Wednesday, September 7, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

MANITOBA VOTES


Voters in Canada's western province of Manitoba will cast ballots on Oct. 4. New Democratic Premier Greg Sellinger says he's confident his party will retain power. It's his first election campaign as premier. The NDP holds 36 of the 57 seats in the legislature. The Conservatives led by Hugh McFayden have 18 and the Liberals only one.

SMALLEST PROVINCE ALSO VOTES


Meanwhile in eastern Canada, residents of the country's smallest province, Prince Edward Island, are also heading to the polls. Liberal Party Premier Robert Ghiz is seeking a second straight majority government in an election campaign that will conclude on Oct. 3. Mr. Ghiz began the campaign with a boast that P.E.I. has come through the recent recession through a provincial stimulus program. His main opponent, Conservative Party leader Olive Crane, said a Conservative government would conduct an audit of wasteful government spending.

OTTAWA RIDICULES WHEAT BOARD REFERENDUM


Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has ridiculed the Canadian Wheat Board's referendum on its future. The Board has a monopoly on the marketing of Western wheat and barley, a monopoly that the federal government intends to abolish. The Board is seeking to resist that intention and is holding a referendum to ask farmers whether they approve. Mr. Ritz has claimed in an open letter that many non-farmers and even dead farmers have received a ballot. The minister says no self-serving expensive survey is going to stop the government from allowing Western farmers to market their own grain if they wish. Mr. Ritz has already said he'll ignore the referendum result. The outcome is expected to be made public on Friday.

GREEN LEADER WANTS TO STOP FINNING


The leader of Canada's opposition Green Party, Elizabeth May, promises to take the issue of shark fins to Parliament when it resumes next month. She plans to present a petition calling for a ban on the possession, trade, distribution or sale of shark fins in Canada. Shark fins are considered a delicacy and are used in soups. Miss May received a petition from scuba divers in the Pacific coast province of British Columbia who say the number of sharks in the world's oceans is declining at an alarming rate because of their capture and removal of fins. After the fins are removed, the sharks are thrown back into the water and drown.

BLACK RETURNS TO JAIL


Former Canadian media tycoon Conrad Black returned to a prison in the U.S. state of Florida Tuesday to serve out the rest of his sentence for defrauding investors. Black says he would like to return to Canada after his sentence is served, because it's where his wife lives and would be easier to get to from the United States than Britain, where he is a citizen. But he says he will not seek any special treatment in his attempt to return to Canada as a temporary resident. Black gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2001 so he could sit as a Lord in the British Parliament.

MONTREAL SCHOOL WINS HIGH MARK


Montreal-based McGill University has received high marks from a British school rating service. The British QS World University Rankings service rates the school the top Canadian university and the 17th worldwide. The University of Cambridge retained the number-one spot in the ranking, followed by Harvard University of the U.S.


LIBYA


The U.S. has called upon Niger to arrest senior figures from Libya's Gadhafi régime who may have entered Niger in a convoy on Tuesday. The U.S. state department says Niger officials have told the American ambassador that there are a dozen or more Gadhafi loyalists who entered on the convoy. The department says it has advised the local authorities to arrest members of the fallen dictatorship who may be subject to prosecution and to ensure that any state property be seized before it's returned to the Libyan people. The department also notes that all such officials would be subject to a UN travel ban.

SYRIA


The U.S. ambassador to Syria says the government of President Bashar al-Assad isn't fooling anyone in claiming that street protesters demanding his overthrow are terrorists and thugs. Robert Ford says peaceful protesters are not terrorists and no one except for government supporters believes otherwise. The ambassador's comments on Tuesday coincided with the strongest criticism so far by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the ongoing political crackdown in Syria. Mr. Ban called on Mr. al-Assad to take bold and decisive measure before it's too late. The secretary general had won a promise from the president last month in the course of a telephone conversation that the violence would end but this has not happened. Rights activists in the country claim 2,200 people have been killed since March, including several hundred members of the security forces.

IRAQ


Gunmen killed eight Iraqi soldiers and wounded one Tuesday near the town of Haditha, 190 kilometres northwest of the capital Baghdad. Police say the gunmen ambushed an army patrol and set the soldiers' vehicle on fire. Iraq's army and police are a main target of bombs and attacks as U.S. security forces prepare to withdraw at the end of the year.

SPAIN


Spanish union leaders say 25,000 protesters turned out in Puerta del Sol square on Tuesday to protest against the central government's planned austerity measures and a constitutional reform. Witnesses, however, put the number at one-half that many. The protest was organized by the country's two main labour federations. The protest came one day before the Spanish Senate is expected to ratify the constitution to limit structural deficits in the central and regional governments. Deficits on both levels of government have caused worries that Spain may need a financial bailout like Greece and Ireland.

MEXICO


The owner of a Mexican casino targeted in an arson attack which left 52 dead last month has apologized for fleeing the country and said he feared for his life. Raul Rocha, owner of the Casino Royale in the city of Monterey, called for safety guarantees from Mexican officials to return from an unnamed location where he took refuge after the Aug. 25 attack. Mr. Rocha denied he was involved in illegal activities and insisted the casino met safety regulations. Staff and customers fled further inside the casino after attackers sprayed the entrance with petrol and set it alight. It was one of Mexico's worst attacks on civilians. Survivors alleged the casino lacked emergency exits and that some exits had been locked. A police officer and five suspected members of the Zetas drug gang have been detained in an investigation of the attack which authorities link to possible extortion.


RIM STAKEHOLDER WANTS OPTIONS EXPLORED


An investment bank that has a small stake in BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is urging other shareholders to press the company to explore options including the sale of itself. The CEO of Jaguar Financial Corp. says RIM needs a transformational change before its market value is lost. Vic Alboini suggests that RIM should consider spinning off its patent portfolio into a separate company. The defunct Canadian high-technology firm Nortel Networks Corp. several weeks ago auctioned off its patents for US$4.5 billion, four times what had been anticipated. Jaguar's public statement comes after months of reports that RIM shareholders are demanding a shakeup. RIM stock has fallen from almost $150 a share in June 2008 to under $30 on Sept. 2.

SUNCOR PLANS RETURN TO LIBYA


Canadian energy firm Suncor says it will return to Libya. But CEO Rick George says before it does, the company has to find out if it's safe for its employees. Suncor pulled them out of Libya after fighting began in February between forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and rebels. Mr. George says its assets in the Sirte Basin remain attractive but that there's no reliable information about whether they've been damaged in the fighting.

MARKETS


TSX on Tuesday: 12,519 - 84. Dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.38. Oil: $85.97 - .48.


SPORTS


FOOTBALL

The Toronto Argonauts are in need of a new starting quarterback. The Canadian Football League club has released veteran pivot Cleo Lemon in the wake of Friday's 29-16 loss to B.C. The Argos are just 2-and-7 on the year and sit last in the East Division. The move comes with quarterback Steven Jyles scheduled to come off the nine-game injury list this week.

HOCKEY

The Winnipeg Jets have unveiled their uniforms. The home jersey is navy blue with striping in white and lighter blue. The away jersey is white with the two shades of blue as striping. The lighter shade matches the historical colours of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The darker shade comes from the paint used on many of the military's current aircraft.

BASKETBALL

Canada fared poorly at the FIBA Olympic Americas qualifying tournament in Argentina. Former Toronto Raptors guard Carlos Arroyo led the way with 26 points as Puerto Rico beat Canada 79-74. The loss means Canada is a longshot to advance to a second-chance Olympic qualifying tournament next summer.


WEATHER


British Columbia on Wednesday: sun, high C25 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse 15, Yellowknife 19, Iqaluit 7. Prairies: sun. Edmonton 29, Regina 31, Winnipeg 28. Ontario: sun north, rain south. Quebec: rain. Toronto 20, Ottawa, Montreal 18. Maritimes: mix sun cloud. Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton 17, Halifax 20, Charlottetown 18, St. John's 13.