Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 24 May 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


NATO's top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. General David Petraeus, has paid tribute to Canadian troops who will be leaving the Panjwaii region of Afghanistan after years of fighting. He says the region is now under the control of Afghan security forces, an outcome to which Canada has contributed to significantly. Gen. Petraeus says it's an achievement of which the Canadian military can be proud, adding that the district is one of the most challenging militarily in Kandahar province. Canadian combat troops will be withdrawing this summer. However, Canada will remain in Afghanistan in a training capacity.



Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party is holding its biggest caucus meeting in party history. The NDP elected 103 Members of Parliament in the May 2 election, thus ousting the Liberals as the official opposition in the House of Commons. Party leader Jack Layton began the two-day meeting with an encouraging speech and promised to fight for Canadian families. The NDP noted that Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first priority after May 2 was to send three defeated Tory candidates to the Senate. Only one-third of the NDP MPs have any parliamentary experience. Mr. Layton is expected to name a shadow cabinet later in the week. He has suggested that its composition will reflect the fact that 40 per cent of his MPs are women.


Canada has been singled out as the only G7 country not to enforce anti-bribery rules that apply to Canadian businesses operating abroad. Transparency International's annual report on bribery in the world says that for the seventh straight year, Canada has had little or no enforcement. Canada is one of the signatories of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. Canada is the biggest exporter among the 21 countries listed by Transparency International as failing to live up to the convention's requirements. The seventh annual report deplores a lack of overall movement among the 38 signatories to the accord a decade after it was adopted. Canada has had only a single bribery conviction in the last 10 years, although 23 investigations were started last year.


At the request of the Quebec government, the Canadian military is sending more troops to St.-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, southeast of Montreal, where some 3,000 homes have been damaged by spring flooding. More than 750 soldiers will be involved in efforts to help victims of the disaster. The river is at its highest level in more than a century. High winds over the past several days have led to warnings to area residents that more flooding can be expected. Quebec Premier Jean Charest has said he's considering increasing the maximum amount of financial aid available to help those affected. Compensation is currently capped at $150,000. There are also growing questions about homes that are beyond repair. Under Quebec law, if a home is at risk of flooding over the next 20 years, it can't be rebuilt.


The Manitoba government has announced it will spend $175 million to compensate victims of recent flooding and to restore damaged infrastructure. The government says property owners affected by the deliberate flooding of the Assiniboine River at Hoop and Holler in the southwest will receive 100-per cent compensation. The compensation includes evacuation costs, lost wages and property damage. The government will spend $20 million to improve flood protection in Brandon and another $20 million to upgrade dikes along the Assiniboine.



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has again refused a two-state solution with the Palestinians based upon Israel's 1967 borders. In a speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, he rebuffed that suggestion made last week by U.S. President Barack Obama. Mr.Netanyahu said Israel would be generous in any peace settlement with the Palestinians but ruled out the 1967 borders and any division of Jerusalem. The prime minister excluded as well a resumption of peace talks as long as the new alliance between the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas.


Ten people were killed and 30 others wounded Tuesday when a truck carrying Afghan road workers struck a bomb in southern Afghanistan Tuesday. The victims were employed by the local government in Kandahar to clean up rivers and streams. Kandahar has seen a rise in violent incidents in recent days, as Taliban fighters try to retake territory lost in the past year. Elsewhere, there were unsuccessful assassination attempts Tuesday against two high-ranking government officials near Kabul and in Helmand province. The Taliban claimed responsibility for one of those attacks. Elsewhere, a French aircraft on a NATO mission crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing one service member. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says plans to hand over control of seven areas to Afghan soldiers in July remain on course, despite the rise in insurgents attacks.


Agence France Presse news agency reports that 12 people are dead in fighting in Sana'a, Yemen, between supporters of a powerful opposition tribal leader and the security forces. The agency cites a source close to the tribal leader as saying at least 90 people were injured. A security source says one police officer died in the fighting around the chieftain's house and the interior ministry headquarters in the north of the city. On Sunday, President Ali Abdullah Saleh warned of the danger of civil war in Yemen. The president has refused to sign an peace accord proposed by Gulf states under which he would yield power within a month in return for immunity from prosecution.


NATO warplanes attacked the Libyan capital Tripoli Tuesday with some of their heaviest air strikes yet. At least 12 huge explosions were heard around the capital in the early hours. A Libyan government spokesman says three people were killed and 150 wounded in the attacks. Led by France, Britain and the United States, NATO warplanes have been bombing Libya for more than two months since the United Nations authorized measures to protect civilians from Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's forces in the country's civil war. Rebels have been trying to overthrow Mr. Gaddaf but the conflict has been deadlocked for weeks.


Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has appealed his conviction for fraud last year. He and fellow prisoner Platon Lebedev were both convicted at their second trial and were expected to stay in jail until 2017. In remarks to the court, Khodorkovsky said President Dmitri Medvedev will have to choose between a Russia governed by the rule of law or the reality of unjust reprisals. In 2005, he was convicted of tax evasion. His supporters have long argued that the charges were trumped up to punish him for financing the opposition to then-President Vladimir Putin.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that nearly 1,000 people have been killed in a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Syria and called on President Bashar al-Assad to stop the violence. She issued the statement in London after talks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Her comments came after the European Union imposed sanctions on Mr. Assad and other senior officials Monday, increasing pressure on his government to end weeks of violence against protesters. Syrian security forces have used tanks, gunfire and mass arrests in attempts to end a two-month-old revolt against forty 40 years of rule by the Assad family.


The death toll has risen to 117 after a tornado blasted through the city of Joplin in the U.S. midwestern state of Missouri. The National Weather Service says it was the worst tornado in the country in 60 years. The twister levelled thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses, including such big ones as the Home Depot and Walmart retailers. Speaking in London, U.S. President Barack Obama said he'll travel to the state on Sunday to meet with the victims. The president has declared Joplin a disaster area, making residents eligible for federal aid.


The government of Sudan reports that 70 of its soldiers were killed and more than 120 are missing after an attack by southern troops in the disputed territory of Abyei last Thursday. The report comes from the Sudanese embassy in Kenya. According to the UN, southern troops provoked the clash by attacking a column of northern troops and UN peacekeeping soldiers. The world body says no UN troops were killed. Sudan's ambassador in Nairobi says the northern army was forced to respond to the attack. On Monday, the UN said that gunmen were looting and burning buildings in the town of Abyei. The south voted in a referendum held in January to secede from Sudan. A separate referendum on the future of the oil-rich territory of Abyei was supposedly to be held simultaneously under the terms of a peace accord in 2005 that ended decades of civil war. The vote was never held because the two sides were unable to agree on who was eligible to vote.



TSX on Tuesday: 13,600 - 52. Dollar: US$1.02. Euro: $1.37. Oil: $99.58 + $1.88.


One of North America's major automobile manufacturers, Chrysler, says it will repay $7.5 billion in loans to the governments of the Canada and the United States and the Canadian province of Ontario, where the company has a plant. About 80 per cent of the money will go to the U.S. Chrysler says paying off the loans will save it $300-million a year in interest payments. The loans were made in 2009 to keep the automaker out of bankruptcy.


Manulife Financial Corp. has launched a microinsurance service in nine provinces of rural Vietnam which offers individual insurance polices with premiums of about $1 a month. Manulife says it has sold about 80,000 microinsurance policies in Vietnam, the only country where it offers such service. Some of the customers pay their premiums through text messages sent over cellphones. The text payments have been an option for the past two months. Carl Gustini, the CEO of Manulife Vietnam, says the Canadian company intended microinsurance chiefly as a public relations tool, but have been pleasantly surprised to find that the service turns a profit. Manulife as a 12.4-per cent market share in Vietnam.




The Vancouver Canucks had a chance to lock up the National Hockey League's Western Conference final on home ice Tuesday evening. Vancouver had a 3-1 lead on San Jose entering tonight's Game 5. The East final resumes Wednesday. Tampa Bay needs a home victory to force a seventh game against Boston.



British Columbia on Wednesday: rain south, mix sun cloud north, high C17 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse 17, Yellowknife 13, Iqaluit 2. Alberta: rain south, mix sun cloud north. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: sun. Edmonton, Regina 17, Winnipeg 15. Ontario: rain south, sun north. Quebec: sun. Toronto 16, Ottawa 20, Montreal 19. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 20, Halifax 15, Charlottetown 10, St. John's 18.

Radio Canada International reproduction rights and reserved broadcast

Click here if you do not see the message correctlyUnsubscribe