Monday, November 14, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Canada to enter Pacific trade talks

In an announcement that could have long-range consequences for Canadian trade, Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Sunday said that Canada will enter talks on the creation of a trans-Pacific trade deal.

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 (TPP), a regional free-trade zone, was of vital importance for his country's economy.

The TPP has the potential to surpass the European Union in terms of trade volume.

Japan and several other APEC countries also expressed interest in the pact.

Canada had hesitated entering into formal negotiations on the pact, which was first arranged in 2005 with four members, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore.

Mr. Harper also said that Canada would more vigorously seek to sell its energy products to Asian nations as a result of the U.S. government's recent decision to delay approval of a Canadian pipeline for transporting Canadian oil to the U.S. State of Texas.

Tent protests under more pressure to stop

The protest campaign in Canada against corporate greed is entering a new phase in several cities.

Municipal governments are putting pressure on protesters who set up tent camps in downtown parks.

In Halifax this weekend, tents were forcibly removed.

In Calgary, protesters are getting more fines for small offences.

And in Vancouver, the camp will likely be shut down soon.

Vancouver city officials had declared the camp a danger area after a 23-year-old woman was found dead in a tent on Nov. 5.

A coroner of Sunday determined that her death was caused by a mixed-drug overdose.

Police ordered changes to the tent structures to ensure that they were safe.

Quebec to boost visibility of French language on commerical signs

Language inspectors in the province of Quebec are launching a campaign designed to boost the visibility of French language on commercial signs.

The $500,000 awareness campaign begins in December and will target large corporations with English trademark names. The head of Quebec's language agency, Louise Marchand, says English names are permitted but they must be accompanied by a descriptive term or slogan in French. She says the agency is prepared to help companies meet the requirements and a program has been set up to assist smaller businesses.

Quebec officials fear that big-box stores and their anglophone names will undermine the province's status as a francophone society. There is no word on what the penalty will be if companies do not comply with the new requirements.

Canadians transport Afghan war memorial home

A memorial to slain Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan was dismantled on Sunday and prepared for transport to a permanent home in Canada.

The white marble cenotaph at Kandahar airfield has the names of 158 soldiers who died during Canada's ten-year mission with NATO.

The site stood near the airfield's Canadian headquarters.

Canada's Defence Department is looking for an appropriate site for the monument in Ottawa.

Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan ended earlier this year.

About one thousand Canadian soldiers remain on a non-combat mission to train Afghan troops.

Asia Pacific trade pact worries Canadian farmers

Canada's International Trade Minister, Ed Fast, is promising to protect the interests of domestic farmers within any trade pact with Asia Pacific nations.

Mr. Fast was commenting as leaders at the APEC summit in Honolulu discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional free-trade zone.

Nine Pacific rim nations are interested in joining the new zone.

Canadian farmers fear that under such an agreement, Canada could be forced to cancel quotas and tariffs that protect the domestic dairy, egg and poultry industries from foreign competition.

Canadian province woos India's Academy Awards

Premier Christy Clark is hoping that British Columbia will be chosen to host the 14th annual International Indian Film Academy Awards in Vancouver in 2013.

She made her bid known while in Mumbai as part of a large trade mission to Asia.

The IIFAA ceremony was held this year for the first time in Toronto, Ontario.

The B.C. Tourism Ministry estimates that the three-day event generated tens of millions of dollars in advertising for Toronto.

Many millions of viewers in India watched the Toronto event on television.

Ms. Clark also hopes that the event could create jobs in her province's film industry.

British Columbia has served as the setting for three Indian-made films.

Obama and Hu clash at APEC summit

U.S.President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao presented differing trade agendas at a APEC summit in Hawaii on Saturday, underscoring growing tensions between the world's two biggest economies. In his speech, Mr. Obama has announced the broad outlines of a plan to create a trans-Pacific free trade zone. Nine Apec nations are involved in the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership. But China has so far not expressed interest in joining the talks. Later in a private meeting with President Hu, the U.S. leader reportedly warned him that Americans were growing increasingly frustrated over what they see as unfair Chinese trade and currency practices. And Mr. Obama threatened punitive economic steps unless Beijing started to "play by the rules". In his speech, Mr. Hu insisted on more clout for China as an emerging global power. He also made clear Beijing prefers to work through existing global trade structures, rather than allow itself to be subject to U.S.-led efforts to form new trade blocs with Asian Pacific markets.

Syria reacts to Arab League suspension

Syria's government is reacting angrily to the Arab League's decision to suspend Syria's membership.

The suspension is supposed to begin on Wednesday, but Syria has called for an emergency Arab League summit in the hope of reversing the decision.

In Damascus on Sunday, government supporters staged a public rally to show their anger with the Arab League.

Similar rallies were held in the cities of Raqqa, Latakia and Tartous. Pro-government crowds also attacked the diplomatic missions of France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia overnight.

Unconfirmed reports say that security forces killed eight people at an anti-government rally on Sunday in the city of Hama.

The United Nations estimates that more than 3,500 people have died in rallies since March.

President Bashar al-Assad continues to use force to stifle public opposition.

Italy has new prime minister

Italy moved to form a caretaker government on Sunday with Mario Monti as prime minister.

President Giorgio Napolitano asked the former European Union commissioner to lead a government that will need to approve harsh austerity measures in an effort to control an overwhelming national debt.

Mr. Monti is a respected economist and academic whose style of governance will be quite different from the flamboyant style of his predecessor, Sylvio Berlusconi, a billionaire media mogul who was implicated in sex scandals.

Mr. Monti says that he will work quickly to appoint a cabinet and form a new government with what he called a great sense of responsibility and service to Italy.

New riots in China

It's reported that villagers carrying clubs and rocks rioted in south China over a land dispute on Saturday.The Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily News says thousands of armed security forces were sent to quell the violence which broke out around a police station in Guangdong province's Zhongshan district. The dispute stemmed from anger over village leaders selling land for personal gain. There was no word on injuries or arrests. The unrest is the latest in a series of large-scale protests to hit China, as disenfranchised people left behind by the country's economic boom or angry at official corruption take to the streets to air their grievances.

Police move into Rio shanty-town

In Brazil, hundreds of police, backed by military vehicles, raided Rio de Janeiro's biggest slum before dawn on Sunday. It appears to be a crackdown on drug gangs, which have ruled the city's shantytowns for decades. Brazilian officials have promised to clean up and stabailize security in the city in time for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.


Mexico says plane crash that killed minister accidental

Mexican officials say initial results from an investigation into a helicopter crash which killed the interior minister show it was an accident. Francisco Blake Mora, and seven other people died on Friday when their helicopter went down in fog outside Mexico City. The 45 year old Blake was a key figure and known as a hardliner in Mexico's war against drug cartels. He was also a close ally of the President, Felipe Calderon. Two-years ago, a similar crash in the capital took the life of Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mourino.

Burma urged to release political detainees

A government-appointed human rights body is urging Burma's president to release political prisoners or transfer them to prisons close to their families. Correspondents say there is considerable speculation that a new amnesty covering some of an estimated 2,000 political prisoners in Burma will be issued this week, perhaps as early as Monday. Freeing political detainees would boost the country's efforts to improve relations with the west, which shunned the previous military regime over its poor human rights record and failure to allow free and democratic politics.

More violence as U.N. envoy visits Yemen

A United Nations envoy met with Yemen's embattled President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa on Sunday to push for a solution to the country's political crisis. Security has collapsed across the Arab nation during the nine-month popular uprising seeking to oust Mr.Saleh, who has been in power for 30 years. He has failed to follow through on numerous pledges to step down. In other developments, security officials said Yemeni government forces and allied tribesmen today killed ten militants in attacks around the country.

Argentine airline cancels foreign flights

A labour dispute led Argentina's state-run airline, Aerolineas Argentinas, to cancel all of its international flights on Sunday.

The decision affects flights from Buenos Aires to destinations like Madrid, Rome, Miami, and Auckland/Sydney as well as flights to South American destinations out of the Jorge Newbery airport.

The airline accused the labour union representing airplane technicians of covert savage measures.

The technicians charge thatthe airlineis failing to invest in aicraft maintenance, resulting in unsafe airplanes.

The airline had massive debts when it was taken over by the state in 2008.

President Cristina Kirchner is threatening to take legal action so that flights will resume.


Canada's women's team lost 4-3, to the United States on Sunday in the gold medal game in Sweden. The game went to a shootout. American goalie Jessie Vetter thwarted Canadian forward Hayley Wickenheiser to end the shootout.



The Hamilton Tiger Cats defeated the Montreal Alouettes in overtime on Sunday, 52-44, to win the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Montreal had hoped to win the Grey Cup for the third consecutive year.

Here is Canada's weather forecast for Monday, November 14. British Columbia will have increasing cloudiness. The high temperature in Vancouver will be nine degrees Celsius. The Yukon: cloudy. Whitehorse, minus ten. Northwest Territories: clearing skies. Yellowknife, minus 14. Nunavut: snow. Iqaluit, one. Alberta: mainly cloudy. Edmonton, zero. Saskatchewan: light snow. Regina, minus one. Manitoba: increasing cloudiness. Winnipeg, two. Ontario: increasing cloudiness. Toronto: 14. Ottawa, 15. Quebec: sunny periods. Montreal, 14. New Brunswick: sunny periods. Fredericton, 14. Nova Scotia: showers. Halifax, 15. Prince Edward Island: showers. Charlottetown, 13. Newfoundland: increasing cloudiness. St. John's, nine.