Friday, November 18, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Church can't offer haven to Occupy protesters


The Anglican dean of Toronto says his church cannot offer safe haven to protesters occupying the adjacent park. Some Occupy Toronto protesters say the city's eviction notice does not apply to the park land alongside St. James cathedral. While the church does own some of the land, Rev. Douglas Stoute says it is up to the city to decide whether the protesters can stay. Rev. Stoute is also urging the demonstrators to obey whatever ruling the court hands down on Saturday.

The city and an Occupy lawyer are arguing Friday about the constitutionality of the eviction notice. Rev. Stoute does say the church supports the social justice aims of the Occupy movement.

New RCMP boss to tackle harassment plague


The new commissioner of Canada's national police force, Bob Paulson, says his top priority will be to address on-the-job sexual harassment. He says the matter will be dealt with so that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police can once again deserve the confidence and loyalty of all Canadians. Mr. Paulson says he's very concerned about recent allegations from two female RCMP officers were sexually harassed on the job.

The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP says it will look into how the force has responded to such complaints over the past five years.

Vets suffering from PTS


Researchers with Canada's armed forces have found that nearly one in four combat veterans from Afghanistan is suffering from one form of mental illness or another. The most common occurrence is post traumatic stress disorder. Depression is also a factor. The results are based on a study of close to 800 soldiers who fought on Afghanistan's front lines in 2007. A psychiatrist involved in the study expressed satisfaction that just about every soldier diagnosed with a mental disorder sought treatment.

Alberta leader wants national energy blueprint


Alberta's Premier Alison Redford has called on the provinces and the federal government to join in devising a united front on oil, natural gas and other former of Canadian-produced energy. She said in a speech in Toronto that the troubles involving TransCanada Pipeline's proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline prove the need for Canada to look to energy-hungry markets in Asia and elsewhere.

The U.S. government has delayed a decision on whether tpo permit an Alberta-to-Texas line passing through the U.S. Midwest. Mrs. Redford says she doesn't want Canada to turn away from the country's biggest trading partner, but rather turn to new markets like China and India.

Former high court judge has freelance task in New Zealand


A recently-retired justice of Canada's Supreme Court has been engaged by the government of New Zealand. Ian Binnie has been asked to decide whether a man who was exonerated after being convicted of multiple murders should be compensated for spending 13 years in prison. Mr. Binnie, who retired just days ago, joins a growing list of Canadian jurists working abroad. Louise Arbour left the Supreme Court several years ago to become United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Peter Cory was appointed by the British government to head an inquiry into six suspicious deaths in Northern Ireland.

Official Syrian websites have Canadian servers


A political research panel at Canada's University of Toronto has found that a number of Syrian government websites are being hosted by servers based in Canada. The panel's report comes as Syria lurches heads toward civil war and as Canada warns its citizens in Syria to leave the increasingly volatile country. Canada has condemned the Syrian government's violent crackdown on protesters that the United Nations estimates has claimed 3,500 lives. The panel's report says 17 Syrian websites, including some government ministries, are hosted by Canadian-based web servers through intermediary companies. Canada-based servers even host a Syrian television station's website.

Ottawa tries to help Canadian save for retirement


The Canadian government says it's tabling legislation to establish pooled registered pensions plans to help Canadians save. The savings vehicle is designed for the self-employed or those working for small firms that cannot afford pensions plans. Ottawa and the provinces agreed to the initiative last December. Minister of State for Finance Ted Menzies announced in Toronto that the PRPPs will give small firms and their workers access to a large privately administered pension plan for the first time. He says about 60 per cent of Canadians don't contribute to a private pension plan currently.

The PRPPs would be voluntary and allow workers to opt out, and do not require firms to contribute. Critics, including some provincial governments, have argued that the new plan is inadequate to meet the need for greater retirement security and have asked the government to expand the Canada Pension Plan.


Russia continues support for Syrian leader


Russia stood by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday as Arab and Western countries sought to pile pressure on the Syrian leader to halt a violent crackdown on his opponents. The Arab League has suspended Syria and given it until the end of the week to comply with an Arab peace plan to end bloodshed that has cost more than 3,500 lives, by a UN count. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country is one of Syria's few remaining foreign friends, said demands for Mr. Assad's removal would destroy the initiative, which calls for dialogue between the Syrian government and its foes.

Mr. Lavrov said earlier a raid on Wednesday by the Free Syrian Army on an Airforce Intelligence complex on the outskirts of Damascus was "already completely similar to real civil war". Opposition sources said Syrian army defectors had killed or wounded 20 security police in the early-morning attack, the first of its kind in an eight-month revolt against Mr. Assad.

Russia worries about borders


Russia's top military officer says Russia is facing a heightened risk of being drawn into conflicts at its borders that have the potential of turning nuclear. Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, cautioned over NATO's expansion eastward and warned that the risks of Russia being pulled into local conflicts have "risen sharply." Gen. Makarov added that "under certain conditions local and regional conflicts may develop into a full-scale war involving nuclear weapons."

A steady decline in Russia's conventional forces has prompted the Kremlin to rely increasingly on its nuclear deterrent. Russia sees NATO's expansion to include former Soviet republics and ex-members of the Soviet bloc in eastern and central Europe as a key threat to Russia's security. Gen. Makarov specifically referred to NATO's plans to offer membership to Georgia and Ukraine as potentially threatening Russia's security.

Egyptian Christians again attacked


An Egyptian security official says hundreds of Coptic Christians marching in Cairo on Thursday came under attack by assailants throwing stones and bottles and 25 people were lightly injured in subsequent clashes. They were marching to demand justice for the Christian victims of a clash with soldiers in October that left at least 25 people dead, most of them Christians. The official said the Copts were attacked in the northern Shoubra neighbourhood with stones and bottles, and that some among them responded in kind. He said supporters of an Islamist candidate for upcoming parliamentary election joined in the attack on the Copts.

There has been an increase in sectarian clashes since a popular uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February.

Greek protesters take to the streets over austerity


Greek riot police fired tear gas against hooded protesters during an anti-austerity march on Thursday, one day after a national unity government took office charged with imposing painful tax rises and spending cuts to avert bankruptcy. At least 50,000 people marched past shuttered shops in central Athens beating drums, waving red flags and chanting "EU, IMF out!" in the first public test for technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' three-party coalition.

Unions said they would use this year's rally to send a warning to Mr. Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank with no political experience, to reverse policies they say have sent Greece into a "death spiral". Young people hurled stones and petrol bombs at baton-wielding police. Schools, universities and many businesses stayed shut for the day and public transport was badly disrupted.

Colombian leader warns new guerrilla boss


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos warned the new FARC rebel chief to reconsider waging war or risk the same fate as his predecessor, who was shot dead by special forces this month. The naming of hard-liner Timoleon Jimenez as leader of the drug-funded guerrilla group has dampened hopes the killing of the former commander, Alfonso Cano, could herald the beginning of the end of nearly five decades of war.

The Colombian military raided a jungle hide-out in the mountainous south of the country and killed Cano on Nov. 4.

Eight charged in kidnapping  of Venezuelan ball player


Venezuelan authorities have charged eight people over the kidnapping of Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos that threw a spotlight on violent crime in the South American nation. The 24-year-old Washington Nationals catcher was freed last week in a hail of bullets during a raid by security forces on a mountain hide-out two days after he was snatched from his parents' home in Venezuela during an off-season visit.

The attorney general's office says the charges against the eight include kidnapping, criminal association, use of a stolen vehicle and possessing illegal arms. Some of the suspects were held during the raid, while others were picked up afterward in an operation that President Hugo Chavez's government touted as a major success. Detractors, however, say the fact that Mr. Ramos was kidnapped in the first place shows how uncontrolled crime has become in Venezuela during Mr. Chavez' nearly 13 years in power.


NS fish firm expands internationally


High Liner Foods Inc. will buy Icelandic Group's U.S and Asian operations in a deal that will double the fish processor's U.S. business and make it the biggest seafood supplier to North American restaurants, schools and hospitals. The Nova Scotia-based seafood company said Thursday the US$230.6 million acquisition includes Icelandic USA's processing plant in Newport News, VA.

The company is also acquiring a plant in China and companies that buy fish from other Asian countries. High Liner, already Canada's biggest fish company, has said it wants to become the North American leader in value-added seafood as a result of the acquisition.


Global mining giant Rio Tinto is boosting its friendly takeover offer for Hathor Exploration Ltd., escalating a bidding war over the junior uranium developer with rival Cameco. London-based Rio Tinto says it is now offering $654 million, topping a competing hostile bid by Cameco of $625-million. Hathor's board is backing the Rio Tinto offer. Saskatoon-based uranium miner Cameco first went public with its plans for Hathor in late August but has been consistently rebuffed by the junior mining company. Hathor is developing the Roughrider uranium deposit in Saskatchewan.

Pork producers want free trade with S. Korea


Canada's pork producers and exporters have called upon the federal government to resume negotiations with South Korea on a free-trade agreement. They've been warning Members of Parliament that their competitors may push them out with a loss of $300 million of business a year. The Canada Pork International lobby says that competitors like China, the U.S. and the EU already have free-trade deals with South Korea and have preferential access that could drive out Canada's pork exports altogether.

Industry officials say the obstacles that caused the trade talks with the South Koreans to be suspended in 2008 have been mostly resolved in the U.S.-South Korea free-trade deal.

Markets


TSX on Thursday: 11,915 - 259. Dollar: US.97. Euro: $1.38. Oil: $98.72 - $3.87.


Sports


HOCKEY

There will be no criminal charges laid against Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara over an on-ice incident last March. The hulking defenceman shoved Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty into a stanchion, breaking a vertebra and ending his season. In a statement released today, Quebec's director of criminal prosecutions says it does not believe a court would find Chara guilty of a crime and it has closed the case. Chara received a game misconduct but no further suspension from the NHL.

SKIING

Two-time Olympian Zina Kocher will lead the Canadian team on the World Cup circuit this season. The veteran biathlete from Red Deer, AB, was named to the women's squad Wednesday with Rosanna Crawford of Canmore, AB, and Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake, MB. The men's team includes Scott Gow of Calgary, Jean-Philippe Le Guellec of Shannon, QC., Brendan Green, of Hay River, NWT., and Regina's Scott Perras.


Weather


British Columbia on Friday: rain south, mix sun cloud north, high C7 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Northwest Territories: miz sun cloud. Whitehorse -14, Yellowknife -22, Iqaluit -6. Alberta: snow south, mix sun cloud north. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: snow. Edmonton -14, Regina -11, Winnipeg -3. Ontario: mix rain cloud snow. Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto 7, Ottawa, Montreal 4. New Brunswick: mix sun cloud. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton 0, Halifax 4, Charlottetown 2, St. John's 12.