Wednesday, August 3, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 2 August 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


The interim leader of Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party, Nycole Turmel, was a card-carrying member of the separatist federal Bloc Québécois Party. But says she never supported the separatist cause. NDP officials say Miss Turmel got a Bloc membership card in support of a friend. Miss Turmel belonged to the Bloc for more than four years but discarded her membership just weeks before running for the New Democrats in the spring federal election. She took over last week as interim leader while Jack Layton receives treatment for an unspecified second cancer.


The Canadian government has deported another suspect whose identity had been posted online. The Canadian Border Services Agency says it has deported Cristobal Gonzalez-Ramirez of Honduras. He was arrested in Edmonton, AB, on July 22. He's one of 30 people suspected of war crimes or crimes against humanity whose photos and names were posted on the Agency's website several weeks ago. Five have already been taken into custody, one of whom was deported to Peru on Sunday.


A court in Hamilton, ON, has declared the first person ever convicted of murder through transmission of HIV a dangerous offender. The designation means that Johnson Aziga could be jailed indefinitely. Prosecutors successfully argued that Aziga's abnormally strong sex drive made him a risk to offend again. The Ugandan immigrant was found guilty of 13 counts of murder and assault. The convictions are the result of his having had sex with 11 women whom he didn't tell he was an HIV carrier. Two of them died of AIDS-related cancers.


Two environmental groups have launched a lawsuit against Alberta's utility regulator. The Pembina Institute and Ecojustice accuse the Alberta Utilities Commission of having hastily approved the construction of a new coal-fired power plant to enable its owner to evade upcoming carbon regulations. On June 30, the Commission gave interim approval for Maxim Power Corp.'s plan to build a 500-megawatt generating plant near Grand Cache in western Alberta. The groups say that June 30 was the latest date allowing for construction of the facility by July 1, 2015. The company had said Ottawa had given assurances that if the plant was built by then, it wouldn't be subject to new carbon rules. Pembina says it's "bizarre" that the Commission didn't even hold public hearings on the matter.


More than 2,000 firefighters continue to battle forest fires in northwestern Ontario, where dry weather and lightning strikes have caused 20 new fires. There are now about 140 active fires in the region. About 1,000 evacuees are still waiting to return to home. Crews are monitoring smoke near communities where residents have returned, in case the hazard rises again.


Controversy continued in Montreal on Tuesday after the collapse of a huge tunnel ceiling of a major thoroughfare on Sunday morning. A 25-tonne mass of concrete collapsed onto the surface on the Ville Marie tunnel in downtown Montreal. No one was hurt. Thousands of drivers use the tunnel during the week. Provincial Transport Minister Sam Hamad was asked about an engineers' report in 2008 that described the condition of the tunnel as "critical" and a danger to users. Mr. Hamad responded that the government had carried out inspections and maintenance work and that the collapse may have been caused by a nearby construction site. However, he acknowledged that investment in Quebec's road infrastructure over the past 20 years has been insufficient. The state of the city's road network has long been a cause of frustration and anger for local drivers.


A Canadian man has been rescued off the southwest coast of Australia after his yacht broke apart in rough seas. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says Paul Lim was not hurt. The engine on his yacht broke away and the boat began sinking as he battled 10-metre waves and strong winds. He activated the emergency beacon and was rescued by the crew of a Panamanian ship.



U.S. President Barack Obama has signed the bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and avert a potentially catastrophic government default. Earlier Tuesday, the Senate approved compromise legislation that raises the cap on government debt. The existing cap of $14.3 trillion would have expired at midnight and the government had warned it wouldn't have been able to borrow more money to pay its bills. The legislation also provides for more than $2 trillion of budget cuts over 10 years, a Republican Party demand. The House of Representatives approved the legislation on Monday evening. The U.S. budget crisis had led to fears that a default would have caused another global financial crisis.


The U.S. government says it won't prosecute aid groups that deal with Somalia's al-Shebab Islamist group to try to alleviate the country's devastating drought. The government says it will maintain sanctions against the group but will show "flexibility" toward aid groups trying to bring in food. The U.S. imposed sanctions on al-Shebab in 2008 that make it a crime to have dealings with the militia. The group controls many of the areas of southern Somalia hardest-hit by drought.


The Syrian military continued shelling of the city of Hama on Tuesday. Most residents stayed indoors instead of joining scattered protests. Protests erupted Monday evening at the beginning of Ramadan in cities including Homs, Latakia, Deir el-Zour and the suburbs of Damascus. Sources inside Hama put the death toll from the army's assaults on Sunday and Monday at about 100. In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with U.S.-based Syrian democracy activists, as the Obama administration considered new sanctions against Syria. Italy became the first EU country to withdraw its ambassador from Syria.


Ticket sales on China's new Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail are declining after a deadly accident on the network on July 23. Some trains are selling as few as 30 percent of their seats. More than 10 trains departed Shanghai on Monday with at least 200 empty second-class seats. Some trains on the new $33-billion rail line that opened on June 30 to mark the 90th birthday of China's Communist Party have seen as many as 700 tickets unsold at departure time. At least 40 people were killed and nearly 200 more were injured when a train rear-ended another after signalling equipment failed, marking China's worst high-speed train accident.


The top federal prosecutors in 21 of the country's 31 states and federal districts have resigned in the agency's largest mass resignation in recent history. The prosecutors quit last Friday, one week after the Attorney General's office announced that 111 of its staff had been charged with crimes and 192 more fired for botching cases. Officials have not provided any explanation for the resignations or say if they were connected to the internal purge that has been ongoing since Attorney General Marisela Morales took office in April.


The Philippines plans to auction off areas of the South China Sea for oil exploration. The move comes despite worsening territorial disputes with China over the area. Philippines Energy Undersecretary José Layug says several foreign firms, including China's state-owned CNOOC, had already expressed interest in drilling in waters off the western Philippine island of Palawan. Mr. Layug says the areas set for exploration are far from the disputed Spratly Islands and well within the Philippines' 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. China claims most of the South China Sea, including areas the Philippines says are clearly Filipino territory.



Canadian online advertising revenues grew by 23 per cent in 2010 and now exceed newspaper advertising as the second-largest ad revenue source. The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada, which represents the country's digital marketing and advertising industry, says revenue amounted to $2.23 billion, surpassing its prediction of $2.1 billion. The lobby's report also says that the Internet is the country's fastest-growing advertising medium. Television remains the top generator of ad revenue.


The federal budget cuts in Washington will have an immediate effect on an Ontario-based firm that operates nursing homes in Canada and the U.S. Extendicare Real Estate Investment Trust says that 11.1-per cent reduction of federal money for public health-care plans in the U.S. will have a negative effect both on its revenues and on seniors themselves. More than two-thirds of Extendicare's 258 post-acute and long-term senior care centres are in the U.S. In late trading Tuesday, the company's shares were down more than 18 per cent at $8.83.


TSX on Tuesday: 12,752 - 193. Dollar: US$1.04. Euro: $1.36. Oil: $93.23 - $1.66.




Canada will play three World Cup qualifying games at Toronto's BMO Field. The Canadian Soccer Association says the Canadian men will host St. Kitts and Nevis on Sept. 2 before facing Puerto Rico on Oct. 11 and St. Lucia on Nov. 15. The team will travel to Puerto Rico on Sept. 6 before heading to St. Lucia on Oct. 7 and St. Kitts and Nevis on Nov. 11.



British Columbia on Wednesday: sun north, mix sun cloud south, high C23 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 22. Yellowknife 21, Iqaluit 11. Alberta: rain. Saskatchewan: sun south, mix sun cloud north. Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Edmonton 22, Regina 28, Winnipeg 29. Ontario: rain south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: cloud. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal 25. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 20, Halifax 19, Charlottetown 20, St. John's 13.

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