. The Wall Street Journal said Friday the aid package overall is worth a potential $1 billion.


A plane carrying 37 Cuban former political prisoners and their families arrived in Spain Friday. It was the largest group of Cuban dissidents to arrive in that country since last year's Spanish-brokered agreement between the Cuban government and the Roman Catholic church that led to the release from prison of dozens of detainees. So far, 115 Cuban ex-political prisoners have been given refuge in Spain since last July. The rights group Amnesty International says Cuba's communist regime is using Spain's open door policy to get rid of prisoners who are problems.


A minute of silence was observed across the countrty Friday to mourn the young victims of a massacre that has shaken the country. A 23-year-old man entered his former elementary school in Rio de Janeiro Thursday and shot to death 10 girls and two boys. Eleven other children were wounded. The killer shot himself in the head after police wounded him in the legs. Police said Wellington Oliveira had no criminal record and neighbours are describing him as having been a quiet, unusual youth.


Colombian rebels are suspected of blowing up a section of a 578-kilometre pipeline on Thursday. It begins in the central Santander province through the north-eastern Guajira province and the gas is used mainly for industry, vehicles and homes. Police are accusing the FARC rtebels for the attack. The attack occurred near the municipality of Villanueva, the same area where late last month rebels bombed another gas line running from Colombia to Venezuela.


The loser in last month's presidential runoff election said Friday she will not challenge the results of that vote. Former first lady Mirlande Manigat's announcement moves the runoff winner, Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, closer to taking power. Mrs. Manigat received 32 per cent of the vote while Mr. Martelly won 68 percent of the vote. Haiti's electoral council is due to announce final results on Apr. 16.


An international human rights group said FridayLebanon must order an independent investigation into the deaths of two inmates during rioting in the country's largest prison. The two died when security forces stormed the central Roumieh prison east of Beirut late Tuesday to halt four days of rioting by prisoners demanding improved conditions. New York-based Human Rights Watch said Friday that 45 inmates were also wounded during the raid. It called for an "independent and transparent" investigation. Lebanese security forces said one of the inmates died of a heart attack and the other was killed when a stun grenade he grabbed from a police officer detonated in his hand.


The head of Syria's National Organisation for Human Rights said at least 22 protesterswere killedFridayas anti-regime demonstrations and clashes with security forces raged across the country. Witnesses and other human rights groups reported a similar number. At least 10 people were killed in the flashpoint southern town of Daraa and a number of people were wounded in the central industrial city of Homs.


A prominent Saudi human rights activist said hundreds of people have demonstrated in two Shiite towns in the country's east on Friday. Ibrahim Almugaiteeb of the Human Rights First Society said that mostly young men gathered in the town of Qatif and the nearby village of al-Awamiya. The demonstrators demanded security forces release dozens of men detained during earlier demonstrations. They also demanded the Saudi government withdraw their troops from Bahrain, where they are leading a 1,500-man Gulf military force, to shore up the Sunni monarchy against mostly Shiite demonstrators demanding reform. The protests passed peacefully.


Tens of thousands of Egyptians massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday two months after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted to demand the trial of former regime elements, slamming the military rulers for stalling on reforms. Waving flags and holding banners in a protest dubbed the "Day of Trial and Cleansing," protesters vowed to press the ruling military council to deliver on promises of reform and justice. Seven army officers defied a warning from the ruling military council when they joined the protesters' call for former regime elements to face trial.


A UN panel said Fridayseveral hundred foreign fighters are likely operating in Libya and may be involved in serious human rights violations. The head of the UN working group on the use of mercenaries says there is evidence foreign fighters are being used by both sides. Jose Luis Gomez del Prado says the panel has multiple sources confirming Moammar Gadhafi "has used mercenaries and is using mercenaries." He says the fighters are believed to come from Africa and Belarus. Mr. Del Prado said private security firms are supplying some of Col. Gadhafi's fighters and Libyan rebels may also have foreign fighters in their ranks.


Forces loyal to Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi were engaged in heavy fighting with rebels in the insurgent-controlled town of Misrata on Friday evening. Misrata is about 215 kilometres east of Tripoli and has seen fighting for more than 40 days since the start of the uprising against Col. Kadhafi. Doctors said last week that 200 people had been killed there since the fighting began. Earlier this week, the United Nations called for a halt to hostilities around the town, saying several weeks of "heavy shelling" by Co. Gadhafi's forces had killed or wounded hundreds. NATO said government troops are using civilians as human shields in Misrata, making its task of enforcing a no-fly zone more precarious. In the rebel capital of Benghazi about 400 demonstrators chanted "Down with NATO" on Friday--a day after four insurgents were killed in friendly fire by a NATO strike. In Brussels, aNATO spokesperson reiterated that a political solution was crucial to resolving the crisis in Libya, not just military power. She also said that the international contact group for Libya will meet in Qatar next week. It was set up with the aim of providing leadership and an overall political direction to the international effort; a forum for co-ordinating the response; and a focal point for contact with the Libyan parties.




Nearly 500,000 homes suffered blackouts in Japan's northeast Friday after a new earthquake killed three people in a region already buried under the rubble of last month's devastating tsunami. The 7.1-magnitude aftershock Thursday threw more areas into disarray and sent communities that had made some gains back to square one. The northeastern coast was still reeling from the destruction from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, with tens of thousands of households without power or water. Thursday's quake generated no tsunami and largely spared the region's nuclear plants. Some slightly radioactive water spilled at one plant, but the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi complex reported no new problems.


About 12,000 opposition activists demonstrated against Armenia's government in the country's capital on Friday. The protest was called by the opposition Armenian National Congress group, which is led by Levon Ter-Petrosian, who was the country's first president after independence from the Soviet Union. The protesters were initially barred from assembling in the capital's central Freedom Square, but authorities then allowed them to gather there. Mr. Ter-Petrosian told the crowd on the square that the opposition's main demands include the freeing of all political prisoners and full prosecution of all responsible for the killing of 10 people in violence that broke out amid protests after the 2008 presidential election, in which Ter-Petroisan was a losing contender.



In AsiaFriday, Japan's Nikkei Index gained 177 points to close at 9,786. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 114 points to close at 24,396.


Housing starts in Canada rose in March. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported Friday the seasonally adjusted annual rate for all types of housing rose to 188,800 units--up from 183,700 units in February. The agency said a surge in condo and apartment building drove the rise. Construction of multiple-dwelling units rose 6.6 per cent.


Canada's unemployment rate declined slightly last month to 7.7 percent down from from February's 7.8 percent. Statistics Canada said Friday the rate fell because fewer Canadians were looking for work during the month. But the agency also noted that the economy actually lost 1,500 jobs for the first time since last September.


In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index closed up 100.66 points at 14,208.43. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 29.44 points at 12,380.05. The Nasdaq composite index lost 15.73 points to 2,780.41 The Canadian dollar settled at 104.45 cents US, up 0.12 of a cent. The U.S. dollar stood at 95.74 cents Cdn, down 0.11 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5673, up 0.31 of a cent and US$1.6370, up 0.51 of a cent. The euro was worth C$1.3848, up 1.36 cents.



Canada's Jeff Stoughton was heavy on his final rock of the round-robin portion at the World Curling Championship in Regina, losing for the first time this week, 7-6 to Norway on Thursday. Canada finished 10-and-1, and faced Scotland Friday night in the one-versus-two Page Playoff.


Thursday's result: Oakland defeated Toronto 2-1.


Thursday's results: Ottawa defeated Montreal 3-2 in overtime and Vancouver shut out Minnesota 5-0....In other NHL news, after playing 19 years, Colorado defenceman Adam Foote announced his retirement Friday.



Vancouver is cloudy with a chance of afternoon showers. The forecast high temperature: nine degrees Celsius. Calgary has a mix of sun and cloud with a forecast high of nine. Regina is sunny, a high of one. Winnipeg is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 10. Toronto is sunny, a high of 14. Ottawa is sunny with cloudy periods, a high of 15. Montreal is cloudy with sunny periods, a high of 12. Fredericton has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 10. Charlottetown has increasing cloud, a few showers, a high of five. Halifax has morning sun followed by a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of showers in the afternoon, a high of eight. St. John's is sunny with cloudy periods, a high of minus-one. Whitehorse has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of four. Yellowknife has increasing cloud, a high of four. Iqaluit is cloudy with a chance of flurries, a high of minus-11.

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