Wednesday, December 14, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 13 December 2011
Canadian International Financial Weather

Canada said still bound by Kyoto

The UN climate chief said on Tuesday that Canada still has a legal obligation under UN rules to cut its emissions despite thecountry's pullout from the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. Christiana Figueres also says the timing of Canada's move, a day after a deal to extend it was clinched at a UN summit in South Africa, was both regrettable and surprising.

Canada on Monday withdrew from Kyoto, dealing a symbolic blow to the treaty, with Environment Minister Peter Kent breaking the news just after his return from talks in Durban. Canada, a major energy producer which critics say is becoming a climate renegade, has long complained Kyoto is unworkable because it excludes so many significant emitters. On Sunday, more than 190 countries agreed to extend Kyoto for at least five years and hammered out a new deal forcing all big polluters for the first time to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Kyoto's first phase imposed limits only on developed countries, not emerging giants like China and India.

Quebec set for court fight over gun registry

Quebec says it's prepared to take legal action against Ottawa in an effort to save data from the soon-to-be-abolished long-gun registry. The province wants the registry to survive. But if legislation passes through Parliament to end the program, Quebec will head for the courtroom.

The province wants the federal government to transfer the data so it can set up its own registry, something Ottawa has so far refused to do. Public Security Minister Robert Dutil says it's unfair for Quebecers, who helped pay for this registry, that data that concerns them is being destroyed without it being offered to the Quebec government. the minister is supported by police brass, and representatives of police unions and victims' groups. The Conservative Party government has been working for years to end the registry, which is calls wasteful and ineffective.

Canadians sinking into debt

Canadians are falling deeper into debt. Figures for the third quarter of the year reveal that for every dollar in take-home pay, Canadians owe $1.53. That debt level, according to Statistics Canada, is at an all-time high. At the same time, declining financial markets and pension funds have reduced household net worth by just over two per cent to $180,000. Net worth is what is left over after the value of all liabilities is subtracted from the combined value of all assets.

Former Canadian NHL player addresses child abuse

Sheldon Kennedy has urged American lawmakers to "empower" anyone who suspects children are being sexually abused, making a powerful plea as a one-time victim of a sexual predator in the wake of the Penn State college football scandal. The former National Hockey League player was the top witness at the crowded U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday.

Mr. Kennedy told the U.S. Senate subcommittee on children and families that pedophiles count on the fact that most people have trouble believing trusted adults in their fields, such as coaches, teachers, priests, would ever abuse children, Kennedy stunned Canada in 1997 when he stepped forward to accuse his former junior hockey coach Graham James of sexually abusing him for years. Authorities in Pennsylvania have accused several high-ranking officials at Penn State of knowing young boys were being abused by Jerry Sandusky, an assistant coach on the college's celebrated football team, yet failed to notify the authorities.

Ontario minister to meet embattled native chief

Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan won't be going to the troubled community of Attawapiskat, but he will meet the band's chief in the more neutral territory of Thunder Bay. Mr. Duncan will meet Chief Theresa Spence in the northern Ontario city on Thursday in an attempt to clarify the federal role in resolving the crisis on her James Bay reserve.

Both Chief Spence and Mr. Duncan have said they want to work together to make sure families now living in tents, shacks and substandard housing can spend the winter in warm and safe lodgings. But they are at loggerheads over Ottawa's imposition of a third-party manager to control the Cree band's finances. Chief Spence has said she will not co-operate with the overseer, but Ottawa has made it clear her co-operation is not necessary for the manager to do his job. While he has not been welcomed onto the reserve, he has already bought 22 modular houses for families in need, at the request of the band.

Muslims divided over veil ruling

There's mixed reaction from Muslim groups to news that future Canadian citizens can no longer wear veils while taking the oath of citizenship. The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations opposes the rule, and asks where it will lead. But the Muslim Canadian Congress is urging Ottawa to go even further and ban the burka and niqab from all public places in Canada. Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says Members of Parliament and citizenship judges have complained to him that it's difficult to ensure that individuals whose faces are covered are really taking the oath.


Tunisia has new president

Tunisia's newly elected president promised at his swearing-in ceremony Tuesday to be a leaders for all Tunisians. Veteran rights activist Moncef Marzouki, who was repeatedly imprisoned by the old regime, said he would make a clean break with Tunisia's history of dictatorship and promised Tunisians the right to education, work and healthcare and equal rights to all women.

Tunisians overthrew their long ruling dictator in January, sparking a wave of pro-democracy protests across the region. Mr. Marzouki pledged to work with both the ruling coalition that elected him as well as the opposition that turned in blank ballots at his election.

Saudi beheading denounced

Rights group Amnesty International has described as "deeply shocking" Saudi Arabia's beheading of a woman convicted on charges of "sorcery and witchcraft", saying it underlined the urgent need to end executions in the kingdom. The interior ministry said Saudi national Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser was executed on Monday in the northern province of al-Jawf after being tried and convicted for practising sorcery.

Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, has no written criminal code, which is instead based on an uncodified form of Islamic sharia law as interpreted by the country's judges. Amnesty says the execution is the second of its kind in recent months. A Sudanese national was beheaded in Medina in September after being convicted on sorcery charges.

Toll in Belgium attack rises

A Belgian police official says the number of people injured and wounded in Tuesday's attack in the eastern city of Liege has risen to 123. Four people have died in the attack, including the assailant, whom police said had a criminal record. The 33-year-old attacker threw hand grenades into a crowd in a central square and also fired with an automatic weapon.

Palestinian flag hoisted in Paris

Palestinians raised their flag at the headquarters of the UN cultural agency in Paris on Tuesday as its 195th member, an historic move and symbolic boost for their push for an independent state. Cheers rose as the red, black, white and green flag went up in pouring rain under the gaze of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova. Mr. Abbas says the Palestinians plan to join all international organizations it is entitled by UNESCO membership to enter. Palestine was admitted as a member of UNESCO in an Oct. 31 vote that prompted the United States to cut off funds to the agency -- $80 million annually in dues, or 22 per cent of UNESCO's overall budget. With the U.S. 2011 contribution not yet paid, UNESCO was immediately thrown into crisis.

Myanmar opposition party to run in election

Myanmar's state-run media says the government has approved opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party to register for a coming byelection, formally bringing the pro-democracy group back into the country's political arena. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy decided last month to rejoin politics in the military-dominated country after recent reforms by the nominally civilian administration that took power this year.

The party boycotted last year's general elections because of restrictive rules that, among other things, prevented Suu Kyi from being a candidate. The government has since lifted many of those restrictions.

Russian parliament to meet as scheduled

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that the new Russian Parliament chosen in a fraud-tainted election will go ahead with its first session, showing no inclination to bend to unprecedented nationwide protests that drew tens of thousands into the streets. Mr. Medvedev acknowledged the vote-fraud complaints, but said lawmakers will meet on Dec. 21 anyway, ignoring demands that officials annul the election and start over.

The Saturday protests in some 60 Russian cities, including a throng of tens of thousands in Moscow, have left Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and members of United Russia searching for a strategy that would defuse the widespread anger without weakening their own position. Even with the reported vote fraud, United Russia reached only a narrow majority, losing about 20 per cent of its seats in the parliament.


China again suspected of dumping

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal has launched an investigation into the dumping of Chinese steel tube parts and their affect on the Canadian market. The inquiry was started after the Canada Border Services Agency said a preliminary determination had been made regarding dumping. A public hearing is scheduled for March 12, with findings regarding whether or not the dumping and subsidizing have hurt the market to be released on April 10.

The investigation is just the latest in a string by the tribunal involving China. In October, trade authorities launched a preliminary injury inquiry in to allegations that Chinese-made sinks were being dumped on the Canadian market. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal hears cases on dumped and subsidized imports.

Rival won't seek control of Canadian miner

Rio Tinto says it may consider raising its stake in Ivanhoe Mines, but currently has no intention of seeking full control of the Canadian company, an announcement that disappointed investors and sent shares of the Vancouver-based miner falling on the stock market Tuesday. After Rio Tinto successfully challenged Ivanhoe's anti-takeover defence, the British-Australian giant said it may look to boost its 49 per cent stake and acquire effective control of Ivanhoe.

An arbitrator's decision Monday means that after a standstill agreement expires Jan. 18, Rio Tinto can buy more shares of Ivanhoe, which is developing a major copper project in the central Asian country of Mongolia. Ivanhoe owns 66 per cent of Oyu Tolgoi, one of the biggest copper developments in the world, while the Mongolian government owns 34 per cent. The news Tuesday disappointed investors who had been hoping Rio Tinto might make a bid to acquire all of Ivanhoe and privatize the company.


TSX on Tuesday: 11,760 - 148. Dollar: US.96. Euro: $1.34. Oil: $99.77 + $2.00.



British Columbia on Wednesday: rain south, snow north, high C4 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse -10, Yellowknife -28, Iqaluit -18. Alberta: sun. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: snow. Edmonton -3, Regina -4, Winnipeg -2. Ontario: rain. Quebec: sun. Toronto 6, Ottawa 2, Montreal 1. New Brunswick: mix sun cloud. Nova Scotia: rain. Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: snow. Fredericton 1, Halifax 3, Charlottetown 0, St. John's -2.

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