Tuesday, August 9, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 8 August 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canadian Maj.-Gen. Jonathan Vance has acknowledged that the situation on the ground in Libya between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi is "static." Gen. Vance was testifying on Monday before a special summer sitting of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee. He told the committee that although the insurgents are becoming more experienced and are obtaining access to more resources, their progress has been modest, comprising "incremental increases and improvements." Gen. Vance says that while Gadhafi's forces have become seriously depleted, his soldiers still haven't returned to their barracks. Gen. Vance's superior, Maj.-Gen. Charles Bouchard, is commanding all NATO forces engaged in Libya from a base in Italy. He recently rejected suggestions that the military campaign to oust Gadhafi has bogged down in a stalemate.


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper opened a six-day tour of four Latin American nations in Brazil on Monday. He and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed several agreements concerning air transport, social security and improvements of international aid. On Friday, Mr. Harper's spokesman said there would also be discussions about starting negotiations for a free-trade deal. The prime minister will also visit Colombia, Costa Rica and Honduras.


Canada's official opposition party has demanded that the Conservative Party government make a decision about the future of the country's busiest bridge. The New Democratic Party's deputy critic for transport, MP Jamie Nicholls, says it has become essential that the government replace the Champlain Bridge. The bridge connects Montreal to southern Quebec. The 49-year-old structure is a federal responsibility. Mr. Nicholls says commuters and businesses can no longer afford the uncertainty surrounding such a piece of vital infrastructure. Recent engineering reports says the bridge is at risk of collapse and must be soon replaced. The engineers estimate that a replacement bridge would cost $1.3 billion or a tunnel $1.9 billion. Some $20 billion worth of international trade crosses the Champlain Bridge each year.


Rain is helping firefighters in Canada's province of Ontario, where 128 wildfires are blazing. Forecasters say the northwestern region of the province, where the fires are located, could get up to 20 millimetres of rain by Tuesday morning. So far this season, forest fires in northwestern Ontario have destroyed about 5,800 square kilometres of woodlands.


A veteran of the Canadian army says the east coast province of New Brunswick should join Ontario and British Columbia in designating a Highway of Heroes to pay tribute to fallen soldiers. Trapper Cane says the original Highway of Heroes, named in 2007, stretches from Canadian Forces Base Trenton in southern Ontario to the city of Toronto. The idea for the original tribute arose when people started lining the roadside and overpasses as the bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan made their way home after repatriation ceremonies at the Trenton air base. In June, a new Highway of Heroes was dedicated in British Columbia after the province renamed a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway between Langley and Abbotsford. Mr. Cane, president of the Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Unit, says he would like to see a commemorative highway stretching from coast to coast.


Two of three whistleblowing scientists fired by Health Canada have lost their long legal fight to regain their jobs. The Public Service Labour Relations Board has dismissed the grievances of Shiv Chopra and Margaret Haydon, who were fired for insubordination in 2004. However, the Board ruled that a third scientist, Gerard Lambert, was wrongfully dismissed. The three scientists have attracted public attention since the 1990s in a series of disputes over food safety. They have said their superiors at Health Canada pressured them to approve drugs despite human safety concerns. The decision came after 150 days of hearings over five years. The Professional Institute of the Public Service says it will likely appeal the decision.



U.S. President Barack Obama sought to reassure the world on Monday about the state of his country's finances on Monday after the investment assessor Standard & Poors downgraded the U.S. debt trading on Friday. The president says that whatever S & P thinks, the U.S. remains a "triple-A" country. However, Mr. Obama added that he hopes the decision will give the U.S. Congress a renewed sence of urgency to tackle the U.S. government's debt problems.


Syrian state television reports that President Bashar al-Assad has appointed a new minister of defence, former army chief of staff Gen. Dawoud Rajha. He replaces Gen. Ali Habib. The change was announced as government tanks continued pounding the eastern city of Deir al-Zour for a second day. Some 50 people died there on Sunday when the government launched a pre-dawn raid. Troops were reported to be withdrawing from the city of Hama, where scores of people have died at the hands of security forces in the past week. Meanwhile, Syria's neighbors have turned up diplomatic pressure on Damascus to halt its violent crackdown on those seeking reform. Saudi Arabia, Kuwiat and Bahrain have all recalled their ambassadors. Jordan is calling for dialogue. On Sunday, the Arab League condemned the violence, calling for an immediate halt to the killings.


The top rebel leader has disbanded his entire government in an attempt to end the political crisis caused by the assassination of a top insurgent general at the end of last month. Mustafa Abdel Jalil has dismissed top members of the National Transitional Council, including the ministers of finance, defence and information, telling his prime minister, Mahmud Jibril, to form a new government. Gen. Abdel Fatah Yunis was killed after he returned to Benghazi under arrest. The details of the murder are still under investigation.


Russia will lift its ban on raw vegetables from all European Union countries starting on Tuesday. Russia banned imports of raw vegetables from the European Union on June 2 due to a deadly E. coli outbreak. Moscow later agreed to drop the ban provided it received safety guarantees and has since allowed imports from some EU nations. The EU, which exported about $850 million worth of vegetables to Russia last year, had said the ban was not scientifically justified. The ban strained Russia's relationship with the EU, its biggest trading partner.


The UN has flown 31 tonnes of materials into the Somali capital Mogadishu to be used for shelters for the growing numbers of refugees. It was the first flight by the UN to Mogadishu in five years. The UN says there will be more such flights in coming days because deliveries of relief by land and sea are too slow. The flights arrived after the al-Shabab Islamist insurgents withdrew from the capital. The world body says 100,000 refugees have arrived in the city in the past two months fleeing from drought. The UN also says aid is reaching only about 20 per cent of the 2.6 million Somalis who need it.


There was a third night of violence in Britain's capital on Monday. Protesters threw a variety of objects at police in a area around Hackney Central station in northeastern London, and police responded by charging them. Police describe the rioters as opportunistic criminals whose actions won't affect preparations for next summer's Olympic Games. The weekend violence began is Tottenham after a protest against a police shooting turned violent. Tottenham is only a few kilometres from the Olympic park that will welcome millions of visitors next summer.



Canada and the U.S. are continuing their long-standing commercial dispute over exports of Canadian softwood lumber. The U.S. trade representative will present a formal complain to the London Court of International Arbitration on Tuesday. The Americans first alleged seven months ago that timber producers in British Columbia are selling lumber damaged by the mountain pine beetle at cur-rate prices in the U.S. According to the trade representative, the sales violate a softwood lumber agreement of 2006 that ended an earlier phase of the softwood squabbles. An American trade publication last week suggested that the U.S. government would sek a penalty of up to US$4 billion.


TSX on Monday: 11,670 - 492, down 4.04 percent. Dollar: US$1.00. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $81.17 - $5.71.




Sweden took advantage of an

undisciplined Canadian men's under-18 team Monday to kick off the

Ivan Hlinka memorial hockey tournament with a 5-1 win.

The Swedes scored three times on the power play, including twice

in the first period, and never looked back.

Charles Hudon of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens had the only goal for

Canada in the third.



British Columbia on Tuesday: mix sun cloud, high C23 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse 17, Yellowknife 24, Iqaluit 8. Alberta: rain. Saskatchewan: sun. Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Edmonton 26, Regina 24, Winnipeg 21. Ontario: rain. Quebec: sun. Toronto 26, Ottawa, Montreal 27. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 23, Halifax 19, Charlottetown 18, St. John's 12.

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