Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

U.S. environmentalists unappeased by concession on Canadian pipeline

American environmentalists say TransCanada's offer to reroute its proposed Keystone XL pipeline represents a major concession from the Calgary-based company, but nothing short of killing the project outright will silence them. After months of refusing to map out a different route for the pipeline, TransCanada did an about-face on Monday, offering to skirt the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, home of a massive aquifer that provides drinking water to millions on the Great Plains.

The move, coming just four days after the U.S. State Department said it was deferring a decision on the pipeline pending another look at alternate routes, has hardly shut down a makeshift coalition of American environmental groups that have come together in passionate opposition to the Canadian project. For months, the American environmental movement held up the Ogallala aquifer as one of the primary reasons why U.S. President Barack Obama had to stop the $7-billion pipeline that aims to carry 700,000 barrels a day of oilsands crude through six American states to Gulf Coast refineries.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, the international director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the aquifer was only one factor in a vast cast of potential pipeline problems.

Occupy Toronto protesters ordered out of park

Law enforcement officers in Canada's largest city, Toronto, have told scores of protesters to leave the downtown park they have occupied for a month. Other Canadian cities, such as Halifax, London and Saskatoon, have evicted their Occupy protesters, while Vancouver will seek a court order on Wednesday to get its protest camp dismantled.

The protesters are part of the so-called Occupy movement that began in New York City to protest against corporate greed. More than two months after it was established, the Occupy Wall Street protest camp has been broken up by New York City police. Riot police converged on the park shortly after midnight, clearing out the protesters and their tents and detained 100 people. The city says it will eventually allow the protesters to return

Minister dismisses own department's views on gun registry

Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is dismissing his own department's analysis on the dangers of scrapping the long-gun registry. He was referring to an internal memo warning against eliminating the requirement to register rifles and shotguns because the step could fuel illegal firearms trafficking across the border. Mr. Toews told a House of Commons committee Tuesday that the report is on the long-gun registry is mistaken. The committee is hearing a government bill to cancel the long-gun registry.

Quebec defends diary management

Quebec Premier Jean Charest says the Canadian government isn't going to give up the country's marketing management system for diary products in future trade talks. Mr. Charest says the system isn't part of negotiations for a free-trade accord with the EU nor will it be on the table in talks for a Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The federal government announced Canada's participation in those negotiations after a summit last weekend of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum. Canada's dairy system limits imports of foreign poultry, dairy and eggs. The system creates higher prices for consumers but profits for farmers.

Protest camps broken up

More than two months after it was established, the Occupy Wall Street protest camp has been broken up by New York City police.

Riot police converged on the park shortly after midnight, clearing out the protesters and their tents and detained 100 people. The city insists it will eventually allow the protesters to return, but without tents.

Officials in Canada's largest ciity, Toronto, are about to ask scores of protesters to peacefully leave the downtown park they have occupied for a month as part of the global protest movement against corporate greed.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has not given an exact date for when Occupy Toronto would have to leave Saint James Park. Protesters have set up dozens of tents, a library, a media centre and a medical facility.

Other Canadian cities, such as Halifax, London and Saskatoon, have evicted their Occupy protesters, while Vancouver will seek a court order tomorrow to get its protest camp dismantled.

Governor general makes literary awards

Patrick deWitt struck book-prize gold once again Tuesday as his comic western "The Sisters Brothers" won the $25,000 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. English and French-language winners in seven categories were revealed at a Toronto news conference. DeWitt's novel, about two gunslinging brothers en route to California in the 1850s, had already received the $25,000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

It was also nominated for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller. Mr. DeWitt is originally from Vancouver Island and now lives in Portland, OR.

New Italian leader to present cabinet

Italy's prime minister-designate is ready to present his new government on Wednesday after winning wide backing from political, business and union leaders for his cabinet and economic reforms during intense consultations aimed at steering the euro zone's third-largest economy through its debt crisis. Mario Monti is to present details his cabinet on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Monti's government must then win confidence votes in both houses of Parliament, expected this week. The respected economist and former European commissioner is under pressure to quickly reassure markets that Italy will avoid a default that could tear apart the 17 countries that use the euro currency and push the global economy back into recession. On Tuesday, after rounds of meetings, Monti won support from the centre-left Democratic Party, Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party and the Confindustria, a powerful business lobby.

Greek minister urges approval of EU bailout

Greece's finance minister says the country's new debt deal agreed on by European leaders last month must be ratified quickly if Greece is to avoid a catastrophic default. Evangelos Venizeloss said Tuesday that the ratification requires "maximum possible speed." He was speaking during a parliamentary debate ahead of a vote of confidence in the country's new coalition government.

It was sworn in last week after days of a severe political crisis that brought the country's continued participation in the European joint currency into question. The new coalition government is led by Lucas Papademos, a former

vice-president of the European Central Bank.

Turkey cancels oil deal with neighbour

Turkey on Tuesday cancelled plans for oil exploration in Syria, while also threatening to cut electricity supplies after attacks by supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad against its diplomatic missions. Energy Minister Taner Yildiz announced that Turkey had dropped plans for Turkey's state company to jointly explore for oil with Syria's state oil company in six wells. Turkey also threatens to cut off supplies of electricity to Syria.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Mr. Assad for his brutal crackdown on opponents and attacks by his supporters on Turkish diplomatic missions on Saturday. Pro-government supporters burned the Turkish flag in Saturday's attack on the Turkish consulate in the Syrian city of Latakia.

Kenya wants U.S. hel;p against Somali Islamists

Kenya's UN envoy on Tuesday requested support from Washington for his country's campaign against Islamist Shebab rebels in southern Somalia. Kenya deployed tanks and troops to the Shebab-controlled southern Somalia on Oct. 14 to fight the Al-Qaeda-linked rebels Nairobi blames for kidnapping foreigners and making cross-border raids.

The ambassador was due to meet with Democratic Senator Al Franken and Democratic Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a state with a vast Somali-American community that al-Shebab has tapped for recruits, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk, who has sounded the alarm over the al-Qaeda linked group. And he made a fresh appeal to the United States to consider imposing a blockade on the rebel-held Somali port of Kismayo to choke off the rebels' supply line, a move Washington has been reluctant to support.

Dissident Chinese artist faces tax deadline

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei said Tuesday that Chinese authorities have warned his company to meet a Wednesday deadline in a $2.4 million tax case or they will refer it to the police. Mr. Ai says officials from the Beijing tax bureau told his wife, Lu Qing, the legal representative of Ai's design firm, that they wanted a $1.3 million guarantee paid into one of their bank accounts.

Mr. Ai, an internationally acclaimed conceptual artist, was detained for nearly three months earlier this year during an overall crackdown on dissent. The tax bureau claims his company owes $2.4 million in back taxes and fines, but human-rights activists say the investigation is punishment for Mr. Ai's criticism of the authoritarian government.

Wikileaks founder keeps up fight against extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has filed an application to take his appeal against extradition to Sweden to Britain's Supreme Court, the judiciary said Tuesday. The move comes after the High Court in London on Nov. 2 ruled that the 40-year-old Australian could be extradited to face questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault. Under English law, the Supreme Court will only consider his appeal if his lawyers can convince the high court judges that the case is of special public interest.

Serbia losing Serbs

A Serbofficial says preliminary census results show that Serbia's population has shrunk by nearly 400,000 people in less than a decade. Dragan Vukmirovic, head of the state statistics bureau, says Serbia has just over 7.1 million people, compared to nearly 7.5 million in 2002, the last year a census was published.

The official said Tuesday the population decline is mainly the result of low birth rates and a population exodus. Serbia's economy remains a shambles years after a series of ethnic wars in the Balkans in the 1990s. Tens of thousands of people, including young professionals, have left the country in search of better life.

Railway braces for winter

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says it's more prepared to face adverse winter weather along its tracks after spending millions upgrading rails and secondary routes.

The Calgary-based company, which operates the country's second-largest rail network with extensive operations in the United States as well, was especially hard-hit last winter by weather-related delays. Heavy snowfalls and avalanches shut down a key corridor through the Canadian Rockies to West Coast ports last winter, slowing down shipments of potash, coal and other goods for export. Then in the spring, flooding blocked shipments in Western Canada and the U.S. Midwest. Its main north-south corridor to Chicago was out of service for 23 days because of flooding along the Souris River, which flows through Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Dakota.

Bombardier sells more of new airliner

Bombardier Aerospace Inc. has signed a letter of intent to sell 10 more of its CS300 jetliners in an agreement that could top out at US$1.18 billion. A Turkish airline, Atlasjet Havacilik A.S., plans to purchase 10 of the planes and hold an option for five more. The initial contract is valued at US$776 million and would increase to $1.18 billion if the option for the five planes is exercised.

Founded in 2001, Atlasjet operates 17 aircraft on domestic and international routes with scheduled and charter services. Bombardier now has booked firm orders for 133 CSeries airliners and options for 119 more. The CSeries was launched in 2008 and is due for its first delivery in 2013.

CRTC rules on Internet fees

Canada telecom watchdog has ruled on how big telecommunications firms can charge wholesale companies who resell Internet service. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has rejected a proposal by Bell Canada to charge wholesale customers according to the volume of data used. The CRTC says the big telephone and cable firms must either charge a flat rate for Internet service or sell a specific amount of capacity on their networks. The watchdog launched an investigation into the matter after Independent Service Providers expressed fears that the big telecoms would force them to charge their retail customers for usage above a certain level, as do many large providers.

RIM has dismal quarter in U.S.

The manufacturers of the Blackberry smartphone has had its poorest performance so far in the U.S. market in the third quarter. Tech firm Gartner Inc. says Research in Motion captured only 10 per cent of that market. RIM has been losing market share of Apple's iPhone and other smartphones using Google's Android operating system. Globally, RIM finished fourth among smartphone sellers, selling 12.7 million phones in the quarter.



Mark Howe says it comes with the territory watching his father Gordie draw a crowd and sign autographs. But it was Mark's turn to shine, as one of the four new inductees to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour and Doug Gilmour were also welcomed to the hall.


British Columbia on Wednesday: rain south, snow north, high C8 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse -17, Yellowknife -16, Iqaluit 1. Alberta, Saskatchewan: mix sun cloud. Manitoba: snow. Edmonton -2, Regina -7, Winnipeg -1. Ontario: rain south, snow north. Quebec: rain. Toronto 9, Ottawa 11, Montreal 12. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 10, Halifax 11, Charlottetown 9, St. John's 8.