Friday, August 12, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 11 August 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his government will push for stronger international sanctions against Syria because of its ongoing "outrageous" crackdown on protest. Mr. Harper says Canada will work with its allies to toughen existing measures against the régime of President Bashar al-Assad. Canada has banned travel to Canada by Syrian leaders and imposed severe limits on trade. The trade measure is largely symbolic because Canada was exporting only about $60 million worth of goods to Syria and importing goods worth only one-sixth of that figure. The prime minister made the remarks in San José, Costa Rica. He and his hostess, President Laura Chincilla, announced agreements on air transportation and the exchange of tax information. They also agreed start negotiations to expand their countries' nine-year-old free-trade accord by getting rid of tariffs on farm and industrial goods. Mr. Harper concludes his six-day tour of four Latin American states on Friday in Honduras.


The government of Canada is being asked whether it's really necessary to be so secretive about what's in the RCMP file on the late Canadian political figure Tommy Douglas. The former Saskatchewan premier and one-time federal New Democratic Party leader is widely seen as the father of Canada's health-care system. He was followed by the RCMP for some 50 years before his death in 1986, his connections to peace movements and members of the Communist Party being of particular interest. When the Canadian Press news agency tried to have the Douglas file released six years ago under the Access to Information Act, it was given just a few hundred heavily censored pages. On Thursday, Federal Court of Canada expressed doubt about the government's explanation that disclosing the file could give away secrets of the spy trade. The court has given Library and Archives Canada 90 days to see what other information might be released.


Elections B.C. says more than 1.6 million residents voted in the referendum on the controversial harmonized sales tax, more than one-half of the province's registered voters. The Acting Chief Electoral Officer says the referendum has cost $8.9 million, down from the $12 million that had been predicted. The results will be known at the end of the month.


Canada's government is denying a union claim that moving federal meat inspectors out of plants British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will put consumers at risk. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the department is working with the three provinces to ensure a smooth transition of inspection services, while maintaining food safety standards. Dozens of Canadian Food Inspection Agency staff will be pulled from their duties by January 2014 as a cost-saving measure. That leaves about 60 provincially-licensed plants in B.C., 20 in Saskatchewan and 33 in Manitoba without inspectors who test for E. coli, listeria and other contaminants. Provincial inspections won't require that type of testing. The president of the federal Agriculture Union, Bob Kingston, says the 2014 deadline is too tight to fully train a new force of inspectors.


Canada has deported a Peruvian man suspected of war crimes. The Canada Border Services Agency says it sent Henry Pantoja Carbonel back to his homeland on Thursday. He was arrested in Toronto last month five days after his name and photo appeared on the Agency's website. He was one of 30 on a list of alleged war criminals. Four of the other suspects have been either located or arrested.



The Canadian general who is commanding NATO's campaign against Libya says forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi can no longer mount a credible military offensive and have lost strength and the will to fight. Lieut.-Gen. Charles Bouchard says this is why NATO increasingly observes "ruthless mercenaries" from elsewhere who are being used to inflict extreme violence on civilians. Gen. Bouchard says the presence of mercenaries proves that Gadhafi's forces are being degraded by NATO as well as by defections of generals, policemen and politicians. Last week, the Libyan government accused NATO of having killed 85 people, among them civilians, in an attack against the village of Majer, south of the disputed city of Zliten. Gen. Bouchard says the target was a legitimate one that contained mercenaries, a command centre and vehicles modified with automatic weapons, rocket launchers and mortars.


There are more reports of clashes between Syria's security forces and civilian protesters. Rights groups and activists have told Western news agencies that the army shot dead 11 people in the western town of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon. Many others are reported injured. The sources also report an attack against the town of Saraqeb, near the border with Turkey. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 100 people were arrested. In the U.S., the Physicians for Human rights lobby says Syrian authorities are targeting medical facilities. The group claims injured civilians needing care are avoiding hospitals and clinics controlled by the government for fear of arrest or torture.


A source close to Ai Weiwei says the Chinese dissident artist endured intense psychological pressure during 81 days in secretive detention and still faces the threat of prison for alleged subversion. In the first broad account of Mr. Ai's treatment in detention since he was released in June, the source said the 54-year-old artist was interrogated more than 50 times by police, while he was held in two secret locations. The source told Reuters News Agency the questioning focused on Mr. Ai's purported role in the planned Arab-inspired "Jasmine Revolution" protests in China in February and his writings that could constitute subversion. That account runs counter to the Chinese government's repeated statements that Mr. Ai's detention was based on economic crimes.


Officials say police are taking special precautions to avoid casualties among Palestinian demonstrators if protests planned in the West Bank next month take place. The demonstrations would be timed to coincide with an endorsement of a Palestinian state by the UN General Assembly. The officials say the Israeli police and army are importing horses, water cannons, tear gas launchers and noise machines to deal with protesters without inflicting casualties. In May, the army shot dead more than a dozen Palestinians who stormed unexpectedly across the Syrian border into the Golan Heights. The army later admitted it had been caught off guard and did not have proper crowd control equipment.



Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons says it hasn't been affected by the turmoil in world financial markets in recent weeks. CEO Paul House says he hasn't noted any changes in the spending habits of the company's customers because of the debt crisis in Europe and the downgrading of the U.S. government's credit rating. Tim Hortons reported a second-quarter profit of $95.5 million Thursday, up slightly from that of a year earlier. The company has been trying to cope with higher world prices for coffee, wheat and sugar. But Mr. House says it is locked into lower prices from its suppliers until at least early into next year.


Britain's Home Office says it will hold talks with BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion about the recent days of rioting in English cities. Prime Minister David Cameron says that government, police and intelligence services are studying whether there should be limits on services like BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter and Facebook. Mr. Cameron's office has said the rioters used BlackBerry's almost cost-free messaging service to co-ordinate their depredations. The prime minister told a special session of Parliament on Thursday that police had been overwhelmed by mobile groups of looters in the first nights of looting and that his government is now weighing giving police new powers. He cited allowing officers to order thugs to remove masks and hoods, evicting troublemakers from public housing and temporarily disabling cellphone instant messaging services. Mr. Cameron also says the UK will look to the U.S. for solutions to gang violence.


TSX on Thursday: 12,540 + 340. Dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $85.68 + $2.79.




Tomas Berdych is the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the men's draw at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

The seventh-seeded Czech downed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a battle of hard-serving giants today. No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat Croatia's Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-2.

The No. 6 seed became the latest casualty of the Rogers Cup women's draw in Toronto, bowing out of third-round action with a 6-2, 6-4 loss

to No. 10 seed Samantha Stosur of Australia.



British Columbia on Friday: rain north, sun south, high C23 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 13, Yellowknife 21, Iqaluit 9. Alberta: rain. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 27, Regina 23, Winnipeg 25. Ontario: rain north, sun south. Quebec: sun. Toronto 27, Ottawa, Montreal 26. New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 25, Halifax 24, Charlottetown 23, St. John's 20.

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