Friday, December 9, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 8 December 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

PM hails border deal


Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls an agreement with the United States as the biggest step forward in Canada-U-S co-operation since the North American Free Trade Agreement that went into effect in 1994. Mr. Harper and President Barack Obama signed a perimeter security and trade agreement Wednesday that aims to ease the flow of goods and people across the Canada-U.S. border. It is also intended to reduce the threat of terrorism as more people and cargo will be screened before they enter North America. Under the deal, Canada and the U.S. will keep the right to allow people and products in and out of their countries.



Central Bank warns that Europe crisis could have repercussions for Canada


The Bank of Canada warns that the deepening national debt crisis in Europe should be a worry to Canadians. The central bank says in its semi-annual financial stability review that the crisis is already affecting the value of equities and other risky assets. The bank says that the Canadian banking sector's direct exposure to the crisis is minimal. But the report also stresses that the spillover effects on the global economy touch almost every aspect of Canada's economic and financial system.

The central bank repeated its incessant admonitions of recent months that the situation is dangerous for highly indebted Canadian households that have taken advantage of low interest rates to buy homes, cars and other items on credit. Household debt-to-income now stands at a record 149 per cent.



RCMP gets new commissioner


Bob Paulson has been installed as 23rd commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A sea of dignitaries and uniformed Mounties filled an military airport hangar in Ottawa for the occasion. The RCMP also thanked outgoing commissioner William Elliott, who, has moved on to a job at Interpol. Mr. Elliott presided over the national police force during one of the stormiest periods in its storied history. He weathered fallout from an incident in which a Polish man died after being zapped with an RCMP Taser.

Mr. Elliott also endured a revolt by senior officers over his brusque management style. Mr. Paulson's first priority is getting to the bottom of a brewing harassment scandal within the force.



Japan sorry for fate of Hong Kong prisoners


Japan has issued an apology to former Canadian prisoners for their suffering during World War Two. After the 1941 battle for Hong Kong in which 290 Canadians were killed, another 267 died in terrible conditions in prison camps.The Canadians were often beaten and starved while being forced to perform exhaustive labour. Canada's Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney says the apology acknowledges the Canadians' suffering and honours their sacrifices and courage





International

France, Germany in 11th hour euro rescue


The leaders of Germany and France are pushing their European counterparts to save the ambitious project of continental unity that grew from the ashes of World War II. At stake at the summit in Brussels, which began Thursday evening, is the future of the euro, the stability of the global financial system and the balance of power in Europe.

To convince financial markets that Europe's economy-crushing debt crisis is a one-time event, countries will have to give up significant powers, such as some decisions on borrowing and spending, to a central authority. President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel need to convince the other 15 eurozone leaders to agree to a plan that would require their governments to balance their budgets and accept automatic sanctions if they don't.



:Russian leader accuses U.S. of stirring up unrest


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin strongly criticized U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday, accusing her of encouraging and funding Russians protesting election fraud, and warned of a wider Russian crackdown on dissent. By describing Russia's parliamentary election as rigged, Mr. Putin said Clinton "gave a signal" to his opponents.

He accuses the U.S of trying to influence Russian politics with the aim of weakening a rival nuclear power. Mr. Putin's tough words show the deep cracks in U.S.-Russian ties despite President Barack Obama's efforts to "reset" relations with the Kremlin. Ahead of the election, President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to deploy missiles to target the U.S. missile shield in Europe if Washington failed to assuage Moscow's concerns about its plans.



Pakistani militants destroy NATO trucks


Police in the Pakistani city of Quetta say militants destroyed more than 20 trucks in a rocket attack Thursday on a NATO trucking terminal in southwest Pakistan supplying troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. A number of oil tankers and goods trucks were parked in the temporary terminal in Quetta after Pakistan shut down supply lines for NATO forces in anger at a deadly cross-border air strike which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Police say gunmen fired bullets and a rocket at the NATO oil tankers and the ensuing blaze engulfed more than 20 vehicles in Quetta, capital of the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack but the Taliban have in the past said they carried out similar attacks to disrupt supplies for the more than 130,000 US-led international troops fighting in Afghanistan.



Jordan seeks exemption from Syria sanctions


Jordan has asked the Arab League to be exempt from the bloc's sanctions on Syria over concerns of the toll they will take on the kingdom's already ailing economy. The Arab League imposed economic sanctions on Syria last month to try to pressure Damascus to end its bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters. Syria is one of Jordan's biggest Arab commercial partners, with bilateral trade estimated at US$525 in the first nine months of this year. The country also serves as a gateway for Jordan's trade with Lebanon, Turkey and Europe.



Israel kills Gaza militants


Palestinian sources in Gaza report that two Gaza militants were killed in an Israeli strike on Thursday, with Israel saying one of them had planned a deadly bombing in Eilat in 2007. The two men had also been planning another attack on southern Israel by infiltrating from the Sinai peninsula, the Israeli military said in a statement issued shortly after it targeted a car in Gaza City, killing the two men and injuring four others.

The military said it had targeted Issam al-Batsh, a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed off-shoot of the Fatah movement, "as well as an additional terrorist." A few hours after the air strike three rockets were fired at Israel in an apparent revenge attack without causing casualties or damages, a police spokeswoman said.Pa



Conflict looms between Egyptian military, Islamists


Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group set to dominate the new parliament, accused the country's military rulers Thursday of trying to undercut the authority of elected legislators even before the house is seated. The Brotherhood said it is boycotting a council appointed by the ruling generals to oversee the drafting of the new constitution and stayed away from a meeting to set up the panel on Thursday.

In theory, the new parliament will be entrusted with forming a 100-member assembly to write the constitution. But the ruling military council says the parliament will not be representative, so it is appointing the council to ensure the process of drafting a constitution is protected from extremist religious ideas. Islamist groups won about 68 per cent of seats in the first round of parliamentary elections





Financial

Ottawa approves big oilsands development


The Canadian government has given the green light to a major project in Alberta's oilsands. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says the Joslyn North mine project proposed by Total E&P has now been approved. Mr. Oliver says the mine could mean as much as $9 billion in new capital investment. The Joslyn project was first proposed six years ago and has gone through regulatory hurdles and faced opposition from environmental groups.

The minister says the long lag shows the need for a more efficient regulatory system.



Consumer don't suspect new credit charge


A survey released Thursday by a consumer group suggests that fewer than five per cent of Canadians believe retailers should be able to charge credit card holders extra for using plastic, But the poll for the Consumers Association of Canada also indicated few Canadians are aware that the federal competition watchdog is pushing to have consumers pay a usage surcharge that is currently being paid for by retailers. The Competition Bureau is challenging rules made by credit card companies that charge retailers between 1.5 and three per cent per credit card transaction but prevent them from jacking up prices to offset the extra amount. Retailers have applauded the bureau's move, saying that those who accept credit cards are punished with higher costs. But consumer groups argue removing the rules would allow individual businesses to impose unfair charges. Altering the rules would allow retailers to tack on extra fees, boosting the cost of a $100 purchase to as much as $103 for those using credit cards.



PotashCorp settles long lawsuit


Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. has settled a lawsuit with U.S.-based rival Mosaic that resolves a dispute over ownership of production from the Esterhazy mine in southeastern Saskatchewan. The two producers have clashed over production from the mine for several years, with the Saskatchewan-based PotashCorp claiming it is owed the processed potash ore under an agreement originally reached in 1971 that stipulates Mosaic send it 1.1 million tonnes from the mine per year. Under the settlement announced Thursday, Minnesota-based Mosaic will deliver tonnage owed to PotashCorp for 2011 and 2012, which PotashCorp has claimed is worth more than $1 billion over the final two years of the agreement. At the end of 2102, production capacity from Esterhazy will be reallocated to Mosaic. PotashCorp is the world's largest fertilizer producer.



Markets


TSX on Thursday: 11,952 - 2. Dollar: US.97. Euro: $1.36. Oil: $98.38 - $2.11.





Sports

Sports


Tennis Canada has chosen hard-serving 20-year-old Milos Raonic as its most outstanding male player of 2011. Raonic had a breakthrough season on the ATP Tour, capturing his first title at the SAP Open in San Jose in February and reaching a career-high of No. 25 in the world rankings on May 2. He became Canada's highest-ever ranked male singles player in February after reaching No. 37, besting Greg Rusedski's former record of No. 41.





Weather

WEATHER


Canada's weather for Thursday. In the Canadian north, snow in Iqaluit and minus 7 degrees Celsius. Cloudy in Yukon and 4 in Whitehorse. Sunny periods across British Columbia with a high of 4 in Vancouver. Sunny periods across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with highs of minus 8 in Edmonton, minus 14 in Regina and minus 7 in Winnipeg. Sunny periods across Ontario, Quebec and the four Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Some temperatures: 4 in Toronto, minus 1 in Ottawa, 1 in Montreal, 11 in Halifax and 6 in Saint John's.





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