Wednesday, November 2, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Central banker doesn't reject Greek referendum


Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says Greek plans for a referendum on its austerity measures may be a good thing. The central banker told the Commons finance committee Tuesday that plans to get Greece out of its deep debt hole will need broad democratic support if they are to work. Greece's decision to hold the referendum on its latest rescue package stunned investors and knocked the Toronto Stock Exchange's main index down by about two per cent on Tuesday morning. Mr. Carney said it's up to Greece to determine how to achieve public support for what the country needs to do going forward. Markets are concerned that a referendum could kill the agreement. There has been widespread opposition among many ordinary Greeks to the debt deal, which would require the country to cut tens of thousands of public sector jobs, boost taxes and sell off government companies and other assets. In return, it would get new loans from European authorities and the banks would lose a big chunk of the value of their old bonds.

Canada cuts off UNESCO funding over Palestinan issue


Canada is going to stop funding UNESCO as a result of its decision to admit the Palestlinian Authority as a full member. Foreign Minister John Baird says the government is deeply concern with the UN agency's decision which was incorrect without a general peace settlement between the Palestinians and Israel., UNESCO voted 107-14 for full Palestinian membership. Canada and the U.S. were among the dissenters. Canada had planned to supply UNESCO with about $12 million a year until 2014. Mr. Baird say the organization will still receive monies already committed but that UNESCO will have to make up its budget gap from the countries which supported the resolution.

IMF sees low Canadian growth


The International Monetary Fund says Canada's economy will continue to expand but not very quickly. At the same time, the IMF is advising the Canadian government to be prepared to stimulate the economy at the first signs of trouble in the domestic and global economies. The IMF, a Washington-based multinational agency, is mostly supportive of plans by Canada's governments to reduce deficits, as well as the Bank of Canada's low interest rate policies.

Arson caused Alberta fire: govt.


The Alberta government says it believes arson was behind a wildfire that ravaged the northern town of Slave Lake last spring. Sustainable Resource Development Minister Frank Oberle says the province's investigation files have been turned over to federal police. Mr. Oberle says the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will determine whether a criminal investigation is needed. The provincial investigation took more than five months. Slave Lake is still struggling to recover after the forest fire in May whipped by 100-km/h winds engulfed one-third of the community. It burned 400 homes and businesses and left 2,000 people homeless. Total damage was estimated at $700 million, which insurance adjusters say makes it the second-costliest disaster next to the Quebec-Ontario ice storm of 1998, which cost about $1.8 billion. The fire forced all 7,000 residents of the town 250 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, to leave for two weeks, as fire crews completed their salvage work and police secured the area. No one was hurt, but a fire-fighting helicopter pilot crashed on Lesser Slave Lake and died. The aftermath raised questions over how the evacuation was carried out. Residents wanted to know why they were not given ample warning to leave.

Prison population greying


Canada's ombudsman for prisons, Howard Sapers, warns that Canada's inmates are growing old in institutions ill-equipped to meet their changing needs. He says the the population of greying offenders has increased by 50 per cent over the past 10 years. Mr. Sapers says penitentiaries were not designed to assist prisoners with physical disabilities or those in need of palliative care. And he says the prison service may eventually have to look at creating specialized geriatric units. Mr. Sapers also points out that prisons are already operating at above capacity and will only become more crowded, as new federal laws impose stiffer sentences. The federal government plans to spend $2 billion over five years to add 2,700 beds to men's and women's prisons to accommodate the prisoner influx and replace aging facilities.

Quebec construction crisis continues


Quebec's construction-industry oversight body has launched 15 investigations into illegal work stoppages that paralyzed job sites across the province last week. The Quebec Construction Commission has opened the investigations after receiving 300 tips, and 170 complaints, about the strikes. The commission says it will transfer two cases to provincial prosecutors as early as this week and recommend criminal charges. Quebec's leading construction unions claim they never encouraged workers to walk off the job for two days, which would generate considerable fines. They say the sudden walkouts were a spontaneous act of frustration from workers angered by proposed provincial legislation. A bill being considered by the legislature would end the right of unions to pick which workers get assigned to job sites, and would instead leave that responsibility with the construction commission.

Children relying more on food banks


Food Banks Canada says there's an increased dependance on food banks, especially for children. The agency released its annual report on Tuesda and is calling for long term solutions. An annual study shows food bank use is the second-highest on record, with more than 850,000 people relying on food hand-outs during one typical month in 2011. The head of the agency, Katharine Schmidt, wants the Conservative government to invest in affordable housing so low-income Canadians don't have to choose between a roof over their head and food on the table. She's also calling for improvements to employment insurance.

New coin a tribute to war dead


A new silver coin will feature Canada's Highway of Heroes located in the province of Ontario. It will be a tribute to the country's war dead and the people who line the route to honour them. The silver coin will have a face value of $10 but will retail for $70. The Royal Canadian Mint says $20 from the sale of each coin will be shared between the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial and the Military Families Fund. The bodies of Canadian soldiers killed overseas travel the highway from Canadian Forces Base in Trenton to the city of Toronto after their arrival in Canada.


Greece


The Greek government faced possible collapse on Tuesday as governing party lawmakers demanded Prime Minister George Papandreou resign for throwing the nation's euro membership into jeopardy with a shock call for a referendum. Caught unawares by his high-risk gamble, the leaders of France and Germany summoned Mr. Papandreou to crisis talks in Cannes on Wednesday to push for a quick implementation of Greece's new bailout deal ahead of a summit of the G20 major world economies. Six senior members of the governing socialist party, angered by his decision to call a plebiscite on the 130 billion euro rescue package agreed only last week, said the prime minister should make way for "a politically legitimate" administration. Euro zone leaders thrashed out Greece's second financial rescue since last year, in return for yet more austerity, in the hope that it would ease uncertainty surrounding the future of the 17-nation single currency. Instead, financial markets suffered another bout of turmoil on Tuesday due to the new political uncertainty and the risk that Greeks may reject the bailout.

 

China


Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei says the Chinese authorities have ordered him to pay $2.4 million in back taxes and fines allegedly due from the company he which he works. The 54-year-old artist, famous for his work on the "Bird's Nest" Olympic Stadium in Beijing, was detained without charge for 81 days this year in a move that drew criticism from Western governments. He was released in late June. Ai says he received the notice from the tax authorities that described his title as the "actual controller" for Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., which has helped produce Ai's internationally renowned art and designs. The company is owned by his wife, Lu Qing. Rights activists said the charges were a pretext for silencing the artist, who has been a fierce government critic.

Nepal


Nepalese police arrested more than 50 Tibetan exiles Tuesday as they demonstrated in support of monks from their homeland who have set themselves on fire in protest against Chinese rule, campaigners said. Nine Buddhist monks and a nun have committed suicide since March in southwest China's Sichuan province, home to a large ethnic Tibetan population. Hundreds of Tibetan exiles gathered in solidarity around a monastery on the outskirts of Kathmandu, but Nepalese police barred hundreds more from getting in.

Thailand


Anger mounted among victims of Thailand's catastrophic floods on Tuesday as water flooded new neighbourhoods as it made its way to sea and the government plotted a recovery aimed at securing the long-term confidence of investors. The floods began in July and have devastated large parts of the central Chao Phraya river basin, killed nearly 400 people and disrupted the lives of more than 2 million people. Inner Bangkok, protected by a network of dikes and sandbag walls, survived peak tides on the weekend and remains mostly dry. But large volumes of water are sliding across the land to the north, east and west of the city, diverted by the city centre's defences into new suburbs as it recedes in others. In one northeastern city neighbourhood angry residents have been demanding the opening of a sluice gate to let water out of their flooded community. Residents jostled with police on Monday and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered that the gate be opened by one metre.

Egypt


Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi says a U.S. decision to cut UNESCO funding after it approved Palestinian membership boded ill for reviving Middle East peace talks. Mr. Arabi, who heads the 22-member league, which supports a Palestinian bid for UN membership, expressed his "extreme astonishment" at the decision by Washington, the main broker in stalled Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. The U.S. has cut its funding to the UN's cultural arm on Monday after a majority of member states defied American and Israeli warnings and voted to allow the Palestinians full membership in the organization. Washington, whose funding amounts to almost a quarter of the cultural body's overall budget, warned of a "cascade" effect should other UN bodies follow suit. The Palestinians could now seek full membership of other UN organizations like the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Such moves would place the United States in an increasing diplomatic bind, as in the 1990s it banned the financing of any UN organization that accepts Palestine as a full member.


Oilsands firm fined


A multinational energy giant has been penalized nearly $200,000 for violating water regulations at its oilsands site in northern Alberta. As part of the penalty, Norway-based Statoil will spend $185,000 to create a website to share best practices on how the province's energy industry uses surface water. Another $5,000 will be paid as a fine. An Edmonton court heard in mid-August that Statoil would plead guilty to at least some of the environmental charges laid against its oilsands operations. The company was charged in February under provincial laws with 16 counts of improperly diverting water for use at its site near Conklin. The company also faces three counts of providing false or misleading statements.

TransCanada's U.S. pipeline could be delayed


TransCanada Pipeline Corp. says its planned Keystone XL oil pipeline could be seriously delayed if lawmakers in the U.S. state of Nebraska decide to change its planned route. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling says the company is keeping a close eye on a special legislative session in the Midwest state has has taken up the pipeline. Mr. Girling says the present route between Alberta and the Gulf Coast of Texas was the result of a 38-month review process, and that if the process has to be restarted it could take just as long. Nebraska would be one of six U.S. states the project would cross to convey Alberta oilsands crude from the province to Texas refineries. Concerns around the state have focused on fear that a pipeline break could harm the Ogallala aquifer which supplies water to a huge area of the Midwest. The U.S. state department will decide by the end of the year whether to grant a permit for Keystone XL.

MARKETS


TSX on Tuesday: 12,115.10 - 137. Dollar: US.99 - 129. Euro: $1.39. Oil: $91.46 - $1.73.


SPORTS


FOOTBALL

Quarterback Travis Lulay, who led the B.C. Lions to an

important win over the Edmonton Eskimos, was named the Canadian Football League's

offensive player of the week Tuesday.

Lulay earned the honour for the second time this season after

throwing for 322 yards and three touchdowns in the 29-20 victory.

That left the Lions tied with Edmonton and the Calgary Stampeders

atop the West Division with identical 10-7 records heading into the

final week of the regular season.

Teammate Khalif Mitchell was named the top defensive player for

the second time this season. The defensive lineman had two sacks and

two tackles against Edmonton.

Calgary receiver Johnny Forzani earned top Canadian honours. He

had six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the Stampeders'

32-27 victory over the Montreal Alouettes.


WEATHER


British Columbia on Wednesday: rain, high C7 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Northwest Territories: mix rain snow. Whitehorse -8, Yellowknife 3, Iqaluit -7. Alberta: mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 11, Regina 7, Winnipeg 6. Ontario, Quebec: : mix sun cloud. Toronto 15, Ottawa, Montreal 13. Atlantic Canada: sun. Fredericton 12, Halifax 10, Charlottetown 9, St. John's 7.