Wednesday, June 15, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 14 June 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird says Canada will formally recognize Libya's rebels as the country's legitimate government. He has told the House of Commons that the recognition stems from the government's wish to improve co-operation with the National Transitional Council of Libya, the key rebel force fighting the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The minister says the government will identify members of the Council who deal with domestic issues and propose meetings with their Canadian counterparts. Mr. Baird also told the Members of Parliament that if they wish to meet any Council members the government will arrange it. The minister also reaffirmed the position taken by G8 leaders last month that Gadhafi "must go," because he represents a threat not only to the Libyan people but to the young democracies of Egypt and Tunisia. It was also announced that Canada is contributing $2 million more in humanitarian assistance to help Libya's civilians. Mr. Baird spoke as the House began a day-long debate on extending Canada's commitment to the NATO mission in Libya.


A strike by 3,800 Air Canada employees caused minor delays at airports on Tuesday morning, hours after customer service agents and other workers walked off the job. At Pearson International Airport in Toronto, travellers were greeted by pickets who did not attempt to block access. Inside, airline managers and other staff were assisting passengers. In Atlantic Canada, the airline said operations were typical of a Tuesday morning. Some union members predict that travellers will soon face longer lineups and wait times. The president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, Ken Lewenza, said the contract talks had seemed to progress on Monday in the hours before the midnight strike deadline, but that the employer's unbending position concerning pensions had triggered the walkout. In Ottawa, federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has said she's worried that the strike will affect the country's economic recovery.


The Canadian cities of Toronto and Montreal are the latest targets of rotating strikes at Canada Post. About 15,000 postal workers in the country's two biggest cities are off the job for 24 hours. Canada Post accuses the postal workers' union of undermining the future viability of the service with its rotating walkouts. The postal agency says it has lost $65 million in direct revenue since the walkouts began June 3, including $35 million in cancelled contracts.


Canada is increasing its commitment to a global project to vaccinate more than 250 million children against diseases like measles, pneumonia and yellow fever. International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda says Canada will increase its contribution from $50 million to $65 million over five years. At a one-day conference in London, England, international donors promised to give the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization agency more than $4 billion.


The premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Jean Charest, is threatening court action if the federal government proceeds with Senate reform without the consent of his and other provinces. Mr. Charest warns he will take the case to the Quebec Court of Appeal if the federal government implements any Senate changes without the direct participation of the provinces. The Conservative Party government has said it will not let potential court challenges block its proposed changes to the upper chamber of Parliament.


Canada's official opposition party has demanded that the Conservative Party government stop supporting the country's Quebec-based asbestos industry. The New Democratic Party wants the government to abandon its opposition to having the cancer-causing substance listed on an international convention on hazardous substances. Countries party to the Rotterdam Convention, including Canada, will meet next week in Geneva to discuss the issue. The NDP says it has Health Canada documents that show the department's officials recommended that chrysotile asbestos be put on the list but were overruled. More than 200 organizations have written an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying that Canada isn't playing the role of a responsible global citizen by resisting the inclusion of asbestos on the list. Although Canada has all but banned domestic use of asbestos, the country is one of its biggest exporters.


Canada's fisheries department reports that this year's annual east coast seal hunt is a failure. As the hunt draws to a close, only about 38,000 animals were culled. That's less than one-tenth of the allowable catch. Last year's catch was twice as big. The department attributes this year's result to poor ice conditions and the shrinking world market for seal products. Last year, the EU banned the importation of seal products, a decision which has depressed pelt prices. The Canadian government intends to challenge the ban through the World Trade Organization.



The Reuters news agency reports that the Syrian army is moving tanks and helicopters toward the northern town of Maarat al-Numann. The town is located on Syria's main north-south highway linking Damascus to Aleppo. The agency says the push began after troops arrested hundreds of people in villages around the town of Jisr al-Shughour. The army recaptured the town on Sunday from alleged armed gangs. This followed the supposed murder of 120 security personnel. Activists have explained, however, that deserting troops and residents in fact clashed with the army. Some 8,500 residents fled Jasr al-Shougour into Turkey where they're now living in several camps in miserable conditions.


Rebels say they have suffered heavy losses in eastern Libya as the forces of leader Moammar Gadhafi have increased their attacks on numerous fronts across the country after weeks of stalemate. The increased fighting comes as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on all African nations to demand that Gadhafi resign and take tougher action against his régime. Mrs. Clinton also urged African states to expel Libyan diplomats and to increase their support for the opposition. The Libyan leader remains adamant that he will not step down despite ongoing international pressure to do so.


Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati insists there will be no radical shift in policy as he announced a new government in which the militant group Hezbollah and its allies hold the majority. It is the first time a coalition led by Hezbollah, which fought a a war with Israel in 2006, has dominated a government in Lebanon. Lebanon's pro-Western opposition bloc, led by former premier Saad Hariri, has boycotted the new cabinet, criticizing it as a Hezbollah government. Hezbollah forced the collapse of the previous Hariri government after it refused to disavow the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The Netherlands-based court is widely expected to indict Hezbollah operatives over the killing, a move against which the militant group has repeatedly warned.


Venezuela is trying to limit its power consumption as the country's power utilities struggle to keep up with the demand. The government has announced that the biggest electricity consumers, shopping centers, factories, office buildings and even some homes, must reduce their energy use by 10 percent. Exemptions include hospitals, oil and gas-related operations, city cleanup services, air traffic control, schools, and embassies. The move follows a series of weekend blackouts and comes after Venezuela in 2010 imposed stiff power rationing controls for months. Last year, the government blamed the power crisis on a drought. However, energy experts say the country's electricity system needs a $20-billion investment over the next four years to meet demand.


Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says the political protests in the Middle East and North Africa could affect stability in Russia and its neighbors. During a visit to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, he told Uzbek leader Islam Karimov he hopes events in those regions will develop in a clear and predictable way. Mr. Medvedev says the numerous cultural and humanitarian ties can be very positive but also take on a destructive character. This appeared to be a reference to the involvement of Arab militants in the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus. The Russian rights lobby Memorial said in March that Mr. Karimov could end up fighting his own people just as Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. Mr. Karimov tolerates no dissent and rights groups say there are thousands of Uzbek political prisoners.


The UN says fighting in a Sudanese border state is causing thousands of residents of Southern Kordofan to flee. The World Food Program said the fighting between northern army troops and groups aligned with the south has created 60,000 refugees and is impeding the world body's relief. The clashes have escalated to include artillery and air bombing. The fighters are aligned with southern Sudan, which is scheduled to secede from Sudan on July 9. Analysts say the fighting in Southern Kordofan could turn into protracted violence because thousands of the local fighters fought with the south during Sudan's decades-long civil war.



TSX on Tuesday: 12,091 + 151. Dollar: US$1.03. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $99.25 + $1.95.


The consortium that has made a hostile bid for the company that controls the Toronto Stock Exchange has announced a regulatory success. Maple Group Acquisition Corp. says Canadian securities regulators have approved relief from certain provisions of securities laws to allow its $3.7-billion offer to acquire TMX Group to proceed. Maple is seeking to trump a proposed friendly merger between TMX Group and the London Stock Exchange which would leave TMX's present shareholders with 45 per cent of the new company. Under Maple's "two-step" proposal, the consortium of Canadian big banks, pension funds and other financial institutions would offer $48 a share to buy 70 per cent of TMX. A stock swap would follow for the remaining 30 per cent. The current TMX stockholders would end up with a 40 per cent stake in Maple.


Sino-Forest Corp. says it will need several months before an independent committee can investigate charges that it is guilty of fraud. About two weeks ago, American research and investment firm Muddy Waters Research accused the Chinese timber firm of vastly exaggerating its profits and assets. Sino-Forest shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, where they have been popular. Since the allegations, the stock has lost three-quarters of its value. The company reported a first-quarter loss on Tuesday of $22.1 million, compared with a profit of $15.9 million a year earlier.




The Stanley Cup final is down to a best-of-one. The Boston Bruins scored four times in the first and never looked back in beating the Canucks 5-2 Monday night to force a seventh and deciding game tomorrow night in Vancouver. Roberto Luongo got the hook for the Canucks after allowing three goals in the first ten minutes of Game 6.


The Ottawa Senators have named former Detroit Red Wings assistant Paul

MacLean as their new head coach.

The Senators fired Cory Clouston and two assistants in April

after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second

time in three seasons.

MacLean has spent the past five years as an assistant in Detroit,

helping the team win the Stanley Cup in 2008.



British Columbia on Wednesday: cloud south, rain north, high C18 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: sun. Whitehorse 15, Yellowknife 22, Iqalit 12. Alberta, Manitoba: rain. Saskatchewan: rain north, mix sun cloud south. Edmonton 16, Regina 24, Winnipeg 17. Ontario, Quebec: sun. Toronto 26, Ottawa, Montreal 28. New Brunswick: mix sun cloud. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton 22, Halifax 12, Charlottetown 15, St. John's 9.

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