Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 19 July 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canada's federal and provincial energy ministers have drafted an outline of what a national energy policy will resemble, without going into great detail. The federal, provincial and territorial energy ministers agree that the global market for Canada's energy products must be expanded. Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert has long argued for a strategy to allow his province's crude to flow to markets outside the U.S. His federal counterpart Joe Oliver said the U.S. is a great customer but that 97 per cent of Canadian energy is being exported there. Mr. Oliver says Asia is growing, with China now being the biggest consumer of energy in the world. The ministers also agreed to a "one project, one approval," rather than the present complex system of separate provincial and federal approvals. They agreed as well on better energy efficiency and electrical grids and support for Canadians' awareness of energy issues. Environmentalists reacted by applauding the goals of energy efficiency and better electrical grids but deplored the ministers' continued support for oilsands developments.


The Bank of Canada has left its trend-setting lending rate at one per cent but hinted it could soon be higher. CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld says the central bank's statement in which it omitted the usual term "eventually" in reference to the timing of its next rate hike is a hint that it will act before the end of the year. The hint was strong enough to drive the Canadian dollar as high as US$1.05, the highest close since the end of April. The statement cautions that continued slow economic growth in the U.S. and the burgeoning credit crisis in Europe could be drags on the Canadian economic. However, it says it expects yearly growth of 2.8 per cent.


Nova Scotia Premier Darell Dexter says the four Atlantic provinces will seek to persuade their provincial and territorial counterparts to adopt a national position regarding federal transfer payments. The subject is expected to arise at the annual Council of the Federation meetings that begin Wednesday in Vancouver. The federal-provincial agreement on the payments expires in 2014. Mr. Dexter has stressed the need for funding that offsets the rising costs of public services in provinces with aging populations. Federal transfer and equalization payments account for one-third of all revenues in the Maritime provinces.


The first of 400 modular homes have arrived in the northern Albertan town of Slave Lake. The units will house 2,000 residents whose homes were lost in the wildfire that destroyed one-third of the town last May. The 400 units are to be erected by the end of August. The modular homes have as many as four bedrooms, a kitchen and laundry appliances but are otherwise empty. The town intends to organize furniture donations next. Construction of new permanent homes will begin next month.


A Canadian police officer has testified that China's most-wanted fugitive, Lai Changxing, took part in illegal gambling and loan sharking activities in 2009 in the west coast Canadian province of British Columbia. Detective Constable James Fisher made the allegations at a hearing to determine whether Lai, who faces deportation to China on July 25, should be detained until his case is settled. Mr. Fisher says an unnamed police source accused Lai of handling money at an illegal gambling house. The officer also testified that Lai arranged for services such as meals by a private chef, massages, and introductions to a loan shark. The house was frequented by known members of Asian criminal gangs. Lai fled to Canada in 1999 and since then China has been demanding that he be deported. Chinese officials are accusing him of being in charge of a crime syndicate that smuggled $6 million worth of goods.


Canada's last fully operational asbestos mine may soon close. The president of the LAB Chrysotile mine in Thetford Mines, QC, says he might have to close the facility for an indeterminate time in November. The company is currently locked in a labour conflict with the union representing its 350 workers. Canada's exports of the cancerogenic substance have come under growing criticism from physicians and environmentalists around the world. Proponents of the Quebec asbestos industry, including the Canadian government, insist it can be safe if handled according to proper safety standards. A second mine in Quebec is hoping to be revived with a government loan guarantee.


Much of Canada and the U.S. are still in the grips of a heat wave that has temperatures soaring into the high thirties Celsius. Temperature records were broken again Monday across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. It was so hot in Saskatchewan overnight that high humidity set of the fire alarm in Saskatoon's City Hospital. On Tuesday, a town in Saskatchewan, Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park, was pelted with hail the size of baseballs. The hail was so powerful it broke windows and tree branches in the resort community. Forecasters say the heat wave is expected to continue in Canada throughout the week.



Members of Israel's navy boarded a French yacht Tuesday that was carrying pro-Palestinian activists intending to sail to the Gaza Strip and forced it to go to an Israeli port. There were no immediate reports of violence as the marines boarded the yacht in the eastern Mediterranean. The 17-passenger vessel had declared an Egyptian port as its destination when it left Greek waters on Sunday but then said it was instead going to Gaza. It had planned to sail to the Palestinian enclave as part of a convoy of ships carrying activists and aid. The other vessels were prevented from leaving Greek ports.


Media baron Rupert Murdoch says Tuesday was the saddest day of his life. He made that confession during a three-hour appearance together with his son James before a committee of the British House of Commons that is investigating the ongoing phone-hacking scandal. The elder Murdoch says both are deeply sorry for the harm caused by the scandal, but said he would not resign because he himself had been let down by others. The committee also heard from Rebekah Brooks, who resigned last Friday as CEO of New Corp.'s newspaper division and was arrested on Sunday. Miss Brooks was editor of the now defunct News of the World newspaper, which is alleged to have engaged in various acts of hacking. She too apologized for the scandal but denied knowing the private detectives at the heart of the allegations or having made payments to the police.


The UN will declare famine in parts of Somalia on Wednesday. The world body had considered the Horn of Africa an emergency, one level short of a famine. About 10 million people in the region are affected by drought and need emergency food aid, including 2.8 million Somalis. The UN refugee agency says it has sought security guarantees from the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab that it will allow food deliveries. The group that controls most of Somalia expelled international aid groups two years ago.


There have been two attacks on the residence of Guinea's President Alpha Condé in the capital, Conakry. A group of renegade soldiers opened fire with bazookas and rocket-propelled grenades in the early hours of morning. The attackers were repelled after a two-hour gun battle. Mr. Condé said afterwards that he only survived because he wasn't sleeping in his bedroom. The president says two military leaders were arrested. The president's guard then beat back a second attack only hours later that left three assailants dead. Mr. Condé became Guinea's first democratically elected leader seven months ago.


There's a report that China is both a perpetrator and a victim of protectionism in trade. The report comes from Global Trade Alert, an independent research group that provides information about state measures taken since the recession that hinder free trade. The report says government have taken almost 200 protectionist steps since the G20 summit in Seoul last November. Four-fifths of the measures were taken by G20 nations. Ninety-one of them were directed against China. The researchers say the EU led the world in protectionism when ranked by the number of its trading partners affected by its discriminatory measures with a total of 180. China is third with 162.


Venezuela's finance minister, Jorge Giordani, says there is no doubt President Hugo Chavez will run for re-election next year, despite returning to Cuba for more treatment after cancer surgery. The 56-year-old socialist leader's announcement that he'd undergone an operation in Havana last month to remove an abdominal tumour has caused political turmoil in South America's biggest oil exporter. Parliamentary elections held last September showed the nation essentially split down the middle between Chavez supporters and the opposition. Mr. Chavez claims doctors found no malignant cells in his body after the surgery. But his illness has raised doubts about his fitness to govern.


An autopsy has confirmed that former Chilean President Salvador Allende committed suicide during a 1973 military coup. Mr. Allende's daughter Isabel says it's a huge relief to get the result from an international team of experts. British ballistics expert David Prayer says Mr. Allende died of two shots fired from an assault rifle held between his legs that was set to fire automatically. The results rule out theories that he was killed by the military as troops stormed the palace during the coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.



The Canadian government says it won't review the sale of the remaining assets of the defunct Nortel Networks Corp. A consortium including Research in Motion paid $4.5 billion of them at an auction. Under the Investment Canada Act, the government must review foreign acquisitions with a book value of at least $312 million to decide whether they are of "net benefit" to the country. The other companies in the consortium are foreign. Industry Minister Christian Paradis says his officials concluded that the sale wasn't subject to that test. The explanation seems to indicate that the companies paid more for Nortel's patents than their book value.


Several dozen Romanians protested in front of Romania's culture ministry in Bucharest on Tuesday to stop a Canadian company's plan to start up a gold mine in Transylvania. The protest came days after the ministry issued an archeological discharge certificate to Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, which is 80-per cent owned by Gabriel Resources of Canada. One protester said it's impossible to think that the vestiges of Roman mines at the site will be protected when the company intends to blow up the mountain that contains them. The protesters also claim the gold mine project is an environmental threat because the company intends to use cyanide in the extraction process. Gabriel Resources first obtained a concession to mine for gold at Rosia Montana in 1999 but still has not obtained all the required permits.


TSX on Tuesday: 13,333 + 70. Dollar: US$1.05. Euro: $1.34. Oil: $97.80 + $1.87.




Canada's Ryder Hesjedal set up teammate Thor Hushovd to win the 16th stage of the Tour de France. The 30-year-old from Victoria launched an attack about halfway through the 162-point-5-kilometre stage. With just three men left as the finish line neared, Hesjedal led out Hushovd for the win. Hesjedal moved up four places to 28th overall and stands 20 minutes 36 seconds behind leader Thomas Voeckler of France.


Even without injured star Alexandre Despatie, the Canadian diving

team is encouraged by its performance thus far at the world aquatic

championships in Shanghai.

The first three days of diving competition yielded one medal,

silver in the women's three-metre synchronized event by Emilie

Heymans and Jennifer Abel, and some strong results by other divers.

Reuben Ross of Regina was sixth off the one-metre springboard,

his best international result to date, while Eric Sehn of Edmonton

and Kevin Geyson of Winnipeg were a surprising eighth in the men's

10-metre synchro event.



British Columbia on Wednesday: rain, high C21 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse 15, Yellowknife 18, Iqaluit 12. Alberta: rain south, sun north. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 20, Regina 21, Winnipeg 29. Ontario: sun south, rain north. Quebec: sun. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal 32. New Brunswick: mix sun cloud. Nova Scotia: sun. Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton 31, Halifax 27, Charlottetown 24, St. John's 20.

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