Tuesday, November 8, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 7 November 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Manitoba govt. denounced for backing federal crime bill

The John Howard Society says it will protest the Manitoba government's support of Ottawa's omnibus crime bill. The society, which helps offenders re-enter the community after jail, says Manitoba should follow the lead of Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario in opposing Bill C-10. The three provinces say the bill before Parliament will mean higher costs to them because of increased incarceration rates.

A rally is planned for Tuesday at the Manitoba legislature. Attorney General Andrew Swan has said Manitoba supports the bill because it includes tougher bail restrictions for young offenders. The society says the proposed elimination of house arrest for some crimes means more people will be jailed.

Saskatchewan votes

Voters in the Western canadian province of Saskatchewan went to the polls Monday. Voters are choosing between Premier Brad Wall's incumbent Saskatchewan Party government and the New Democrats. Mr. Wall says he worries about voter complacency because his party has a substantial lead in the polls. He does not want people to fail to vote, city races are going to be very tight.

Ontario pols bicker over lost jobs

The provincial opposition says job losses rocked Ontario like a "bomb" and the Liberals must work with the Tories to freeze public sector wages, rein in government spending and get the economy back on track. The latest Statistics Canada figures show Ontario lost 75,000 jobs in October.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Monday the Liberals shouldn't be blaming Ontario's job losses on last spring's tsunami in Japan or the debt problems in Greece. "We have made-in-Ontario problems, our energy rates are going far too high, too much red tape, high taxes that slow Ontario down." With negotiations to start soon with doctors and teachers, Mr. Hudak wants a wage freeze for all of the estimated one million workers in the province's broader public sector. The Liberals tried a voluntary, two-year wage freeze for the public sector, but without legislation it was ignored by arbitrators. That has led to many police, nurses and other civil servants receiving pay hikes.

The New Democrats poured cold water on the idea of a wage freeze Monday, saying instead the province should cap the salaries of CEO's in the public sector and only give corporate tax breaks in exchangEfor firm job guarantees.

NDP gets ninth would-be leader

Manitoba Member of Parliament Niki Ashton has become the ninth contestant to join the race for the New Democratic Party leadership. Mrs. Ashton announced her candidacy Monday in Montreal. The Churchill MP was first elected in 2008. The 29-year-old is just the second woman to enter the race to succeed Jack Layton, who died in August of cancer.

She joins a crowded group of leadership hopefuls, including Thomas Mulcair, Brian Topp, Peggy Nash, Romeo Saganash, Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar, Martin Singh and Robert Chisholm.

Canadian on Gaza ship claims Israeli brutality

A Canadian on board one of two vessels seized by Israeli forces as they tried to run a naval blockade of Gaza said Sunday that he was zapped with a Taser and bruised as he was taken into custody. The Tahrir, a Canadian-owned vessel, along with an Irish ship were seized Friday as they tried to carry medical aid to Gaza. Israeli forces sprayed the vessel with a water cannon before they boarded the ship and towed it to the Israeli port of Ashdod, north of Gaza.

David Heap and some 21 other activists, including two other Canadians, were taken into custody by Israel. They're to be deported sometime this week. An Israeli army spokesman said no one was injured during the boarding of the vessel and denied Mr. Heap's claim of being roughed up.

Canadian finance minister to make major statement

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will deliver a major speech in Calgary on Tuesday that is widely expected to be his mid-year report card on the government's finances. The annual fall update is not likely to include any major new measures to address the economy.

Private-sector economists recently told Mr. Flaherty to brace for lower growth ahead, a forecast that could set back his plan for balancing the budget beyond the 2014-15 target. In recent statements, the minister has refused to say whether the target is still possible, but two other forecasts, from the TD Bank and the Parliamentary Budget Office -- suggest it will take at least an extra two years.


Putin down in poll

An opinion poll shows that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's approval rating fell to its lowest level in more than a decade and support for his ruling party dropped sharply, a month before a parliamentary election. The Levada Centre poll results indicate the United Russia party could fail to maintain its two-thirds majority in the State Duma lower parliament house after a Dec. 4 election.

That election will be followed by a presidential vote in March in which Putin intends to return to the presidency he held from 2000-2008. With 61 percent of respondents expressing approval for Putin's actions as prime minister, the Oct. 28-Nov. 1 poll suggests Putin will have little trouble carrying out his plan to return to the Kremlin. But his approval rating, down from 66 percent in a Levada poll conducted Oct. 21-24, was the lowest since August 2000, when he was dogged by the botched reaction to a naval disaster that killed all 118 crewmen aboard the submarine Kursk.

Colombia mudslide kills dozens

The government says a mudslide has killed 37 people in Colombia and buried homes in the central city of Manizales after torrential rains. The state-run National System for Disaster Prevention and Attention said 16 people were wounded and another 20 missing. Bulldozers and rescuers worked fast to clear rubble from destroyed houses on the outskirts of Manizales, a city in Caldas department in the country's main coffee-growing region.

The disaster happened Saturday. Colombia has suffered one of its worst rainy seasons in decades, with some 70 people killed and tens of thousands forced from their homes.

Nigeria's national security adviser on Monday dismissed a weekend warning from the United States of an Islamist bomb threat to luxury hotels in the capital as "not news", and said it was spreading unnecessary panic. The U.S. embassy warned its citizens on Sunday to avoid three hotels in Abuja, which it said could be targeted this week, after Islamist militants killed at least 65 people in co-ordinated gun and bomb attacks in the northern city of Damaturu on Friday.

The attacks were the deadliest since Islamist sect Boko Haram launched an insurgency against the government in 2009. The group claimed responsibility for the violence that left bodies littering the streets and police stations in ruins. The U.S. embassy said it had "received information that Boko Haram may plan to attack several locations and hotels in Abuja,"

Syrian troops enter rebel city

Activists report that troops and militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad entered a residential district of Homs after six days of tank bombardment that killed scores of people and wounded hundreds in the hotbed of unrest. Army defectors who had taken refuge in Bab Amro and helped defend the neighbourhood, which has seen regular street rallies against Assad's autocratic rule, had withdrawn and loyalist forces moved in overnight.

Syrian authorities have banned independent media from Homs, making it impossible to verify events on the ground.

Arch-terrorist remains defiant

With a clenched fist salute and a relaxed smile, Venezuelan militant cell leader Carlos the Jackal went on trial Monday in Paris accused of killing 11 people in four bombings in 1980s France. The 62-year-old has made no secret of his past as the leader of a gang that carried out attacks on behalf of Warsaw Pact intelligence agencies and far-left or pro-Palestinian causes, but denies the latest French charges. Carlos was arrested in Sudan in 1994 and transferred to France, where he has since been held in various jails. In 1997 he was convicted of the 1975 murder of a civilian and two policemen, and jailed for life. His new trial deals with four attacks that are seen as part of a private war Carlos waged against France to free two comrades, including his future wife, who were arrested in Paris while planning to attack the Kuwaiti embassy.

Greek partiesw haggle over cabinet

A former deputy head of the European Central Bank emerged on Monday as frontrunner to become Greek prime minister, as party leaders bargained over who will lead a "100-day coalition" to push through a bailout before the nation runs out of money. The top parties haggled Monday over the jobs in a government which will run Greece only until early elections in February.

A source at the opposition conservatives said nothing had been agreed yet with the governing socialists on who should lead the government of national unity, and refused to comment on speculation that former ECB vice president Lucas Papademos would get the job. However, the opposition source said that his New Democracy party accepted that socialist Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos could stay in his job at a time of national crisis. New Democracy would also vote for the 2012 budget and back a bond swap plan contained in the EU bailout package, under which the value of banks' holdings of Greek government debt will be halved.


Uranium miner suffers from industry uncertainty

Shares in Cameco Corp., the world's biggest uranium firm, dropped about eight per cent on Monday after the miner indicated an uncertain near-term outlook for the nuclear power industry and reported third-quarter results that missed analyst expectations. In afternoon trading, Cameco shares were off $1.75 at $20.02 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The future of the global nuclear power industry has been in question since a tsunami and earthquake destroyed Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March. Cameco chief executive officer Tim Gitzel visited the country recently, and said the picture remains uncertain. Only 11 of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors are currently operating. Many of the off-line plants weren't damaged in the March disaster, but they are awaiting regulatory and political approval to restart. Cameco says that, combined with Germany's decision to phase out its nuclear fleet by 2022 and possible uranium delivery deferrals to other countries, is clouding the outlook for the uranium market in the near to medium term,

Air Canada union irate

The union representing Air Canada's flight attendants has criticized an arbitrator's decision that imposes provisions of a tentative agreement that was rejected by employees last month. Canada Industrial Relations Board arbitrator and chairwoman Elizabeth MacPherson endorsed Air Canada's position that the provisions be imposed without alteration. The new four-year deal expires March 31, 2015.

Canadian Union of Public Employees Paul Moist says the government's constant interference in collective bargaining tipped the scales in favour of the company. But Mrs. MacPherson said the union won improvements in the second tentative agreement that was unanimously recommended by its bargaining committee. She added that more than 65 per cent of employees who voted rejected the second agreement, yet only 73 per cent of members voted, suggesting they weren't so unhappy that they felt compelled to vote against it.

U.S. to review decision on Canadian pipeline

The U.S. State Department's inspector general has agreed to conduct a review of the department's handling of an environmental assessment of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Environmental groups and congressional Democrats had requested the review in the wake of allegations that suggested a pro-pipeline bias at the State Department as it considered whether to approve the $7-billion project. In a memo, the inspector general's office said the review's primary purpose is to determine whether State Department officials complied with federal laws and regulations as it conducted its environmental assessment earlier this year. In August, the State Department said it had found no evidence that Keystone XL would pose any significant environmental risks to the six U.S. states it would traverse as it carried million of barrels of oilsands crude a week to Gulf Coast refineries.


The inspector general's review will likely mean a delay for the Obama administration's intent to announce a decision on the pipeline by the end of the year. Emails made public have suggest a cosy relationship between State Department officials and TransCanada's chief lobbyist,



B.C. Lions kicker Paul McCallum is being rewarded for his 19-point effort in the Lions' blowout win over Montreal. He's the Canadian Football League's special teams player of the week. McCallum led the league in scoring this season with 203 points. Edmonton's Adarius Bowman is the top offensive player and Calgary's Juwan Simpson takes the defensive nod. The top Canadian honour goes to Toronto's Andre Durie.



British Columbia on Tuesday: rain south, mix sun cloud north, high C8 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Nrothwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse -3, Yellowknife -0, Iqaluit -9. Prairies: sun. Edmonton, Winnipeg 3, Regina -2. Ontario:mix sun cloud south, Quebec: sun. Toronto 13, Ottawa 11, Montreal 12. Maritimes: sun. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 14, Halifax, Charlottetown 11, St. John's 9.

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