Friday, July 8, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 7 July 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canada ended its combat mission in Afghanistan Thursday after nine years serving with the NATO-led force and the death of 157 Canadian personnel. The departure of nearly 3,000 troops comes as Western forces begin to announce gradual withdrawals of troops ahead of a full pullout in 2014. Canada spent more than $11 billion on the war that saw Canadian troops deploy mainly in the dangerous battleground of Kandahar. A change of command ceremony was held at Kandahar airfield to mark the formal end of combat operations, although hundreds of other troops are being sent to work in a training role in the Afghan capital. Afghan, Canadian and American national anthems were played to a small group of soldiers from each country, before commanders addressed the crowd and formally handed control of the mission to the United States. Canadian soldiers first deployed to Afghanistan in early 2002.


There's a new home for a memorial honouring the 157 Canadian soldiers who died during the mission in Afghanistan. The granite and brass monument has been unveiled at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in the province of Ontario. Defence Minister Peter MacKay says it's a fitting location since that's where the repatriation ceremonies have been held for the soldiers killed in the mission. The monument was originally based in Dubai at Camp Mirage, a key base that supported the operations in Afghanistan.


A report says anti-semitism is on the rise in Canada, especially on university campuses. The report by the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism says the federal government must take action. After two years of hearings, the coalition wants the government to adopt a clear definition of antisemitism. The parliamentary coalition was formed in March 2009 by 22 Members of Parliament from all parties. The report says that the antisemitism at universities is a result of the Palestinian problem in the Middle East.


The Greenpeace environmental group says that some Canadian supermarket companies have made great gains in adopting policies on seafood sustainability. Greenpeace says that includes tracing fish from ocean to shelf and avoiding the sale of fish that are illegally caught. But in its annual report, Greenpeace praises only three companies, Loblaw, Safeway and Overwaitea. Five other companies, Sobeys, Wal-Mart, Metro, Federated Co-operatives and Costco were criticized by Greenpeace for failing in their policies of seafood sustainability.



UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on the Syrian government to allow the world body's aid workers to enter Syria to evaluate the needs of civilians caught up in months of bloodshed. Mr. Ban also wants the government of President Bashar al-Assad to grant access to a team of human rights investigators mandated by the UN Human Rights Council. The UN has been mostly shut out of Syria since anti-government protests began in March, as have most independent news media. Meanwhile in the central city of Hama, an informant has told the Reuters news agency that residents set up roadblocks on Thursday to prevent busloads of security agents from entering the city.


Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh appeared on television on Thursday for the first time since an unsuccessful attempt on his life in June 3 in Sana'a. He showed heavily bandaged arms and hands in his appearance on Yemen TV. He says his burns required eight successful operations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He also says he's willing to share power within the framework of the constitution. Earlier in the day, an opposition leader said that Vice-president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had approached the opposition with a peace plan that would have allowed Mr. Saleh to remain in power longer that the 30 days called for in a peace plan proposed by the Gulf Co-operation Council.


The government of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati survived a confidence vote on Thursday. But it won the support of 68 members of the 128-seat chamber only after Hezbollah and allied legislators walked out. This followed three days of angry debate over the arrest warrants issued for four Hezbollah members issued by the UN tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in 2005. On Saturday, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah dismissed the tribunal as a tool of U.S. and Israel and promised that the four suspects would never be arrested.


The takeover of the New York stock exchange by the Frankfurt stock exchange came closer on Thursday, as NYSE Euronext shareholders voted 96 per cent in favour of the proposed transaction. It now needs approval by three-quarters of Deutsche Boerse stockholders by next Wednesday, followed by an antitrust review by the European Commission. The new entity would have a trading volume surpassing $20 trillion a year.


China will change its rules on the export of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in the electronics and renewable energy industries. The decision comes a day after the World Trade Organization ruled against China's restrictions on exports of raw materials. China was upset over the ruling. The WTO upheld complaints by the United States, European Union and Mexico, ruling that China had failed to abide by WTO regulations when it imposed quotas and duties on several types of minerals. China produces 97 percent of the world's supplies of rare earths and the government's decision to cut export quotas by 35 percent for the first half of 2011 reduced global supplies, boosted prices and angered China's trading partners.


U.S. President Barack Obama met at the White House on Thursday with top lawmakers to discuss ways to prevent the first debt default in the history of the U.S. government. No agreement emerged but he and they will meet again on Sunday. The discussions revolved around options for cutting the government's deficit as a condition for raising its $14.3-trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. Treasury Department agreement must be reached by Aug. 2. Mr. Obama says "everybody" acknowledges that it's necessary to make sure America doesn't default for the first time. The Democratic and Republican parties disagree on how to cut the budget, particularly on the issue of whether taxes on the wealthy should be raised.


The owner of a British tabloid that is at the centre of a scandal says the newspaper will be closed. James Murdoch, the chairman of News International Corp., says the Sunday tabloid News of the World will appear for the last time this weekend. The newspaper has been caught up in a series of allegations of hacking into telephone conversations of celebrities and politicians. The scandal deepened this week over further allegations of hacking into phone conversations of relatives of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan. The latest claims come as the British government weighs a decision on News Corp.'s bid to take over a Pay-TV giant BSkyB. The company is a major media player that enjoys the rights to English Premier League football.



A lobby representing 1,000 wineries and related businesses says it's keeping a close eye on the Ontario election because of remarks made by Conservative leader Tim Hudak. He has said he's open to the idea of introducing stores that would sell only wines made from Ontario grapes. Mr. Hudak once presented a private-member's bill in the provincial legislature in 2005 to establish such wine stores that failed. His riding of Niagara-West-Glanbrooke is home to many top Canadian wineries. But the Wine San Francisco-based Wine Institute says such stores would violate the rules of the North American Free Trade Accord. A trade consultant for the lobby says it would likely ask for a dispute resolution panel with the Canadian government if Mr. Hudak wins the election and proceeds with the special stores.


TSX on Thursday: 13,400 - 30. Dollar: US$1.04. Euro: $1.37. Oil: $98.56 + $1.91.




Canadian Matt McQuillan was tied for the clubhouse lead in first-round play at the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic. The native of Kingston, ON, is tied with Davis Love the Third after both shot an opening 7-under par 64. David Hearn of Brantford, Ontario, is just three shots back.


Thor Hushovd of Norway is still the overall leader at the Tour de France after finishing third in Thursday's rain-plagued sixth stage. Countryman Edvald Boasson Hagen won the stage in a late sprint. Canadian Ryder Hesjedal was 36th but moved up two spots to 30th overall.



British Columbia on Friday: rain, high C20 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: rain. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 22, Yellowknife 24, Iqaluit 7. Alberta: rain north, sun south. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 16, Regina 23, Winnipeg 29. Ontario, Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal 28. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia: mix sun cloud. Prince Edward Island: sun. Newfoundland and Labrador: sun. Fredericton 26, Halifax 25, Charlottetown, St. John's 24.

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