Thursday, April 28, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 27 April 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


A woman in the Pacific coast province of British Columbia says she believes the choice to die with dignity is something that should be available to all Canadians. Lee Carter has filed suit in B.C. Supreme Court challenging Canada's law against assisted suicide. Miss Carter made arrangements last year for her terminally-ill mother to travel to Switzerland, where she died with the help of a doctor. Miss Carter has the support of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and a doctor who says he is willing to participate in physician-assisted dying if the law is repealed.


The lawyer for a Canadian man charged in the death of a university student from China says he's concerned that authorities charged his client with murder even though they do not know how Qian Liu died. The 23-year-old student's body was found in her apartment on April 15. Several days later, 29-year-old Brian Dickson was charged with first-degree murder. An autopsy did not reveal how Miss Liu died and results of toxicology tests may not be known for weeks.


The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment is calling on Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put people's lives ahead of politics. The call comes after Mr. Harper used a campaign stop in the province of Quebec to promote his support for the asbestos industry. Mr. Harper defended Canada's export of the carcinogen, saying it's legal in many countries. One of the world's most respected medical journals, The Lancet, has noted that Canada virtually bans the use of asbestos, which has been found to cause cancer. Yet Canada shipped 135,000 tonnes of it last year to countries like India, Indonesia and the Philippines, where regulations on asbestos are few. The Lancet says it's immoral of Canada to export asbestos to developing countries.


New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton says several of his candidates who have been on vacation since the election campaign began shouldn't be blamed. He says the blame is Prime Minister Harper's because he failed to follow his own law on fixed election dates. One of the party's candidates is on vacation in Las Vegas at present, and another took his family to the Caribbean shortly after the election campaign began. Mr. Layton says his candidates had already booked their vacations before the campaign started, adding that other parties have the same problem. The NDP leader was in Winnipeg, MB, on Wednesday promoting his party's promise of a child-care benefit that could be worth as much as $700 a child over four years.


Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the rise in popularity of the New Democratic Party "clarifies the choice" for voters. He says they have a stark choice between his Conservatives and a coalition government of high spending, high taxes and constitutional "diversions." He told a crowd in Waterloo, ON, that the NDP, in particular, has economic policies designed for opposition rather than actual government. He added that Canada under Conservative government has one of the best records in the world in emerging from the recent recession. Mr. Harper says voters have the choice between much higher levels of permanent spending and a focus on the economy, keeping taxes down and creating jobs.


Two public opinion polls in Canada's national election campaign are pointing to a revolution in the country's political traditions just five days before the vote. A survey by the Nanos pollster puts the popularity of the left-leaning New Democratic Party about five percentage points about that of the Liberals, while Angus Reid puts the gap between the two parties at eight per cent. Historically, the Liberals have either been in power or formed the official opposition in the House of Commons since Confederation in 1867. Both polls show the Conservative Party in the lead, but below the 40 per cent of support that is the minimum to form a majority government.



One of Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko's chief opponents went on trial in Minsk on Wednesday. Andrei Sannikov was one of seven presidential candidates who was arrested on Dec. 19 during a mass rally to protest against alleged fraud that led to Mr. Lukashenko's re-election the same day. Mr. Sannikov is a former deputy foreign minister and the co-founder of the Charter 97 rights lobby. He's also the most senior of the anti-Lukashenko activists to go on trial because of the rally. Seven others have received prison terms of two to four years.


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has again expressed worries about the expansion of the NATO alliance. He told a news conference in Stockholm after meeting Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt that the expansion of NATO infrastructure toward Russia's borders is causing Moscow concern. Mr. Putin says NATO is not just a political bloc but continues to be a military bloc that has agreements on how it reacts to external threats. NATO has already taken in the three former Soviet Baltic states as well as former Warsaw Pact members like Poland and the Czech Republic. Georgia and Ukraine also have expressed interest in joining the Western alliance.


Mexico's justice ministry say a total of 183 bodies have been found in 40 mass graves in Tamaulipas state near the U.S. border since April. Police have arrested 74 people in the investigation, including several local Zetas drug gang leaders and 17 police officers from the San Fernando municipality, where the bodies were found. Authorities also accused the Zetas in the killings of 72 immigrants from Central and South America whose bodies were found at a ranch in the same municipality. Tamaulipas state has been the scene of violent confrontations in recent years between the Zetas and the powerful Gulf cartel. An estimated 35,000 people have been killed in suspected drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched a widespread military crackdown on criminal gangs at the end of 2006.


An Afghan air force officer shot to death eight American soldiers and a contractor working for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The Afghan air force says the killings took place in a conference hall where Afghan and U.S. personnel were gathered. The shootings appeared to have stemmed from a disagreement rather than terrorism. Afghan soldiers shot the gunman dead.


Yemeni security forces opened fire on protesters in the capital Sana'a on Wednesday, killing 12 people and injuring more than 130. Two policemen also lost their lives. The government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh says dozens of government supporters also were hurt. There were several other deaths in southern Yemen. Meanwhile, Mr. Saleh says he supports peaceful change in line with the country's constitution. On Tuesday, he and opposition parties agreed to sign a landmark accord for a transition period to end three months of unrest that have left more than 140 dead. The accord brokered by the Gulf Co-operation Council is to be signed in Riyadh on Sunday. Under its terms, a government of national unity will be formed and Mr. Saleh will resign and transfer his power to the vice-president. A presidential election will be held within two months.


NATO warplanes on Tuesday night bombed forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi that were attacking the Western port of Misrata. The Ghadafi forces intended an attack on the port. The port is the beleaguered city's lifeline, it being surrounded on three sides by the rebels' adversaries. NATO says six military and seven civilian trucks armed with machineguns or rocket launchers were destroyed, as well as a surface-to-air missile site. In another development, Libya's tribes have issued a statement calling Moammar Gaddafi to give up power. The chiefs or representatives of 61 tribes from across the North African country called for an end to his 40-year rule in a joint statement released by French writer Bernard-Henri Lévy.


A group of Syrian opposition activists in the country and abroad have warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he'll be toppled unless he agrees to usher in a transition period toward democracy. The National Initiative for Change has about 150 members. Their statement warns the president that unless he wishes to oversee a transition period, Syrians will have no choice but to follow in the footsteps of Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans. Meanwhile, the president's security forces are in the third day of a push to suppress protests in the southern city of Daraa. Thirty people have died there since the government's drive began on Monday. At least 453 civilians countrywide have lost their lives since protests erupted in mid-March. Meanwhile in Europe, the governments of France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain have summoned Syria's ambassadors to demand that Mr. al-Assad stop ordering his people to be shot. And in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Syria on Friday.



Air Canada will launch the rebranding of its Air Canada Express regional service on Sunday with a flight between Montreal and Billy Bishop Toronto City airport. The contracted flight will be flown by Sky Regional, one of the regional airlines contracted for local flight by Air Canada. The fleet of Jazz planes operated by the Chorus Aviation holding company will soon assume the Air Canada Express banner.


The chairman of Barrick Gold Corp., the world biggest gold company, has defended this week's deal to acquire the Australian-Canadian copper miner Equinox Minerals in a friendly takeover. Peter Munk told shareholders at Barrick's annual meeting that the move doesn't foreshadow a change in the company's main focus: gold. Barrick's shares have fallen about $5 from Thursday's close of above $53. Mr. Munk explained that gold and copper go "hand in hand," requiring the same skills, people and expertise to exploit, adding that copper mines last longer. As the supply of available goldmines decreases worldwide, the Equinox deal allows Barrick to expand into a metal that is selling for near record prices. Barrick now earns 90 per cent of its profits from gold and the rest from copper. With the Equinox deal, copper will account for 18 per cent.




Patrick Chan had an explosive start to the world figure skating championships in Moscow. The Canadian skater set a new world record in the short program. Chan scored 93.02 skating to "Take Five" by Paul Desmond. The previous world mark was 91.30 set by Russia's Evgeni Plushenko.



British Columbia: rain, high C10 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: mix sun cloud snow. Whitehorse 8, Yellowknife -4, Iqaluit -8. Alberta: rain. Saskatchewan: rain north, sun south. Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 10, Regina, Winnipeg 18. Ontario, Quebec: rain. Toronto 13, Ottawa, Montreal 19. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: snow. Fredericton 17, Halifax 15, Charlottetown 18, St.John's 1.

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