Tuesday, May 3, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


Police in Hong Kong are investigating the deaths of two Canadian men over the weekend but no other details have been released. Canada's foreign affairs ministry says officials at the Canadian consulate in Hong Kong are working closely with local authorities to gather additional information. A manager at the Metropark Hotel, which caters to tourists and people on business trips, also confirmed the deaths but said he could not comment because it was a police matter.


The minimum wage in canada's Pacific coast province of British Columbia was increased Monday to $8.75. It will further increase in three stages to $10.25 by next May. It's remains the lowest minimum range in the country. The British Columbia-based economic research group, the Fraser Institute, says every province that has increased its minimum wage also increased the unemployment rate for young people seeking entry-level jobs.


Manitoba was hit by a weekend storm but the snow, rain and high winds didn't damage the western Canadian province's flood defences. The Red River is expected to peak in the provincial capital Winnipeg on Wednesday or Thursday at levels slightly below those of 2009 and 2006. and well below the record high of 1997. The Assiniboine River, which joins the Red River at Winnipeg, is at its highest level in 88 years. Late-melting snow on saturated ground in the U.S. Plains states and the Canadian Prairies have created the largest area affected by floods in Manitoba's history. Nineteen-hundred people have been forced from their homes and the Canadian National Railway's line between Winnipeg and North Dakota remains closed.


The U.S. trade representative has placed Canada on its annual list of countries with the poorest records of preventing copyright theft. Ron Kirk's report faults Canada for failing to enact long-awaited copyright legislation and urges Canada to make stronger efforts, particularly at the border, to stop theft of intellectual property. The International Intellectual Property Alliance, an American lobby of film, software, music and publishing groups, claims Canada is almost alone among developed countries to have failed to update its laws to global minimum standards in "the digital networked environment." Canada joins such countries as Russia and China on the list. Russia has been on it for the past 14 years.


The Canadian prime minister, Mr. Harper, says the death of Osama bin Laden brings justice to the 24 Canadians who died in the Sept. 11 attacks and their families. But he added that his killing won't mean an end to terrorist attacks. Mr. Harper says the event is also a reminder why the Canadian military is in Afghanistan. One-hundred-and-forty Canadian soldiers have died there since the Canadian mission there began in 2002. Meanwhile, NDP leader Jack Layton says the death of bin Laden represents an opportunity for Canada to resume its role as a peacemaker in the world. The NDP has been steadfast in its position to have Canadian troops withdrawn from Afghanistan. And Hans Gerhardt, the father of a Canadian who died at the World Trade Center, said he wasn't celebratign because celebration won't bring back his son.


The United States space agency, NASA, says there will be no shuttle launch before next Sunday. The shuttle Endeavor was supposed to lift off from Cape Canaveral for a last time three days ago, but the launch was cancelled for technical reasons. NASA has traced the problem to a fuse box.


Several dozen pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong staged an unusual protest on behalf of jailed artist and activist Ai Weiwei. They brought chairs to the city's Victoria Park to form the Chinese character for "prison." They also carried signs denouncing China's one-party system. Mr. Ai was detained one month ago. He was among those arrested after anonymous appeals appeared on the Internet in February urging Chinese to imitate Arabs trying to overthrow unjust governments.


Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi launched a new military incursion into the besieged rebel city Misrata today Monday. Overnight fighting around Libya's third-largest city killed at least six people and wounded dozens. The operation was staged before the funeral of Mr. Gaddafi's second-youngest son Seif al-Arab, who was killed in a NATO air strike this past weekend. An international coalition began carrying out strikes on March 19 under a UN Security Council mandate to protect civilians. NATO took command of operations on March 31.


Syria's security forces arrested hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators in cities across the country after taking control of the city of Deraa, where the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's autocratic rule began. Prominent rights campaigners including Diana Jawabra, an outspoken critic of the régime, were among those detained. Rights groups say Syrians are keeping up protests despite the arrests and violent repression that has resulted in the killing of at least 560 civilians by President al-Assad's security forces. The protesters, inspired by recent Arab revolts, are calling for reform in the country targeting 48 years of Baath Party domination in Syria.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has advised the Taliban that the Afghan rebels cannot defeat or wait out the U.S. and should lay down their arms. Mrs. Clinton says she hopes her message has all the more "resonance" with the backdrop of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces operating in Pakistan. She says the Taliban should abandon al-Qaeda. The Taliban have been waging guerrilla warfare from bases in Pakistan. Mrs. Clinton caused outrage in Pakistan during a visit in October 2009 when she suggested al-Qaeda's leadership was in the country, saying she found it hard to believe that the Pakistani government didn't know where those leaders were. In Kabul, President Hamid Karzai said bin Laden's death in Pakistan proved that's where the terrorists are rooted, not in his country.


TSX: 13,935 - .10. Dollar: US$1.05. euro: $1.41. Oil: $113.37. - .56.


The Air Canada Pilots Association has called a 10-day ratification vote starting May on its employer's latest contract offer. The union says that if the members reject the offer, collective bargaining will resume. On April 15, the union cancelled a scheduled vote after pilots raised doubts about Air Canada's consideration of a plan to establish a low-cost affiliate and proposed pension changes for newly hired pilots. The union's executive hasn't made any recommendation on the offer.


Nortel Networks Corp. says the bankrupt company has received court approval for a sale of its remaining patents and patent applications to Google for $900 million. The assets will be auctioned off on June 20. The winning bid will require court approval in the U.S. and Canada. Nortel has been selling off its assets to raise money to repay creditors, bondholders and others. The list doesn't include common shareholders or pensioners.


Canada had the day off at the world hockey championship after pummelling France 9-1 on Sunday.


British Columbia on Tuesday: rain north, mix sun cloud south, high C14 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: rain. Nunavut: mix sun cloud snow. Whitehorse 7, Yellowknife 3, Iqaluit -12. Alberta: rain. Saskatchewan: rain north, sun south. Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 15, Regina 21, Winnipeg 14. Ontario: sun north, rain south. Quebec: rain. Toronto 8, Ottawa 11, Montreal 10. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 15, Halifax 9, Charlottetown 11, St. John's 6.