Thursday, August 4, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 3 August 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the authorities are prepared to react to allegations that Syrian immigrants have been threatened by the al-Assad régime. Mr. Harper says he's unaware of any such threats but that Canada wouldn't tolerate such behaviour. Mr. Harper says the suppression of dissent in Syria is not a viable option and that Canada and its allies are doing what they can to force the régime in Damascus to reform. One Syrian-Canadian, Abdullah Almalki, told the Canadian Press that he knows of at least three cases of intimidation by the régime against Ottawa residents, two of them having been intimidated over the telephone. Mr. Almalki was tortured by al-Assad's régime after the RCMP mistakenly labelled him a terrorist threat. One woman who preferred to remain anonymous told CP that she had received death threats because of anti-régime statements she had made on Facebook. She says the author of the threats is well known in the Syrian-Canadian community as having links to the Syrian embassy.


The interim leader of Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party, Nycole Turmel, is defending her past connections with the sovereignty movement in the province of Quebec. She says she was a member of the federal separatist Bloc Québécois party since 2006 and the provincial separatist Québec Solidaire since 2007. NDP officials claim she has never been a separatist. Miss Turmel was named interim party leader last week as Jack Layton's replacement while he undergoes cancer treatment. The prime minister, Mr. Harper, says he's disappointed by the revelation and believes other Canadians are as well. Mr. Harper says that Canadians expect that any political party that wants to run the country be "unequivocally committed" to it.


A court in the Canadian province of British Columbia has agreed to hear the case of a woman who demands to be allowed an assisted death. The court has accepted her lawyer's argument that his client's case should be heard quickly because her medical condition is worsening and she wants to die with dignity. The woman suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease. The four-week hearing will start on Nov. 15. The federal government argued unsuccessfully that the case is too complex to be prepared so quickly. In 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada denied a woman the right to take her own life.


The World Anti-Doping Agency has questioned an allegation that hackers in China compromised its computer servers. The Montreal-based agency says it has yet to be convinced that it was one of four Canadian operations targeted by the hackers. The agency acknowledges a breach of its email servers in February 2008 but says it's unaware of other violations. Earlier Wednesday, the U.S. security firm McAfee named the WADA in a report on international hacking, claiming its systems were compromised for 14 months starting in August 2009. It also said two unidentified Canadian government agencies received the same treatment. Others named were the governments of the U.S., Taiwan, India, South Korea and Vietnam, as well as the International Olympic Committee, the UN and a range of companies.


The last 600 of several thousand residents of northwestern Ontario who fled wildfires several weeks ago were expected back home late Wednesday. Hundreds of the residents, many of them living in remote native villages, have been straggling back all week. Fires continue to ravage the region. The ministry of natural resources says 11 new fires have started, bringing the total to 135. Almost 600,000 hectares have been destroyed since the wildfire season began, the third-largest area affected by forest fires in the province in 50 years.


The government of the western Canadian province of Alberta has announced $189 million more of emergency aid for the northern town of Slave Lake to help with rebuilding and recovery. A wildfire destroyed about one-third of the town last May, about 2,000 residents losing their homes. The new money will be directed to three new projects involving temporary housing for those displaced. The government had already allocated $100 million after the fire.



The UN has declared famine in three more areas of southern Somalia. One of them is the refugee camps in Mogadishu and the nearby Afgoye corridor. One-hundred-thousand more refugees have arrived in the two latter places in the past two months, brining the total to 400,000. The world body says the current humanitarian response to the crisis is inadequate, due in part to restrictions on access. Much of southern Somalia is controlled by the Islamist militia al-Shebab, which expelled many aid groups from the region and banned food aid last year.


Wednesday was the fourth day of an army offensive against the rebellious city of Hama. At least three tanks occupied the city central square. Assi Square has been the scene of demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of protesters calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. The city's electricity, water and telephone lines have been cut. Sources inside Hama have told Western news agencies that about 100 people have been killed since Sunday. Meanwhile at the UN, the Security Council has approved a resolution condemning Syria's political crackdown. The Council had been deadlocked over Syria for more than three months, Russia in particular opposing any statement on the violence there.


Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak, has begun his trial in Cairo. The 83-year-old Mr. Mubarak denied all charges of corruption and complicity in the killing of protesters during the uprising that forced him to resign in February. Mr. Mubarak was in court along with several co-accused, including his two sons. He has been sick in recent months with heart problems.


France's pilots' union has suspended its co-operation with an inquiry into the 2009 crash of an Air France flight. The union is protesting against what it said was the authorities' decision to ignore problems with the plane's stall alarm and emphasize instead pilot errors. The union said it will ignore the investigation until the air accident investigation agency explains its decision to drop from an interim report last week a recommendation concerning the Airbus A330's stall alarm. The agency said the pilots of the Air France flight from Rio to Paris failed to respond to repeated stall warnings and outlined actions that appeared to defy the textbook response to an aerodynamic stall. The plane crashed into the Atlantic off the coast of Brazil, killing all 228 people onboard.


Russian investigators have re-opened a criminal case against a lawyer who died in detention before his trial. Attorney Sergei Magnitsky accused the authorities of receiving $230 million in back taxes paid by his Western hedge fund client in 2007. He was jailed on fraud charges the next year and died of untreated ailments in November 2009. The investigation is being observed by Western governments as a test of President Dmitry Medvedev's commitment to reform. Mr. Medvedev ordered a comprehensive review of the entire episode after his rights panel concluded that Mr. Magnitsky should have never been put in prison by the very officials at the Interior Ministry's investigative department he suspected of involvement in fraud. The lawyer was accused of organizing the very tax fraud scheme he claimed to have uncovered.


Police have captured two leaders of a major cocaine operation that sent submarines filled with drugs to the world's top drug consumer, the United States. Colombia, the world's top cocaine producer, has received billions of dollars in aid from Washington to stop the trafficking of the drug. Colombia's new criminal gangs ship tons of cocaine monthly through Central America and Mexico to the United States, and to a lesser extent to Europe.


An Argentine judge says he has enough evidence to detain a suspect for more questioning in the killings of two young French women who were apparently kidnapped, raped and shot to death while vacationing in a northern province. Two other men who were questioned and released accused police of beating them in their efforts to obtain evidence. The bodies of Moumni Houria, 23, and Cassandre Bouvier, 29, were found Friday alongside a hiking and horseback riding trail in the Quebrada de San Lorenzo, a mountainous and forested park just above the provincial capital of Salta. Police said both had been shot with a .22-calibre weapon on July 26. Officials in France and Argentina are closely monitoring the case in Salta, where relatives of both victims arrived Tuesday to arrange the repatriation of their bodies.



Nineteen American scientists from several prominent institutions have written a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama to lobby against a pipeline that would convey oil from Alberta's oilsands to the U.S. Several of the signers are from Princeton, Harvard and Columbia universities. They're campaigning against TransCanada Pipeline's project to extend an existing pipeline with hubs in the U.S. Midwest. The Keystone XL project would extend the line to refineries in Texas. Supporters of the plan argue that it would provide the U.S. with a safe and secure energy source. Opponents says the pipeline would be unsafe and lock the U.S. further into the use of high-carbon oil when the country is trying to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.


TSX on Wednesday: 12,816 + 64. Dollar: US$1.03. Euro: $1.37. Oil: $91.91 - $1.88.




Toronto will host its second UFC event of the year this fall. UFC 140 will be held at Air Canada Centre on Dec.10. The mixed martial arts organization made a smashing debut in the city last June. A UFC record of almost 56,000 fans packed Rogers Centre to watch Canadian fighter Georges St-Pierre beat Jake Shields in the main event.



Canada's weather for Wednesday In the Canadian north, sunny in Iqaluit and 11 degrees Celsius. Sunny periods in Yukon and 18 in Whitehorse. Sunny periods in British Columbia with a high of 24 in Vancouver. Sunny periods across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with highs of 22 in Edmonton, 28 in Regina and 30 in Winnipeg. A mix of rain, sun and cloud across Ontario and cloudy in Quebec. Mostly rain across the four Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Some temperatures: 25 in Toronto, 24 in Ottawa, 25 in Montreal, 19 in Halifax and 18 in Saint John's.


British Columbia on Thursday: sun, high C24 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: rain. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse 16, Yellowknife 23, Iqaluit 9. Prairies: sun. Edmonton, Regina 24, Winnipeg 20. Ontario: rain north, sun south. Quebec: sun. Toronto 30, Ottawa 28, Montreal 27. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 20, Halifax 18, Charlottetown 21, St. John's 17.

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