Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 4 October 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Canada has expanded its economic sanctions against Syria because of the continuing political suppression of dissent by the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird says the new measures are meant to support international efforts to apply pressure on the Assad régime. The new sanctions forbid Canadians to buy or to transport Syrian petroleum or to invest in the country's oil industry. Canada has also added 27 new individuals and 12 new entities to the sanctions list. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other world leaders have called on Mr. al-Assad to quit. Canadian exports to Syria amount to about $60 million a year. Canada's biggest energy firm, Suncor, is partner in a natural gas project in Syria with Egyptian General Petroleum Corp.


Canada has yet to release $2.2 billion of frozen Libya assets. Foreign Minister John Baird ordered the assets unfrozen three weeks ago for humanitarian uses by Libya's National Transitional Council. But a senior foreign affairs department officials has told the House of Commons that access to the money is complicated and is under negotiation. The U.S.-denominated funds are held in Canadian branches of British banks. However, the official says the process is almost complete and that Canada will wait to hear from the Council where to direct the funds.


Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the government would only present a new economic stimulus package in the event of a new recession. He added, however, that he doesn't think this will happen. The minister says he expects modest economic growth in Canada in the short term. Mr. Flaherty says he would be willing to scrap the government's target of a balanced budget in four years if there's another slump and another stimulus drive is needed. The minister spoke on Tuesday morning before the Toronto Stock Exchange opened with another big sellout, the Canadian dollar fell and there was more bad news out of Europe about a possible default by the Greek government. The Conservative government has come under pressure from the opposition New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party to abandon the budget scenario put into place in March when the economy appeared set for a full recovery.


There has been more criticism of the Canadian government's plans to deal with climate change. The criticism comes from Parliament's environmental watchdog, Scott Vaughan. He reported back on the government's $9.3-billion climate change plan presented last year. Mr. Vaughan says the 35 different programs comprising the plan are disjointed, confused and lack co-ordination between them. After being elected in 2006, the Conservatives rejected the previous government's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. The government now promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. But Mr. Vaughan says that goal could be too ambitious given the chaos of last year's blueprint. Environment Minister Peter Kent responded by insisting that the 2020 target will be reached.


The Bank of Montreal has revised a previous prediction regarding interest rates and now says the central bank won't raise its rate until at least 2013. BMO says the Bank of Canada may even cut the rate by one-half of a percentage point. The rate now stands at 1 per cent. BMO says that with the risk of recession rising in both Canada and the U.S., the odds against high interest rates are growing. The trend would be good news for homeowners with variable-rate mortgages and consumers financing loans and lines of credit tied to the prime rate.


The premier of Canada's Western province of Saskatchewan has weighed in on the latest dispute between Canada and the U.S. over protectionism. Brad Wall says the U.S. President Barack Obama's job-creation bill will threaten jobs and economic development on both sides of the border. Mr. Wall has written a letter making that point to leading senators and speakers of state legislatures. The proposed legislation requires use of U.S.-made materials for infrastructure projects. Legislation in 2009 contained a similar provision. Canada obtained an exemption after a year of strenuous negotiations.


The Liberal Party in Canada's smallest province of Prince Edward Island has been re-elected. Premier Robert Ghiz and his Liberal Party won 22 of the province's 27 seats on Monday, down a few from the number the Liberals held at dissolution. The Conservatives took the remaining five seats. Mr. Ghiz says he will continue to stress fiscal prudence and do what's best for the people of the island the next four years. Voter turnout was estimated at 77 per cent, the lowest since 1966.


Voters in the western Canadian province of Manitoba were voting Tuesday. The governing New Democrats are looking for a fourth consecutive mandate. Analysts say it was the most negative campaign in recent memory.


The nominees have been announced for Canada's most prestigious literary honour, the Giller Prize. The short-list includes six writers. Among them is a previous Giller winner, Michael Ondaatje. Also in the running are short-story writer, Zsuzsi Gartner, David Bezmozgis, Lynn Coady, Patrick deWitt and Esi Edugyan. The Giller Prize is worth $50,000. The winner will be announced on Nov. 8.



At least 70 people died in a bombing in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. The city's ambulances service says at least 42 others were wounded and that the death toll will likely rise. The bombing occurred at the ministry of education as a truck loaded with drums of fuel blew up as students and their parents gathered to register for scholarships offered by Turkey. The Islamist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility, explaining that the attack was directed against ministers and Ugandan and Burundian soldiers comprising the African Union's peacekeeping mission.


The Dexia SA bank has become the first be be the subject of a government bailout in the current European national debt crisis. France and Belgium have effected a rescue plan involving a breakup. Dexia's healthier assets will be sold, while a separate bank will be created containing toxic assets. Dexia has been battered by its heavy exposure to Greece. The bank's shares closed down 22.5 per cent on Tuesday. Dexia had already taken a loss of 338 million euros and could lose even more if EU finance ministers decide to force banks to take even bigger losses on Greek debt than already agreed.


Libyan civilians leaving Moammar Gadhafi's hometown Sirte say the horror of the battle for the city between Gadhafi forces and fighters for the interim government gave them no choice but to depart. The fleeing civilians all spoke of an increasingly desperate situation inside the city, as their food supplies ran out. An International Committee of the Red Cross team managed to deliver some desperately needed medical supplies into Sirte on Monday despite the fighting. But the persistent exchanges prevented it from carrying out a more detailed assessment of the needs of the city.


European nations are seeking a vote on a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syria's crackdown on protests. Britain, France, Germany and Portugal have dropped the word sanctions from their text in an attempt to win over Council opponents. But diplomats say it was not clear whether it would be enough to avoid a Russian veto. Russia has said it will use its right as a permanent member of the council to veto any resolution which threatens sanctions against its longtime ally.


More accusationS of cyber economic espionage by China were launched Tuesday in the U.S. Congress. The chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee says China's economic espionage has reached an intolerable level and that the U.S. and its allies in Europe and Asia should confront Beijing to force it to end the activity. Republic Party Rep. Mike Rogers says China is waging a "massive trade war on us all" and that its targets should band together to force it to stop. Rep Rogers describes the companies that have publicly complained are the tip of the iceberg because many more refrain from doing so for fear of becoming even more heavily targeted. For CIA Director Michael Hayden told the committee that any private-sector analyst will agree that China is conducted a massive campaign of cyber espionage.



The American business magazine Forbes has named Canada the world's best country for business in its annual ranking. The magazine says Canada's economy has held up better than most at a time when Europe is bogged down in a national debt crisis and the U.S. is paralysed by fears of another recession. Canada was the only country to rank in the top 20 countries in 10 of 11 categories. The magazine reserved special praise for the country's banks because of their conservative lending policies. Forbes ranked Canada ninth among the 134 countries considered in terms of tax burdens, citing the introduction of a harmonized sales tax in Ontario and British Columbia. B.C. recently held a referendum in which residents voted to repeal the HST.


TSX on Tuesday: 11,178 - 74. Dollar: US.94. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $76.15 - $1.46.



Christine Sinclair has been named Canada's flag-bearer

for the opening ceremonies at the Pan American Games.

The captain of Canada's women's soccer team, Sinclair is the most

prolific goal-scorer in Canadian soccer history with 117 goals in

162 games.


Milos Raonic won the opening match in his comeback tournament at the Japan Open, beating Japanese wild card Yuichi Sugita in three sets. It was his first first ATP Tour match since suffering a hip injury at Wimbledon.


The Canadian Football League players of the week are out and Calgary tailback Jon Cornish is the big winner. Cornish was named the top offensive player and Canadian after running for 149 yards in a 40-3 win over Saskatchewan. Linebackers Charleston Hughes of Calgary and Adam Bighill of the B.C. Lions were named outstanding defensive player and special-teams performer, respectively.



British Columbia on Wednesday: rain south, mix sun cloud north, high C15 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: rain. Nunavut: sun. Whitehorse 8, Yellowknife 9, Iqaluit -2. Alberta: rain. Saskatchewan: rain north, mix sun cloud south. Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 15, Regina 24, Winnipeg 28. Ontario, Quebec: sun. Toronto 18, Ottawa 15, Montreal 14. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 7, Halifax 12, Charlottetown 10, St. John's 16.

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