Saturday, December 24, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 23 December 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

Prince Philip hospitalised


Queen Elizabeth II's husband was hospitalized Friday evening after complaining of chest pains. A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace says the 90-year-old Prince Philip was taken from Sandringham, the queen's sprawling estate in rural Norfolk, to the cardiac unit at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge for "precautionary tests". Papworth Hospital is the U.K.'s largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital and the country's main heart and lung transplant centre. Philip has been at Sandringham since Monday for the royal family's Christmas festivities.



NL urges challenge to Russian seal pelt restrictions


The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is calling on Ottawa to launch a WTO challenge if Russia goes ahead with a plan to slap trade restrictions on harp seal pelts. The provincial government in St-John's warns that Russia's proposal would have huge implications for the sealing industry. About 90 per cent of Canadian harp seal pelts typically are sent to Russia. The federal government confirmed earlier this week that trade restrictions on harp seal pelts could take effect as early as January 1rst in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.



Canada announces new sanctions against Syria


Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has announced new measures against Syria's totalitarian regime.

He says Canada is freezing Syrian government assets and prohibiting most trade with the authoritarian regime of President Bashar Assad.

Baird says Assad is cut off and the Syrian president must resign.

Baird also criticized the United Nations for its failure to act decisively in the face of what he calls clear human-rights violations.

More than 5,000 Syrians have been killed by Assad forces during protests against his rule, yet Baird says countries cannot even get a resolution out of the U.N. Security Council condemning the violence.



Daughter supports clemency for Dad's killer


The only Canadian facing execution in the United States should die on death row rather than be executed. That's the preference of the daughter of one of Ronald Smith's victims. Smith is seeking clemency from the governor of Montana, and Jessica Crawford will support his plea at the hearing. She's the daughter of Thomas Running Rabbit, one of two men Smith was convicted of murdering in 1983 while he was high on drugs and alcohol. Ms. Crawford says she feels it's more of a punishment that Smith just sit out his years in prison instead of being put to death.



Canada's Prime Minister reaffirms support for Israel


Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper reaffirmed his support for Israel during a visit to his constituency in the western Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta on Thursday.

Harper and his wife Laureen were greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters as they celebrated Hanukkah at the Calgary Jewish Community Centre.

Harper said no one must forget what he calls the terrible trials and threats that the Jewish people still face in so many countries.



Lawsuit against Canadian Prime Minister unacceptable


 

The office of Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is dismissing a lawsuit filed against him and some officials of the governing Conservative Party.

The defamation suit was filed by former cabinet minister Helena Guergis, who is seeking 1.3 million dollars.

Last year, Harper dropped Guergis from the cabinet and dismissed her from the party caucus for alleged criminal behaviour.

After the police investigated and cleared Guergis, no charges were ever laid. The claims have not been proven in court and no statement of defence has been filed. But the prime minister's office calls the allegations ridiculous.

Guergis sat as an Independent until this year's election when she lost her seat in the May federal election.





International

Bombs in Syrian capital claim many lives


Two suicide car bomb explosions killed at least 40 people today and wounded more than 100 others in Syria's capital Damascus.

The blasts occurred near heavily guarded intelligence buildings.

The blasts came a day after an advance team of Arab League observers arrived in the country to monitor Syria's promise to end its crackdown on protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

Government officials took the observers to the scene of the explosions and said it backed their longtime claims that the turmoil is not a popular uprising but the work of terrorists.

The blasts were the first such suicide bombing in Syria since the uprising began in March.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed in the crackdown waged since March by the Syrian regime against protesters.



Cairo: Massive protest


Cairo's Tahrir Square was the scene of another massive protest Friday. Tens of thousands of Egyptians rallied in the square to denounce violence against protesters. Many held up photographs of the 17 people killed in deadly clashes with military troops last week. The protesters, who are demanding an immediate end to military rule, were especially outraged by scenes of soldiers beating and dragging female protesters by their hair.



New Zealand: Christchurch rattled by earthquakes


The earth continues to rumble under New Zealand's South Island: After being hit by two powerful magnitude 5.8 tremors in quick succession on Friday, the earthquake-devastated city of Christchurch was jolted by a more moderate magnitude 5.0 tremor early Saturday. The city, which is New Zealand's second largest, was hit by a deadly magnitude 6.3 quake in February. 181 people were killed and much of Christchurch's downtown area was destroyed.



Nigeria oil spill


Efforts continue to deal with a massive oil spill off the coast of Nigeria. Royal Dutch Shell PLC says a faulty pipe from one of its offshore oil-fields spewed crude into the ocean for at least 25 hours while a tanker was being loaded. The Nigerian government is relying on the oil company to clean up the spill, which is described as the country's worst offshore spill in over a decade. The huge slick is threatening wildlife and plants in a region already highly polluted from previous oil spills.



Havel funeral in Prague


Funeral services were held in n Prague today for Vaclav Havel, who led the peaceful revolution that ended Communism in the Czech Republic in 1989.

Havel, who served as president of the Czech Republic, died last weekend at the age of 75.

Among the one-thousand mourners was Canada's Governor General David Johnston, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The funeral ceremony was held at St. Vitus Cathedral.



ISS-New crewmembers arrive


A Russian Soyuz spacecraft has arrived at the International Space Station with a Russian, an American and a Dutchman on board. The three travelled through space for two days before reaching the orbiting station on Friday. They join three others, an American and two Russians, who were already there. The six men will work together aboard the space station until March.





Financial

Markets


The Toronto stock market closed higher Friday: The S&P/TSX composite index gained 46.7 points to 11,923.2. The TSX Venture Exchange added 14.9 points to 1,458.6. The Canadian dollar was up 0.03 of a cent to 97.93 cents US as the price of oil spiked, briefly hitting US$100 a barrel before dipping slightly. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 124.4 points at 12,294 and the S&P 500 was higher by 11.33 points at 1,265.33. The Nasdaq index was ahead 19.19 points to 2,618.64. Meanwhile, the February crude contract was up 15 cents to US$99.68 a barrel. The February gold contract slid $4.60 an ounce to US$1,606.



Keystone deadline


The U.S. Congress has approved tax-legislation that forces President Barack Obama to make a decision on the controversial Keystone X-L oil pipeline. The bill requires the president to approve construction of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline within 60 days, or kill it. Republicans added the contentious clause after President Obama tried to delay making a decision until after next year's presidental election. In Alberta, industry consultant Ralph Glass of Calgary, says he thinks the administratin can still find some way to avoid deciding before the November vote, because the issue has become such a political football.



Deficit shrinking


Canada's federal government posted a deficit of 2.2 billion dollars in October, which is about half what it was at the same time last year. The government credits higher tax revenue and reduced spending for the improvement. Ottawa's latest calculations show the country's fiscal position continues to recover. In the first seven months of this year, the federal deficit reached 15.4 billion dollars, 6.1 billion dollars less than it was during the corresponding period last year. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released an economic update last month that predicted the deficit for 2011 would hit 31 billion dollars. But, analysts now expect Ottawa will end the fiscal year in much better shape than that, barring any major shock to the economy.



Economic growth stalls


Canada's economic growth stalled in October: The latest figures from Statistics Canada show real gross domestic product was unchanged after four straight monthly increases. The agency says sales of existing homes and retail sales were up. But, the output of goods-producing industries fell by 0.2 per cent due to declines in utilities, construction, mining and oil-and-gas extraction.





Sports

Hockey


The Toronto Maple Leafs try to make it two straight victories when they take on the Islanders Friday night in New York. The Leafs edged Buffalo 3-2 Thursday night to move into a sixth-place tie with Ottawa in the Eastern Conference standings. The Ottawa Senators play the Hurricanes in Carolina Friday.

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The Vancouver Canucks have a chance to take control of the Northwest Division with a win Friday night over visiting Calgary. The Canucks are one point back of the Minnesota Wild who lost 4-1 to the Oilers in Edmonton Thursday night. The Calgary Flames move to within eight points of Vancouver with 3-2 win over Detroit Thursday.

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The Winnipeg Jets host Pittsburgh Friday night. The Penguins are without Sidney Crosby who is still out indefinitely with a concussion.





Weather

Christmas eve weather


Here is Canada's weather for Saturday, December 24. British Columbia will have a cloudy, rainy Christmas eve. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 9 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: sunny periods. Whitehorse, minus 2. Northwest Territories: clearing. Yellowknife, minus 16. Nunavut: flurries. Iqaluit, minus 20. Alberta: cloudy. Edmonton, 4. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, 2. Manitoba: increasing cloudiness. Winnipeg, 1. Ontario: sunny. Toronto: 0. Ottawa, minus 11. Quebec: mainly sunny. Montreal, minus 14. New Brunswick: sunny. Fredericton, minus 11. Nova Scotia: cloudy. Halifax, minus 3. Prince Edward Island: flurries. Charlottetown, minus 6. Newfoundland: flurries. St. John's, minus 5.





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