Wednesday, April 13, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 12 April 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Poor ice conditions and a shrinking market are said to be the reasons for a slow start to the annual seal hunt off the east coast Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian Humane Society International says it saw only four boats heading to the ice packs where the seals are located. The federal fisheries department indicated 27 sealing boats would be heading out for the hunt. In 2006, there were hundreds of vessels participating when seal-pelt prices peaked at over $100.


A well-known Quebec nationalist reports that the province's press council has vindicated his complaint against Macleans's magazine for having qualified Quebec as the country's most corrupt province. Gilles Rhéaume, a former president of la Société St-Jean Baptiste, says the seven council members were unanimous in reproving Maclean's lack of rigour and for spreading prejudices. A September Maclean's cover showed an image of the Bonhomme Carnaval mascot carrying a briefcase overflowing with cash. The cover created an uproar among federal and provincial politicians of all persuasions.


The Bank of Canada has left its lending rate unchanged at one per cent, despite the possibility that an improving economy could increase inflation. The central bank says the economy is doing better than it had anticipated and will grow by almost three per cent this year. That's one-half a percentage point higher than it had predicted in January.


The leaders of Canda four biggest political parties were to hold an English-language debate on Tuesday evening. The debaters are Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff of the Liberals, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton and Bloc Québécois chief Gilles Duceppte. Mr. Harper will debate each of his rivals one-on-one. This will be Mr. Ignatieff's first election debate since he arrived on the Canadian political scene in 2006 after the former academic spent decades abroad. One topic is likely to be a draft report by the federal auditor general leaked on Monday which outlines a lack of transparency in spending for last summer's G20 summit in Ontario. The Conservatives won minority government in 2006 and 2008. They need to win 12 more seats than the 143 they had in the outgoing House of Commons to form a majority. The leaders will debate in French on Wednesday evening.



Fighting involving heavy weapons was heard in northern Abidjan on Tuesday in northern areas of the Ivory Coast capital loyal to former President Laurent Gbagbo. Ten days of fighting in the city between Gbagbo supporters and those of President Alessane Ouattara have lef its streets littered with bodies. The president's forces arrested Mr. Gbagbo at his bunker on Monday. Mr. Ouattara addressed the nation late Monday and promised a new age of hope. Mr. Gbagbo also appeared on television, calling on his supporters to stop fighting. The conflict Ivory Coast erupted after Mr. Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat in the presidential election in November.


The authorities in Belarus say they've made several arrests in connection with Monday's bomb blast in a subway station in downtown Minsk. The death toll now stands at 12, with 149 commuters injured. Police have been conducting spot checks on roads and at subway stations and airports. An official at the prosecutor general's office described the attack as an act of terrorism. Interior Minister Anatoly Kuleshov revealed that the explosive device was packed with ball bearings and had a force equivalent to seven kilograms of TNT. And the leading opposition party, the Belarussian Popular Front, urged the security forces not to use the incident as a pretext for political repression. It recalled that more than a dozen opposition activists were arrested in July 2008 after a bomb blast at a concert in Minsk. The crime was never solved.


Brazil's new president, Dilma Roussef, had a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing on Tuesday. Mrs. Roussef signed commercial agreements for more than $1 billion worth of commitments by Chinese firms to buy Brazilian aircraft and other goods. Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer reached an agreement by which its joint venture will start assembling business jets in China and sold 20 commercial jets as well. And Brazilian Science Minister Aloizio Mercadante says Taiwanese electronic giant Foxconn and Apple could start making Apple's iPad in Brazil as early as November. Mrs. Roussef didn't raise the issue of China's undervalued currency, a source of constant complaint by Brazilian manufacturers. She'll have a chance to raise it on Wednesday when she meets Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.


Syria's security forces are continuing thier blockade of the coastal town of Banias three days after pro-democracy protests were staged there. Meanwhile, an online Facebook group is calling for new protests in Syria to show loyalty to those killed, wounded or taken prisoners after a weekend crackdown on anti-régime demonstrators. The call was made by the organizers of a Facebook page known as the Syrian Revolution Against Bashar Al-Assad. The page has played a major role in mobilizing recent protests. A bloody weekend crackdown that left at least 30 civilians dead in the towns of Daraa and Banias. Syrian human rights activists have reported a country-wide number of arrests focused on protest participants and organisers. President Assad, who is facing an unprecedented challenge to his authoritarian rule, has claimed the protests are part of a foreign conspiracy to cause sectarian strife.


Nuclear officials in Japan have revised the severity rating of the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which was damaged by a combined earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Japan's nuclear safety agency has raised the rating to seven, the highest level on the international scale. That's equal to the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union in 1986, considered the worst such accident in history. Radioactive contamination from that accident spread over much of Western Russia and Europe. The Japanese disaster killed more than 13,000 people and has left over 14,000 others missing. As many as 150,000 people are still in emergency shelters.



Canada's biggest helicopter transportation services company plans a major acquisition in New Zealand. Canadian Helicopters Group Inc. will buy Helicopters (N.Z.) Ltd. for $120 million. HNZ is the country's largest helicopter owner and operator. The company operates throughout New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia and has cutomers ranging from offshore oil and gas companies to government, emergency services and the military. CHL CEO Don Wall says the acquisition will complement his firm's operations in the Northern Hemisphere.


The Globe and Mail newspaper reports that Air Canada is considering launching a low-cost affiliate that would compete on routes to Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and other popular vacation spots. According to The Globe, the country's biggest airline, and the Air Canada Pilots Association have signed a letter of understanding attached to their tentative contract agreement for a discount airline with a fleet of 50 Airbus and Boeing planes. The planes would have a capacity of 120 and 213 passengers. The new airline would compete with such airlines as Transat A.T., the country's largest tour operator, Sunwing Travel Group and WestJet Vacations. Air Canada competes in the charter market through its wholly-owned Air Canada Vacations division. Its tour packages generally target mid- to higher-end travellers.



TSX: 13,801, down 195. Dollar: US$1.03. Euro: $1.39. Oil: $105.93, -$3.99.




Forward Evander Kane and Cal Clutterbuck have both accepted invitations to play for Canada at the upcoming Intgernational Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. They bring the number of forwards on the team to seven. An eighth, John Tavares, is also hoping to play but he's still waiting to receive official approval from the New York Islanders.


Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-4, 7-5 Tuesday to advance to the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters tennis event. Raonic, who is ranked 34th in the world, is playing in his first ATP event on clay. Gulbis is ranked 30th.



British Columbia on Wednesday: sun north, cloud south,high C4 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse -3, Yellowknife -17, Iqaluit -25. Alberta: snow north, sun south. Saskatchewan: sun. Manitoba: mix sun cloudl. Edmonton -1, Regina 4, Winnipeg 11. Ontario, Quebec: sun. Toronto 9, Ottawa 7, Montreal 8. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island: sun. Nova Scotia: mix sun cloud. Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton, Charlottetown 11, Halifax 14, St.John's 9.

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