Thursday, April 21, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


Fifteen Chinese workers have won their case before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal. The workers claimed discrimination against their employer, Calego International, makers of designer bags. The company, its president and a recruitment agency have been ordered to pay each worker $10,000 in compensation. According to testimony, the workers were blamed for dirty working conditions in 2006 and subjected to racial slurs.


The premiers of Canada's three western provinces are in the city of Vancouver Wednesday to discuss a year-old agreement to combine their purchasing power. The New West Partnership was signed in April 2010 by Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and then British Columbia's Premier Gordon Campbell. Mr. Campbell has since left office and taking his place at the meeting is Christy Clark. The provinces agreed to create joint agreements to get cheaper prices on government purchases. They also pledged to reduce trade barriers between provinces, work together to market the region internationally, and co-ordinate research and development activities in Western Canada.


A new survey shows that almost one-third of Canadians don't have enough money to cover living expenses. About the same number said they do. The same poll indicates that more than one-half of those asked find it hard or impossible to save and that 38 per cent had no savings. The survey found that about three-quarters of those who do save are motivated to do so for retirement or to pay off credit cards. The poll by Environics Research was carried out for TD Canada Trust.


Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says his province wants a better deal from Ottawa concerning immigration. He claims Ottawa's immigration policies are slanted to favour Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba and that those provinces have more say on which newcomers arrive there. The premier says the federal government cannot justify having one set of rules for some provinces and another for the others. Mr. McGuiinty says Ontario wants more economic class immigrants and fewer family class newcomers. However, the opposition responds that the premier is using the immigration question as a red herring to distract attention from such issues as soaring electricity prices and the harmonized sales tax.


Canada's federal Liberal Party has asked for a criminal investigation into the Conservative government's handling of G8 spending on infrastructure projects. The request comes after a leaked version of a yet to be released report by Auditor General Sheila Fraser charged that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper misled Parliament to get the $50 million dollar fund. The money was part of a Border Infrastructure Fund aimed at easing border congestion, but Parliament wasn't told that $50 million was to be used on projects to prepare for the G8 summit in Ontario. The money was supposed to have been used on projects connected to summit last summer. Instead, the report says, the cash was spent on dubious projects in the Ontario riding of Industry Minister Tony Clement. The auditor general's report concludes that the Conservative government may have broken the law by not following the rules for handing out projects related to the G8 summit. The Liberals have made a written request to the federal director of public prosecutions, Brian Saunders, asking that he look into possible "misappropriation of funds."


A new poll shows that the Liberal leader, Mr. Ignatieff, and Prime Minister Harper are roughly even in popularity, but that for the former this represents an improvement while the opposite is true for his adversary. The Canadian Press Harris Decima survey indicates the Liberal leader is viewed positively by 42 per cent and unfavourably by 50 per cent. The figures for Mr. Harper are 43 per cent ahnd 52 per cent respectively. Both, however, trail NDP leader Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Québécois. Mr. Layton is seen in a favourable light by 68 per cent of those asked and the reverse by only 26 per cent.


Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff has again raked Mr. Harper over the coals on account of his alleged hostility to the country health-care system. Mr. Ignatieff has written an "open letter" to his rival in which he accuses him of neglecting the health-care file during his five years in office. The letter accuses the Conservative government of trying to starve the system because Mr. Harper never believed in it. Mr. Ignatieff also called upon the prime minister to explain the private health-care options he considers alternatives and how these would maintain consistent levels of health care across the country. He also wants Mr. Harper to denounce a recent recommendation by the right-wing Fraser Institute that the government stop enforcing the Canada Health Act.


Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper is again harping on the theme of the ill effects of an opposition coalition government. He was responding to comments by Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff who said he would try to form a government if a minority Conservative government were defeated after the May 2 election. Mr. Harper warns that the Liberal leader's co-operation with the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois can only lead to high taxes, reckless spending and a new constitutional crisis. The Conservative leader says the alternative is a majority Conservative government.


The Ivory Coast government's security forces have launched an operation to clear out supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo from a neighbourhood in abidjan. The neighbourhood of Yopougon is full of pro-Gbagbo fighters who retreated after a French- and UN-backed offensive flushed Gabgbo out of the compound where he was holed up. In the previous weeks before his ouster, he handed out weapons to young supporters and was accused as well of using mercenaries. The crisis in Ivory Coast began four months after Gbagbo refused to admit that his rival Alasanne Ouattara had won the presidential election.


Russia is pulling out of a program that poured $1 billion from the governmentS of the U.S., Canada and other countries into the research labs that built the Soviet Union's weapons of mass destruction. Officials with the International Science and Technology Center are negotiating with Russian authorities the closure of its Moscow headquarters. The Centre was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union to give the labs' thousands of scientists and experts involved in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare projects an opportunity to engage in civilian work with colleagues from the U.S. and other countries. It was feared that the scientists would otherwise have sold their services to rogue régimes or terrorists. But U.S. congressional investigators concluded that U.S. taxpayer money was being used to keep open Russian weapons institutes by recruiting younger scientists who might otherwise have moved to the West. The Centre will keep operating in Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and several Central Asian states.


The opposition is calling for mass protests Wednesday after deadly confrontations with police. The protesters continue to demand the ouster of President Ali Abdullah. During a 24-hour period, eight people have been killed. Meanwhile, talks between Gulf mediators and representatives of Yemen's president appeared to have made no progress. And members of the United Nations Security Council also failed to come up with a joint statement on Yemen after adding the country's presidential crisis to their agenda for the first time. Mr. Saleh has offered new parliamentary and presidential elections this year as part of political reforms, but says he should stay in power to oversee the change. As many as 120 people have been killed since near-daily protests calling for Mr. Saleh's removal began in mid-February.


An Egyptian government committee of three judges says at least 846 Egyptians died in the nearly three-week-long popular uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign Feb. 11. The judges described police forces shooting protesters in the head and chest with live ammunition. The judges held Mr. Mubarak ultimately responsible for the killing of the protesters since his interior minister, Habib el-Adly, had issued the orders to open fire. Meanwhile, Amnesty International says Egypt must immediately investigate human rights abuses during Mr. Mubarak's rule. The former president and his sons were placed in custody on April 13 for 15 days while they are investigated over allegations of corruption and their role in the shooting of protesters. The 82-year old Mubarak has remained in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh until he can be transferred to a military hospital. He was hospitalized with unspecified heart problems a week ago.


Rebels in thw western Libyan city of Misarata say there was heavy fighting there on Wednesday between them and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moaammar Ghadaffi. Eight people, mostly civilians, are said to have lost their lives in the country's third-biggest city of Tuesday. The insurgents say they control about one-half of the city and their adversaries the other. Thousands of stranded foreign workers are waiting to be rescued in Misarata's port. Meanwhile in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has had a meeting with a member of the rebels' Libyan National Council and said yes to a request for stronger military action. France and Britain have promised the insurgents military advisors. In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama has applauded that move, although he also says no American military personnel will be dispatched.


Beer sales are up across Canada. Statistics Canada says beer and liquor outlets sold $9.2 billion worth of beer in the 2009 fiscal year, up 3.8 per cent from the year before. Newfoundland and Labrador had the biggest increase, at nearly 15 per cent. Statistics Canada says that overall, sales of alocoholic beverages were up 2.8 per cent, in part because of more sales of imported wine and beer.


China Telecom Ltd. is expanding its Canadian arm, China Telecom Canada. That company is itself a subsidiary of Virginia-based China Telecom Americas. The latter's company's president, Donald Tan, says China Telecom Canada has had an office in Markham, ON, near Toronto for five years but that demand for communications links with China and the Asia-Pacific region has increased. Mr. Tan says some of Canada's most ambitious companies have long been active in China, but that many others are now beginning to explore opportunities there. The company serves multinational corporations and international telecom carriers. China Telecom has the world's largest fixed line telecommunications network, with 174 million telephone subscribers and also 100 million mobile customers.


A legislative committee in the Canadian province of Ontario has drawn up a list of nine recommendations to protect the province's and Canada's interests if the Toronto and London stock exchanges merge. One of the recommendations is that the Toronto Stock Exchange have the same number of seats on the board of directors as the London exchange. The committee does not have the power to approve or disapprove of the merger. The committee's recommendations follow reaction by some of Canada's major banks that are against the proposed merger. The banks, Toronto Dominion, ScotiaBank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the National Bank complain that the merged company of the London and Toronto exchanges would be based in London. They claim that would transfer the decision-making process to England, leaving Canada with less financial influence.


TSX: 13,899, + 162. Dollar: US$1.04. Euro: $1.3. Oil: $111.37, + $3.09.



The Detroit Red Wings were the last team to ever play the Winnipeg Jets and might be the last team to play the Coyotes. Detroit is up 3-to-nothing in its playoff series with Phoenix and Game 4 might be the last National Hockey League game played in Arizona amid rumours the team is headed back to Winnipeg. In other playoff action, Washington faces the Rangers, Pittsburgh is up against Tampa Bay, Philadelphia takes on Buffalo and Nashville squares off against Anaheim.


Erik Bedard of Navan, On, looks for the first win of his comeback from shoulder surgery as Seattle closes out a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers.


A police report says former Toronto Raptors star Jalen Rose performed poorly on several tests to determine if he was impaired after rolling his Cadillac Escalade on a snowy Michigan road March 12. The report also says Rose told police he didn't drink any alcohol the night of the crash. That was despite his blood-alcohol level allegedly being at 0-point-088 per cent two hours after being arrested. Michigan's legal limit is 0-point-08.


British Columbia on Thursday: sun north, mix sun cloud south, high C12 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: mix sun cloud snow. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse 5, Yellowknife -9, Iqaluit -12. Alberta: sun north, rain south. Saskatchewan: sun. Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Edmonton 6, Regihna, Winnipeg 12. Ontario: mix sun cloud south, sun north. Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto 9, Ottawa 6, Montreal 5. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton, Charlottetown 7, Halifax 11, St.John's 10.