Friday, April 22, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 21 April 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


A man from the Canadian city of Toronto man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 23-year-old university student from China. Qian Liu was found dead in her basement apartment near the York University campus on Friday, but an autopsy has failed to show a cause of death. Police say she was chatting with a friend in China by webcam early Friday when an unknown man arrived at her apartment and a struggle took place.


There will be a complete review of Canada's nuclear power plants following Japan's disaster. The Fukushima nuclear plant was badly damaged by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 and has been spewing radiation ever since. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is setting up a task force to ensure that Canada's nuclear plants can withstand potential disasters. The task force will examine the plans, procedures and guidelines it has for coping with severe accidents. It will then recommend measures to address any major problems at the plants and decide whether design changes are warranted.


The federal government is making faster progress in reducing the deficit that it had predicted. The finance department says February's deficit was only $600 million. With only one month remaining in the fiscal year, the department now projects a deficit of about $28 billion. That's $12 billion lower than its updated prediction last October. Much of the success in reducing the deficit is due to revenues resulting from the country's strong economic performance in last year's last quarter and this year's first.


Meanwhile, Mr. Layton says the poll results shows his party has gained momentum. But he cautions as well that it still has much to do. Speaking in Toronto on another subject, he said an NDP government would act to ensure that consumers can change cellphone providers more easily. He also promised that the NDP would take steps to protect consumers from usage-based billing and what he considers other types of price-gouging. And Mr. Layton says the NDP would see to it that all Canadians can access the Internet, pointing out that 30 per cent homes still don't have the service.


The latest opinion polls for Canada's election show a remarkable rise in popularity for the opposition New Democratic Party. But the surveys disagree on the popularity of the governing Conservatives. The Ekos pollster puts the NDP in a tie with the Liberal Party at almost 25 per cent. That's about 10 per cent behind the Conservatives. The poll puts Conservative popularity at 34 per cent. A minimum of 40 per cent is needed to form a majority government. A Nanos Research poll shows comparable results for the Liberals and NDP. But it pegs the Conservatives at 39 per cent. That would put them within shouting distance of a majority.


Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he will never revive the contentious debate about abortion as long as he's prime minister. Mr. Harper says Canadians are focused on the economy not on abortion. Mr. Harper was reacting to an uproar caused by remarks by one of his candidates in Saskatchewan. Incumbent Member of Parliament Brad Trost told an anti-abortion group last weekend that the government had denied funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation because it supports abortion. Mr. Harper's spokesman then explained that the Conservatives are prepared to work with any organization that is willing to work with it. International Planned Parenthood has made an application for funding under the G8 initiative on child and maternal health, which Canada sponsored. The application was made more than a year ago and the group assumes it has been rejected. NDP leader Jack Layton, whose party supports freedom of choice, says he suspects the Conservatives have a hidden agenda on abortion.



A two-day strike over rising fuel prices in Shanghai turned violent Thursday as thousands of truck drivers clashed with police. About 2,000 truck drivers clashed with police at an intersection near the city's port. The strike comes amid rising consumer prices and fuel price increases. China's inflation rate hit 5.4 percent in March, prompting officials to renew promises to use all available means to contain price rises. China's state media have been silent on the protest.


Japan is banning anyone from entering the 20-kilometre evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant north of Tokyo. The move comes weeks the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster which damaged the nuclear facility and is currently leaking radiation. Tens of thousands of people left the zone after the disaster. But some have gone back to collect belongings as the utility struggles to contain the world's most serious nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. As many as 130,000 people are still living in school gymnasiums and other shelters more than a month after the catastrophe left 28,000 people dead or missing.


Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has asked the country's ruling military government to keep him at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh despite an order for him to leave to face trial in Cairo. Army sources say the 82-year-old Mr. Mubarak wants to remain in hospital in the resort where he took refuge after pro-democracy protests ousted him from power in February. He is said to be undergoing heart tests at the hospital. Mr. Mubarak was admitted to hospital more than a week ago, on the same day the prosecutor ordered him detained for questioning on corruption and murder allegations. He denies wrongdoing. Mr. Mubarak's sons, Gamal and Alaa, were ordered detained on similar charges on the same day and are now in prison in Cairo along with several other senior officials.


There appears to be a agreement in place in Yemen to see President Ali Abdullah Saleh transfer power after three months of unrest. A plan from Gulf Arab mediators calls for Mr. Saleh to quit 30 days after a national unity government is formed. The Gulf Cooperation Council plan urges the formation of a national unity government with 50 percent held by the ruling party, 40 percent by the opposition and 10 percent by other parties. The president would transfer his powers to his deputy, and then the protests would end. The president would then submit his resignation to parliament within 30 days with new presidential elections within two months. Since January, Mr. Saleh has faced protests calling for his ouster. As many as 130 people have been killed in the protests.


Russia has again criticized foreign intervention in the civil conflict in Libya. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the sending of Western military advisers to help rebels goes beyond what was authorized by a UN Security council resolution. The resolution authorities the use of force to protect civilians. Mr. Lavrov says there have been cases in the past when foreign military instructors entered a conflict and were then followed by ground troops. Britain said on Tuesday it would send military officers to advise Libyan rebels. France has said it will dispatch as many as 10 advisers. Russia abstained from voting on the Council resolution.


Libyan government troops launched a heavy attack of artillery fire on rebel-held city of Misrata overnight. The attack killed at least three rebel fighters and wounded 17. Misrata, Libya's third largest city and the only rebel stronghold in the west of the country, has been under a siege by forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi for seven weeks. Hundreds of people are reported to have died. In related news, Libyan state television says NATO forces had struck a suburb of the capital Tripoli, killing seven people and wounding 18 others. And the commander of NATO's Libya operations, Canadian Gen. Charles Bouchard, warns that civilians should keep away from Gaddafi's forces to avoid being hurt by NATO air attacks on government troops. Rebels and Gaddafi forces have been fighting since February. The insurgents demand his removal.



TSX: 13,972, + 75. Dollar: US$1.04. Euro: $1.38. Oil: $112.16, + .71.


High-technology firm Celestica Inc. says it will hire 400 people at its plant in Toronto. CEO Craig Muhlhauser says they're needed to help meet strong demand for its diversified manufacturing services. He also told shareholders that Celestica has now hired back all of the employees it was forced to lay off during the recession. The company announced first-quarter revenue of $54.7 million, a 19-per cent improvement over the result a year earlier. The result met or exceeded most analysts' predictions.


Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. reports first-quarter earnings considerably lower than those of one year ago but still higher than it had feared. The country's second-biggest railway says difficult winter weather slowed shipments and drove up costs. CEO Fred Green says the weather "...significantly costrained our capacity and our service to our customers." Earnings were $33.7 million, almost three times lower than a year earlier.




The Canucks and Canadiens were both in action Thursday night with Vancouver looking to put the defending Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks away. Chicago staved off elimination last time out, defeating Vancouver 7-2 at the United Centre to trim the series lead to 3-to-1. The Montreal hosted Boston, looking to go ahead three games to one. The other game had San José at Los Angeles, with the Sharks up two games to one.



British Columbia on Friday: sun, high C11 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse 6, Yellowknife, Iqaluit -6. Alberta, Saskatchewan: sun. Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 8, Regina 14, Winnipeg 9. Ontario: rain. Quebec: sun. Toronto, Montreal 10, Ottawa 12. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia: sun. Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: snow. Fredericton, Halifax 9, Charlottetown 7, St. John's 2.

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