Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 18 April 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports


Flags are flying at half-mast at the legislature in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan to honour Allan Blakeney. The former Saskatchewan premier died Saturday at the age of 85, prompting a steady stream of tributes from politicians of all parties. In a statement, the province's current Premier Brad Wall says the legislature flags will remain at half-mast until Blakeney's funeral. Mr. Wall calls Mr. Blakeney a strong voice for Saskatchewan who also believed in a strong and united Canada.


The western Canadian province of Manitoba is bracing for the second-worst flooding of the Red River. The authorities closed the highway that connects the province to the U.S. state of North Dakota. When the river river last flooded to comparable levels in 2009, the highway stayed closed for 35 days. Highway 75 is one of the busiest in Manitoba, carrying about 1,100 trucks a day. The Canadian Nationa;l and Canadian Pacific railways that run south from Winnipeg into the U.S. remain open. But the main freight carrier in North Dakota, BNSF Railway, had four lines out of service. All three lines carry the Red River Valley's crops, including spring wheat and durum,to the U.S. The flooding is being caused by melting snow on top of saturated ground.


A study of migrant workers in Ontario shows that many of them aren't given proper safety training, live in hot cramped quarters, have no access to clean water and suffer health problems as a result. The study was carried out by the International Migration Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. Its study says that many workers suffer persistent back pain, eye and skin disorders and mental health problems. Many of these don't seek care because they don't realize they're entitled to it, work too much to take time off to visit a clinic or don't go because they fear losing their jobs. A majority of those asked said they worked long hours without a break, had no protection from the rain and had been given no safety training. The Centre studied 600 migrant workers in Ontario from 2007 to 2009. A similar study British Columbia produced similar results. The research has been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.


As of Monday, Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan can begin casting their ballots for the May 2 general election. More than 2,800 members of the Canadian Forces are eligible to vote and will get the opportunity to do so for the next six-days.


The NDP leader, Mr. Layton campaigned in Quebec on Monday. He sought to promote a high-speed rail link between Quebec City and Windsor, ON, a project that has been debated for decades.


Both Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen and his prinicipal adversary in the May 2 election, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, mined for votes in the Northwest Territories on Monday. The prime minister was in the territorial capital, Yellowknife, where he repeated a promise to complete the Dempster Highway joining Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. Mr. Harper says the completion would fulfill the dream of late Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, who wanted Canada linked from sea to northern sea. There are fewer than 70,000 eligible voters in three ridings in all of Canada's Arctic. However, all of the seats have a history of swinging back and forth between the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democratic parties, making them worthwhile campaigning targets. Meanwhile, Mr. Ignatieff says he won't withdraw an attack ad which the Conservatives claim misquotes Mr. Harper. The Liberal leader says he will continue to defend the health-care system vigorously and insists that another Harper government would diminish that system. The ad accuses Harper of having said he would scrap the Canada Health Act. The Tories said the quote in fact was uttered by David Somerville, the former head ofr the National Citizens' Coalition.



President Robert Mugabe appeared with his chief political rival Morgan Tsangirei at a rally to mark the country's 31st independence anniversary. Before the rally, Mr Tsangirei denounced the president's plan to force foreign firms to transfer majority ownership to blacks. Mr. TsangIrei says the plan won't empower average blacks but will only serve to enrich a parasitical elite. Mr. Mugabe defended the plan however as part of a broad economic empowerment program. He also said that elections shouldn't be held until Zimbabwe's constitutiion is reformed, as provided in the unity deal with Mr. Tsangirei two years ago. Mr. Mugabe has been criticizing the accord for months, telling his party follwers that it should be ended.


One of the world's major car manufacturers, General Motors Corp., has announced plans to double the number of cars it sells in China to five million by 2015. The president of GM China, Kevin Wale, says the company is optimistic it can achieve the target, which is more than twice the 2.35 million vehicles it sold in 2010. Analysts say global automakers are focusing their efforts on China's automobile market which is the world's biggest. More than 13 million passenger vehicles were sold in the country last year, an increase of one-third over 2009.


Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin says Russia might offer emergency financial aid to Belarus. Speaking in Washington, he said any such aid would depend on the government of President Alexander Lukashenko cutting its spending. Belarus is trying to cope with a cash shortage and last week imposed a $200 limit on transactions at currency exchanges. Economists blame the crisis on a jump in the price of Russian energy imports and the low interest fees imposed by Mr. Lukashenko when facing re-election in December.


The International Organization for Migration reports that a Greek ferry rescued almost 1,000 stranded migrants in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata. The city held by rebels has been bombarded by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Ghadaffi for six weeks. The ship carrying the migrants, most of them Ghanaians, is headed to Benghazi. The migrants will be taken to Egypt for repatriation if found physically fit. Meanwhile, the British government says it will hire ships to rescue 5,000 migrants from Misrata. The International Organization for Migration says it fears the movement could touch off an attempted mass escape by sea of the city's 400,000 residents.


More than 5,000 protesters have occupied the central square of Homs, Syria's third-biggest city 160 kilometrdes north of Damascus, and they say they won't leave until the government of President Bashar Assad is removed. The sit-in followed a funeral procession in which 10,000 mourners marched to pay their respects to several of the eight people shot to death in Homs on Sunday by the security forces. Human rights groups claim at least 200 people have been killed over the past month. The state news agency has quoted Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem as telling foreign ambassadors that reforms are needed but cannot be achieved through violence.


The situation at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant remains critical. Robots are being used to enter the plant to take radiation readings. Their latest information indicates that radiation levels are far too high for repair crews to enter the facility. Nevertheless, officials remain hopeful they can stick to a new plan to clean up the radiation leak and stablize the Fukushima plant by year's end. Then they can begin returning tens of thousands of evacuees to their homes. The nuclear plant began leaking radiation after the devastating March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The twin disasters killed more than 13,000 people and left over 14,000 others missing. As many as150,000 people are still in emergency shelters.



Bombardier Transportation Inc. has announced a nine-year contract to sell 200 diesel locomotives to an affiliate of German passenger train operator Deutsche Bahn. Bombardier says its TRAAX locomotive meets the EU's strict new emissions standards and will reduce fuel consumption, exhaust emissions and maintenancce osts. Deutsche Bahn already operates more than 680 TRAAX locomotives.


TSX: 13,704, - 95. Dollar: US$1.03. Euro: $1.37. Oil: $107.29, - $2.37.




Canadian Milos Raonic continues to climb the world tennis rankings. The 20-year-old from Thornhill, ON, moved six places to Number 28 in the rankings released Monday. Since January 1, Raonic has jumped 128 spots in the rankings. He is currently in Spain for the Barcelona Open.


A new study reveals that National Hockey League players suffering from concussions are spending more time off the ice and face health risks if they continue to play before they fully recover.

The University of Calgary study said the findings could indicate that head injuries suffered by hockey players were more severe than initially thought.

The study, which was based on physician reports, looked at 559 concussions suffered by NHL players in regular season games between 1997 and 2004.

The researchers sounded the alarm over players continuing to play before they have recovered, and the failure to report symptoms.

The study said headaches, fatigue, memory loss and abnormal neurological exams were clinical signs predicting players being off the ice for more time.

The report said on average, the number of days lost increased 2.25 times during the study period for every recurrent concussion.

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