Thursday, August 11, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 10 August 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says critics in Canada and the U.S. of free trade with Colombia are using the human rights issue as a pretext when the real reason for the criticism is protectionism. Mr. Harper made the statement in Bogota while standing beside President Juan Manuel Santos. Mr. Harper says people cannot block the progress of a country like Colombia by hiding behind the rights issue. The Canada-Colombia free-trade accord comes into effect on Monday. Before it was signed in 2008, the opposition left-leaning New Democratic Party tried to block it. Some U.S. lawmakers and labour groups have blocked a similar accord on the grounds that Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for trade unionists. A number of them and journalists have been kidnapped in recent years and there have been allegations that the Colombian government is linked to paramilitary squads. Mr. Harper says the best way to allay such concerns is to help lift Colombia out of poverty, in part through the free exchange of goods.


Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Canada's economy remains stable despite the storms raging in global markets. The minister says that turmoil in Europe and the U.S. haven't prevented the Canadian economy from performing relatively well. Mr. Flaherty cited seven straight quarters of economic growth. The Toronto Stock Exchange is down sharply this week. The minister pledged Wednesday to stick to strict budget deficit reduction plans and urged other countries to do the same, saying the current market turmoil was caused by excess debt. On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would keep interest rates at record lows for the next two years. Canadian economists reacted by predicting that the Bank of Canada will follow the same policy.


A new poll indicates that most people are unworried by the revelation that the New Democratic Party's interim leader Nycole Turmel was a member of the separatist Bloc Québécois party until last January. The Canadian Press-Harris/Decima survey found that only 20 per cent of those asked considered it a major issue. One-fourth considered it a minor one and almost one-half of respondents didn't deem it an issue at all. The poll also found that voter intentions have changed little since the May 2 national election, with Conservative support at 37 per cent, the NDP at 29, the Liberals at 20, the Green Party at seven per cent and the Bloc at five.


A new survey shows that Canadians appear to be committed to publicly-funded health care but think the current system needs fixing. The Canadian Medical Association recently finished a round of town-hall meetings to find out what Canadians feel about the country's faltering health care system. Of the some 1,500 people who took part, most said they wanted to see the system deliver timely, compassionate and efficient care.


Canada has responded to a request from Jamaica for help during the Caribbean nation's hurricane season. Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the military is sending three helicopters and 65 air force personnel to Jamaica. Those being deployed include specially trained search-and-rescue technicians. The aircraft and search crews will help with rescue work during heavy rains or tropical storms. Forecasters say high ocean temperatures and atmospheric conditions point to an above-average storm season in the Caribbean.



The British government has for the first time authorized the use of water cannons for crowd control. Water cannons had previously only been used for that purpose in the UK to quell sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron says the government will make the water cannon available to local police at 24 hours' notice and had already authorized their use of plastic bullets to help stop the recent days of rioting in English cities. London was quiet on Wednesday evening as numbers of police deployed overnight increased to 16,000. More than 1,100 people have been arrested since the riots started in the northern London district on Tottenham on Monday after police shot a man dead. The riots have raised questions about security ahead of next year's London Olympics.


The U.S. government has sought to increase political pressure on the Syrian government by adding to existing economic sanctions. The U.S. Treasury Department has added the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria and its Lebanese-based subsidiary to its sanctions list. The measure freezes any of their assets in a U.S. jurisdiction and forbids Americans to do business with them. The department claims the bank is an agent for Syrian and North Korean weapons proliferators. Washington also added to the sanctions list Syriatel, the country's cellphone operator, on the grounds that its controlled by one of the Syrian régime's most corrupt insiders. Officials in Washington also say the Obama administration is preparing to demand the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In other news, a Syrian activist group, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reports that an armoured Syrian force killed at least 11 civilians in the city of Homs. And the government says the army withdrew from Hama after a 10-day assault.


Sea trials have started for China's first aircraft carrier.

The carrier left Dalian port in northeast Liaoning province on Wednesday morning. The test run had been anticipated.

China officially acknowledged two weeks ago that it is rebuilding the carrier it bought more than a decade ago. It says the refurbished ship will be used only for research and training.


The UN has urged Somalia's transitional government to take immediate action to restore order in Mogadishu after the departure of the al-Shabab Islamist militia. The world body's top envoy to Somalia has warned the Security Council that otherwise warlords will likely fill a power vacuum. The envoy says the exit of the militia presents the transition government its first opportunity in years to exercise authority over the capital. Al-Shabab controlled about one-third of Mogadishu and continues to control most of the south, where a famine is raging. The UN envoy warns as well that the transitional government and the 9,000 African Union peacekeeping troops who support it have only limited resources and urged immediate international support.


North Korea has denied South Korea's accusation that it had twice fired shells near their border near the Yellow Sea. North Korea says there was blasting at a construction site but no firing. The North Koreans accuse South Korea of sabrerattling in connection with annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises. This year's maneuvres will be devoted to a simulated destruction of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction.



Canada's federal police force has warned that the country's growing diamond industry is at risk of being used for money-laundering. A report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police obtained by the National Post newspaper says the diamond industry is mostly unregulated, a situation that leaves dealers vulnerable to money-laundering. Canada is the world's third-biggest producer of rough diamonds. But the report says the secondary diamond industry involving cutting and polishing is also growing and could be lucrative for organized crime groups. The RCMP says diamonds are easy to smuggle through airports because the items are small, odourless, non-metallic and easily hidden.


TSX on Wednesday: 12,199 + 90. Dollar: US$1.00. Euro: $1.41. Oil: $82.14 + $2.84.




Roger Federer has defeated Canadian Vasek Prospisil in straight sets in the men's draw of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

It was a dream matchup for the 21-year-old Prospisil, who has idolized the tennis great since he was a kid.

But after a close first set, the 30-year-old Federer disposed of the 155th-ranked native of Vernon, B.C., 7-5, 6-3.

The No. 3-ranked Federer won the Rogers Cup in 2004 and 2006 and was the runner-up in 2007 and 2010. On the women's side in Toronto, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki fell 6-4, 7-5 to Roberta Vinci of Italy in second-round action at Rexall Centre. Meanwhile, No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic survived an early scare before defeating Russia's Nikolay Davydenko 7-5, 6-1.

Earlier in the day in Toronto, Italian eighth-seed Francesca Schiavone eased into the third round with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Russia's Ekaterina Makarova. Joining Schiavone in the third round is recent Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who battled Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues to a 7-6

(3), 6-3 win.


Jesse Marsch will lead the Montreal Impact when the club makes the jump to Major League Soccer next season.

The Impact have named the 38-year-old former midfielder as its new head coach.

He will join the club for the 2012 season.

Marsch played 14 MLS seasons with three teams before retiring in 2010.


Andreas Athanasiou scored twice as Canada's under-18 men's hockey team advanced to the semifinal of the

Ivan Hlinka memorial tournament after hammering Switzerland 6-0.

Canada will meet either Russia or Finland in one of Friday's




British Columbia on Thursday: rain north, mix sun cloud south, high C23 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 10, Yellowknife 22, Iqaluit 9. Alberta, Manitoba: rain. Saskatchewan: sun. Edmonton 23, Regina 24, Winnipeg 30. Ontario: mix sun cloud rain. Quebec: rain. Toronto 26, Ottawa 19, Montreal 20. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 23, Halifax 21, Charlottetown 22, St. John's 13.

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