Friday, October 21, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

CANADA TO WIND DOWN LIBYA MISSION


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada's military mission will soon end now that the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has been killed. The prime minister made the statement hours after Gadhafi was killed in the city of Sirte. The coastal city was his supporters' last stronghold. Canadian fighter jets flew 10 per cent of NATO's air strikes. The strikes were authorized by the UN to protect Libyan civilians. Mr. Harper also paid tribute to Canadian Gen. Charles Bouchard. He organized NATO's air war in Libya. The Canadian government recently donated $10 million to Libya's National Transitional Council to help it round up weapons of mass destruction and to make the transition to democracy. Canada has also released about $2.2 billion in Gadhafi's seized assets, money that will help the council run Libya. The Canadian embassy in Tripoli has reopened after being closed on Feb. 26. A priority of the newly functioning embassy will be helping Canadian companies, including Alberta oil producer Suncor and Montreal engineering firm SNC Lavalin, resume operations. Calgary-based energy firm Suncor had been working with the state-owned National Oil Corp. and was producing about 50,000 barrels of oil a day before the violence began. SNC Lavalin is involved in several Libyan ventures, including building a prison and part of a water-supply system.

SENATE HEARS OPINIONS ON U.S.-CANADA RETAIL PRICING GAP


The Canadian Senate began hearings on Wednesday evening on the gap between retail prices in Canada and the U.S. Among the first witnesses was Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. The minister asked the Senate last month to look into the situation. He conceded that Canadian tariffs on imported retail goods are a factor. The Retail Council of Canada has said tariffs are the major reason for the pricing gap between the two countries, causing a difference of as much as 18 per cent on some items. A survey by the Bank of Montreal last spring found that the price gap on such goods as books, shoes, clothing, electronics and cars averaged about 20 per cent. At the time, the Canadian dollar was at or slightly above par with its U.S. counterpart.

GROUP TRIES TO HAVE BUSH ARRESTED


A Canadian justice group tried to lodge a legal charge against former U.S President George W. Bush Thursday when he visited the Pacific coast city of Vancouver, BC, for an appearance with another former U/S. president, Bill Clinton. A lawyer with the Canadian Centre for International Justice asked a court to begin a prosecution against Mr. Bush on allegations of war crimes and torture. Matt Eisenbrandt admits it will be difficult, but he claims the the law is on his group's side. Last February, a rights group attempted to have Mr. Bush arrested during a speech in Switzerland but failed.

LUMBER SALES TO CHINA SAG


Chinese orders for Canadian lumber are said to be declining rapidly. The slowdown is a major concern for producers in the Pacific coast province of British Columbia who rely on Asia to replace the diminished demand in the United States. Analysts say the housing outlook in China is not good, as sales of units are falling swiftly. Reports say that Chinese developers are likely to find themselves holding large volumes of unsold property. China is currently trying to contain inflation amid a weakening economy. Canada's forestry firms have been counting on China and other Asia nations to pick up the slack caused by the slow housing market in the U.S.

HIGH COURT ISSUES INTERNET RULING


The Supreme Court of Canada has decided that posting links to a website containing libellous material does not in itself constitute libel. Canada's highest court ruled unanimously against a former campaign manager of the federal political Green Party who argued that posting links to sites with defamatory statements was the same as publishing them. A University of Ottawa professor who holds the Canada research chair in Internet and e-commerce law, calls the decision a huge victory for the Internet.


LIBYA


A U,S. defense official said Thursday a U.S. Predator drone along with a French fighter jet had bombed a convoy of vehicles in Libya that Paris believed was carrying Moamer Kadhafi. French Defense Minister Gérard Longuet had earlier revealed that a French Mirage-2000 had fired a warning shot to halt a column of several dozen vehicles fleeing Sirte. The U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the unmanned Predator aircraft had attacked "the same convoy" but could not confirm that Kadhafi was in one of the vehicles. A Libyan official said Gaddafi, 69, was killed in custody. the body was delivered, as prize of war, to Misrata, the city whose siege and suffering at the hands of Gaddafi's forces made it a symbol of the rebel cause.

SYRIA


The United Nations has called on Syria to end its incursions into Lebanon warning the raids could ignite tensions in the region. In recent weeks, Syrian tanks have crossed into disputed border areas, shooting dead three Syrian citizens. Lebanese officials estimate some 5,000 Syrians, including deserting soldiers and opposition members, have sought refuge in Lebanon since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March. Syria first sent troops into Lebanon months after the outbreak of the country's 1975-1990 civil war, and kept them deployed in its smaller neighbour for 29 years. Syria withdrew forces from Beirut in the aftermath of the 2005 assassination of billionaire former premier Rafiq Hariri, whose killing was initially widely blamed on Syria.

RUSSIA


Russia is concerned about the timing of the release of a United Nations report which is expected to increase suspicions about Iran's nuclear ambitions. Russia fears the report could undermine Moscow's initiative to help resolve a nuclear dispute with Tehran. Russia, which has commercial and other links with Iran, has proposed a step-by-step diplomatic effort to defuse the nuclear standoff but Western diplomats have given the plan a cool response. Western powers fear Iran is using its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying it needs to refine uranium for a planned network of nuclear power plants.

SPAIN


Basque separatists ETA, Europe's last major guerrilla group, called a halt to 50 years of violence on Thursday. ETA's fight to carve out an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France has been severely weakened by the arrests of hundreds of its members in recent years and seizures of its weapons. Three masked ETA members sat behind a table to read the statement in an online video and raised their fists in the air at its end. The group has come under pressure from its own political arm and former members, now in prison, to disband. The three did not say whether the guerrilla force would turn in its weapons, which Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said is a condition for any negotiations with ETA.

TAIWAN


Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou is trying to reassure voters over his proposals for a peace treaty with China. He says it would only be signed if it was first approved in a referendum. Reactions were mixed after Mr. Ma suggested on Monday that Taiwan should consider a peace treaty with China within the coming decade, formally ending a civil war that has actually been over since 1949. Taiwan's pro-independence opposition camp has reacted furiously to the peace treaty, accusing Mr. Ma of leading Taiwan down the road to reunification with the mainland. Observers believe a peace treaty is a remote prospect, because it will involve difficult questions, such as who should sign the agreement on either side.


MEAT FIRM RESTRUCTURES


A major Canadian food company is about to undergo a painful $560-million restructuring in to become more profitable and competitive. Maple Leaf Foods will close 10 different plants and distribution centres across the country by the end of 2014. But Maple Leaf will build a new prepared meats facility in Hamilton, ON, and invest in plants in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. The plant closures will result in a net loss of 1,500 jobs.

PELADEAU DENIES VENDETTA AGAINST PUBLIC BROADCASTER


A Quebec-based media tycoon has denied he's waging a feud with the Canadian Broadcasting Crop., Canada's public broadcaster. Quebecor President Pierre Karl Péladeau says says his businesses are engaged in a public duty to investigate the affairs of a government-funded Crown corporation. Mr. Péladeau appeared Thursday at a parliamentary hearing that is trying to find out why CBC is fighting an interpretation of the federal Access To Information law in the courts. CBC says is has been overwhelmed with requests for information from Quebecor's many outlets that are aimed at damaging its reputation. Quebecor and CBC are competitors for Quebec's television market.


SPORTS


TRACK AND FIELD

Canada is in prime position to win more medals at the Pan American Games. The women's squash team advanced to the gold medal match Thursday morning and the men's team is guaranteed at least a bronze. It's an all-Canadian final in women's singles badminton.


WEATHER


British Columbia on Friday: rain, high C13 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: mix sun cloud flurries. Whitehorse 0, Yellowknife -2, Iqaluit -3. Alberta, Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan: sun. Edmonton 10, Regina 9, Winnipeg 11. Ontario: rain south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: rain. Toronto, Montreal 12, Ottawa 10. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 15, Halifax 17, Charlottetown 18, St. John's 16.