Saturday, May 21, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 20 May 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


A spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada is considering sanctions against Syria in reaction to that country's government's crackdown on pro-democracy protests. The official says Mr. Harper has asked the foreign affairs department for options. The U.S. and EU have decreed sanctions against Syria, the U.S. extending them to target President Bashar al-Assad and members of his inner circle. Political turmoil in the Arab world is expected to be on the agenda at the G8 summit on Thursday and Friday in Deauville, France.


Work was underway on Friday to stop the intentional flooding of Manitoba's Assiniboine River in the southwest of the province. Last week, a breach was made deliberately in the dike to take pressure off barriers downstream and might have caused unintentional flooding and the loss of hundreds of homes downstream. Officials say the receding of flood waters at Hoop and Holler Bend has made it possible to fill the dike but that the closure may not be permanent. The deliberate flooding was expected to engulf 150 homes but only three square kilometres were affected and there was no damage to homes.


High gasoline prices are mainly responsible for a 3.3-per cent increase in inflation in April over the previous month. Statistics Canada says gas prices jumped almost six-and-a-half per cent in April. The agency also reports that gas prices are more than 26 per cent higher than a year ago.



Syrian rights activists report that at least 34 people, including a child, have died in pro-democracy protests around Syria. The sources have told the Agence France Presse news agency that the child and 10 others died in the central city of Homs, and another 10 lost their lives in the northwestern town of Maaret al--Naaman, where the army sent in tanks to halt demonstrations. The UN says 850 people have died in protests since mid-March.


U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met at the White House on Friday. They acknowledged their agreement on a two-nation solution for Israelis and Palestinians but disagreed on the states' borders. In a speech on Thursday, the president said Israel's borders should be those before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Mr. Netanyahu said on Friday that Israel cannot return to those borders because they are indefensible. He noted as well that the borders wouldn't take account of the demographic changes in the past 44 years. Both leaders stressed the impossibility of negotiating with Hamas, a terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of Israel.


NATO says it warplanes struck three Libyan ports in the alliance's biggest attacks against the Libyan navy. The attacks were intended to protect the rebel-held port of Misrata in the west. Britain says its warplanes bombed two warships and a facility constructing fast inflatable boats in the port of Khoms. The fast boats are said to have been used several times in attempts to mine Misrata harbour. Another bombing run struck two frigates in Tripoli harbour. A third strike targeted Sirte, east of Misrata.


Four African nations are creating a joint force to maintain security in the Sahara region. Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Algeria will muster as many as 85,000 soldiers. Speaking at a regional security meeting in Mali, the country's defence minister, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, said that the force would become active by next year. It will patrol the Saharan zone and fight against organized international crime, including al-Qaeda's North African wing.


The Chinese authorities have given their clearest explanation so far concerning the reasons for the arrest of artist Ai Wei. Police claim his Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. firm destroyed accounting documents. No other information was forthcoming. Mr. Ai's wife, Lu Qing, says the company in fact is registered to her and is hers. The company handles the business aspects of Mr. Ai's art career. Mr.Ai was arrested in April and is being held under "residential surveillance" someplace outside of Beijing. He's one of hundreds of artists, activists and other intellectuals arrested since a crackdown began in February. The authorities launched it after calls for protests appeared on the Internet imitating those that were a factor in revolts in the Arab world.


A court in Minsk has handed down suspended sentences of two years to two former presidential candidates convicted of organizing riots after last December's disputed presidential election. In addition to the sentences given to Vladimir Neklyayev and Vitaly Rymashevsky, four opposition activists were given suspended sentences of one or two years. Last week, another presidential candidate, Andrei Sannikov was sentenced to five years in jail.


Russia's FSB security service says the Israeli military attaché expelled this month was trying to obtain secret information about Russian arms sales to Arab countries. The FSB's statement said the Soviet-born officer was caught red-handed trying to receive secret information on May 12. The statement said Russia had decided to keep the expulsion itself secret as a gesture of goodwill. The news of the expulsion emerged in the Israeli news media. Russia sells advanced missile systems to Syria which Israel fears will end up in the hands of Hezbollah.



The Canadian Autoworkers Union reports that Air Canada's customer service and airport workers voted by more than 98 per cent in favour of a strike if contract talks don't succeed by June 13. Negotiations between the union and the country's biggest airline resume on Tuesday in the presence of a federally appointed mediator. Air Canada says that if there's a strike, it will maintain full operations by implementing a contingency plan at airports and call centres and that customers can continue to book flights. On Thursday, Air Canada's pilots voted against a tentative contract aimed at cutting costs and launching a low-cost subsidiary.


ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steel producer, has announced it will invest $2.1 billion to expand its mining complex at Port-Cartier in northwestern Quebec. The company says the expansion will create 8,000 construction jobs and 900 permanent jobs. The expansion will permit the increase of annual production of iron ore concentrate from 14 million tonnes to 24 million tonnes by 2013. ArcelorMittal says it's also considering increasing its output of iron pellets. The project is subject to regulatory approval. ArcelorMittal had revenues of $78 billion last year. Its steel production of 90.6 million tonnes represented six per cent of world steel output.


TSX on Friday: 13,644 + 20. Dollar: US$1.02. Euro: $1.37. Oil: $99.49 + $1.05.



World champion downhiller Erik Guay headlines Canada's

ski team for the next racing season.

Alpine Canada announced the 31 athletes, 20 men and 11 women,

who will compete on the World Cup circuit next winter.

Guay, from Mont-Tremblant, QC., salvaged an injury-plagued

season for Canada by winning this year's men's world downhill title

in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He also had a pair of top-three

results on the World Cup circuit.



British Columbia: rain, high C14 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories: sun. Nnavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 16, Yellowknife 14, Iqaluit -2. Alberta: rain south, sun north. Saskatchewan: rain south, mix sun cloud north. Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 25, Regina 16, Winnipeg 23. Ontario, Quebec: sun. Toronto, Ottawa: 25, Montreal 20. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton, Halifax 11, Charlottetown 9, St. John's 10.

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