Saturday, August 20, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird says Canada will return to the UN Conference on Disarmament now that North Korea is no longer its chairman. Canada withdrew from the conference in July to protest against the chairmanship of a country that is a notorious nuclear proliferator. Chairmanship of the Geneva-based talks is rotated alphabetically among the 65 participating. The Canadian government has said it will lobby for a new way of selection that would prevent countries like North Korea and Iran that have ignored international efforts to curb their nuclear programs from chairing the conference.


Canada's Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, says he will do what is necessary if the global economic slowdown hits Canada hard. But he says that for time being his budget projections are on target. The minister told the House of Commons finance committee Friday that fiscal results to date have been consistent with the projections set out in the budget. Mr. Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney were called to testify before the committee after two weeks of volatile trading on stock markets that saw major gains and losses. Global investors are worried about growing government debts in several European countries and the possibility that some could default on them. There are also fears that the weak American economy will squeeze the Canadian economy and undermine the government's deficit-fighting plan.


The rate of inflation slowed in July, helped by falling gas prices. The Consumer Price Index rose at an annual pace of 2.7 percent last month. That was down from 3.1 in June. The latest figures give the Bank of Canada room to keep interest rates at historic lows.


The Canadian government has become financially involved in a power project in eastern Canada. The government signed a preliminary agreement to provide a loan guarantee for a proposed $6.2-billion project to generate hydroelectric power at Muskrat Falls in Labrador, Newfoundland. The power would be conveyed by undersea cable to the neighbouring province of Nova Scotia. The provincial and federal governments aim to finalize the terms of the loan guarantee by Nov. 30. Some of the energy is intended to be exported to the northeastern U.S. Quebec objects to the federal involvement in the project on the grounds that it amounts to an unfair subsidy. Quebec claims that the project would unfairly compete with Hydro Quebec's electricity exports to the U.S.


The premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Jean Charest, says the federal government must play a role in the future of of the Champlain Bridge in the city of Montreal. Engineers have reported that the bridge is in bad shape and needs extensive renovations or should be torn down to make way for a new bridge. The Champlain Bridge is under federal jurisdiction. The federal government has been noncommittal about its plans for the bridge, but Mr. Charest says now is the time for clarity. He's demanding a plan that includes public transit on a modern bridge. He made the statement following a summit with his transport minister and mayors of Montreal-area municipalities.


A suicide bomber killed 48 worshipers in a mosque in Pakistan in the northeastern tribal region of Khyber. A local official said at least 85 were injured in the bombing. More than 300 people were inside the building at the time. The attack occurred on the holy day of the week during the holy month of Ramadan. A provincial official says the attack may have been directed against elders of a tribe that has been campaigning against Islamic militants with the backing of the Pakistani government.


Libyan rebels have claimed another important military victory against military forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. The insurgents claim to have captured the western city of Zlitan, 140 kilometres west of Tripoli. They acknowledged having lost 31 fighters. Earlier in the week, the rebels took the city of Zawiyah, also west of the capital. In another development, the International Organization for Migration says that thousands of foreigners trapped in Tripoli will be brought out, probably by sea. The IOM said in Geneva that as many as one million mostly African and Asia migrant workers remain trapped in the capital. More than 600,000 have already fled.


Syrian rights activists report that the Syrian security forces killed about 20 people in demonstrations around Syria on Friday. The activists says the demonstrations took place in Damascus, Homs, Latakia, Deir el-Zour and other places. The claims couldn't be independently verified, foreign journalists being banned from Syria. The reports come one day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that military and police operations against protesters had stopped. On Thursday, the leaders of Canada, the U.S., France, Britain and Germany called on Mr. al-Assad to resign. But on Friday Russia, a long-time Syrian ally, rejected those calls, saying the Syrian leader needs more time to fulfil his promises of reform.


Belarus is suspending its plan to eliminate highly enriched uranium under an agreement reached last year with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The foreign ministry says the decision was being taken in response to Washington's implementation of a new round of economic sanctions against Belarus over its human rights record. Belarus officials say the introduction of new U.S. sanctions contradicts the spirit of partnership and cooperation. As a result, Belarus has decided to freeze the projects being developed jointly with the United States on exchanging highly enriched uranium. The nuclear agreement was a major gain for Mrs. Clinton and represented a rare sign of progress between two nations that have had strained ties for most of the post-Soviet era.


Fighting continued on Israel's southern border on Friday. The Israeli military struck militants in Gaza and the Palestinians responded by firing rockets. The fighting started on Thursday when eight Israelis died in roadside bombings. The Israelis then killed at least seven of the attackers, as well as the commander, his deputy and three other militants of the Popular Resistance Committees armed group. Egypt says the Israelis killed three of their security while hunted for the militants inside Gaza. The Egyptian government has lodged a protest and demanded an investigation. Israel has accused Egypt's new military leaders of losing control of the Sinai peninsula.


The Dalai Lama says popular uprisings in North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere prove that democracy can spread everywhere, and it is just a question of time before China is affected. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader says that it may to take up to15 years for China to transform into a democracy, which he believes will eventually solve Tibet's struggle for autonomy. The Dalai Lama's comments were made during a three-day visit to Finland. The 76-year-old Dalai Lama gave up his formal role as head of the Tibetan government-in-exile earlier this month.


American environmentalists plan to start a series of protests against a plan by TransCanada Corp. to build a new pipeline to convey crude oil from Alberta's oilsands developments. The $7-billion proposal to build the Keystone XL line would extend an existing line that ends in the U.S. Midwest to a refinery on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Protests in front of the White House start on Saturday and are scheduled to continue through Sept. 3. The U.S. state department has said it will decide on whether to approve the project before the end of the year.


TSX on Friday: 12,007 - 179. Dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.42. Oil: $82.85 + .47.



Canada's Adam van Koeverden left the field in his dust today. The Oakville, ON, native won the men's K11 1-thousand-metre final by more than three seconds at the world canoe and kayak championships in Hungary. Van Koeverden took gold with a time of three minutes 36.194 seconds.


Former Masters champion Mike Weir had season-ending elbow surgery and will be sidelined for

three-to-six months. Weir, who had the surgery on Thursday in Florida, has not

played since he withdrew from last month's Canadian Open when

the elbow problems that have plagued him the past two seasons

flared up during the second round.


British Columbia on Saturday: rain north, sun south, high C23 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 16, Yellowknife 15, Iqaluit 9. Alberta, Saskatchewan: sun south, mix sun cloud north. Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 23, Regina 21, Winnipeg 22. Ontario: rain south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: sun. Toronto 31, Ottawa 29, Montreal 30. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton, Halifax, Charlottetown 25, St. John's 23.