Wednesday, June 29, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

OTTAWA: FEDERAL NUCLEAR AGENCY WOULD BE SOLD


The Globe and Mail newspaper reports that the Canadian government is set to sell Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to the country's biggest engineering firm. According to the newspaper, the government will sell AECL's commercial division to SNC-Lavalin Group. The division manufactures the Candu nuclear reactor. The government would retain ownership of the Chalk River laboratory but it would be managed by outside contract. In May 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government announced plans to spin off AECL's profitable commercial reactor business from its problem-plagued research division. The announcement coincided with what turned into a lengthy shutdown of the company's research reactor at Chalk River, ON, which caused a worldwide shortage of the medical isotopes used to detect cancer and heart ailments. AECL has lost $493 million in the last two years. Supporters of AECL say they fear the government is risking the loss of a valuable reactor technology. Candu reactors supply one-half of the province of Ontario's electrical power.

OTTAWA: POSTAL SERVICE BACK


Mail delivery resumed across Canada Tuesday after a nearly month-long labour dispute between Canada Post and its workers union. Back-to-work legislation forced many workers back to business Monday to begin sorting the mail that accumulated during nearly two weeks of rotating strikes and a nearly two-week lockout. But Canada Post warns it will take some time to sort through the massive backlog and return to normal delivery standards.

WINNIPEG: WHEAT BOARD TO HOLD REFERENDUM


The Canadian Wheat Board says it will hold its own farmers' referendum on its future. Federal Agriculture Gerry Ritz has announced plans to strip the board of its monopoly over the marketing of Western wheat and barley without a vote. A lobby called The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board has asked Federal Court of Canada to rule on whether the absence of a referendum is a violation of the Canadian Wheat Board Act. The government contends that farmers have a right to seek the best prices for their products on their own. The board argues that the end of its monopoly would lead to its disappearance, a development which would lead to lower prices.

VANCOUVER: RIOT INVESTIGATORS NAMED


The government of the west coast Canadian province of British Columbia has named two investigators to discover the causes of the rioting in Vancouver on June 15 after the last game of the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup championship. The government says it was seeking candidates who not only had out-of-province experience but also knew the local scene. Those chosen are Doug Keefe, a former Nova Scotia deputy justice minister, and John Furlong, the head of the Vancouver Olympic Committee. Mr. Keefe oversaw an inquiry into the Westray mine disaster in which 29 miners died in a methane explosion. He also assisted the province's chief medical examiner after 229 people died in the Swissair disaster in 1998. Mr. Furlong was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for more than a decade of work to bring the Winter Olympics to Vancouver. The riot erupted after more than 100,000 people gathered outside in downtown Vancouver to watch the match on three giant TV screens. After the Vancouver Canucks lost the championship to the Boston Bruins, rioters flipped cars, set fires and did $5 million of damage to dozens of businesses.

LONDON: QUEBEC LEADER PITCHING NORTHERN PLAN TO EUROPE


The premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Jean Charest, has opened a European tour in London as he seeks investment to develop the northern regions of his province. Mr. Charest is assuring business leaders that Quebec offers a stable, predictable and transparent investment environment. After his visit to London, Mr. Charest travels to Belgium and Germany. The plan to develop Quebec's north focuses on the mining and energy sectors with the proposed development of 11 new mining projects.


AFGHANISTAN


The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack late Tuesday on a Western-style hotel in Kabul. Officials says four suicide bombers and at least two gunmen attacked the Inter-Continental Hotel using machineguns, anti-aircraft weapons and RPGs. An interior ministry spokesman said the suicide bombers either blew themselves up or were killed by the Afghan security forces. Officials had no information on casualties among the hotels workers or foreign guests. The attacks occurred almost one week after U.S.President Barack Obama announced the withdrawal of 33,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

UNITED STATES


The board of directors of the International Monetary Fund has elected French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde its managing director and chairwoman of the executive board. Mrs. Lagarde starts a five-year term next month. Her win was assured after she received the support of such emerging economic powers as Brazil, China and Russia. The U.S. also had endorsed her candidacy. Mrs. Lagarde says she's honoured to have been chosen.

GREECE


The Greek parliament will hold two crucial votes this week that will determine whether it receives a second emergency bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. On Wednesday, parliament will vote on a five-year austerity program and on Thursday on legislation to implement it. The EU's Economics and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Olli Rehn, warned on Tuesday that there is no backup plan if the laws are voted down. However, unnamed EU officials have told the Reuters news agency that discussions have been underway for weeks to ensure that Greece gets the money regardless of the outcome of the vote. The sources say the EU is anxious that instability not spread to other countries with shaky finances like Ireland, Spain or Portugal. Meanwhile, hundredS of youths, some hooded, fought with police in Athens as violence broke out at a rally against the planned austerity measures.

LIBYA


The head of the International Criminal Court says the régime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi could fall within two or three months. Luis Moreno-Ocampo says it's only a matter of time before Gadhafi faces charges. On Monday, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo obtained warrants for Gadhafi, a son and his intelligence chief on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In Paris, a spokesman for the National Transitional Council said even indirect contacts with Gadhafi are out of the question. Last week, the Council had seemed to suggest that could be allowed to stay in the country provided he stayed out of politics. Twenty-countries, including Canada, have now recognized the Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

SWITZERLAND


The United Nations says that ten million people in Africa have been hit by the worst drought in 60 years, with the situation deteriorating to the point of famine in some areas. A rainy season coupled with rising food prices have led to severe food shortages in countries including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. The UN says that as a result malnutrition rates are also rising. The UN is calling for donors to increase financing in order to send more aid to the drought stricken regions.

ISRAEL


Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has warned participants in an aid convoy to the Gaza Strip that they are headed for confrontation and bloodshed. Israel has ordered its navy to stop an international 10-ship aid flotilla from breaching a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip but also to avoid clashes with activists on board. Pro-Palestinian activists have said the ships carrying aid to Gaza could depart from European ports in the coming days. A year ago, nine Turkish activists were killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers who raided a Gaza-bound convoy of ships in the eastern Mediterranean. Israel has said it will prevent the new convoy from reaching Gaza.

IRAN


Iran say it will take action against what it calls inhuman U.S. sanctions that make it harder for its passenger planes to refuel abroad and to buy spare parts. Iran's foreign ministry says that not supplying a passenger plane with fuel violates international regulations. Iran says it will take necessary measures to counter the sanctions. National carrier Iran Air started having problems refuelling at European airports last October when many Western companies stopped selling it fuel to comply with U.S. sanctions prohibiting the export of refined petroleum products to Iran. The U.S. increased its sanctions last week, blacklisting Iran Air and a major Iranian port operator. Iran is subject to four rounds of United Nations sanctions aimed at forcing it to reduce its nuclear program, which many countries believe is aimed at developing the ability to build atomic bombs. Iran denies it.

RUSSIA


Russia has lifted a ban on imports of fresh vegetables from the Netherlands and Belgium. The ban was imposed June 2 because of a deadly E. coli outbreak in northern Germany. The European Commission said each EU state exporting fresh vegetables to Russia would have to certify, for a limited period, the origin of the produce and the absence of E. coli.

VENEZUELA


Two high-ranking police officers at a jail near Caracas have been arrested on suspicion of arms and drugs smuggling. Rioting broke out in the El Rodeo prison earlier this month, leaving 21 people dead. Officials say armed inmates are still holding some 1,000 other prisoners hostage. The officers being held are identified as Luis Rafael Aranguren, the governor of El Rodeo II, one wing in the prison complex, and the deputy governor of El Rodeo I, Ruben Jose Gonzalez Heredia. Authorities also arrested Jose Camargo Gomez, a captain in Venezuela's National Guard, on the same charges.


OTTAWA: BELL FINED FOR UNTRUE ADVERTISING


Canada's Competition Bureau has handed down a maximum fine of $10 million to Bell Canada for false advertising. The regulator says Bell charged higher than advertised prices for many of its services, including home phone, Internet satellite television and wireless because the advertised prices didn't include mandatory fees. The Bureau cited a bundle for home phone, Internet and TV services advertised at $69.90 per month which in fact cost at least $80.27 because of the mandatory fees. Bell has agreed to rectify the advertising within two months.

MARKETS


TSX on Tuesday: 13,105 + 138. Dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.41. Oil: $92.92 + $2.31.


SPORTS


HOCKEY

Two weeks ago, Zdeno Chara hoisted the Stanley Cup as captain of the Boston Bruins. Now the big defenceman will have something else on his hands: a meeting with Montreal police.

The police have announced they intend to question Chara in the coming weeks. A probe into Chara's hit last March that sidelined Montreal forward Max Pacioretty and sparked demands for a crackdown on hockey violence is nearing completion.

Pacioretty, who suffered a concussion and a cracked vertebra, is now recovering.

A police spokesman says Chara is the final person they need to speak with to complete their investigation, after which the Crown will decide whether to press charges.

SOCCER

Marc Dos Santos resigned as head coach of the struggling Montreal Impact on Tuesday and will be replaced on an interim basis by sporting director Nick De Santis.

The move came after a 1-0 loss to expansion club Edmonton on the weekend that dropped the team's record to two wins, seven losses and three ties.

The Impact are in their final season in the North American Soccer League before making the jump to Major League Soccer in 2012.

SPORTS


HOCKEY

Two weeks ago, Zdeno Chara hoisted the Stanley Cup as captain of the Boston Bruins. Now the big defenceman will have something else on his hands: a meeting with Montreal police.

The police have announced they intend to question Chara in the coming weeks. A probe into Chara's hit last March that sidelined Montreal forward Max Pacioretty and sparked demands for a crackdown on hockey violence is nearing completion.

Pacioretty, who suffered a concussion and a cracked vertebra, is now recovering.

A police spokesman says Chara is the final person they need to speak with to complete their investigation, after which the Crown will decide whether to press charges.

HOCKEY

Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk

will form the next Hockey Hall of Fame class.

The four former National Hockey League players were chosen by the Hall's 18-member

selection committee on Tuesday.

Belfour was in his first year of eligibility while the other

three had endured a wait.

SOCCER

Marc Dos Santos resigned as head coach of the struggling Montreal Impact on Tuesday and will be replaced on an interim basis by sporting director Nick De Santis.

The move came after a 1-0 loss to expansion club Edmonton on the weekend that dropped the team's record to two wins, seven losses and three ties.

The Impact are in their final season in the North American Soccer League before making the jump to Major League Soccer in 2012.

BASEBALL

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista leads all major leaguers with 5.2 million votes for the All Star game. He's hoping to become the first Blue Jay to be elected to start since Carlos Delgado in 2003. Voting ends Thursday and the all-star teams will be announced Sunday, except for a last reserve.


WEATHER


British Columbia on Wednesday: rain, high C20 Vancouve. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse 12, Yellowknife 18, Iqaluit 3. Alberta: rain north, mix sun cloud south. Saskatchewan: mix sun cloud. Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 21, Regina 30, Winnipeg 29. Ontario: south cloud, north sun. Quebec: rain. Toronto 24, Ottawa 19, Montreal 21. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 22, Halifax 16, Charlottetown 22, St.John's 14.