Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

FEDERAL WATCHDOG ITSELF NEEDED WATCHING


The federal body that is charged with enforcing hiring standards has itself been found wanting. The government's procurement watchdog says the Public Service Commission of Canada connived to ensure that four previous contract employees would get new ones. The procurement ombudsman says the Commission wrote up contract offers in such a way to guarantee the four would win the contracts. The employees themselves had been consulted about the job requirements. The ombudsman reports that the Commission was aware that other candidates were qualified to win the contracts.

NDP CHIEF ENDORSES INTERIM LEADER AFTER LATEST CANCER SCARE


New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton has endorsed rookie Member of Parliament Nycole Turmel to take his place as interim leader. Mrs. Turmel has sat in Parliament only during the three months since the last federal election but has experience with the federal government as former leader of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Mr. Layton said on Monday he'll take time off from his job to undergo treatment for a second form of cancer, which he didn't specify. The NDP chief revealed in February 2010 he was suffering from prostate cancer but said Monday he is recovering well from that sickness. Mr. Layton received tributes and words of encouragement from Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal interim leader Bob Rae and Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

NORWAY'S EMBASSY RECEIVES CONDOLENCES


Norway's embassy in Ottawa has opened its doors to the public to sign a book of condolences after last Friday's massacre. The embassy was open for two hours on Monday afternoon and will also be open on Tuesday afternoon. Norway's deputy head of mission, Jo Sletbak, says he and his colleagues at the embassy were touched by the flowers and messages that people left on the sidewalk outside the downtown building during the weekend.

WAR CRIMINAL LIST PRODUCES RESULTS


Canada's immigration minister. Jason Kenney, says he did not expect such quick arrests of two suspected war criminals after the government released their pictures and names. But he credits the arrests to the list of 30 suspects that the federal government released last week. On Saturday, Arshad Muhammad was arrested in Ontario after a police officer recognized him in a store. Earlier, authorities in Alberta arrested Cristobal Gonzalez-Ramirez of Honduras.

FIRE OUTLOOK IMPROVES


Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says the forest fire situation in the province's northwestern region has improved. He says some of the 3,600 people who have had to be evacuated may soon be able to return to their homes. Most were from remote aboriginal communities communities.


NORWAY


More than 100,000 Norwegians gathered in central Oslo on Monday evening to take part in a vigil for the 76 people murdered by a gunman in last Friday's bloodbath in and near the city. Norwegians also observed a minute of silence which was observed throughout the rest of Scandinavia. Anders Behring Breivik is accused of taking the lives in a bombing of the downtown government area and in a shooting rampage on a nearby island where members of the youth wing of the governing Labour Party had gathered. After a closed-door arraignment, a judge said Mr. Breivik claimed to be a latter-day Crusader bent upon punishing governments that allowed Europe to be colonized by Muslims.

SYRIA


Syria's government has endorsed a draft law that it says will allow the formation of political parties alongside President Bashar al-Assad's ruling Baath Party. The move is part of a series of promised reforms that the opposition has dismissed as largely symbolic. The multiparty bill approved by the cabinet on Sunday follows other concessions Mr. Assad has made as part of his efforts to end more than four months of protests against his régime. Opposition groups say at least 1,600 people have died in protests.

LIBYA


A senior Libyan rebel leader says Moammar Gadhafi and his family can stay in Libya as part of a political deal to end a five-month-old civil war, provided they give up power. Opposition leader Mustafa Abdel Jabril told the Wall Street Journal that the Libyan leader and his family could stay in the country as long as rebel leaders can decide where and under what conditions they remain. Until now, the rebels have insisted that Gadhafi must leave. Meanwhile, the rebels who have been fighting to oust Mr. Gaddafi since mid-February say their campaign to attack the capital Tripoli from the east has been slowed by efforts to remove an estimated 45,000 land mines from around the city of Brega.

ISRAEL


Israeli security forces stopped a small motor boat in the Dead Sea carrying assault rifles and ammunition from Jordan. They also arrested two Palestinians suspected of smuggling. Israeli police said the two detainees were Bedouin Arabs from the West Bank. Police video footage showed 10 AK-47 assault rifles, bullet clips and other military kit in the haul.

MEXICO


More than 1,000 people have been arrested in a crackdown on human trafficking and sexual exploitation in the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez. Police began the operation on Friday, making raids on bars and hotels in the city centre. Officials say 20 underage women were also rescued. Ciudad Juarez on the border with the U.S. is one of the most violent places in Mexico. Last year, more than 3,000 people were murdered there.

SOMALIA


The UN says it will airlift food aid into areas of famine-stricken Somalia from which it was expelled two years ago by the Islamist al Shebab faction. The World Food Program says the first airlifts into four districts near the borders with Ethiopia and Kenya will begin on Thursday. The world body wants to reach 175,000 starving Somalis in addition to the 2.2 million already being helped. Tens of thousands of Somalis have sought help by trekking to Ethiopia and Kenya. The UN has already declared two regions of Somalia as suffering famine and will declare its entire south a famine area on Aug. 1.

UNITED STATES


The U.S. government's debt crisis shows no signs of abating. Both the Republican and Democratic parties presented rival and conflicting debt reduction plans on Monday, as President Barack Obama prepared to address the nation on Monday evening. Only a week remains to meet an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and to avoid a national default.


RIMS CUTS 2,000


The Canadian mobile telephone company Research In Motion is cutting its global workforce by 2,000 jobs. The job cuts are the largest in RIM's history. They follow several years of rapid growth within the Waterloo, Ontario-based company that saw the workforce nearly quadruple in the last five years alone.

CHIPMAKER ADOPTS POISON PILL DEFENCE


Canadian chipmaker Zarlink has adopted a shareholders' rights plan to fend off a hostile takeover bid. Under the terms of the "poison pill" defence, no one party may acquire more than a 20-per cent voting interest in the company. Zarlink is trying to beat down a hostile offer of US$548 million from the American firm Microsemi Corp. Last week, Zarlink hired Canaccord Genuity and RBC Capital to advise it on its options.

BC TO HELP BACK SHIPBUILDING BID


The government of the Canadian province of British Columbia says it's prepared to spend $40 million to help a Vancouver-based shipyard win lucrative federal contracts. The government says that Seaspan shipyards wins any of the contracts worth $35 billion, it will support the company with $35 million worth in training and labour tax credits over 30 years. Pat Bell, the minister of jobs, tourism and innovation, says the govenrment is helping Seaspan submit the strongest possible bid. The Canadian government intends to commission navy warships, coast guard cutters and other vessels over 30 years.

MARKETS


TSX on Monday: 13,436 - 59. Dollar: US$1.05, up .37. Euro: $1.35. Oil: $99.20 - .67


SPORTS


GOLF

Venezuelan golfer Jhonattan Vegas was the top money earner on the first day of the Telus Skins Game Monday

while Canadian Stephen Ames was a close runner up.

Vegas, the first Venezuelan to win a PGA event, is making his

first appearance at a skins game.

He won two skins on the 6th and 8th holes for a total of $55,000.

DRUGS

An assistant to a Canadian sports doctor who treated top athletes and admitted bringing illegal performance-enhancing drugs into the United States has been sentenced to a year's probation. Mary Anne Catalano, 33, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court Monday, to making a false statement following her arrest in September 2009. She had been charged with carrying drugs into the U.S. when she crossed the border into Buffalo, New York from Fort Erie, Ontario. Her arrest led to the investigation and prosecution of her boss, Anthony Galea. The Toronto sports doctor has admitted illegally bringing human growth hormones and performance-enhancing drugs into the U.S. He will be sentenced in October.


WEATHER


British Columbia on Tuesday: cloud, high C19 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse, Iqaluit 12, Yellowknife 20. Alberta, Saskatchewan: sun. Manitoba : cloud. Edmonton 21, Regina 23, Winnipeg 22. Ontario, Quebec: cloud. Toronto 24, Ottawa 21, Montreal 23. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador: sun. Prince Edward Island: cloud. Fredericton 25, Halifax 23, Charlottetown 22, St. John's 21.