Saturday, October 1, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 30 September 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


The Canadian government has for the first time criticized the Sri Lankan government's human rights record. Foreign Minister John Baird says he has informed his Sri Lankan counterpart of Canada's concerns about the lack of accountability for the allegations of war crimes, events since the end of Sri Lanka's civil war and the lack of reconciliation with ethnic Tamils. Mr. Baird's comments suggest the possibility of a diplomatic clash at the summit of the Commonwealth next month in Australia. Sri Lanka is to host the same event in 2013. Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada would boycott the event unless Sri Lanka improved its human rights record.


Canada's Conservative Party government has been overruled by the Supreme Court of Canada in a case involving a drug treatment centre. The court has ruled that the west coast province of British Columbia has the right to operate a supervised drug injection centre in Vancouver. The court ruled unanimously that the federal government must abandon its attempt to close the facility. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says the government is disappointed but will comply with the decision. The government had argued vainly that the Insite centre encouraged addiction and ran counter to its crime-fighting agenda. Its supporters argued, on the contrary, that the centre reduces overdose deaths and the spread of HIV and hepatitis, while curbing crime and open drug use.


Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented a $2.2-billion federal compensation cheque Friday to the province of Quebec. He made the presentation at the Quebec legislature to Premier Jean Charest. The move came after Quebec's decision to combine its provincial sales tax with the federal government's Goods and Services Tax. The province made the move nearly 20 years ago and had been demanding compensation from the federal government. Mr. Harper promised during the federal election campaign this year to reach a deal with Quebec by September.


Canada's official opposition party has a third leadership candidate. He's Nathan Cullen, a Member of Parliament from northern British Columbia. Mr. Cullen says that as party leader he would try to put a crimp in the aggressively partisan style of politics he says is practiced by the governing Conservatives. The frontrunner in the leadership race so far is the party president, Brian Topp. His candidacy is back by former party leader Ed Broadbent, former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow, and deputy leader Libby Davies. Quebec MP Romeo Saganash is also running.


A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed the death Friday of 72-year-old serial child killer Clifford Olson. The media cite relatives of some of his victims. The parents of several of the dead children revealed last week that Olson was suffering from terminal cancer in a prison in Quebec and wasn't expected to live until the end of the month. Olson pleaded guilty to 11 murders in 1982, after a year of horror in British Columbia as the children disappeared.



U.S. President Barack Obama says the killing of a U.S.-born Islamist cleric in Yemen is a major blow to al-Qaeda's most active branch. The president says his country is determined to prevent al-Qaeda and its affiliates from finding safe havens anywhere. The Central Intelligence Agency killed Anwar Al-Awlaki and a second American, Samir Khan, in a drone strike against their convoy early Friday. Mr. Obama recalled that Al-Awlaki had planned the unsuccessful attempt to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day in 2009 as well as another failed attempt to destroy cargo planes in the following year. Officials in Washington say the drone strike killed four al-Qaeda operatives in all.


The Associated Press reports that Syrian troops are engaged in a fourth day of intense battle with rebels in the city of Rastan north of Homs. Hundreds of those fighting the troops are said to be deserters. According to the London-based Observatory for Human Rights, about 250 tanks and other vehicles entered Rastan in early morning. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Syria after Friday prayers, as they have done for months. Human rights groups told AP that at least 11 of them lost their lives.


Police in the Iraqi city of Hilla 60 kilometres south of Baghdad report that a car bomb killed at least 18 people and injured 69 others. The victims were attending a funeral. The blast left bodies and vehicles strewn around near mosque where relatives of the deceased had gathered in a tent. Hilla is a mostly Shi'ite city. Sunni insurgents often target Shi'ites with car bombs and suicide attacks in attempt to rekindle sectarian tensions.


Supporters and adversaries of ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi are fighting for a fifth day for control of the city of Sirte, east of Tripoli. Gadhafi's hometown is one of two strongholds beyond the control of the National Transitional Council. Civilians are trying to flee the city of 100,000. Pro-Gadhafi forces and some civilians have blamed NATO airstrikes for the deaths of civilians. The Western alliance and the Council deny it.


For the second time in two days, Mexico's Supreme Court has let stand a state right-to-life amendment that severely limits abortions. The decision involves Mexico's north-central state of San Luis Potosi. The court also upheld a similar measure in Baja California on Wednesday. Both amendments severely restrict abortions, with exceptions like rape or danger to a mother's life. Mexico City is the only part of the country that has legalized abortion in the first three months of pregnancy. The latest decision makes it likely that right-to-life amendments passed by 16 of Mexico's 31 states will stand.


The U.S. says China must make its farm sector more transparent and open to foreign competition. The U.S. has told the World Trade Organization's agriculture committee that China continues to charge a 13-per cent import tax on foreign wheat, cotton and corn, as well as on farm inputs such as seed, pesticide, herbicide and farm machinery. The U.S. report says that although China did take many steps to liberalize after its joined the WTO 10 years ago, there is now a trend toward state intervention in the agricultural sector. The Americans also complain that it's difficult to assess whether China is respecting its WTO commitments because the Chinese government apparently hasn't notified it of all of its farm subsidies. The current review of China's trade policies is the last to which it committed itself when it joined the organization.



Auto dealers report that prices for new vehicles have sunk to a 17-year low. The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association says that while the situation makes things difficult for dealers, consumers are the winners in the end. Auto sales are expected to reach 1.6 million units in 2011, while prices are the same as in 1994, a 40-per cent with adjustment for inflation. The Association says the main factors in the situation are intense competition, manufacturer incentives and reduced production costs.


Air Canada's 6,800 flight attendants have begun voting on a tentative contract agreement reached on Sept. 20. The result will be announced on Oct. 10. The agreement was reached just before a strike deadline and as the federal government threatened to stop a strike with back-to-work legislation. The flight attendants voted in August to reject a previous tentative agreement.


TSX on Friday: 11,624 - 62. Dollar: US.95. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $79.14 - $3.00.




The red-hot B.C. Lions hosted the Edmonton Eskimos in one of two Canadian Football League games Friday night. The Lions are on a five-game winning streak and played on the field of the newly renovated B.C. Place Stadium. In Winnipeg, the league-leading Blue Bombers hosted Montreal, with the Alouettes looking to take a piece of the East Division lead.



British Columbia on Saturday: rain, high C15 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: rain. Nunavut: flurries. Whitehorse 8, Yellowknife 4, Iqaluit 0. Alberta: rain. Saskatchewan: rain north, sun south. Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 10, Regina 26, Winnipeg 25. Ontario: mix sun cloud south, sun north. Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto, Ottawa 12, Montreal 11. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 18, Halifax, St. John's 21, Charlottetown 20.

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