Friday, April 15, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 14 April 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Spring flooding in western Canada is blocking dozens of highways and keeping hundreds of people away from their homes. But the worst of the flooding still isn't expected for several more weeks. In the provinces of western Manitoba and Saskatchewan, hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes. There are also reports that more than 50 provincial highways have been affected. Officials say 55 highways in Manitoba were closed, a record. Steve Ashton, minister responsible for emergency measures in Manitoba, says the province faces flooding on an unprecedented scale.


The Canadian province of Quebec is offering to put money into one of Canada's last asbestos mines despite widespread, international criticism. Quebec's economic development minister is offering $7.5 million to help revive the mine located in Asbestos, QC. An investment consortium is also hoping the province will guarantee a $58-million bank loan they say is crucial to restarting the operation. One of the world's most respected medical journals, The Lancet, has noted that Canada virtually bans the use of asbestos, which can cause cancer. Canada shipped 135,000 tonnes of it last year to countries including India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where regulations on asbestos are few. The Lancet has said it's immoral of Canada to export asbestos to developing countries where some of the most vulnerable people in the world live.


A former British Member of Parliament is suing the Canadian government for $1.5 million. George Galloway has filed a lawsuit against Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and an assistant alleging defamation and abuse of public office. Mr. Kenney refused to admit Mr. Galloway into Canada in 2009 on the grounds that he was a member of the Palestinian Hamas movement and therefore presented a national security threat. The Canadian government lists Hamas as a terrorist group. Canadian border officials told the former lawmaker that his donations of cars and cash to Hamas made him inadmissible.


A Canadian advocacy group called Equal Voice says the number of women registered as candidates for the current federal election campaign has increased slightly from the 2008 election. In all, 407 women are running, representing one-third of all those seeking seats in Parliament. Equal Voice says it's pleased to see an overall improvement in the numbers of female candidates but is disappointed that fewer women are running in what it considers constituencies where they could win.


The Liberal Party on Thursday launched a harsh ad campaign against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's health-care plans. The party's signs suggest that if re-elected on May 2, Mr. Harper's Conservative Party would cut government funding for health care and privatize health-care services. Campaigning in Gatineau, QC, the Liberal Party leader, Michael Ignatieff offered no apologies for the harsh attack, saying that Mr. Harper had considered radical changes to Canada's government-supported health care while he was an opposition member of Parliament. Mr. Ignatieff also criticized the Conservative Party for its recent email request for Arab Canadians in "ethnic costume" to serve as a backdrop at a campaign event with the prime minister on Thursday evening in Toronto. Mr. Ignatieff said that Canadians want to be treated as citizens first, not as costumed characters in Disneyland. In response, Mr. Harper called the email bizarre and insisted that such requests were not his party's way of doing business. The New Democratic Party leader, Jack Layton, also campaigned in Quebec, where he was joined by his party's sole parliamentarian from Quebec, Thomas Mulcair. People in Quebec are showing a significant interest in the NDP, a left-of-centre party that has never had enough seats in parliament to form the official opposition. The Bloc Québécois leader, Gilles Duceppe, continued his election campaign in Quebec, the only province where his separatist party fields candidates. Mr. Duceppe was widely seen as the strongest performer among the four major party leaders during their televised French-language debate in Ottawa on Wednesday evening. The Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, who was excluded from the debate in a controversial move, campaigned close to home in British Columbia.



Official figures in Beijing show that China's foreign exchange reserves soared to more than $3 trillion at the end of March, a record. The record will be a likely subject of discussion in Washington on Thursday evening, as finance ministers and central bankers representing the G20 and G7 groupings meet. The G20 is trying to reach agreement on ways to assess whether individual economies suffer from imbalances, such as large trade deficits or surpluses, that could threaten the world economy. China has expressed the suspicion that the exercise is intended to pressure it to reduce its huge trade surplus. Other topics under discussion in Washington will be the impact of high oil prices, huge government debts and Japan's disasters.


The authorities in Belarus say they have arrested three more suspects in connection with Monday's deadly bombing of a subway station in Minsk. Twelve people died and more than 200 were injured in the blast. Five suspects are now in custody. One of them is suspected of having placed the bomb in the station in downtown Minsk. Deputy Prosecutor Andrei Shved says the suspects are all Belarussian citizens under the age of 30. President Alexander Lukashenko has suggested that political dissidents may have been behind the attack.


Mexico's security forces have arrested 16 municipal police officers who were accused of protecting members of drug gangs responsible for the murders of dozens of people near the border with the United States. Mexican soldiers and police have uncovered at least 116 corpses since last week in mass graves in the town of San Fernando near the U.S. state of Texas. Attorney General Marisela Morales says the Zetas drug cartel is responsible for the killings and is offering rewards of up to $1.2 million for help tracking down several of the gang's local leaders. Mr. Morales says 17 suspected gang members who participated in the killings have been arrested so far.


Police have begun searching for tsunami victims in a 10-kilometre zone around Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Hundreds of police covered in white protective suits searched destroyed neighbourhoods near the plant for victims of the giant wave that smashed into Japan's northeast coast more than a month ago. At the plant itself, emergency crews continue efforts to stop radioactive leaks into the Pacific Ocean. The combined March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed an estimated 13,500 people and left nearly 15,000 missing.


President Bashas al-Assad has ordered the release of hundreds of detainees arrested during one month of protests. State television didn't specify how many prisoners will be freed but did say the release order doesn't apply to those guilty of criminal acts. Another day of protests is expected on Friday. Syria's leading pro-democracy group claims that more than 200 protesters have been killed in the government's crackdown.



TSX: 13,822, - 12. Dollar: US$1.04. Euro: $1.39. Oil: $108.47,+ $1.36.


The Supreme Court of Canada has concluded two days of hearings concerning the controversial federal proposal to establish a national securities regulator. At present, each of the 13 provinces and territories has its own regulator. The federal government considers the situation an aberration and a detriment to foreign investment. Six provinces object to the plan, which would involve a voluntary opting-in. In view of that opposition, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty referred the legislation to the high court for a ruling on its constitutionality. The lawyer representing British Columbia told the court Thursday that B.C. supports the idea of a national regulator, but that the proposed legislation is unconstitutional. Saskatchewan too approves the principle, but wants one under "a co-operative federalism model." Alberta and Quebec are leading the opposition to Mr. Flaherty's plan. Only Ontario loudly approves, its lawyer telling the court that Canada needs to present a "unified response to interprovincial and international problems." Chief Justice Beverly McLachlan noted that the biggest difficulty with the plan is that if it goes ahead, the federal government could make it a mandatory system in the future then override provincial regulations.



Milos Raonic's clay-court debut came to a halt when he was beaten 6-1, 6-3 by world number six David Ferrer in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters. The 20-year-old Canadian was overwhelmed for the second time this season by the Spaniard, who also beat him at the Australian Open.



British Columbia on Friday: rain south, mix sun cloud, high C9 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Northwest Territories: sun.Whitehorse 3,Yellowknife -7, Iqaluit -13. Alberta: rain south, snow north. Saskatchewan: mix snow rain. Manitoba: snow. Edmonton 1, Regina 4, Winnipeg 3. Ontario: rain south, mix sun clud north. Quebec: sun. Toronto 6, Ottawa 5, Montreal 3. Maritimes: sun. Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton, St. John's 2, Halifax 5, Charlottetown -1.

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