Saturday, September 17, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 16 September 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Hurricane Maria thundered into southeastern Newfoundland and Labrador on Friday afternoon. Many St. John's residents stayed at home, as schools were closed and the harbour shrouded in fog. The Category 1 storm is expected to affect an area stretching from Placentia Bay to Cap Race at the southeastern tiip of the Avalon Peninsula. The Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax has issued an alert for southern Avalon, where winds could hit 140 kilometres an hour.


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the latest attempt by the U.S. government to enforce a Buy America program is a "regrettable development." The prime minister says his government will be expressing that feeling to the highest levels of government in Washington. The $447-billion jobs creation program presented last week by the Obama administration forbids use of the money for infrastructure projects unless all of the steel, iron or other manufactured goods are made in the U.S. Mr. Harper recalled that Canada complained of an earlier U.S. government stimulus bill in 2009 and won an exemption from Congress.


Mr. Harper will travel to the United Nations next week, as the General Assembly reconvenes. He'll meet fellow world leaders gathered at a "friends of Libya" meeting. The leaders will get an update on the current situation there from Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who visited Libya this week. The two countries led attempts to assist rebels against the now fallen régime of Moammar Gadhafi. Mr. Harper will also co-chair a session of the UN's commission on poor mothers and their children in developing countries. The Canadian leader sponsored the creation of the commission at last year's G8 summit in Canada.


The CTV television network is reporting Canada's top soldier spent more than $1 million since 2008 flying on government VIP aircraft. The report says the bill for Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk includes flights to sporting events and fundraising dinners. Passenger logs obtained by CTV also show Gen. Natynczyk used a Challenger jet to fly to St. Maarten to join his family on a cruise in Jan. 2010. CTV reports that the Challenger costs more than $10,000 to operate per flying hour, meaning the trip to St. Maarten and back cost nearly $93,000. Gen. Natynczyk had attended an official ceremony in Trenton, ON, and reportedly missed his flight to meet his family so he used the Challenger. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he expects all senior officials to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of personal flights on government aircraft, an edict that includes the country's top military commander. Mr. Harper says from time to time he has used government aircraft for private business, but has reimbursed the treasury, and he added the government will be looking into the general's use of the VIP jet.


An animal rights activist is dismissing a call for the killing of 70 per cent of the grey seals in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Sheryl Fink of the International Fund for Animal Welfare says the suggestion is reckless and irresponsible, and the group calling for the cull doesn't have a clear grasp of science. The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council says there is scientific evidence that grey seals are the most likely cause of the slow recovery of groundfish stocks in the southern gulf. It's calling for the killing of 73,000 seals the first year of a cull and another 70,000 over the following four years. Ms. Fink says a cull wouldn't reveal anything about the relationship between seals and cod. It's now up to Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield to decide whether the proposal is a good idea. The Council comprises scientists, academics and industry representatives that advise governments on the Atlantic fisheries.


Canada's official opposition party has a second leadership candidate. Member of Parliament Romeo Saganash says he wants to replace the late New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, who died last month. Mr. Saganash was elected last month to a riding in northern Quebec. The only other candidate so far is NDP President Brian Topp. The new leader will be elected in March.


Canada's Transportation Safety Board is standing by its finding that the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111 off Nova Scotia was an accident, not a terrorist act.

A retired member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has suggested the jet may have been brought down by an incendiary device.

Tom Juby was involved in the crash investigation. He says high levels of magnesium were found in the cockpit, indicating the possible presence of a fire bomb.

He also alleges senior RCMP and aviation safety officials stopped him from pursuing his theory.

In its report, the TSB concluded the crash that killed 229 people was caused by a fire in the cockpit likely ignited by sparking electrical wires. Flight 111 bound from New York to Geneva crashed off Peggy's Cove on Sept. 2, 1998.


Quebec Premier Jean Charest says he's not dismayed by the revelations in the news media on Thursday about corruption in his province's construction industry. The media revealed a leaked a report by a special police unit that is investigating the situation. Mr. Charest says the very existence of the report by a united created by his government proves that it's acting to solve the problem. The anti-collusion unit found that a corrupt civil service has allowed construction companies to drive up the cost of public-works contracts. Some of the firms are said to be connected to the Mafia and criminal biker gangs, and some of the extra money generated is reported to be fed back into the coffers of political parties. There have been calls for months in Quebec for an investigation of the construction industry, but the premier showed no sign on Friday of yielding to them.



Supporters of overthrown Libyan strongman succeeded in repelling rebel assaults against two of their last strongholds. Gadhafi forces succeeded in defeating assaults on the coastal city of Sirte and Walid Bani south of Tripoli. NATO warplanes were in the air but it's unknown whether they were deployed in direct support of the attacks on the two cities. The alliance says the planes struck multiple rocket launchers, air missile systems and armoured vehicles.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he'll go to the UN next week to ask the Security Council to recognize an independent Palestinian state. The move is certain to lead to a confrontation with the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. has said it would veto such a request. Mr. Abbas cautioned in a speech from Ramallah to the Palestinian that his UN move won't end the Israeli occupation and asked them to refrain from violence.


A senior cleric in Bahrain charges the country's Sunni rulers treat Shi'ite protesters seeking greater rights in the Gulf kingdom as "enemies of state." The comments by Sheik Isa Qassim come during deepening tensions between the ruling Sunni monarchy and majority Shi'ites on the strategic island that is the home base of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Sheik Isa was speaking during Friday's sermon at a mosque in the opposition stronghold of Diraz, northwest of the capital Manama. In Bahrain's oil hub of Sitra, mourners were gathering for the funeral for a man his relatives say died after inhaling tear gas fired at protesters Tuesday night. More than 30 people have been killed since protests began in February.


Activists say Syrian security forces opened fire at protesters who streamed into the streets after Friday prayers. The activists said four people were killed and 11 others were wounded. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says intense shooting was heard around a mosque in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso says thousands poured into the streets of predominantly Kurdish northeastern towns such as Qamishli, Amouda, and Derbasiyeh. State-run TV said a policeman was killed and four wounded Friday when they came under fire in the village of Busra Hariri in the southern province of Daraa. A popular uprising began in Syria in mid-March. President Bashar Assad has reacted with deadly force that the UN estimates has left some 2,600 people dead.


A Ugandan judge has sentenced two men to jail after they pleaded guilty to terrorism charges related to bombings that killed 76 people in the East African nation last year. The judge sentenced Ugandan Edris Nsubuga to 25 years in jail on terrorism charges and Rwandan Muhamoud Mugisha to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit terrorism. Both had entered guilty pleas. Five other suspects had their charges dismissed when the trial began Monday and the other 12 suspects pleaded not guilty. Their trial continues. The July 2010 bombings targeted people watching the World Cup final. Somali insurgent group al-Shabab claimed the bombings and said they were in retaliation for Uganda's participation in the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia.


Thousands of Latvians congregated Friday in the country's main sports arena to pay final respects to hockey legend Karlis Skrastins, who died last week in a plane crash in Russia that annihilated the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club.

Former National Hockey League Colorado Avalanche player Skrastins is regarded as one of the greatest Latvian players in a country where hockey is by far the most popular sport. He was 37.

The public tribute Friday in the capital Riga was followed by a funeral at a local cemetery.

Skrastins was among 37 players, coaches and staff of who died when their jet crashed outside Yaroslavl en route to their first game of the season. Among the dead was the club's Canadian coach, Brad McCrimmon.


Ukrainian journalists and activists are marking the 11th anniversary of the abduction and brutal killing of investigative journalist Heorhiy Gongadze.

Gongadze's widow, Myroslava, says former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma is to blame for her husband's death and urged authorities to bring him to justice.

Mr. Kuchma will go on trial on charges of abuse of office in connection with the killing in the coming months. Prosecutors say that Mr. Kuchma gave illegal orders to his subordinates that eventually led to Gongadze's death.

Mr. Kuchma denies the accusations. He says the prosecutor's main piece of evidence, tape recordings implicating him in the murder, has been doctored.



Canadian Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has invited Air Canada and representatives of the company's flight attendants union to meet her early next week. The meeting would take place if the two sides fail to agree on a new labour contract during the weekend. Mrs. Raitt says she hopes they can reach a deal without her involvement, thus avoiding a walkout by the 6,800 flight attendants. The earliest that a strike could begin is Wednesday. The union must give 72 hours notice before launching a strike at Canada's largest air carrier, which operates across the country and has major continental and international routes.


A second Canadian trading company operating in Cuba has been shut down for alleged corrupt import-export practices. The Tokmakjian Group is a competitor of Tri-Star Caribbean, another Canadian firm whose operations were curtailed in July. Tokmakjian Group is estimated to do around $80 million in business annually with Cuba, mainly selling transportation, mining and construction equipment. Cuban President Raul Castro has made fighting corruption a top priority since taking over for his ailing brother Fidel in 2008.


TSX on Friday: 12,274 - 151. Dollar: US$1.02. Euro: $1.35. Oil: $87.94 - $1.46.




Veterans Teresa Gabriele, Chelsey Aubry and

Kim Smith headline Canada's women's basketball roster for the FIBA

Americas Championship.

Canadian coach Allison McNeill named her 12-player roster Friday

for the tournament in Neiva, Colombia, Canada's first chance to

qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

Gabriele and Smith, both from Mission, B.C., and Aubry, from

Kitchener, Ont., played for Canada at the world championships last




British Columbia on Saturday: rain south, mix sun cloud north, high C16 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: rain. Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse 13, Yellowknife 15, Iqaluit 4. Alberta, Saskatchewan: rain. Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Edmonton 16, Regina 22, Winnipeg 15. Ontario, Quebec: sun. Toronto 17, Ottawa 18, Montreal 19. Maritimes: sun. Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton 16, Halifax 17, Charlottetown 15, St. John's 13.

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