Thursday, May 5, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 4 May 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has carried out the formality of asking Gov-Gen. David Johnston to summon a new Parliament after Monday's national election. Mr. Harper's Conservative Party will form a majority government after winning 167 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons. The party won minorities in the elections of 2006 and 2008. The prime minister is expected to swear in a new cabinet in two weeks. The Conservatives intend to reintroduce the budget presented in the last session. Its rejection by the opposition Liberal and New Democratic parties and the Bloc Québécois provoked Monday's election. The government is also expected to bring back several tough-on-crime bills.


The al-Jazeera news network has confirmed reports that a Canadian journalist is under arrest in Syria. Dorothy Parvaz travelled to Syria on Friday to report on the country's political turmoil and immediately went missing. She works for al-Jazeera's English-language arm and also holds U.S. and Iranian citizenship. The network has called on the Syrian authorities to release her. The Syrian government expelled most reporters several weeks ago but allowed al-Jazeera's to stay. But last week the network said it was scaling back its operations in Syria because of harassment by security forces.


A former Canadian bishop has pleaded guilty to importing child pornography. Ramond Lahey, a 70-year-old former head of the Roman Catholic diocese in Antigonish, NS, appeared in an Ottawa courtroom today. The cleric was charged in September 2009 with possessing and importing child pornography. The then-Bishop Lahey was arrested after border agents searched a laptop at Ottawa airport when he arrived from Britain. The cleric was charged in September 2009 with possessing and importing child pornography.


Canada's Privacy Commissioner says she wants more power to impose hefty fines on corporations that fail to protect their customers' personal data. Jennifer Stoddard says she wants the power to impose "attention-getting fines" to incite companies to take the privacy issue more seriously. Mrs. Stoddard says she has concluded that the only way to achieve that goal is to brandish the threat of financial punishment. Last week, Sony acknowledged that it had suffered massive security breaches that may have affected more than 100 million accounts. The company warned that names, birth dates, email addresses and log-in codes were disclosed. On Friday, a $1-billion class action lawsuit was announced against Sony in Ontario on behalf of as many as one million customers.


Farmers across the three western Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are hoping for sunny, dry weather so they can start planting their crops. The Canadian Wheat Board, which sells wheat and barley for the farmers abroad, says recent rain and snow, wet soil conditions and flooding have delayed seeding by about two weeks. The Board estimates up to two million hectares could go unseeded this year. The Board says it will have a better estimate in a few weeks.


Quebec Premier Jean Charest plans to ask the Canadian military to help fight flooding in the Montérégie region southeast of Montreal. Mr. Charest told the provincial National Assembly that the request is being made because of what he described as exceptional circumstances. Heavy rains and melted snow from the nearby Adirondack Mountains have swollen local rivers in recent weeks, threatening the homes of 2,000 local residents. Four-hundred people have already been evacuated.


A school located near a massive oil pipeline leak in northern Alberta was closed for a fourth day on Wednesday after students complained of headaches and nausea. Lubicon Cree Chief Steve Nosky says 120 students were sent home Friday after the Plains Midstream pipeline sprang a leak. The band's property begins about seven kilometres from the site of the leak of 28,000 barrels of oil. The provincial Energy Resources Conservation Board says the odours aren't caused by the leak. But Chief Nosky says gassy smells are rife throughout the community.



A rescue ship has taken out of the embattled Libyan port of Misrata about 800 migrants, journalists and wounded Libyans. Rebels reports that forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Ghadaffi bombed the area where the ship had been docked, killing four migrants. The ship leased by the International Organization for Migration is headed toward the insurgent stronghold of Benghazi in the east. The Organization says hundreds of desperate Libyans tried to board the vessel but that the boarding ramp had to be raised because of the ship's limited capacity. Meanwhile, Ghadaffi forces continue to shell Misrata. Those forces also fired volleys of rockets into the rebel-held town of Zintan in the Western Mountains. Thousands of residents have fled the area into Tunisia. The UN refugee agency says more than 41,600 people have fled the fighting in Libya in the last four weeks through the Dehiba border post in southern Tunisia,


Officials in Afghanistan say that Pakistan's spy agency should have known that the head of the al-Qaeda terror group, Osama bin Laden, was hiding not far from its capital, Islamabad. It's the first direct comment from the Afghan government about its neighbour's apparent inability to track the al-Qaeda leader. The Defence Ministry says the case also raises questions about Pakistan's ability adequately to protect its nuclear weapons. Bin Laden, who planned the September 11 terror attacks against the United States, was killed Monday by a U.S. strike team in a military garrison town about 60 kilometres north of Islamabad. U.S. lawmakers have demanded a review of aid to Pakistan after the disclosure that bin Laden could have been living in a house not far from Pakistan's main military academy for five or six years.


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal signed a unity agreement in Cairo today Wednesday. United Nations Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi Muwafi and Arab League chief Amr Moussa attended the ceremony. Representatives of a total of 13 Palestinian factions are part of the agreement that provides for the formation of an interim government of independents that will prepare presidential and parliamentary elections within a year. The reconcilation deal comes despite massive opposition to it from Israel, which considers Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Israel is also threatening to withhold the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues unlessx it can be sure no money would go to Hamas.


An exhibition of sculptures by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has opened in New York. Mr. Ai couldn't be present at the opening ceremony presided over by Mayor Michael Bloomberg because he was arrested one month ago for unspecified "economic crimes." The mayor said he stood in solidarity with the millions of people around the world who are hoping that Mr. Ai will soon be released. His latest work will be sent on a world tour after being displayed in New York. The huge bronze sculptures depict the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Mr.Ai lived himself in New York for more than 10 years. Mr. Bloomberg says he's among the millions who have come to New York because the attraction of "the lamp of liberty." During the opening ceremony, artists, writers and public figures took turns reading aloud from Mr. Ai's writings and interviews.


China has come out in support of Serbia's request that the UN start an investigation of allegations of the harvesting of body parts. That support emerged after a meeting in Belgrade between Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi. Serbia's initiative at the UN follows a report by the Council of Europe that a Kosovar criminal organization killed Serbs to sell their organs on the black markets. The report says the head of the gang was the present prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci. He denies it. Mr. Jeremic says Serbia's bid for a UN investigation is strengthened by China's support. Kosovo has dismissed the allegations as an attempt by Serbia to undermine its declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008. After his talks with his host, Mr. Yang said that China supports Serbia's territorial integrity.



TSX on Wednesday: 13,604, - 88. Dollar: US$1.04. euro: $1.42. Oil: $109.29, - $1.76.


Canadian pulp and paper giant Domtar Inc. has announced a major investment in China. Domtar will invest US$35 million to open two paper conversion plants in the southern province of Guangdong. Paper conversion is the process of using paper to manufacture other paper products, such as envelopes, paper bags, boxes, containers, and a full range of similar items. Guangdong has the largest concentration in China of commercial printers. Domtar expects to employ 300 to 400 workers. The Canadian firm already sells US$700 worth of pulp to China per year.


Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin has announced a five-year contract with state-owned Saudi Aramco to provide general engineering and project management services. Its partner Zuhair Fayez Partnership will share the contract. Under the terms of the agreement, the two partners will provide engineering services for both onshore and offshore oil and natural gas production, as well as for refineries. Financial details haven't been disclosed. But unnamed analysts cited by the Canadian Press have predicted that the contract could bring in $100 million of annual revenue to SNC-Lavalin's chemicals and petroleum division.




International Olymics Committee president Jacques Rogge says the death of Osama bin Laden is no reason to lower one's guard against the threat of terrorism at next year's London Games. He reiterates that security has been the IOC's top priority since the slaying of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Munich Games. Rogge declined comment on the killing of the Al-Qaida leader by U.S. forces in Pakistan.



British Columbia on Thursday: rain, high C14 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse 11, Yellowknife 7, Iqaluit -8. Alberta, Manitoba: rain. Saskatchewan: rain north, cloud south. Edmonton 15, Regina 19, Winnipeg 17. Ontario: rain north, sun south. Toronto 15, Ottawa 7, Montreal 5. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton, St. John's 12, Halifax 10, Charlottetown 16.

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