Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


A Canadian bank warns that Canada may be headed for an economic recession. The Bank of Nova Scotia says there's a likelihood of a second quarter of negative growth. The Canadian economy contracted by .4 of a percent in the first quarter, ending in June. A recession is defined as two successive quarters of negative growth. The bank's economists say July's strong trade numbers will give a lift to the economy in the third quarter, but business investment has fallen off. In the last two days, the Royal Bank and TD Bank have both released new forecasts predicting the second half of this year will see slower growth, but they stopping short of predicting an outright slump.


Canadian diplomats have returned to Libya to reopen the Canadian embassy. Ambassador Sandra McCardell was in Tripoli, the country's capital, last week to assess the situation, and she and a team, which includes a security detail from the Canadian military, are now finishing refurbishing and securing the mission so they can resume normal diplomatic relations. The Canadian diplomatic corps left the country seven months ago when the hostilities erupted. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Col. Moammar Gadhafi is isolated and on the run, while the Libyan people have taken their future into their own hands. He says Canada is determined to support them, will resume trade between the two countries, and has permission from the United Nations to free $2.2 billion in frozen assets for humanitarian needs. Canada was and continues to be an active participant in the NATO military mission supporting the rebels.


Canada's opposition Liberal Party says it will ask a parliamentary committee to investigate the Conservative government's to spruce up the site in Ontario of the G8 summit. John McCallum, the Liberal Party Treasury Board critic, says he'll ask the committee to examine how $50 million was diverted from a border infrastructure fund into beautification projects in cabinet minister Tony Clement's riding. The Conservative majority on the committee isn't obliged to yield to Mr. McCallum's request. A report by the acting federal auditor general in June said there seemed to be no rationale why the 32 "Legacy Fund" projects were chosen. Many of them, including a gazebo, were placed far from the summit site in Huntsville north of Toronto.


The Conference Board of Canada reports income inequality has been rising faster in Canada than in many comparable countries, including the United States. The think-tank says Canada had the fourth-largest increase in income disparity among a sample group of 17 advanced economies. The study covers the period from the mid 1990s until now. Overall, income inequality rose in 10 of the countries sampled, rising fastest in Sweden, Finland and Denmark.


A campaign to bring an end to Canadian asbestos exports has turned its focus toward a medical doctor who is now a member of the Conservative government in Ottawa. More than 40 people who lost relatives to asbestos-related disease are calling on Kellie Leitch to respect her medical oath and take a stand against her party's support for the asbestos industry. They say by not speaking out against her government's endorsement of the asbestos sector, Mrs. Leitch is supporting medical misinformation. Much of the asbestos mined in Canada, mostly in the province of Quebec, is sold abroad, often to developing countries. India is a major recipient.


Two Canadian theater moguls, Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, won't get a new trial for their fraud convictions. But the Ontario Court of Appeal has redcued their sentences by two years each. Drabinsky gets five years, Gottlieb four. The pair were found guilty in 2009 of defrauding shareholders of $500 million. Drabinsky and Gottlieb ran the Livent theatre company, a producer of grand musicals, which went bankrupt in 1998. They say accountants perpetrated the fraud without their knowledge.


The death toll from Monday's gasoline pipeline explosion in Nairobi has risen to 92. The latest six bodies were recovered from a sewage-filled river running through the middle of a slum in the Kenyan capital. The state-owned Kenya Pipeline Company blames the blast on an over-pressurized pipeline.


NATO warplanes have hit targets Tuesday in a number of strongholds still under the control of pro-Gadhafi forces. The alliance reports that a radar system and eight surface to air missile systems were hit. The attacks were aimed at the last remaining areas of the country still controlled by Gadhafi loyalists. This comes three weeks after the fall of Tripoli. In other developments, the World Bank said Tuesday it recognizes the National Transitional Council as Libya's official government, after the new regime promised moderate Islamic rule and an investigation of alleged war crimes. A report released by Amnesty International says rebel forces as well as Gadhafi loyalists have committed unlawful killings and torture since the conflict broke out.


The U.S. and French ambassadors to Syria have attended a ceremony of mourning for a Syrian activist who is reported to have died under torture by the Syrian government. Activists have posted a clip on YouTube showing the envoys in attendance at the ceremony for Ghiyath Matar. The activists say the Danish and Japanese ambassadors attended at well. The sources say the security forces broke up the ceremony with tear gas as soon as the diplomats left. Mr. Matar and an associate were arrested on Sept. 6. Activists cited by Human Rights Watch say his body was returned to his family on Saturday bearing bruises on the chest and face.


Gunmen attacked a school van on Tuesday, killing three children, a teacher and the driver. The strike took place in Matani on the outskirts of the main northwestern city of Peshawar, the scene of a vicious conflict between government-backed tribal armies and Islamist militants with links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The extremists have targeted civilians there before. The bus was taking students home when the gunmen struck.


Venezuela's next presidential election will take place on Oct. 7. President Hugo Chavez says the expects to win another six-year term. He'll run against an opposition candidate who will be chosen in a primary election on Feb. 12. The victor in the primary is expected to be a state governor, Henrique Capriles Radonski.


The U.S. has signed an agreement to base anti-missile interceptors in Romania in several years' time. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the deal after meeting in Washington with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi Tuesday. The deal is part of a NATO missile defense plan agreed to by the U.S. and Europe to protect member states against long-range attacks from rogue states such as Iran. The plans involve deploying ship-based interceptors in the Mediterranean beginning this year, followed by land-based interceptors in Romania from 2015 and in Poland from 2018. Russia finally gave its approval for the initiative but it disagrees over the implementation, saying it should be a single integrated shield rather than two separate defense systems.


Flight attendants at Air Canada have voted overwhelmingly to give their union a strike mandate if it cannot reach a new contract agreement with the employer. The earliest that they could walk off the job is Sept. 21, when the conciliation process ends. The Canadian Union of Public Employees says the strike vote was 98 per cent. A majority of the 6,500 flight attendants voted last month to reject a tentative agreement with CUPE. Their last contract expired on March 31.


The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has ruled that broadcasters will have to stop jacking up the sound for television commercials. CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein says the broadcasters have allowed "ear-splitting" ads to disturb viewers and that their complains left the Commission no choice but to intervene. The Commission says that viewers won't any longer have to reach for their remote controls to lower the volume when regular programming switches to commercials because both programs and ads will be transmitted at the same volume.


TSX on Tuesday: 12,205 + 57. Dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.34. Oil: $88.16 + .92.


British Columbia on Wednesday: rain north, mix sun cloud south, high C20 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 11, Yellowknife 15, Iqaluit 6. Alberta: mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 17, Regina 14, Winnipeg 12. Ontario: rain south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal 21. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 25, Halifax 26, Charlottetown 24, St. John's 21.