Thursday, July 21, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


The Bank of Canada reports that economic growth in Canada was 1.5 per cent in the second quarter, down one-quarter of a percentage point from an earlier prediction. The bank attributes the slower growth to the end of government stimulus spending, higher food and energy prices and the disruption of manufacturing supply lines by Japan's earthquake and tsunami. The bank says that disruption alone removed one-quarter of a percentage point from GDP growth. However, the central bank forecasts a faster pace of growth in the second half and a yearly figure of 2.8 per cent. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney says that although the global outlook remains broadly unchanged, the national debt crisis in Europe increases risks.


Federal and provincial energy ministers were unable to reach an agreement on a new national energy strategy at their two-day meeting in Kananaskis, AB, this week. They did agree to work together on energy efficiency, public energy awareness, new markets for Canadian energy exports and the need to make electrical grids more reliable. But they were divided over expanded development of the Alberta oilsands. Negotiations will continue at the next meetings, which will be in Charlottetown in the fall of 2012.


The Canadian Border Services Agency reports that U.S. demands that travellers entering the U.S. from Canada show passports has led to delays going both ways. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, millions of Canadians have had to acquire passports or other secure identification documents to ensure they can still travel to the U.S. Previously, Canadians could enter the U.S. with a simple verbal declaration of citizenship. The border agency's evaluation of the present situation reveals that travellers' possession of detailed documents makes it easier for agents to check them against police and intelligence databases. The result is that more people returning to Canada are pulled over for closer inspection. The documents have had the same effect on travellers entering the U.S. The revelation comes at a time when the two countries are trying to negotiate a "perimeter security" accord to facilitate the flow of goods and people, while safeguarding continental security.


Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the government is going to revoke the citizenship of at least 1,800 people who acquired it fraudulently. Mr. Kenney says most of those concerned were counselled by unscrupulous immigration consultants who told them how to fabricate proof of residency in Canada. The minister says the government is sending the message that Canadian citizenship isn't for sale. Canada has revoked only 66 citizenships until now in a process that is usually lengthy because of court appeals. But Mr. Kenney says most of those involved in the new proceedings are unlikely to contest the decision because they don't live in Canada.


The federal government is going to make it easier for most people to visit Canada by issuing 10-year multiple-entry visas for those who need a visa to visit temporarily. Users will include close relatives of new Canadians whose sponsorship to live in this country is still being processed. The visas may also be made available to business travellers. Currently, only 5-year multiple-entry visas are available.


Worsening wildfires in northwestern Ontario forced the evacuation of another 1,800 natives out from their homes on Wednesday, bringing the total number of evacuees to 3,300. Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey says the fires have now burned 300,000 hectares. The smoke and flames are increasingly encroaching on remote First Nations communities. Many residents have been flown to other communities in the area, including Greenstone, Dryden and Sioux Lookout. Two-thousand firefighters, including 500 from out of province, are battling the blazes.


Some Canadian war veterans are upset by France's plan to install wind turbines off the beaches of Normandy, where Allied troops launched the D-Day assault in World War Two. Jack Martin was a sergeant when he stormed Juno Beach with the Queen's Own Rifles, and calls the turbine plan a disgusting affair. He says the beach and the area around it is treasured property where no commercial projects should be allowed. Retired Maj. Roy E. Eddy has similar feelings, saying France should put turbines somewhere other than where 359 Canadians gave their lives in 1944.


A doctor at a Libyan hospital says more than 50 rebels have been killed in six days of fighting with government forces over the strategic eastern oil town of Brega. An uprising against the rule of MOammar Gadhafi in February has left much of Libya's east in rebel hands. The fighting for the town has stalled outside the gates of the heavily defended Brega. Meanwhile, France's foreign minister has suggested a possible way out of Libya's civil war, allowing Gadhafi to stay in the country if he relinquishes power. The Libyan insists he will neither step down nor flee the country he has led for 40-years.


British Prime Minister David Cameron has sought to defend hIs integrity in Britain's newspaper scandal under questioning in the House of Commons. He told the House that he regrets having hired as his spokesman a former editor of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World newspaper. But he added that he would only offer an apology if it turned out that Andy Coulson had lied about not knowing of illegal practices at the newspaper. Mr. Coulson has since resigned. Both he and his predecessor as editor, Rebekah Brooks, have been arrested and are out on bail. Mr. Coulson is suspected of conspiring to intercept phone calls and to bribe police.


Serbian secret police have seized the last fugitive wanted by the UN's Balkan war crimes tribunal. Goran Hadzic, a former ethnic Serb leader in Croatia, was caught hiding in a remote mountain forest. The tribunal indicted him on 14 charges in 2004, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mr. Hadzic is accused of involvement in the levelling of the city of Vukovar, the first European city to be completely destroyed since the end of World War II, after a three-month siege. He joined an ethnic Serb revolt against Croatia's independence and helped set up a mini-state that expelled non-Serbs from one-third of Croatian territory. The EU has made the handing over by Serbia of accused criminals from the Balkan wars a condition for EU membership. Serbian President Boris Tadic says his country has now done this both for the Serbs' own sake as for that of the victims of the Balkan wars.


Chinese officials have criticized the Wednesday's trip by five Filipino politicians to disputed territories in the South China Sea as an infringement of China's territorial sovereignty. The members of parliament arrived by plane on one of the islands in the Spratlys chain. Their arrival on the island came despite warnings from China that the trip would destabilize the region and damage ties. Legislator Walden Bello says the delegation came to promote a peaceful solution to a territorial dispute. The visit comes as tensions rise over the Spratlys, which are wholly or partially claimed by China and the Philippines, as well as Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan. The Spratlys are believed to sit on vast natural resources and also straddle shipping lanes vital to world trade.


TSX on Wednesday: 13,340 + 8. Dollar: US$1.05, up sllightly. Euro: $1.34. Oil: $98.42 + .56


A major Chinese oil company, CNOOC, has agreed to take over Canadian oil sands developer OPTI for about US$2.1 billion. The acquisition is still subject to approval from Chinese and Canadian regulators. The announcement comes as China moves to secure more resources in North America. Chinese firms have been making purchases in recent years, mostly through joint ventures and partial stakes, in the oil sands region of the western Canadian province of Alberta.


The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has agreed to trade a stake in Sydney airport in Australia for shares in two others in Europe. MAp Airports, the majority owner of the facility, says it has struck a deal whereby Teachers' will sell its 11-per cent stake and will receive from MAp a 39-per cent share in Brussels airport and a 30-per cent stake in Copenhagen airport. The pension fund will pay MAP $807 million. The fund has been trying to diversify away from volatile stock and bond markets into infrastructure and other investments that provide stable, long-term returns.


A committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has voted in favour of a Canadian project to construct a 2,700-kilometre extension to an existing pipeline. TransCanada Pipeline wants to add the Keystone XL extension to its existing pipeline that conveys Alberta crude to terminals in Illinois and Oklahoma. The extension would bring it to refineries in Texas. The House foreign affairs committee voted 30-14 for a text calling on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to approve. Rep. Connie Mack says the project would strengthen ties with Canada and be an alternative to buying oil from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Environmentalists are fiercely opposed to the plan because it would lead to greater production from the oilsands with the resulting pollution. The vote will likely have no immediate effect because it came during a debate on an overall spending bill that will likely be opposed by the Democratic Party-controlled Senate.



Roberto Alomar, the unproven name in a trade that transformed Toronto in to back-to-back

World Series champions, has become the first Blue Jay to have

his number retired. Alomar is assured that no other member of the

organisation will wear his number 12 again.

His .307 batting average with Toronto remains the highest

recorded by a Blue Jay among players with a minimum 2,000 plate

appearances. He also ranks second in stolen bases (206) and

fifth in triples (36). Alomar, who was named the 1992 American League Championship

Series Most Valuable Player, batted .373 in 29 playoff games as

a Blue Jay.


British Columbia on Thursday: rain north, mix sun cloud south, high C20 Vancouver. Yukon: sun. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: mix sun cloud rain. Whitehorse 22, Yellowknife 19, Iqaluit 13. Alberta: rain. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 18, Regina, Winnipeg 25. Ontario: sun. Quebec: rain. Toronto 37, Ottawa 34, Montreal 33. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Nova Scotia: sun. Fredericton 32, Halifax 26, Charlottetown 25, St. John's 18.