Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Chief opposition sinks in popularity

Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party has declined in public opinion. Nationally, support for the official opposition party has fallen to 29 per cent, down from the mid-30's in August. The party won a record number of seats in the May federal election. But their popular leader Jack Layton died in August of cancer. The interim leader is Nycole Turmel. The party will hold its leadership convnetion in March.

High court judges sworn in

The country's two newest Supreme Court of Canada justices are celebrating their humble upbringings as they are publicly welcomed to the country's highest court. Michael Moldaver and Andromache Karakatsanis were named to the court by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last month and were sworn in privately before Monday's formal welcoming ceremony.

Justice Moldaver, 63, repeatedly caused laughter with fond,self-deprecating recollections of his working-class youth in Peterborough, ON. Justice Karakatsanis, 56, said her parents emigrated from Greece after the Second World War without language, family or fortune, but succeeded with courage and hope.

New Canadian bill is plastic

Paying with plastic took on a new meaning Monday as the Bank of Canada rolls out new $100 bills to replace the paper note. The $100 is Canada's first polymer bank note and features a wealth of anti-counterfeiting features such as partially-hidden numbers. The bill also includes a large, transparent window, transparent text, a metallic portrait, raised ink and a frosted maple leaf window. The $100s feature two portraits of prime minister Robert Borden and an image of a researcher at a microscope and a depiction of DNA. The $50 polymer note will follow next March.

The rest of the plastic money will be in circulation by the end of 2013.

Alberta leader retains faith in planned U.S. pipeline

Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she still believes in the Keystone XL pipeline project and remains confident it will eventually win approval in the United States. She says it will be up to the U.S. alone to make up its own mind and judge the $7-billion bitumen pipeline on its own merits. The U.S. state department postponed a decision on the cross-border plan last week by ordering pipeline giant TransCanada to take it back to the drawing board. Mrs. Redford says she has no regrets about Alberta's lobbying efforts on Keystone, saying that it would have been inappropriate for Alberta to try to influence an independent regulatory process.

She says that process is still underway and needs to be allowed to run its course. Keystone XL, designed to transport crude oil from Alberta's oilsands down through six U.S. states to refineries on the Gulf Coast, met a massive groundswell of protest from environmental advocates in both the U.S. and Canada. The original route took the pipeline directly through the Sand Hills of Nebraska and over a key underground aquifer that provides drinking water to millions of U.S. residents.

Canada calls on Europe to draw its own resources in crisis

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says Europe should use its own resources to resolve its debt crisis before other countries contribute. His comment during a visit to Beijing adds to the pressure on European leaders to produce a financial rescue plan and resources to support it. China, South Africa and others have said they might consider contributing but need to first see a detailed plan.

Mr. Flaherty says they want to see Europe build a "very strong firewall" to protect their banks and prevent debt contagion from spreading. Chinese officials have said Beijing might consider putting money into a fund to help stabilize Europe by buying government bonds with money from outside investors but wants to see details before it can decide.

Canadian PM favours Pacific trade accord

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will enter talks on the creation of a trans-Pacific trade agreement. He spoke after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the end of the APEC summit in Honolulu, Hawaii. Earlier, Mr. Obama declared that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional free-trade zone, was of vital importance for his country's economy. Japan and several other APEC countries also expressed interest in the pact.

Ukrainian opposition leader looks for foreign legal backing

The lawyer representing Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she hopes foreign courts such as the European Court of Human Rights will throw out her conviction for abuse of office. A Ukrainian court sentenced Mrs. Tymoshenko to seven years in prison last month for exceeding her powers in forcing through a gas supply deal with Russia which the government says has saddled Ukraine with an exorbitant price for gas.

She has dismissed the case as part of political vendetta by President Viktor Yanukovich, who narrowly beat her in the 2010 presidential elections and whose party is set to compete against Mrs. Tymoshenko's in an October 2012 parliamentary election. A local court is due to hear her appeal in the coming months but the lawyer said he had little hope that a domestic court would overturn her conviction. Mrs. Tymoshenko gained worldwide prominence as a leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution which doomed Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency. Twice prime minister, she remains one of Ukraine's most popular politicians and a major political threat to the president's party.

Dozens of migrants found in truck in Mexico

Mexican officials say soldiers searching vehicles for hidden drugs found 140 Central Americans crammed into a tractor-trailer rig. The Defence Department says troops trying to fight narcotics traffic and organized crime in the southern state of Chiapas found the migrants on Sunday. It did not say what country they were from. Chiapas borders Guatemala and thousands of migrants traverse the state each year as they attempt to reach the United States.

Two men were detained in connection with the discovery.

Islamist victory confirmed in Tunisia

Tunisia's final election results confirmed the victory of an Islamist party, giving it a major say in the country's new government and future constitution, the election commission announced Monday. The final results for the Oct. 23 contests give the once-banned Ennahda Party 89 out of 217 seats, more than triple the next biggest vote getter.

In polls described by international observers as free and fair, Tunisians elected an assembly that will write the new democracy's new constitution and appoint an interim government ahead of new elections in the next year or so.

Jordanian leader calls on Syrian counterpart to leave

Jordan's King Abdullah said Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad should step down, making him the first Arab ruler to issue such a call over the regime's deadly crackdown on an 8-month-old uprising. The surprising statement comes as Arabs close ranks against Damascus. On Saturday, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria over attacks on protesters that the U.N. estimates have killed 3,500 people since mid-March. Damascus had no immediate public comment.

Earlier Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem accused Arab nations of conspiring against Syria, calling Saturday's near-unanimous vote at the Arab League's headquarters in Cairo "shameful and malicious."

Israelis discuss resumption of tax payments to West Bank

An Israeli government official says cabinet ministers are meeting to discuss releasing some $100 million in taxes to the Palestinian government in the West Bank, withheld following a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations. Israel collects customs, border and some income taxes on behalf of the Palestinians and relays them monthly to their West Bank government. Earlier this month, Palestinian officials said Israel suspended November's transfer. This came after the Palestinians asked the UN to recognize an independent state of Palestine and won membership in UNESCO.

Norwegian mass killer is 'resistance leader'

The anti-Muslim extremist who confessed to a bombing and shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway tried to declare himself a resistance leader Monday at his first public court hearing but was quickly cut off by the judge. Anders Behring Breivik was escorted by guards into an Oslo court room packed with dozens of reporters and spectators, including survivors of his rampage at a youth camp near the capital who were seeing him in person for the first time since the July 22 attack.

The court extended his custody 12 more weeks until Feb. 6, but decided to gradually lift the restrictions on his media access, visitors and mail. Mr. Breivik is being held pending his trial on terror charges. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to 21 years in prison.

New Greek leader clings to eurozone

Greece's new prime minister says he is determined to keep the country in the eurozone, and urged political leaders to back a written commitment for a new massive debt deal. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was sworn in last week to head a short-term coalition government supported by the outgoing Socialists and the rival conservatives.

The technocratic government was created to secure the approval of a new massive bailout worth $177 billion from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. Mr. Papademos presented an outline of his policies to parliament on Monday, describing Greece's membership in the 17-nation eurozone as "our only choice."

Telecom watchdog set out rules for phone disconnection

Canada's telecom watchdog has set out a new code of conduct for telephone companies, spelling out their obligations when disconnecting a subscriber's home service for failing to pay the bill. The code set forth by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission sets out how much notice that phone companies must provide before disconnecting a telephone line, the hours and days during which companies may disconnect service and the maximum deposit that can be requested. The CRTC says that Canadians have too often encountered different policies from phone companies where their home telephone service is disconnected or they must provide a deposit. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission had asked the telecom industry and consumer groups to develop the code. It will apply to both large telephone companies and their competitors starting on May 14, 2012.

Thai floods continue to disrupt Honda

Japanese carmaker Honda says the floods in Thailand will continue to have an effect on its operations in North America. The automaker has extended its temporary production adjustments until Nov. 30 as some of its suppliers continue to grapple with the production of parts. Honda says it will scale back vehicle production at the six plants in Canada and the United States, including its facilities in Alliston, ON. The company had already pullled back on production at the facilities by 50 per cent for about a week starting in early November. The company plans a return to normal production in all of its plants in Canada and the United States in early December.

CAE wins Gulf contract

Emirates airline is continuing to support the rapid expansion of its fleet of large airplanes by ordering two full-flight simulators from CAE Inc. in a contract worth $34 million. Montreal-based CAE which announced the contract Monday at the Dubai Airshow, said it will deliver the equipment to Emirates in 2013. CAE simulators are used to train pilots and other air crew around the world. The Emirates order brings the number of full-flight simulators ordered from CAE so far this fiscal year to 21. The company said it will deliver a Boeing 777 simulator to Emirates' training facility in Dubai in the first half of 2013 and an Airbus A380 simulator in the second half of 2013. Emirates is the world's largest operator of both aircraft types.


TSX on Monday: 12,224 - 53. Dollar: US.98. Euro: $1.38. Oil: $98.25 - .74.



Two of the National Hockey League's top young stars are being rewarded for their stellar play of late. Boston forward Tyler Seguin is the league's first star of the week. He had six points in three games. Chicago sniper Jonathan Toews is the third star after recording six points in four games. The second star goes to Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.


British Columbia on Tuesday: rain south, mix sun cloud north, high C9 Vancouver. Yukon: snow. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud snow. Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse -12, Yellowknife -17, Iqaluit 2. Alberta: mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: snow. Edmonton, Winnipeg -2, Regina -6. Ontario: snow north, mix sun cloud south. Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto 11, Ottawa, Montreal 11. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton, Halifax 14, Fredericton 13, St. John's 11.