Wednesday, November 9, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 8 November 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Top literary prize to be bestowed

Canada's biggest literary prize will be awarded this evening. The Giller Prize will be awarded at a gala ceremony in Toronto. Among the writers on this year's short list is Michael Ondaatje and Booker Prize nominees Patrick DeWitt and Esi Edugyan. The Giller is worth $50,000.

Eastern Canada may get TV gambling

The agency that regulates gaming in Canada's four Atlantic Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador is exploring the possibility of gambling at home through television. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation is looking for help in understanding a technology that's already in use in Britain. The Sky network has a dedicated gambling channel that makes placing a bet on everything from televised horse races to talent shows as easy as clicking your remote control. The Lottery Corporation says it's only researching to understand what's in the marketplace.

Former Gov.-Gen given academic post

Canada's former Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean has been named chancellor of the University of Ottawa. She says she's very excited about the appointment. Since leaving office last year, Miss Jean has served as *UNESCO's special envoy for Haiti. She also co-chairs the Michaelle Jean Foundation, which supports young people's involvement in arts and culture.

RCMP officer sues over alleged harassment

An officer with the Canada's federal police force is filing a lawsuit against the force. Constable Catherine Galliford of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has filed an internal complaint alleging sexual harassment. She charges that she suffered sexual advances from several senior officers since she graduated from the RCMP Academy in 1991. Constable Galliford served as spokeswoman for the RCMP in the Pacific coast Province of British Columbia before taking sick leave in 2007.

Doubts raised about NL energy project

The former chairman of Newfoundland and Labrador's public utilities board says there might be a better way to power the province than the Muskrat Falls project. In a 21-page paper, David Vardy argues the proposed development isn't necessarily the cheapest source of electricity for the province. The paper was prepared for Action Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing leadership capabilities in youth.

Mr. Vardy writes that better options may include converting a thermal generation facility in Holyrood to run on natural gas. He also suggests aggressively controlling energy use and efficiency until the province regains control of the Churchill Falls hydro facility in 2041.

Ottawa extends spending for climate change

The federal government is extending its funding to help the country deal with the effects of climate change. In a speech in Toronto, Environment Minister Peter Kent said he'll spend $150 million over five years, across 10 different programs. Previous spending plans were set to expire after two years. The money will be spent on getting a better handle on how warmer temperatures will affect the economy, health, security and especially aboriginal communities.

Mr. Kent has been under pressure to pay far more attention to the effects of climate change, above and beyond what's being done to control greenhouse gas emissions.

SK governing party re-elected in a breeze

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is following through on a tax cut for parents that his party had promised in the campaign. Mr. Wall has announced the extension of a provincial sales tax exemption on clothing for children up to 18 years old, up from 14, starting next week. Voters returned Mr. Wall and his Saskatchewan Party to the legislature in Monday's election with a huge majority. The Saskatchewan Party took 49 seats in the 58-seat legislature and nearly two-thirds of the popular vote. The NDP took the other nine seats, the lowest number the party has held since 1982.

Canadian govt. will miss deficit target

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says worsening economic conditions will add almost $16 billion to the deficit in the next two years, and he will no longer be able to deliver on the government's pledge to balance the budget by 2014. Instead, the minister says it will take one, or possibly two, more years to completely eliminate the deficit that reached as high as $55.6 billion following the severe economic downturn that began in the fall of 2008.

Mr. Flaherty warns that following an initial recovery, conditions are darkening again and becoming more precarious. As such, he is paring down slightly austerity measures designed to balance the books as quickly as possible. The minister says Ottawa will cut in half payroll taxes scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 that would have raised premiums on workers by 10 cents per $100 of insurable earnings, and 14 cents for firms.

The government says the hit to its revenues will be $600 million next year. In a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, the minister said it was important to protect workers, but also essential that Canada keep its finances under control.


Nigerian police make arrests after massacre

Nigeria's police said on Tuesday they had arrested suspected members of an Islamist sect behind coordinated attacks in the north of the country that killed at least 65 people late last week. Boko Haram said they had carried out the gun and bomb attacks in Damaturu on Friday in the group's deadliest onslaught since it began a violent campaign for more widespread adoption of sharia law across Nigeria in 2009.

Residents expressed anger that gunmen were able to take over the city with apparent ease, leaving bodies littering the streets and reducing police stations, churches and mosques to rubble.

Police say 53 people were killed but an emergency relief agency that counted bodies in morgues put the toll at 65 dead.

Liberia vote turnout low

Many Liberians failed to vote in a presidential run-off on Tuesday, poll observers said, some people staying away for fear of further violence and others following an opposition boycott appeal. Voters trickled into polling stations in the capital Monrovia in much lower numbers than the first round vote last month.

Incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is expected to win re-election after leading the first round vote, and because second-placed challenger Winston Tubman has withdrawn from the contest citing electoral fraud. A low turnout risks harming Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf's authority in a new term despite international praise for the new Nobel peace laureate.

Muslim pilgrimage winds down

Nearly three million Muslim pilgrims were performing the final rituals of the Hajj on Tuesday as the world's largest annual gathering neared its close without major incident. The most dangerous rite of the annual hajj proceeded peacefully as pilgrims rushed to throw 21 stones at pillars that symbolize the devil in the village of Mina, the last rite of the annual pilgrimage.

In previous years, hundreds of people have been trampled to death in stampedes triggered by crowds trying to get close to the pillars to take their vengeance on the symbol of the devil.

Tunis to extradite former Libyan prime minister

A Tunis appeals court on Tuesday gave its green light to the extradition of former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, the clerk said. The court "approved the extradition request" made by the new Libyan authorities for the extradition of Mahmudi, despite concerns expressed by rights groups and Mahmudi himself over his safety.

Thai leader cannot attend APEC summit

Thailand's prime minister has cancelled plans to attend a Pacific trade forum in Hawaii this weekend as she struggled to cope with her country's worst flooding in a half century. The flooding began in late July and has killed 527 people, mostly by drowning. Some provinces north of Bangkok have been inundated for more than a month, although floodwaters there have started to recede in recent days as massive pools of runoff flow south.

The water has made its way into Bangkok, causing distress among the capital's more than nine million inhabitants and heightening criticism of the government's inefficiency in battling the problem.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, hosted by President Barack Obama, will bring together 21 leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Iran working on atomic bomb design: UN

The UN's nuclear watchdog says Iran has worked on developing an atomic bomb design and may still be conducting research relevant for such weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency document, which has been preceded by Israeli media speculation of military strikes against Iranian nuclear sites, detailed new evidence suggesting efforts to acquire a nuclear arms capability.

Citing "credible" information, the Vienna-based agency said the data "indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." The United States and its allies are expected to seize on the report to press for more punitive sanctions on the major oil producer over its record of hiding sensitive nuclear activity and lack of full cooperation with U.N. inspectors.

Tehran has dismissed the allegations of covert atomic bomb research, based largely on Western intelligence funnelled to the IAEA, as fabricated and baseless.

Greeks haggle over new cabinet

Power-sharing talks between Greece's prime minister and the opposition leader dragged on into Tuesday evening, with senior government officials saying a deal was close but European leaders increasing the pressure for a resolution. Talks between Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras began Monday.

The two agreed over the weekend to form an interim government that will shepherd the country's new $179-billion European rescue package through Parliament. Without the deal, which took Europe months to work out, Greece would go bankrupt, potentially wrecking Europe's banking system and sending the global economy back into recession. Senior government officials promised a deal would come by the end of Tuesday.


Grain handler expands

Grain handler Viterra Inc. is buying the commercial and farm fuel operations of oil and gas giant Imperial Oil Ltd. in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Viterra says it will acquire bulk fuel assets that Imperial currently operates under its Esso brand. As well, Viterra has signed a long-term agreement to be a branded reseller and hauler operator of Esso fuels throughout parts of the Canadian Prairies. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.

Viterra already operates a network of full-service agri-business outlets, which also sell fuel, across western Canada.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors said Tuesday Growth in the oil drilling industry will continue to be hampered by a shortage of skilled workers needed for an expanding fleet of rigs. Drilling is expected to increase only marginally next year despite strong oil prices, rising one per cent year-over-year, virtually the same as conditions in 2011.

Adding to the difficulty posed by a weakened workforce, the oil driller's group says it is also seeing a trend in which many skilled general workers are pursuing specialized positions in directional drilling. Though it noted that there are new workers arriving in the oilpatch in "encouraging" numbers, "it will take time to develop their skills." The association said it expects the number of rigs at work in Western Canada's oilfields to rise by 15 in the first quarter and reach a total of 840 by the end of 2012.


TSX on Tuesday: 12,489 + 27. Dollar: US.99. Euro: $1.39. Oil: $96.99 + 1.47.




In the Canadian Football League, former B.C. Lions kicker Lui Passaglia is one of six people headed into Canada's Sports of Fame. Joining Passaglia today will be hockey's Ray Bourque, soccer player Andrea Neil, Ironman champion Peter Reid, Paralympic skier Lauren Woolstencroft, and former anti-doping boss Dick Pound. The Hall opened in July at Calgary's Canada Olympic Park.



British Columbia on Wednesday: rain, high C10 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse, Iqaluit -8, Yellowknife -10. Alberta: sun south, mix sun cloud north. Saskatchewan: sun. Manitoba: snow. Edmonton 1, Regina -3, Winnipeg 2. Ontario: rain south, snow north. Quebec: mix sun cloud. Atlantic Canada: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 10, Halifax 12, Charlottetown 8, St. John's 7.

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