Friday, October 28, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 27 October 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Prime Minister praises European debt plan - markets rally

Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, sees the European debt plan to reduce Greece's fiscal crisis as a positive first step. The plan was agreed to overnight by European leaders.

Mr. Harper commented at a business forum in Perth, Australia, Thursday. He said the world has been waiting for something big from Europe to stop the financial crisis. Mr. Harper says the debt-reduction and bailout plan for Greece is certainly progress, but notes the situation is still evolving. Markets Thursday rallied on the news (see Financial below).

Mr. Harper is in Perth for a Commonwealth leaders' summit that opens Friday with debates on human rights laws and political freedoms.

No fear of insurgency in Libya

A senior Canadian military leader says he expects a relatively smooth transition to democracy in Libya, now that dictator Moammar Gadhafi is dead and the fighting has all but ended. Brig.-Gen. Craig King, military operations chief, told members of Parliament Thursday that he does not expect to see an insurgency grow out of the conflict between Gadhafi's now-defeated forces and the victorious rebels. Gen. King told the Commons defence committee that an insurgency needs popular support and leadership in order to get off the ground, and neither appears to exist in post-Gadhafi Libya. Gen. King says the military is already making plans to bring Canada's 630 navy and air force personnel home. They are part of the NATO mission that supported the rebels.

Privacy commissioner issues warning

The federal official charged with protecting the privacy of Canadians has advised the government that its plans to make electronic surveillance easier for police and spies must include stronger public protections.

In a letter to the public safety minister, Vic Toews, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart warns that the bills went far beyond simply maintaining investigative capacity or modernizing search powers. Rather, she says, they would have ushered in significant new powers for investigators to track, search and seize digital information about individuals.

The minister's office says its approach will strike an appropriate balance between necessary investigative powers and the protection of privacy.

Government settles on Commons expansion

The Harper government in Ottawa has settled on how additional seats in the House of Commons are to be distributed geographically. The additions are designed to better reflect population growth in different parts of the country.

Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Democratic Reform says it will introduce legislation that will give 15 additional seats to Ontario, six more to British Columbia, six to Alberta and three to Quebec. Both Ontario and Quebec had been expecting more seats.

Quebec wants a guarantee that it will continue to hold 24 per cent of the chamber's seats. It currently has 75 of the 308 seats.

The opposition Liberals say the Harper government can't just keep adding more and more seats to the House of Commons as the population grows. Party leader Bob Rae says, at some point, Canada will have to decide it has reached a maximum number of MP's. Rae says a new way must be found to balance representation by population - and the needs of Quebec to maintain its position in the federation.

Canada ready to join American satellite program

The Canadian government is said to be ready to spend as much as $477 million to participate in a US-led military satellite program that has been subject to delays and cost overruns over the past decade. The Wideband Global Satellite system would see as many as nine military satellites hovering over different parts of the world, ready to provide bandwidth for American and allied forces, wherever they may be operating.

Daniel Blouin, a spokesman for Canada's Department of National Defence, said the Canadian Forces has identified improved communication capabilities as a necessity.

The Vancouver Sun says that Defence Minister Peter MacKay has given permission to spend the money to ensure Canadian participation. The overall project is reported to be 39.5 per cent above budget projections.

Minister defends oilsands against European attack

The European Commission says it will proceed with plans to have oil extracted from oilsands declared as highly polluting by EU member states.

Canada, which has huge deposits of the unconventional crude oil in the western province of Alberta, has hit back fiercely at the characterization. Canada fears the ranking could damage the market for its oil.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has said the Commission's proposal is based on politics, not science.

But EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard denies that it is politically motivated, insisting that science supports the Commission's position. Environmental groups have strongly supported the Commission.

Construction resumes in Quebec

Construction crews were back on the job at Quebec worksites Thursday following two straight days of illegal, wildcat strikes.

The strikes were called to protest against legislation the province is trying to pass that's aimed at limiting unions' powers to select which workers are assigned to job sites.

The issue has set off heated debate in the provincial legislature, and at least two Liberal members of the National Assembly report facing threats and intimidation. The bill being protested would affect 155,000 workers.



A bomb explosion in a government building in Tibet has caused damage but no injuries. The London-based rights group The International Campaign for Tibet says the bomb went off in Karma town in Chamdo prefecture. But the group says it's not immediately clear who was behind the bombing on Wednesday, which occurred as tensions ran high in the Chinese region following a series of self-immolation protests by Tibetan monks.

There was no immediate reaction from Chinese officials. Tibetan Buddhist monks say they have been forced to undergo what the Chinese authorities call political re-education. Rights groups say some have suffered interrogation, torture and beatings.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending-in troops to "liberate" the region. Many Tibetans are angry about what they view as increasing domination by China's majority Han ethnic group, and accuse the government of trying to dilute their culture.


Tens of thousands of Syrians held a massive rally Thursday in the coastal city of Latakia in support of President Bashar Assad. The demonstration came one day after a similar pro-regime rally in the capital, Damascus, as authorities try to rally supporters in the face of a seven-month uprising against Mr. Assad.

Despite the rallies, the regime's crackdown on dissent continued in opposition areas. The United Nations estimates that the government crackdown on protests has killed at least 3,000 people.

Analysts say it is difficult to gauge the strength of the revolt in Syria, a country of 22 million people. They say the regime is strong and in no imminent danger of collapse, setting the stage for what could be a drawn-out and bloody stalemate.


Eurozone leaders have reached an agreement in Brussels aimed at lowering Greece's debt burden. The leaders worked out a deal with private banks and insurers to accept a 50 per cent loss on their Greek government bonds.

The agreement was reached after more than eight hours of negotiations involving bankers, heads of state, central bankers and the International Monetary Fund.

It strives to reduce Greece's debt burden by 100 billion euros, or to 120 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, by 2020. The current level is 160 percent of GDP.


The U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to end the no-fly zone over Libya next Monday. Libya's new government had asked the Security Council to keep the no-fly zone in place to prevent any possible advance by Gadhafi loyalists. But Council members said it's time for Libyans to "own the process" of governing themselves. The Council authorized the actions on March 17th in response to an Arab League request to try to halt Moammar Gadhafi's military, which was advancing against rebels and their civilian supporters. The NATO bombing campaign that followed was critical in helping the rebels oust Gadhafi from power in August.


Eighteen people were killed Thursday after two bombs exploded in Baghdad. Some 37 others were wounded.

The first bomb targetted a police patrol in the Iraqi capital's Ur district, while the second exploded when emergency services were evacuating the wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

There have been predictions of an increase in violence as the year-end date for U.S. troops to leave the country approaches. The deadline is part of a 2008 security agreement between Baghdad and Washington.


Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party won historic democratic elections with 41.47 percent of votes cast, nine months after the ouster of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, official results showed Thursday. The party obtained 90 seats in a new 217-member assembly that will rewrite the constitution, appoint a president and form a caretaker government, elections chief Kamel Jendoubi told journalists in Tunis.

The leftist Congress for the Republic (CPR) was in second place with 13.82 per cent, representing 30 seats, and Ettakatol third with 9.68 per cent or 21 seats, he said.

Ennahda, banned under Ben Ali's regime and registered as a political party in March, had preempted its victory by announcing Wednesday it had started coalition negotiations and intended to form a new government within a month.

The new assembly will decide on the country's system of government and how to guarantee basic liberties, including women's rights, which many in Tunisia fear Ennahda would seek to diminish despite its assurances to the contrary.



A new analysis by the TD Bank concludes the federal government may need an two extra years to balance the budget. The TD Bank study is the first since the Harper government pledged during the election campaign to eliminate the deficit in the fiscal year 2014-15.

The bank says that given the marked slowdown in the economy and prospects for more modest growth going forward, Ottawa is likely to still be $5.2 billion in the hole that year. It projects the deficit will shrink to $1.8 billion the following year, when Ottawa is counting on a $4.2-billion surplus.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty fudged on whether he still planned to eliminate the deficit in four years, choosing instead the softer target of the medium term.

TD economists say the longer timeline should not set off alarm bells since deficits of a few billion dollars are tiny relative to the size of the economy.


Canada's dollar has closed above parity with the American greenback for first time in more than a month, spurred by optimism about a plan to deal with Europe's debt crisis. It ended the day at 100.88 cents US, the first time it has closed above one U.S. dollar since Sept. 20th. That's up nearly 1 1/2 cents from Wednesday's close.

The Canadian dollar's strength is a reflection of increased confidence in the global economy, if leaders of the Eurozone countries can resolve the debt issue.


The Toronto stock market surged upwards Thursday after an agreement to deal with the Eurozone's debt crisis pushed commodity prices higher.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 279.38 points to 12,465.44, also powered ahead by strong earnings reports from the influential resource sector.

The Dow industrials jumped 339.44 points to 12,208.48.

The Nasdaq gained 87.96 points to 2,738.63 while the S&P 500 index jumped 42.59 points to 1,284.59.

Oil ran up $3.76 to US$93.96 a barrel.

Maple Leaf Foods

Maple Leaf Foods returned to profitability in the third quarter, posting a net profit of 43 million dollars. That compares with a loss of 19.9 million dollars a year ago.

Canada's largest food processor says that sales dipped two per cent to 1.26 billion dollars. However, after adjusting for the impacts of asset sales and a stronger Canadian dollar, sales increased by six per cent.

It's primarily as a result of higher selling prices.


Pan American Games

Canada won silver in the men's K4 1,000-metre race Thursday at the Pan American Games. The team of Richard Dober Jr., Phlippe Duschesneau Steven Jorens and Connor Taras finished between Cuba and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the Canadian men's fencing team of Tigran Bajgoric, Igor Gantsevich, Vincent Pelletier and Etienne Lalonde-Turbide beat Chile 45-27 to take bronze in the team epee event.

Earlier, Canada dropped a close 40-39 decision to Venezuela in the semis. On Wednesday, Canadians won four medals - two golds, a silver and a bronze. Philippe Beaudry successfully defended his fencing title in the individual sabre final, and the women's K-4 500-metre team of Kathleen Fraser, Kristin Gauthier, Alexa Irwin and Una Lounder finished first in their event. Angela Whyte took the silver in the women's 100 metre hurdles final and Kristina Vaculik won bronze in the women's all-round artistic gymnastics event.

Boxer Mary Spencer could also take home a gold, as she advanced to the 75-kilogram final. The women's water polo team advanced to the final with a 15-9 victory over Cuba, and in women's field hockey, Canada lost to the US 4-2, but advanced to bronze medal match.

Toronto games land bank sponsor

Toronto 2015 Pan American Games have a lead sponsor. Ian Troop, CEO of the Games' organizing committee announced the signing a multi-million dollar, four-year deal with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on Thursday. The bank will serve as the exclusive lead partner of the Games.

The news comes two days before Toronto will receive the Pan Am Games flag in the traditional handoff between host cities at the closing ceremony for the 2011 Games in Guadalajara.

Troop said the agreement puts Toronto on track to meet its sponsorship revenue goal in record time and gives CIBC exclusive sponsorship rights among financial institutions.

The sponsorship deal includes a national marketing strategy, professional financial resources, legacy scholarships and athlete support, and cultural programs. The 2015 Pan Ams will be held July 10-26, and the Para Pan Ams are Aug. 7-14.


Wednesday's results: Montreal defeated Philadelphia 5-1, Calgary defeated Colorado 4-2 and St. Louis shut out Vancouver 3-0.

World Cup soccer

Bell Media has won the Canadian rights for the men's World Cup competitions in 2018 and 2022. The agreement also means CTV, TSN, RDS and the other Bell Media properties will broadcast the 2015 Women's World Cup, which Canada is hosting.

CBC holds the Canadian FIFA TV rights through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


Friday, October 28th.

Vancouver, rain, 11.

Edmonton, partly cloudy, 9.

Calgary, partly cloudy, 8.

Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg, sunny, 6.

Toronto, partly cloudy, 9.

Ottawa, partly cloudy, 4.

Montreal, partly cloudy, 5.

Fredericton, partly cloudy, chance of flurries, 5.

Halifax, rain or wet snow, 7.

Charlottetown, partly cloudy, 6.

St. John's, rain or wet snow, 4.

Whitehorse, a few flurries, 2.

Yellowknife, a mix of sun and cloud, a few flurries, minus 2.

Iqaluit, sunny, minus 10.

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