Tuesday, June 21, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 20 June 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canadian Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has introduced back-to-work legislation in the House of Commons to end a six-day lockout of Canada Post employees. Canada Post suspended urban operations last Wednesday after almost two weeks of rotating strikes by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. The employer said the strikes cost it $100 million. Mrs. Raitt told the House that both sides have had ample time to reach a deal. She says the government had to act to protect Canadians, small businesses and charities who are being harmed by the work stoppage. The two sides made no progress in contract talks during the weekend but resumed them on Monday. Canada Post says the main stumbling block is the union's demand for staffing levels beyond its capacity. The union has stressed working conditions and safety issues.


Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he hopes that European countries can swiftly conclude a second bailout package for Greece because there's a possibility that that country's financial crisis could spread beyond its borders. As Greece risks defaulting on its debt next month, pressure is also increasing on countries like Portugal, where the cost of borrowing rose to record highs on Monday. Mr. Flaherty spent part of the weekend holding discussions about the situation with the other G7 nations. The minister says that if Greece defaults, there would be only minor damage to the Canadian economy but that Canada's banks could suffer somewhat.


Thirty-two Canadians will join a convoy of ships that is going to run a blockade to bring aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Canadians are in Greece with others aboard a ten-ship international convoy that is expected to set sail next week. Other participants are from Australia, Belgium, Denmark and Germany. Israel maintains a naval blockade around Gaza and plans to stop the ships. Last year, a convoy of aid ships to Gaza ended in bloodshed after Israeli soldiers boarded a Turkish ship. Nine people were killed and 45 others were injured. Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, has called the convoy a provocation.


Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party ended its annual convention Sunday in the Pacific coast city of Vancouver. During the convention, delegates discussed a possible merger with the Liberals. Party leader Jack Layton says there's no plan to join forces with the Liberals. But he says the New Democrats are wide open to the idea of encouraging Liberals to join them. Delegates also deferred a vote on whether to remove the word "socialist" from the NDP's constitution. Mr. Layton closed the convention with a speech in which he focused on the party's traditional platform of equality for women, human rights, and support of labour. In the federal election last month, the NDP won 103 of the 308 seats in Parliament and replaced the Liberal Party as the official opposition in the House of Commons.


After years of delays, new rules took effect Monday to give Canada's government the power to remove unsafe products from store shelves. The Consumer Product Safety Act was proclaimed into law a year ago. Its introduction was delayed by Senate debates and a federal election. Under the new law, federal ministers will have the power to withdraw unsafe toys, sporting goods, cribs and other household products from store shelves. In the past, producers and suppliers received only a request. The government will also be able to stop imports of suspected dangerous objects. The new law does not affect cars, car parts, food or drugs, which come under other legislation.


Beginning this November, Canadians will begin to feel a difference in some bank notes next autumn. In November, Canada's $100 bill is going to be made of polymer material. The $50 bill will also switch to polymer in March, with remaining denominations introduced by the end of 2013. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney says the change has been made to enhance security and block counterfeiters. The bills will be the same size and retain the same colours as existing ones.



Finance ministers of the euro zone have given Greece two weeks to approve stricter austerity measures in return for another 12 billion euros in emergency loans to prevent a national default. The ultimatum came after two days of crisis meetings in Luxembourg. That country's finance minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, says the approval of the measures by the Greek parliament by July 3 is essential for the euro zone countries to continue to support Greece's debt. The Greek parliament debated on Monday the highly unpopular package of spending cuts, tax increases and privatizations. On Sunday, Prime Minister George Papandreou appealed to the nation to accept the painful measures because a national bankruptcy would be an immediate catastrophe for households, the banks and the country's reputation.


North and South Sudan have agreed to withdraw their troops from the disputed territory of Abyei. This emerged from talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that are being led by South African President Thabo Mbeki. Fighting in Abyei has led to the exodus of thousands of refugees. South Sudan will become independent on July 9.


Syria's president Bashar al-Assad says saboteurs are trying to exploit legitimate demands for reform in the country. In a nationwide televised speech Nonday, he said the the saboteurs are a small faction but they are causing a lot of damage and have infiltrated peaceful protests. The opposition estimates more than 1,400 Syrians have been killed and 10,000 detained as Syria's forces try to crush the protest movement that began in mid-March.


NATO has admitted it was responsible for civilian deaths in Libya's capital Tripoli after officials showed journalists five bodies that they claim were among nine people killed in an air strike. NATO say it had been targeting a missile site and that there might have been a weapons system failure leading to the possible civilian casualties. NATO warplanes, including those from Canada, have been attacking Libyan sites on an almost daily basis. Meanwhile, rebels fighting to end the 41-year rule of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi say they are running out of money as their struggle enters a fifth month. They called on governments in the NATO-led coalition to make good their promises of funds. The rebels claim they have not yet received any of the $1 billion promised by international donors earlier this month.


The trial of Tunisia's former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali began Monday in Tunis. Although he was absent and is currently living in Saudi Arabia, he stands accused of theft, drugs and weapons charges. He denies any wrongdoing but could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. He was the first leader to be toppled in a series of Arab uprisings that also saw the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Analysts say the trial is only the beginning of a long legal process that may see top members of Ben Ali's regime in court over allegations including murder, torture, money laundering and trafficking of archaeological artefacts.


Troops are trying to restore calm at Venezuela's El Rodeo prison, where 25 people have been killed in three days of unrest. Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami says that about 2,500 inmates had been transferred out of the facility located near Caracas and another 1,000 were awaiting transfers out of the overcrowded prison. Mr. El Aissami says that the prisoners will be back at the facility when it's in better condition. Experts have expressed concern over drastic overcrowding in prisons across the country, where there are 50,000 people incarcerated in a system meant to hold no more than 15,000 inmates. Each year more than 300 inmates are killed in prisons in Venezuela.



TSX on Friday: 12,858 - 68. Dollar: US$1.02. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $93.30 - .29.


The Royal Bank of Canada is getting out of the retail banking business in the southeastern United States. The Wall Street Journal reports that the bank has agreed to sell its operations to PNC Financial Services Group for US$3.45 billion. The bank has more than 400 branches throughout the states of North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.


Bombardier Aerospace Inc. has announced the sale of 10 of its new CSeries airliners. Bombardier says an unnamed major carrier will pay $616 million for the aircraft, with an option to buy six more. Bombardier made the announcement at the Paris Air Show. The company has now received 113 orders for the 110- to 130-seat planes. Deliveries will start at the end of 2013.


Inter Pipeline Fund has increased its storage capacity in Europe by buying four oil storage terminals for $500 million from Dong Energy, Denmark's biggest power producer. The terminals have a storage capacity of 10.7 million barrels of oil will increase Inter Pipeline's total storage capacity in Europe to 19 million barrels, making it the fourth-largest oil storage company on the continent. Inter Pipeline is involved in shipping, natural gas liquids extraction and bulk liquid storage in western Canada, the UK, Ireland and Germany.




Canada's Milos Raonic made his Grand Slam grass-court singles debut with a 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel at Wimbledon. The 31st-seeded Canadian fired 25 aces in a 96-minute effort. That sends him into the second round in his first appearance at the All England club.


Canada got off to a lousy start at the FIFA under-17 World Cup. The team was shut out by Uruguay 3-0 in the tournament opener. Canada has now lost 13 straight matches at the World Cup. Canada plays England in their next group match.


A member of Canada's junior water polo team has apologized for taking part in last week's riot in Pacific Coast Canadian city of Vancouver after the NHL Stanley Cup final championship hockey game. Nathan Kotylak has turned himself in to police after pictures surfaced on the Internet showing a youth apparently trying to set a police car on fire. The 17-year old Kotylak says he's prepared to accept the consequences of his actions.



British Columbia on Tuesday: rain north, sun south, high C22 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: rain. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse 18, Yellowknife 26, Iqaluit 7. Alberta: rain south, sun north. Saskatchewan, Manitoba; rain. Edmonton 23, Regina 20, Winnipeg 19. Ontario: rain. Quebec: sun. Toronto, Ottawa 27, Montreal 26. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 22, Halifax 17, Charlottetown, St. John's 12.

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