Saturday, December 3, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 2 December 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

Canada-U.S. border deal close


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Washington next week to sign a border security arrangement with U.S. President Barack Obama. The two agreed to negotiate a perimenter security accord last February. The agreement is aimed at protecting North American from Terrorist threats, while speeding the flow of people and goods across the border.



Jobless rate up


Canada's unemployment rate rose slightly last month to 7.4 per cent. Statistics Canada 18,600 people lost their jobs. Economists had predicted a modest improvement in the employment rate. November was the second straight month of job losses. However, StatsCan also says there were more than 200,000 Canadians at work than a year earlier.



Flap over minister's use of 'copter rages on


Members of Parliament continue to hammer away at Defence Minister Peter MacKay over his use of a military helicopter to fly him from a Newfoundland fishing camp in 2010. New Democrats and Liberals are both demanding an apology, but the government is fending off the attacks by saying it has slashed the use of government aircraft by cabinet ministers. Mr. MacKay says he used the helicopter as part of a search-and-rescue exercise, but defence department emails suggest the pickup was explicitly set up to retrieve the minister under the "guise" of a training operation. Opposition MPs say that's the equivalent of commandeering an ambulance or fire truck as a private taxi.

Government House Leader Peter Van Loan brushed off the helicopter questions, saying they have already been answered.



Native chief irate over govt.'s handling of village crisis


Amid the political clamour over a housing shortage on a northern Ontario reserve, the chief of Attawapiskat says her community's voice has been silenced. Chief Theresa Spence is questioning the way the federal government has handled the situation. Chief Spence said she's incensed with how the government has dealt with the ongoing crisis on her reserve, accusing federal officials of barging into an emergency management meeting in order to deliver the news that the band's finances were no longer in its own hands.

Conditions at the James Bay area reserve have attracted national attention and are likely now to provide the backdrop for a meeting announced for early in the new year between Aboriginal leaders and the federal government.



Govt. won't make exception for mental illness


Canada's government refuses to consider any exceptions for Canadians who are mentally ill in its massive new crime bill. Opposition Members of Parliament say judges should be allowed to take mental illness into consideration before handing out new mandatory minimum sentences. However, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says it's up to the provinces to deal with treating people with mental illness when crime is involved. Research suggests 70 per cent of all young offenders have some form of mental illness.



Public-sector conflicts forecast


The Conference Board of Canada says 2012 could be a year of increased work stoppages in the public sector. The Board says several large public-sector unions at the provincial and local level, as well as the Canada Revenue Agency, will be at the bargaining table next year. The negotiations coincide efforts by the federal and provincial government to reduce their budget deficits. The Board notes as well that unions are feeling frustration because they accepted wage restraints at the outset of the recession. The Board cited the city of Toronto the mayor which was elected in 2010 on a platform of reducing the city's longstanding deficits. The researchers say it's seems unlikely that forthcoming bargaining with municipal workers can be resolved without a strike.



NL fish plants close


Ocean Choice International, one of Newfoundland and Labrador's largest private-sector employers, announced Friday it is permanently closing two of its seafood processing plants, throwing 410 people out of work. CEO Martin Sullivan issued a statement saying the plants in Marystown and Port Union will be shut down immediately.

Mr. Sullivan says the Marystown plant, which employs 240, has been losing money for years because of growing costs, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and the price of fuel. With the loss of the plant, the company says it will process more seafood at sea while transforming its plant in Fortune to a larger, year-round processing plant. As for the Port Union plant, r. Sullivan says it had been hurt by reduced shrimp catches in the past three years. Some 170 people worked there.





International

New Egyptian leader retains outgoing ministers


State television reports that Egypt's new prime minister is keeping at least half the ministers unchanged in a new cabinet, after he was appointed in a bid to assuage voters demanding army rulers quit and that the system be purged. The ruling military council accepted the resignation of the previous cabinet under pressure from protesters last week, appointing Kamal al-Ganzouri, 78, who served under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, to form a new government.

The full list of what is billed as a "national salvation cabinet" has yet to be announced. State television listed about a dozen ministers from the old cabinet who would stay. Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr stays but a new finance minister, who will face the challenge of steadying an economy heading toward a currency crisis, has yet to be announced.



Pakistani military reacts to deadly NATO strike


Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani says commanders in the wild Afghan border region can return fire if attacked without waiting for permission. It's a change in rules of engagement that could heighten tensions after Saturday's NATO strike killed 24 Pakistani troops. The attack unleashed fury in Pakistan and further complicated U.S.-led efforts to ease a crisis in relations with Islamabad. Many Pakistanis were still angry about a secret U.S. raid in May which killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.



Germany dismisses easy solutions to debt crisis


German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Friday for rapid EU treaty change to remedy the root causes of the euro zone's debt crisis but warned that Europeans faced a long, hard "marathon" to restore lost credibility. She dismissed quick fixes such as massive Fed-style money printing by the European Central Bank or issuing joint euro zone bonds.

However, sources close to Mrs. Merkel said she was willing to see the ECB step up its buying of troubled euro zone countries' bonds as a bridging measure until budget controls took hold, but did not see it as a durable solution. She spoke a week before a European Union summit seen as make-or-break for the 17-nation single currency area.



Iranian diplomats quit UK


All Iranian diplomats in London left on a chartered airplane Friday. They were expelled by the British government in retaliation for attacks on the British Embassy in Tehran. The diplomats left Heathrow Airport in the afternoon. Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency says the roughly two dozen diplomats and their dependents will be welcomed back at Tehran airport.

Iran's relations with Britain have become increasingly strained in recent months, largely due to tensions over Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can lead to the development of nuclear weapons. Images broadcast around the world Tuesday showed demonstrators tearing down British flags and brandishing a looted picture of Queen Elizabeth.



18 killed in election violence in Congo


Human Rights Watch reports that at least 18 people have been killed and 100 seriously injured in election violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo, with most of the deaths caused by troops loyal to President Joseph Kabila. The New York-based rights lobby says the violence peaked on Saturday when tens of thousands of people descended on Kinshasa's airport to welcome leading opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi, who was returning from campaigning in the interior.

In the government crackdown that followed, at least 14 people were killed. The group says others were killed in mob violence on the first day of voting on Monday and in clashes between political parties. Analysts are concerned that there could be further bloodshed whe the election results are announced, scheduled for next Tuesday. The Human Rights Watch report blamed most of the deaths on President Joseph Kabila's Republican Guard. Mr. Kabila is seeking re-election.



Venezuela hosts first summit of new grouping


Leaders from across the Americas have gathered in Venezuela to launch a new regional bloc of 33 countries from Argentina to the Bahamas. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez says the new group is a tribute to the ideals of 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar, who dreamed of uniting much of Latin America. The bloc called the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States includes every country in the Americas except Canada and the United States. Leaders of the new bloc say the new group will be a forum to resolve regional conflicts, defend democratic principles and promote economic development.





Financial

Markets


TSX on Friday: 12,075 - 38. Dollar: US.98. Euro: $1.36. Oil: $101.13 + .93.



BlackBerry maker to miss financial targets


Research In Motion Ltd. expects to miss its own financial targets this year as the company books a big charge for the discounts it is forced to take because of poor sales of its PlayBook tablets. The company, best known for creating BlackBerry smartphone devices, warned investors on Friday that it will take a pre-tax charge of about US$485 million in the third-quarter on the high PlayBook inventory that it has been trying to sell off with deep discounts in recent weeks.

The impact will cause RIM to miss its full-year forecast of earnings per share between $5.25 and $6 as costs rise. RIM shares fell 98 cents, or 5.3 per cent, to US$17.60 in pre-market trading Friday. Sales of the PlayBook have been weaker than expected for the company as it battles for a position among competitors like Apple's iPad and e-readers such as the Kindle.



Royal Bank enjoys record quarter


Canada's's largest bank is posting record profits. The Royal Bank says strong earnings in Canadian banking and its insurance sector increased fourth-quarter earnings by 16 per cent to $1.6 billion. For the year, Royal earned $6.7-billion. Another major Canadian bank, Scotiabank, says its fourth quarter profits rose by 11 per cent to $1.24-billion, as most of its major divisions posted moderate to strong growth.



Air Canada dubbed continent's best airline


Readers of Global Traveler magazine have picked Air Canada as the best airline in North America. The winner was chosen based on the responses of more than 36-thousand readers. Global Traveler subscribers are frequent premium travellers who average 32 round-trip flights a year, a majority of which are first or business class. Air Canada credits its focus on service and investments made toward improving service.



High court to hear pension case


A dispute over underfunded pension plans is headed to the Supreme Court of Canada. The high court has agreed to decide if the plans have a priority claim when the assets of a bankrupt company are sold. Normally, pensioners are the last to be paid when the assets of a failed company are sold. But the Court of Appeal in the province of Ontario changed that last April when it put the pension plans ahead of the principal secured creditor. The case involves Indalex, a Toronto-based aluminum processor that sought bankruptcy protection in 2009 with shortfalls in its two pension plans.





Sports

Sports


CURLING

Kevin Martin and Jeff Stoughton both improved

to 4-0 after Draw 6 at the Canada Cup of Curling on Thursday thanks

to 10-8 victories.

Martin's Edmonton rink dispatched Glenn Howard of Coldwater,

Ont., with three in the tenth, while Stoughton's Winnipeg team

scored four in the second and three in the seventh to get past

Edmonton's Kevin Koe.

Other men's action saw Winnipeg's Mike McEwen pick up his first

win with an 8-2 victory over Saskatoon's Steve Laycock in seven

ends.

Koe and Howard sit with 2-2 records, while McEwen and Laycock

trail at 1-3. Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is 0-4.

On the women's side, Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink improved to 3-1

with a single point in the tenth end to defeat Amber Holland of

Kronau, Sask., 7-6.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones downed Ottawa's Rachel Homan

9-6. Both rinks sit at 2-2.

Chelsea Carey of Morden, Man., was idle and still leads at 4-0.

SKIING

Canadian Melissa Hollingsworth is off to a fast start in the skeleton World cup season. She won bronze in the season-opening race. Hollingsworth has finished on the podium five times on the Austrian track. The Alberta native was a bronze medallist at the Vancouver Olympics and is a two-time overall World Cup champion.





Weather

Weather


British Columbia on Friday: snow north, mix sun cloud south, high C6 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 5, Yellowknife -20, Iqaluit -16. Alberta: snow north,mix sun cloud south. Saskatchewan: snow. Manitoba: rain. Edmonton -2, Regina 0, Winnipeg 2. Ontario: snow south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: mix rain snow. Toronto, Montreal 3, Ottawa 0. New Brunswick: mix sun cloud. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island: sun. Newfoundland and Labrador: cloud. Fredericton 1, Halifax 4, Charlottetown, St. John's 3.





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