Saturday, October 15, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

CANADA SAYS NO TO IMF SCHEME


Canada is among the G20 countries that has rejected a plan to alleviate the European national debt crisis. G20 finance ministers and central bankers are meeting in Paris to discuss the crisis. According to the Reuters news agency, several developing countries have put forward a suggestion that the resources of the International Monetary Fund be almost doubled. The IMF is deeply involved in efforts to prevent the Greek government from going bankrupt. But Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the G20 should keep up pressure on the 17 eurozone nations to solve the crisis rather than focusing on the IMF. The U.S., Germany, China, Japan and Australia also opposed the plan to add as much as $350 billion to the IMF's treasury.

ECONOMIC TIDINGS AGAIN ENCOURAGING


There was more good economic news for Canada on Friday. Statistics Canada reports that manufacturers enjoyed a 1.4 per cent increase in sales in August to $47.6 billion. That's three times higher that economists' predictions. There was positive news south of the border as well, as the U.S. retail sector increased 1.1 per cent in August. The latest news capped 10 days of mostly positive reports concerning jobs, export and housing numbers. The latest figures may allay fears that might slip into technical recession by recording two straight quarters of negative growth.

TORIES WILL FULFIL ELECTORAL PROMISE TO THREE PROVINCES


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he intends to fulfil a campaign promise to increase representation in the House of Commons for three provinces. His Conservative Party promised during the spring election campaign to increase numbers of seats in the House for British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario because their percentage of the population has increased. The plan is unpopular in Quebec, because of fears that its number of its seats in the Commons might decrease.

BILL TO END GRAIN MONOPOLY IMPENDING


Canada's Conservative Party government will present long-promised legislation next week to abolish the Canada Wheat Board's monopoly over the marketing of Western wheat and barley. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the bill will bring the government closer to its goal of allowing farmers a choice of buyers of their crops for the first time since World War Two. Farmers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta supported the retention of the Board's monopoly in a non-binding referendum recently held by the Board. However, they also voted overwhelmingly for the Conservatives in the May 2 election. Canada is the last major grain producer to have a grain monopoly.

CANADIAN PARK OWNER IN NY BACKS OFF CONFRONTATION


The Canadian company that owns a park taken over by protesters on Wall Street in New York City has backed off its demand that the park be cleaned. Brookfield Properties said it made the decision at the request of local authorities. Neither Brookfield nor its Toronto-based parent firm Brookfield Asset Management would discuss the decision except to say that it's temporary. Police were to have cleared the protesters out of the park on Friday morning. Brookfield rules forbid tarpaulins, sleeping bags and the storing of personal property in the park. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he was told Brookfield had received threatening calls from many elected officials warning the company to leave the protesters alone. A protest is scheduled to take place in downtown Manhattan in front of one of Brookfield's properties on Saturday. The protesters will included workers of the former Fraser Paper pulp and paper firm. They claim they lost pension money because of Brookfield Asset Management, the company's controlling shareholder. Meanwhile, Canadian protests against corporate greed and economic imbalance are planned across the country this weekend. Organizers say rallies will be held in locations across the country, including Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.


LIBERALS SWING TO DEFENCE OF PUBLIC BROADCASTER


Canada's federal Liberal Party wants to defend Canada's national public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Liberal Leader Bob Rae has announced a campaign and online petition called Hands Off Our CBC. He says the Liberals recognize the profound importance of the CBC's role in Canadian society. He also criticized the governing Conservative Party for allegedly using the network as an issue in the midst of Canada's current economic difficulties. Some Conservative Members of Parliament are proposing to strip CBC of its $1.1 billion a year of government funding.

MULRONEY WARNS AGAINST FOREIGN POLICY BLUNDER


A former Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, says Canada would make a big mistake if it squandered its privileged relationship with the United States. He says this should be Canada's top foreign policy priority even at a time when U.S. world leadership is waning and new world powers are emerging. Mr. Mulroney says the resilience of America should never be discounted. Mr. Mulroney spoke at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs on Thursday paying tribute to Allan Gotlieb, the Canadian ambassador in Washington from 1981 to 1989.

FORMER FEDERAL MINISTER DIES


A former Canadian cabinet minister, Reg Alcock, is dead at the age of 63. He died suddenly Thursday while travelling. The cause of death is unknown. He was a Member of Parliament from the western Province of Manitoba. Mr. Alcock was Treasury Board President and minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board in former Prime Minister Paul Martin's cabinet. Most recently, he had been a professor at the University of Manitoba's Asper School of Business.


LIBYA


A gunbattle erupted in Libya's capital Tripoli on Friday between supporters of ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi and fighters for the country's interim government. Witnesses reported that the fighting began after several dozen Gadhafi supporters tried to raise the green flag identified with the former régime. Fighters defending the National Transitional Council then arrived in pickups mounted with weapons to stop the demonstration. The fighters then found weapons hidden on rooftops, after which snipers opened fire on them. Fighting continued, meanwhile, in the coastal city of Sirte, one of two strongholds of the pro-Gadhafi forces. NTC forces now control most of Sirte, after starting an offensive a week ago.

TUNISIA


There was another huge protest in the capital of Tunisia on Friday against the showing of a film which some Muslims considered sacrilegious. Police used teargas to disperse thousands of protesters who poured out of a mosque in downtown Tunis after hearing an imam preach against the animated film Persepolis. The demonstrators were headed toward the television station that aired the film. There have been protests in five other Tunisian cities. The film shows a character representing God, a representation forbidden in Islam. The demonstrations come as Tunisians prepare to vote on Oct. 23 for a constitutional body that will determine Tunisia's political future.

SYRIA


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is calling for international action to protect Syria's civilians. She says that country's ruthless repression of anti-government protesters could drive the country into civil war. She says thousands have been injured and arrested by Syrian forces, including many who have been tortured in custody. The death toll in the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations that began in March against President Bashar al-Assad now exceeds 3,000. The UN says at least 100 people have been killed in the last 10 days alone. The United States and Europe have imposed a sanctions on Syrian oil exports and several businesses and are seeking UN sanctions. Syria blames the violence on foreign-backed armed groups.

UNITED STATES


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says an international coalition could be formed to confront China over its yuan policy. Mrs. Clinton says the Chinese are trying to undermine the international financial system to their advantage, while leaving the United States at a disadvantage. She says the lower yuan is distorting the market, making U.S. exports more expensive and it is now beginning to affect other countries as well. Many in Washington believe that China keeps the yuan unfairly low against the dollar, giving its goods an edge of as much as 30 percent over similar U.S. products.

HAITI


The UN Security Council has voted to reduce the number of UN peacekeeping troops in Haiti and bring the force closer to its size before the devastating earthquake of January 2010. The Council resolution says the security situation in Haiti is fragile but better. Number of troops will be reduced to 7,340 from 8,940, and numbers of international police to 4,241 from 4,391. The Council says that although security has improved, the biggest threat to stability is criminal gangs.


RIM STOCK UNAFFECTED BY BLACKBERRY BREAKDOWN


Research in Motion Stock was almost motionless in Toronto on Friday, a day after four-day outrage of the BlackBerry smartphone was finally resolved. RIM stock was down slightly on Friday, falling 18 cents to $23.94. Analysts say the stock had already been severely depressed for months. Some of the company's institutional stockholders have been demanding changes to the company to make it more competitive. The suggestions include putting itself up for sale or spinning off its patents into a separate public company.

MARKETS


TSX on Friday: 12,082 + 170. Dollar: US.98. Euro: $1.40. Oil: $87.16 + $2.93.

TORSTAR REINVESTS IN FREE NEWSPAPER


Torstar Corp. has announced it will pay $51.5 million to increase its control of the Metro free daily newspaper chain from 50 per cent to 90 per cent. Torstar, the owner of the Toronto Stars and other dailies, had shared control of the Free Daily New Group with Metro International S.A., the European company that operates free papers around the world. Metro will keep a 10 per cent stake in the Canadian company. Metro newspapers are handed out in cities including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary.


SPORTS


SKIING

Alpine Canada has signed a four-year sponsorship deal

with Montreal-based Osisko Mining Corp., to support the country's

skiers leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The deal, which contributes to alpine, para-alpine and ski-cross

racing, runs through 2015.

Osisko operates the Canadian Malartic mine, Canada's largest gold

reserve in production, located in Malartic, Que.


WEATHER


British Columbia on Saturday: mix sun cloud south, sun north, high C11 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 5, Yellowknife 2, Iqaluit -1. Alberta: rain north, sun south. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Edmonton 7, Regina 11, Winnipeg 8. Ontario, Quebec: rain. Toronto 14, Ottawa 12, Montreal 13. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 16, Halifax 17, Charlottetown 18, St. John's 13.