Friday, September 2, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 1 September 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his government will allow Canadian companies to resume operations in Libya. Mr. Harper explained that Canada is lifting the unilateral sanctions imposed against the Gadhafi régime because the dictator is no longer in power. The prime minister added that Canada will continue to work with partners and allies to help the Libyan people chart their own democratic course. Suncor Energy and engineering giant SNC-Lavalin are among the Canadian firms with operations in Libya. Suncor suspended them earlier in the year after Gadhafi started cracking down on protesters. Mr. Harper's announcement followed a similar move by the EU. Mr. Harper is attending a conference in Paris with other world leaders to discuss Libya's future. That country's National Transitional Council is expected to present a list of requests, particularly the release of billions of dollars of seized assets. Two-billion-dollars of assets remain frozen in Canada because the freeze is part of broader UN sanctions still in effect. Earlier Thursday, Mr. Harper visited a military base in Trapani, Italy, where he met several hundred Canadian soldiers involved in military operations against the Gadhafi régime. He congratulated them that Canada had done more than its share in ending that régime.


Canadian warship HMCS Charlottetown is due in Halifax harbour on Friday morning after a tour of duty in waters off Libya. In March, Canada sent fighter jets, patrol planes, aerial tankers and the Charlottetown to join the NATO contingent authorized by the UN to protect Libyan civilians against Moammar Gadhafi's military and security forces. Libyan small attack boats fired on the vessel in April but did no damage. In the following month, the ship came under rocket fire but wasn't hit. The Charlottetown will be replaced for the Libya deployment by HMCS Vancouver.


An independent report into Vancouver's hockey riot last June concludes police experienced many problems and failings in vainly trying to control the unexpectedly huge and often drunken crowd. The authors report that the downtown crowd was already out of control three hours before the National Hockey League championship final started. The report says that instead of being in control of the situation, the police were merely reacting to news of breached barricades, people climbing telephone poles or being forced against the barricades in the hours before the Stanley Cup final. The authors says the Vancouver police department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police co-operated better than they had during an earlier riot in 1994 but that there were still problems. One problem that they shared was the fact that riot gear was stashed far from the scene so that officers arrived wearing the wrong gear. Another finding was that the batteries on the Vancouver police's loudspeakers hadn't been charged and would only work when attached to a police car. The authors of the report are John Furlong, the former head of the Vancouver Olympic Committee, and Doug Keefe, a former deputy justice minister in Nova Scotia. They say that although police and civic officials made mistakes, they don't blame anyone except the rioters. They recommend that the province curb alcohol sales at regional events and that a regional police tactical squad be created.


The Canadian government has said for the first time that it expects the U.S. to approve a controversial pipeline project. The 2,750-kilometre extension of an existing pipeline would convey crude oil from Alberta's oilsands to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Environment Minister Peter Kent says he expects the U.S. state department eventually to approve TransCanada Pipeline's $7-billion Keystone XL project. The line would carry 500,000 barrels of oil a day. Mr. Kent says environmental concerns are on everybody's minds and denounced those who he claims are spreading misinformation about the project. Last week, the state department released an environmental assessment of the plan which concluded it would have little effect on the environment. Canadian supporters of the project say it would create thousands of jobs and alleviate U.S. reliance on oil from the Middle East. Opponents say Keystone XL is an environmental threat because of the greenhouse gases produced by oilsands extraction and would worsen U.S. reliance on hydrocarbons. Almost 600 protesters against the project have been arrested in front of the White House in recent days. In another development, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu seems to be leaning in favour of the project. In a TV interview earlier this week to be aired later, he said it's "comforting" to have Canada as an oil supplier than to have other countries provide it.


General Motors Corp. has begun making its Chevrolet Volt hybrid car available to Canadian consumers. GM Canada President Kevin Williams delivered the first shipment of the battery-powered vehicle in a ceremony at Oshawa, ON. The Volt will soon be delivered to dealers in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City. The Volt can travel as far as 80 kilometres on battery power, after which a gasoline-powered generator kicks in to extend the car's range to 500 kilometres. The Volt joins a range of hybrid-electric vehicles, including the Toyota Prius.


The National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association say they going to seek answers after the latest player death. On Wednesday, 35-year-old Wade Belak was found dead in a downtown condo building in Toronto in an apparent suicide. He had recently retired from hockey after 14 seasons. The League and the players' union say they'll review their joint substance abuse and behavioural health program to see whether there are ways to minimize the chances of such a tragedy from recurring. Hockey fans were still reeling from the deaths earlier this summer of Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers and Rick Rypien of the Winnipeg Jets. All three players were known as "enforcers." Belak had a career record of eight goals, 25 assists and 1,263 penalty minutes.



Libya's National Transitional Council has extended a deadline for the surrender of the coastal city of Sirte by one week. Supporters of overthrown strongman Moammar Gadhafi are holed up in the city. The deadline also applies to the cities of Bani Walid, 140 kilometres southeast of Tripoli, and Sabha in the southern desert. There has been speculation that Gadhafi is hiding in one of those three places. Meanwhile, Gadhafi warned from hiding that tribes loyal to him are well-armed and prepared to battle the insurgents. He made the warning in an audio message that was broadcast by a Syrian television station.


Gunmen killed seven people Thursday in an ambush of a vehicle in the country's tribal northwest. Officials say it could have been a sectarian attack, as the victims were all from the minority Shiite community. But no one immediately claimed responsibility. Shiites account for some 20 percent of Pakistan's mostly Sunni Muslim population of over 160 million.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged the EU to proceed with its plan to embargo oil imports from Syria as a way to increase economic pressure on the régime of President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. imposed an oil embargo two weeks ago. Mrs. Clinton made the suggestion in Paris on the sidelines of the international conference on Libya. She discussed Syria with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu and British Foreign Minister William Hague. Mr. Hague says he hopes he EU goes forward with the oil embargo at a weekend meeting in Poland.


The New York Times newspaper has published the contents of the UN's as yet unreleased report on the Israeli military's boarding of a flotilla that intended to breach Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. Eight Turks and one American of Turkish origin died on May 31, 2010, when Israeli soldiers clashed with passengers on one of the six ships comprising the flotilla. According to The Times, the report concludes that Israel's decision to board the ships at a great distance from the blockade zone without prior warning was "excessive and unreasonable." However, the authors also conclude that the flotilla acted recklessly by trying to break the blockade. And it says Israel has a right to impose the blockade and to enforce it. The report was headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer. Both Israel and Turkey had a representative on the UN commission of inquiry into the affair. Turkey says it won't resume normal relations with Israel until it apologizes and ends the blockade. Israel has refused to apologize but said compensation for the families of the dead is possible.


A judge in Washington has refused to grant a temporary injunction blocking new rules concerning the sale of semi-automatic rifles in four states bordering Mexico. The judge ruled that two gun deals backed by the National Rifle Association had failed to prove the rules would cause them irreparable harm. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ordered more than 8,000 dealers in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California to report the sale of two or more semi-automatic rifles to the same person. The regulation is intended to stanch the flow of weapons across the border into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels. The Mexican authorities have bitterly denounced their U.S. counterparts for not doing enough to stop the sales.



Canada's big banks have reported third-quarter profit of $4.56 billion, a result 11 per cent lower than a year earlier. TD Bank says the last to report, with profits up 22 per cent. The collective loss was due to a $1.6-billion writedown by Royal Bank of Canada related to the sale of its U.S. retail operations. Those operations had suffered losses owing to the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and the collapse of mortgage markets.


A major video rental company, Blockbuster Canada, will be shutting its operations. With more and more Canadians downloading movies, the receiver handling the bankrupt movie-rental chain was unable to find a buyer willing to invest. It's now seeking a court order to shut down Blockbuster's 253 remaining outlets. The closure will leave 2,300 people out of work.


Shaw Communications says it has dropped its plan to start up a wireless service. The telecom says that rather than spending $1 billion to launch a wireless network, it will start a network to let customers use its services outside their homes. The company had delayed the wireless startup several times after announcing it.


TSX on Thursday: 12,701 - 68. Dollar: US$1.02. Euro: $1.39. Oil: $88.82 - .01.




John Herdman is the new head coach of the Canadian

women's soccer team.

The Canadian Soccer Association made it official today on a

conference call.

Herdman was born in England and is a former coach of New

Zealand's women's team.

He replaces Carolina Morace, who resigned after Canada's

disastrous performance at the World Cup in Germany.


Wade Belak's death continues to shake the hockey world. The recently retired 35-year-old was found dead in a downtown hotel and condo building in Toronto yesterday. Belak is the third National Hockey League tough guy to die this summer following Rangers forward Derek Boogaard and Jets forward Rick Rypien.



British Columbia on Friday: rain north, sun south, high C20 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse, Yellowknife 14, Iqaluit 8. Alberta: rain north, mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 14, Regina 15, Winnipeg 19. Ontario: mix sun cloud south, rain north. Quebec: sun. Toronto 29, Ottawa 28, Montreal 27. Maritimes: mix sun cloud. Newfoundland and Labrador: cloud. Fredericton 24, Halifax, St. John's 20, Charlottetown 21.

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