Saturday, June 18, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says the government will further restrict the way medical marijuana is grown. People in intense pain are allowed to grow marijuana themselves or to obtain it from a designated grower or Health Canada. But police have complained that designated growers are abusing their permits and growing more than required for patients. Mrs. Aglukkaq says her department will take itself and individuals out of the marijuana business and that the process for patients to obtain authorization to possess medical marijuana will be streamlined. Patients have complained that they sometimes have trouble persuading their doctors to prescribe marijuana because the physicians find the paperwork too tedious.


Some 3,800 Air Canada customer service agents and other staff returned to work Friday after going on strike on Tuesday. A tentative agreement has been reached between the airline and the Canadian Auto Workers union. The main issue over defined benefit contribution pensions for new hires remains unresolved and will go to arbitration. The union says the two sides would have reached a settlement without government intervention.


Negotiations between Canada's postal agency and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers resumed Friday. Canada Post says it expects the talks to continue through the weekend. The federal government plans to introduce back-to-work legislation on Monday to end the lockout of 48,000 postal workers. The union has accused Canada Post of locking them out to force the government to take action. Meanwhile, the government says pension and social assistance cheques will be delivered next week despite the lockout. The agency and the postal union have agreed to make sure the cheques are delivered on Monday.


Police in Canada's Pacific coast city of Vancouver, BC are asking the public for help in catching the people who did so much damage on Wednesday night after a hockey game. They are asking people with video or photos of the rioters and looters to link them to a police web address so investigators can identify the criminals. More than 100 people were arrested during the riots that followed the game in which the hometown Vancouver Canucks lost the match and the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup championship series to the Boston Bruins. Vancouver's downtown Business Improvement Association says rioters damaged about 50 properties.


Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird says he's planning a visit to Libya to see first-hand how the country's insurgents are doing. Mr. Baird says he'll travel to Benghazi, where the National Transitional Council is based. The foreign minister met in Ottawa on Thursday with the Council's representative in Canada. Mr. Baird says it was a good meeting but that he'd like to hear more from the Council's senior members. Earlier this week, Canada recognized the Council as the Libyan people's legitimate representative. Mr. Baird says that when Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is no longer in power, the Libyan people will need help in building a country that respects human rights and democracy.


Japan has launched a challenge against Canada at the World Trade Organization over a renewable energy program in the province of Ontario. Japan says the program's domestic content requirement is a clear violation of WTO rules. Ontario launched in May a program which guarantees pricing for energy produced from renewable resources. The program requires all solar projects and all wind projects greater than 10 kilowatts to include a minimum amount of goods that originate in the province. Japan's WTO complaint says its products would thus be discriminated against in Ontario. The WTO will set up a panel of arbitrators to deal with the complaint.


It appears to be very hard to get access to information from the federal government. Fewer than one-fifth of the requests under the federal Access to Information Act result in all data being released. In her annual report, Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault says she received more than 2,000 complaints for the second straight year. Almost three-quarters of them were grievances from applicants who felt they were unfairly denied information.


Canada's federal police have charged a Ukrainian Orthodox priest with illegally recruiting foreign workers and skimming at least $1 million from their wages. The wife of John Lipinski and a second man are charged with possession of proceeds obtained by crime and of organizing illegal entry into the country. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police alleges that the three brought 60 Polish and Ukrainian welders and machinists to Canada as students and then subcontracting them to companies in Alberta. The police also say the three told the workers they could legally work in Canada and bring their families to the country within six months. A local college is said to have sent letters to Immigration Canada claiming the workers were welding and English language students.


A Syrian group that documents the protests that have rocked Syria since March reports that the security forces killed at least 16 protesters on Friday. The Local Co-ordination Committee says the deaths occurred in Aleppo, Deir el-Zour, Homs and the Damascus suburb of Harasta. The government gave a different version of events in Deir el-Zour, claiming that one police officer was killed and 20 wounded by an "armed group." The government of President Bashar al-Assad blames the violence on armed gangs and foreign conspirators.


Libyan rebels have rejected an offer from a son of Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi to hold elections. Saif al-Islam told an Italian newspaper on Thursday that the elections could be held within three months and his father would resign if he lost. Meanwhile, rebel advances towards Tripoli have been slow, while weeks of NATO strikes on Gadhafi's compound and other targets have failed to end his 41-year-old rule. The rebellion has been going on for four months. In related news, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accused Libyan forces of using rape and violence against women as tools of war.


The northern and southern Sudanese armies clashed on Friday near the disputed border territory of Abyei. The UN says there were artillery exchanges in the vicinity of Kiir. The southern army says it repelled an attempt by the north to move into Warrap state. The northern army was unavailable for comment. The north occupied Abyei on May 21 in response to an attack against northern troops and UN peacekeepers. Sovereignty over the oil-producing region of Abyei is one of several issues between north and south before the south secedes on July 9.


After months of negotiations, France and Russia have finally signed a contract for the sale of two French Mistral helicopter warships. President Dmitri Medvedev witnessed the signing of the contract worth $1.43 billion in St. Petersburg. Forty percent of the components will be made in Russia. The two ships will be built at the St-Nazaire shipyard in France. Under a preliminary agreement, two more Mistrals will be built under terms yet to be negotiated. This is the biggest sale of weaponry by a NATO country to Russia. The transaction has aroused concern on the part of several of Russia's neighbours, particularly the Baltic states and Georgia.


China has mobilized troops to help with flood relief and raised its disaster alert to the highest level after days of heavy rains forced the evacuation of more than 500,000 people in seven central and southern provinces. Floods caused by four days of rain have caused 19 deaths and left seven missing in Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces and Chongqing municipality.


Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says Russia could face another period of stagnation because of the country's continuing reliance on oil exports. He said in remarks at the St. Petersburg International Investment Forum that the economy could again dive if world oil prices fall. Mr. Medvedev says as well that the government must revise its plan to privatize state-owned concerns because the existing plan doesn't go far enough. On another subject, the president said Russia must avoid one-man rule. Neither Mr. Medvedev nor Prime Minister Vladimir have said which of them will stand for the presidency in March.


Research in Motion stock had tumbled by more than 20 per cent in Toronto by midday as analysts questioned the ability of the maker of the Blackberry smartphone to compete with Apple and Google's Android device. The stock dropped by $7.55 to $26.82. RIM was also down 22.62 percent, or US$7.99, to $27.34 around mid-day, on Wall Street. It was the first time that RIM shares traded below $30 since August 2006. This followed the company's announcement on Thursday that it would cut jobs. RIM had already cut profit forecasts for the year.


TSX: 12,790 - 63. Dollar: US1.01. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $94.70 - .11.



Canadian women's team captain Hayley Wickenheiser and

former Olympic team coach Melody Davidson have major roles in a new

program to show other countries the way in women's hockey.

Wickenheiser and Davidson have been named the top player

ambassador and coach mentor respectively in an International Ice

Hockey Federation project to create more parity in the sport.

Coaching mentors and player ambassadors from the top four

countries of Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Finland have been assigned

to assist coaches and players in nine other countries for the next

two and a half years.


Canada saw its medal hopes dashed in an 8-6 loss

the United States on Friday in quarter-final action at the FINA

World League Super Final women's water polo tournament in Tianjin, China.

Anna Yelizarova of Montreal led the Canadians with three goals,

Emily Csikos of Calgary added two and Krystina Alogbo of

Riviere-des-Prairies, Que., one.

Canada moves into the consolation playoff round where it will

battle for fifth spot beginning Saturday against the Greeks.


British Columbia on Saturday: rain, high C18 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: sun. Whitehorse 17, Yellowknife 20, Iqaluit 12. Prairies: rain. Edmonton 14, Regina 17, Winnipeg 25. Ontario: sun south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: rain. Toronto, Ottawa 27, Montreal 28. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 18, Halifax 14, Charlottetown 17, St. John's 11.