Friday, June 17, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 16 June 2011
Canadian International Financial Weather


The union representing 3,800 striking Air Canada customer service employees has announced a tentative agreement to end the two-day-old conflict. One of the major issues in negotiations was pensions. The union sought to defend defined benefit contributions pensions for employees present and future. But the president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, Ken Lewenza, said the tentative accord doesn't feature that advantage for new hires. They will be covered by a defined contribution plan, which will be less expensive to Air Canada. The tentative deal was reached shortly after the federal government presented back-to-work legislation in the House of Commons.


The Canadian Forces says Canadian warplanes took part in attacks against the Libyan capital Tripoli last weekend. The six Canadian CF-18 jet fighters assigned to the NATO mission in Libya bombed depots housing armoured vehicles. The military wouldn't say whether the planes came close to hitting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.


Hundreds of people went on a rampage last night in Canada's Pacific coast city of Vancouver, BC, setting cars on fire and looting stores. The police riot squad was called to disperse the angry crowds after the hockey game that saw the Boston Bruins defeat the hometown Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup, emblematic of the National Hockey League championship. Mayor Gregor Robertson blames the rioting on a small group of troublemakers who he says have smeared the city's good name. Many Vancouver residents feel angry and embarrassed by what happened in their city last night. Some have turned to Twitter to express their outrage, saying hooligans, not hockey fans, are to blame for the violence. Clear photos of many of the rioters have already been posted to several online sites.


Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has repeated his warning to Canadians about taking on too much debt. He says historically low interest rates will eventually be going up and that could increase the cost of debt, including mortgages. Mr. Carney says some Canadians are taking out mortgages and loans as if the current low interest rates will remain in place forever. Earlier this week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty also warned consumers about taking on too much debt.


A former Canadian senator has been given a six-month jail term for fraud. Raymond Lavigne was convicted in March of having misused Senate funds and pocketed expense money that had in fact been spent by his staff. At his sentencing hearing, prosecutors cited Lavigne's lack of remorse.


A study commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. estimates the public broadcaster contributes $1.3 billion to the economy every year. The study says the CBC's activities and production funding have helped establish creative businesses. It also says the CBC has been a major factor in creating production facilities in the cities of Halifax and Winnipeg. Radio Canada International is part of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.



The International Monetary Fund says it will continue to support Greece as long as its government respects the conditions for that support. The IMF says the talks to implement the bailout packed agreed between Greece, the EU and the IMF last May are proceeding in a satisfactory way. Greek President George Papandreou is trying to persuade lawmakers to approve a new round of austerity measures. Ten-thousand people marched in opposition to them in Athens on Wednesday.


Jordan's King Abdullah says he's pessimistic about the prospects of Middle East peace. He told the Washington Post newspaper that 2011 might be a bad year for peace. He expressed concern that the United States is distracted by its weak economy and that politicians in that country might be tired of the Middle East peace process. The King also warns that violence and chaos are all but inevitable after the failure of U.S. and international efforts to revive the long-stalled peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Palestinians are seeking an independent state based on the borders that preceded the Six-Day War of 1967, including the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip and mostly Arab East Jerusalem, which has been annexed by Israel. The Palestinian leadership also plans to make an appeal for UN recognition and membership in September.


The Sudanese government says the north and south parts of the country have agreed on oil arrangements after the south becomes independent on July 9. The north's oil minister, Lual Deng, says the north will accept transit fees for southern oil. Most of Sudan's oil is in the south but most of its terminals, pipelines and refineries are in the north. At present, the two sides split revenues evenly under the terms of the peace accord in 2005 that ended decades of civil war. Mr. Deng says the amount of the transit fees remains to be settled. The northern government is $38 billion in debt and is seeking ways to replace the lost revenue after July 9.


U.S. lawmakers are increasing pressure on the Obama administration to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. Members of the House of Representatives of both the president's Democratic and the Republican parties are pressing the administration to meet Taiwan's requests to buy American military equipment. The head of the House foreign affairs committee, Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, says China has aimed more htan 1,600 missiles at the island and Taiwan needs the means to defend itself with a new generation of F-16s. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen says some U.S. officials want to weaken relations with Taiwan to recognize the mainland's growing importance in world affairs. But she says this would be a terrible mistake to show the world that this is how the U.S. treats its friends. Rep. Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the committee, says the balance of power is shifting in China's favour, noting that the U.S. defence department has reported that many of Taiwan's almost 400 combat aircraft aren't serviceable. In 1979, the U.S. Congress passed a law which obliges the U.S. government to provide Taiwan with sufficient weapons to defend itself.


The remains of 104 people killed in a 2009 plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean have been brought to France for identification. Bodies and wreckage from Air France Flight 447 arrived by ship at the port of Bayonne Thursday. The remains were discovered by underwater robots at depths of 3,900 metres in April, nearly two years after the plane plunged into the ocean killing 228 people on board. The exact cause of the crash remains unclear.



China has sent one of its biggest civilian maritime patrol ships into the South China Sea to protect what it says are its rights and sovereignty. The vessel will pass near the Paracel and Spratly island groups, which are part of ongoing disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines and other governments. The Chinese ship will monitor shipping, carry out surveying, inspect oil wells and protect maritime security. The vessel will also carry out inspections of foreign vessels anchored or operating in waters claimed by China. China's move comes after weeks of trading accusations with Vietnam and the Philippines over what their governments see as intrusions and illegitimate claims over territorial waters near the Spratly islands.



Canada's biggest energy firm has suspended operations in Libya. Suncor Energy Inc. announced its decision on Tuesday, the day when the Canadian government recognized the main Libyan rebel group as a legitimate government. Suncor CEO Rick George says his company won't resume its activities until the Gadhafi régime is no longer in place. Suncor had not made any partisan comments about the situation in Libya. Mr. George says Suncor may have to take a $900-million writedown on its Libyan assets. They were valued at about $900 million at the end of March. Mr. George also says Suncor's activities in Syria continue "as normal." The company's main asset in Syria is a partnership that produces 80-million cubic feet of natural gas a day.


Hydro-Quebec and several corporate partners have unveiled Quebec's first stations for electric vehicles. One-hundred of them will be in operation by early 2012. Each station will offer 240 volts of electricity, enabling a driver to travel 25 kilometres after one hour of charging. The price for each jolt is $2. Later stations will offer a 400-volt charge allowing the motorist to travel 50 kilometres. Hydro-Quebec's partners in the venture are the Rona home renovations firm, the Rôtisseries St. Hubert restaurant chain, the Métro grocery chain and Montreal suburban transportation agency, AMT.


TSX on Thursday: 12,864 - 108. Dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.39. Oil: $94.70 - .11.



British Columbia on Friday: rain north, mix sun cloud south. High Vancouver C19. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: sun. Whitehorse 14, Yellowknife 20, Iqaluit 14. Prairies: rain. Edmonton 19, Regina 21, Winnipeg 18. Ontario: rain south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: sun. Toronto 23, Ottawa 30, Montreal 29. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Nova Scotia: sun. Fredericton 28, Halifax 20, Charlottetown 21, St. John's 10.

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