Thursday, September 1, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 31 August 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and many economists all say there's no reason to think we are heading into another recession. They were reacting to statistics Wednesday that indicate Canada's economy stalled in the second quarter. It contracted slightly, as exports dropped due to the global economic slowdown. Canada's Gross Domestic Product declined 0.1 per cent in the second quarter. The contraction had been expected, amid the European debt crisis and other hits to the global economy. But domestic demand was higher, with consumer spending on goods and services up 0.4 per cent for the quarter.


A public opinion survey indicates the Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party that the recent death of its leader has added to its popularity. Jack Layton died on Aug. 22. Thousands of Canadian lined up for hours to file by his casket in Ottawa and Toronto. A new Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll puts the NDP's popularity at 33 per cent, three points higher than the party's score in the May 2 election. The party is tied with the governing Conservatives, who are down almost seven points from May 2. The Liberals stand at 21 per cent. Harris-Decima founder Allan Gregg is likely due to "the Jack effect" but that it remains to be seen if the party can consolidate its gains.


A poll indicates that many Canadians feel air travel is safer than it was before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey found that four in 10 respondents think flying is safer. A majority said it is equally safe. Only seven per cent of those asked said air travel is less safe than a decade ago. Since then, several other plots to bring down airliners have been foiled.


Another criminal on the Canadian government's expanded online most-wanted list has been arrested. Public Security Minister Vic Toews says 39-year-old Wasford Uriah Steer of Jamaica was arrested in Toronto on Saturday. He has already been deported twice. The minister says police picked him up on unrelated charges before discovering that he was one of 32 refugees or immigrants whose names and photos were on a list of people to be deported because they had committed serious crimes. Sterr has been convicted of counterfeiting and assault. Mr. Toews says that although Steer wasn't caught as a result of a tip from the public, the expanded "most-wanted" website set up by the Canadian Border Services Agency has proven invaluable.


Vancouver police say that a new website involving the June hockey riot has received 88,000 hits less than 24 hours after it was set up. The police say they public has sent in new information about the 40 suspects featured at the site. The information has been confirmed by comparison with video already in police possession. Photos of the suspected rioters are accompanied by a form that users can fill out with details such as names and the whereabouts of the suspects. No charges have been laid in the downtown riot that erupted after the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup championship match. Police Chief Jim Chu has sought to deflect criticism of this state of affairs by explaining that the police are trying to collect as much damning evidence as possible to nail the suspects on the charge of participation in a riot rather than on the lesser accusations of mischief or looting. The riot caused millions of dollars of damage.



Britain has flown $212 million worth of Libyan banknotes to Libya after the British government's asset freeze was lifted. A British official said the money will be used to replenish banking machines and to pay public workers over the Eid holiday. The Security Council voted on Monday to allow Britain to release the notes which had been printed in Britain. British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the UN's decision is another step toward getting necessary assistance to the Libyan people. Meanwhile, Seif al-Islam, son of fallen Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, said Wednesday in an audio tape on an Arabic-language channel that he was still in Tripoli and the fight against rebels goes on. On Monday, two other Gadhafi sons, a daughter and their mother sought refuge in Algeria. Rebel leaders say they are sure Gadhafi is still in Libya and that they are closing in on him.


A Syrian rights group says that 360 civilians and 133 soldiers and police officers were killed during protests against the Syrian government during the now ended holy month of Ramadan. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 25 of the dead civilians under the age of 18 died in custody or under torture. For its part, Amnesty International reports knowledge of 88 deaths in custody between April 1 and Aug. 15, including 10 children. In at least 52 cases, torture caused or contributed to the deaths.


A suspected suicide car bomb attack killed 10 people Wednesday in Pakistan's Baluchistan province. The incident occurred in Quetta, which has been the scene of sectarian and separatist militant violence for years. The attack came as people in predominantly Muslim Pakistan celebrated Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.There was no claim of responsibility. Baluchistan is Pakistan's biggest but poorest province, where Baluch separatists militants are waging an insurgency to demand more autonomy and control over the natural resources.


A Chinese court has sentenced two more Tibetan Buddhist monks to up to 13 years in prison for assisting in the death of a 16-year-old colleague who set himself on fire. Tsering Tenzin was sentenced to 13 years and Tenchum to 10 years. Officials say the two monks plotted, instigated and assisted in the self-immolation of fellow monk Rigzin Phuntsog and caused his death.


Police are blaming three suicide bombers for the deaths of at least nine people in Chechnya's capital Grozny late Tuesday. The attack near Chechnya's parliament building was one of the deadliest in recent years in Grozny. The city has been rebuilt after two post-Soviet wars against separatist rebels. Analysts say the attack undermines efforts by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to portray the province as an island of security in the North Caucasus, where an Islamist insurgency has spread to neighboring Muslim republics.


A top Ukrainian official has said Ukraine will take Russia to international arbitration if Moscow doesn't agree to lower the price it charges Ukraine for natural gas by mid-October. Ukraine has been trying for months to persuade Russia to renegotiate the terms of a controversial pricing agreement in 2009. The 10-year agreement sets higher prices than those which Moscow charges some EU states. The accord provides for arbitration by the Stockholm court of arbitration. Russia has said it is willing to lower the price for Ukraine but only on the conditions that it join a Moscow-led customs union and agree to sell Russia a one-half stake in the state energy company Nftogaz.



The governor of Nebraska and one of the U.S. Midwest states senators have come out against a proposed pipeline extension that would convey crude oil from the Alberta oilsands region to refineries in Texas. The state's governor, Dave Deineman, has written a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama asking him to stop TransCanada Pipeline's plan to extend an existing pipeline the hub of which is in the Midwest to the Gulf Coast. The governor wants the state department to deny a permit on the grounds that the Keystone XL project would threaten the Ogallala Aquifer, a main source of water for farmlands in the entire region. Sen. Mike Johanns joined the governor in his opposition, saying that the proposed pipeline route is the wrong one. Last week, the department said in an environmental review of Keystone that it would have only limited impact on the environment. Opponents of the plan say it would increase toxic emissions by boosting the oilsands industry, while increasing U.S. dependence on hydrocarbons as well. In another development, a group of about two dozen native activists marched on the Canadian embassy in Washington on Wednesday to present a letter to Ambassador Gary Doer demanding he stop promoting Alberta's oilsands. The natives were accompanied by Maude Barlow, the head of the Council of Canadians, who told a small crowd that it's not the emvoy's role to be acting as the chief salesman for Canada's energy industry.


Lawyers have filed a statement of claim in Ontario Superior Court to launch a class-action lawsuit against Sino-Forest Corp. The statement seeks $6.5 billion in damages for investors who bought Sino-Forest shares on the stock exchange and a further $825 million who acquired the stock through prospectus. The claim accuses the company of misrepresenting its operations. The statement names several executives, consultants Ernst & Young and financial institutions that acted as underwriters for the company's 2009 prospectus offerings. The plaintiffs include the Labourers' Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793 pension plan. Last week, the Ontario Securities Commission stopped trading of shares of the forestry firm, accusing it of fraud.


Retailer Target Canada says it's looking to hire 100 employees for its new headquarters at Mississauga, ON, and will hire 500 by the time it opens in 2013. Target plans to open as many as 135 stores by the beginning of that year, each of which will have between 150 and 200 employees. Earlier this year, Target reached an agreement to take over up to 220 stores from Zellers locations from Hudson't Bay co. for more than $1.8 billion. Target Corp. operates 1,755 stores in the U.S. The retailer has revenues of more than US$27 billion and has 355,000 employees.


A leading Canadian economic research group says women have not made a lot of progress in moving up Canada's corporate hierarchy in the last 20 years. The Conference Board of Canada study found that men are still more than twice as likely as women to become senior executives, even though women make up almost half the labour force. And the report says things are not much better at the middle-management level where future executives are selected. The study says the proportion of women middle managers has grown only four per cent since 1987. That means it would take 151 years before the proportion of men and women at the management level is about equal.


TSX on Wednesday: 12,769 + 134. Dollar: US$1.02. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $88.86 - .04.




Canadian Vasek Pospisil has booked a spot in the second round of the U-S Open. The native of Vernon, BC, dispatched Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1. Pospisil earned his way into the men's draw through qualifying. The 21-year-old is the only Canadian singles player left in the tournament.



British Columbia on Thursday: cloud south, sun north, high C19 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: sun. Whitehorse 12, Yellowknife 11, Iqaluit 7. Alberta: sun. Saskatchewan: mix sun cloud north, rain south. Manitoba: cloud. Edmonton 19, Regina 18, Winnipeg 29. Ontario: rain south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto, Ottawa 26, Montreal 25. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island: mix sun cloud. Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador: sun. Fredericton 24, Halifax 23, Charlottetown 21, St. John's 14.

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