Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 10 January 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Profitability falls for sixth straight month in December

The Conference Board of Canada says the increasingly hostile economic climate is impacting on Canadian firms' profitability. The think tank's profitability index fell for the sixth straight month in December as global uncertainty, weakness in the manufacturing sector, stock market volatility and low consumer confidence weighed on profits. There was some good news in last month's numbers as only 21 of 49 industries saw their index drop, the lowest number in four months. The Conference Board says that may be a sign more industries will enjoy a turnaround in the upcoming months. As a whole, the goods-producing sector -- particularly gas extraction -- has been the most impacted by the poor global outlook, which has depressed commodity prices. Among the best recent performers was the auto sector, which has benefited from the rebound in car sales in the United States.

Flaherty talking shop on budget  in Vancouver

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he doesn't believe the term austerity fits his government's upcoming budget. Mr. Flaherty says prudence would be more descriptive. The budget could see some departments chop spending by more than 10 per cent. All government departments were asked to come up with two plans of cutting five and 10 per cent, and Mr. Flaherty told reporters before the meeting that some departments could even face deeper cuts, while others would suffer less. While 1.4 million Canadians are unemployed, Mr. Flaherty says now is not the time for "dangerous and risky" new spending schemes that will increase deficits and raise taxes. The minister says the priority of the budget is to focus on jobs and economic growth while keeping in mind a balanced budget along with the economic uncertainty beyond Canadian borders. Mr. Flaherty was in Vancouver Tuesday for pre-budget roundtable discussions with business and academic leaders.

Pipeline hearings begin in British Columbia

Environmental hearings began Tuesday in British Columbia on a proposed $5.5 billion pipeline to ship oil from the neighbouring Alberta to the B.C. coast. The pipeline project has been controversial.On Monday, the federal natural resources minister, Joe Oliver, suggested environmental radicals, supported by foreign money are aiming to disrupt the approval hearings in Kitimat. Reports say that many British Columbia residents oppose the pipeline plan for reasons that include fears of a catastrophic oil spill.

Calls issued to make Canada's children healthier and safer

The Canadian Paediatric Society is calling on governments to do more to keep our children safe and healthy. The Society has released a report that ranks how well the Canadian provinces and territories address injury and disease prevention in children of all ages. For example, British Columbia and Ontario received excellent marks for their legislation requiring the use of vehicle seats for children while Alberta and Saskatchewan got a poor grade for having no safety-seat law at all. The report also shows many provinces need to upgrade their childhood vaccination programs.

Professor wins NDP vote to run in riding of former leader Layton

Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party has chosen law professor Craig Scott to replace the late NDP leader Jack Layton as representative in a Toronto constituency. The riding of Danforth was formerly held by Mr. Layton, who died of cancer last August. Mr. Layton had held the riding since 2004. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has until Feb. 22 to announce a date for a byelection.A seperate race is under way to find the next leader of the NDP to take over for Nycole Turmel, who Mr. Layton recommended for the job of interim leader shortly before death.

Prime ministers of Canada and Russia will not play in anniversary hockey games 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Russian counterpart , Vladimir Putin, will not be particpating in a hockey game to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Canada-Soviet Summit Series. Mr. Harper's office is denying a report that the Canadian and Russian leaders plan to take part in two hockey games in September to mark the anniversary of the hockey series won by Canada. Mr. Harper is a big supporter of hockey but played just three years of organized hockey prior tothe age of 13. Mr. Putin is reported to have begun playing hockey only about a year ago.

Japan's debris heading to Canadian shores

British Columbia has taken a first step in planning for debris heading to its shores from the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. A special committee will co-ordinate the provincial response to the incoming wave of trash. Researchers say the debris field is still in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But residents on Vancouver Island say they have already seen some debris.

Emergency measures ignored in fatal 2010 seniors home fire

A report says appropriate emergency procedures were not initiated during a carbon monoxide leak that contributed to three deaths at a Saskatchewan seniors home on Christmas 2010. The report into the leak at St. Mary's Villa in Humboldt cites six contraventions of Occupational Health and Safety rules. The report was issued by the Labour Ministry in late December, and the Saskatoon Health Region says it had already taken steps to address the concerns. It says the boiler has been replaced and carbon monoxide detectors have been installed at all regional facilities. The CO poisoning at St. Mary's stemmed from a gas leak in a boiler on Dec. 25 and 26. Staff initially thought seniors were getting sick because of a stomach virus, exhaustion due to the Christmas season, food poisoning or tuberculosis.

Former mayor found hanged in jail cell in Quebec

A former mayor of a small town in Quebec who was accused of killing his wife has been found hanged in his prison cell in a penitentiary in lMontreal. The former mayor of St. Liboire, Paul Laplante, was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of his wife, Diane Gregoire. She had been missing for nearly four years before her body was found late last year.


Bomb attack kills at least 35 in Pakistan

A bomb killed at least 35 people and wounded 60 others Tuesday when it exploded near a fuel station in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber region. The incident occured in one of the tribal areas where insurgents are fighting government forces. Tribesman say members of the pro-government Zakhakhel tribal militia were the target of the attack. Officials said there had been no claim of responsibility yet for the incident. Pakistani forces have targeted militants in Khyber, including the Pakistani Taliban, on and off for more than four years.

Syrian President talks of foreign conspiracy against his nation

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says a foreign conspiracy is causing unrest in his country, but that it is failing. He made the accusation Tuesday in his first speech since he agreed last month to an Arab League plan to stop the government's crackdown on dissent. Mr. Assad has made few public appearances since the anti-government uprising began in March, inspired by the revolutions sweeping the Arab world. The regime's crackdown on dissent has killed more than5,000 people and led to international isolation and sanctions. Since the uprising began, Mr. Assad has responded with a mixture of repression and promises of reform and dialogue.

Scotland might gain independence from Britain

The British government says it will give Scotland the power to hold a binding vote that would give it independence from Britain. The move would turn back centuries of history. Scotland's ruling Scottish National Party, which has long advocated independence, had pledged to hold a referendum before 2016. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will campaign against attempts to sever Scotland from England.

Husband of former Ukraine Prime Minister explains why he sought asylum in Czech Republic

The husband of Ukraine's jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko says he sought asulum in the Czech Republic because of enormous pressure and persecution by President Viktor Yanukovich's government. Oleksander Tymoshenko, who was granted political asylum on Jan. 6, says that by fleeing abroad he had deprivedMr. Yanukovich of additional leverage over the opposition. Mr. Tymoshenko's wife, Yulia is a former Prime Minister. Shewas jailed for seven years in October on a charge of exceeding her powers by forcing through a 2009 gas agreement with Russia. Mrs. Tymoshenko is now in prison in Kharkiv, some 500 kilometres away from the capital, Kiev. Her trial was condemned by the United States and the European Union as politically motivated.The affair has seriously strained Ukraine's ties with the West.

Family members not allowed to visit jailed Chinese rights activist

Chinese officials have reportedly prevented relatives of prominent dissident and human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng from visiting him in prison. Gao, who has defended some of China's Christians and coal miners, was arrested in Feb. 2009 and has been held largely incommunicado by authorities except for a brief release in March 2010. Earlier this month, his brother Gao Zhiyi said he had received a letter from a Beijing court to say Gao Zhisheng was being held in a jail in the remote northwestern region of Xinjiang. Prison authorities said the activist was undergoing a three-month period of education and apparently was not allowed visits during this time. His detention has generated international condemnation. Gao's wife, Geng He, fled to the United States with her two children in 2009 after experiencing constant police harassment at her Beijing home.

Washington and Beijing at odds over Tibet self-immolations

The United States has again expressed concern over self-immolations by Tibetan monks. U.S. officials say these incidents represent deep frustration over the lack of religious freedom in China. China's state media says a Tibetan monk died after setting himself on fire in Qinghai in northwest China. It was the first time the Tibetan-inhabited province has been hit by such a death. Most self-immolations have taken place in neighbouring Sichuan province. Fifteen people have set themselves on fire in Tibetan areas in less than a year in apparent protest. The Tibetan government-in-exile based in India says that it does not encourage self-immolations but understands the frustrations behind them.

Quake off Indonesia prompts tsunami warning

A powerful earthquake hit waters of western Indonesia on Wednesday, prompting local officials to issue a tsunami warning. The U.S. Geological survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck 420 kilometres off the coast of Aceh province. It was centred 18 30 kilometres beneath the ocean floor. An official with Indonesia's geological agency, said a tsunami warning has been issued. Indonesia is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. A giant quake off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, half of them in Aceh.


Tuesday's markets

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index gained 73.94 points to close at 12,270.66. In New York, the Dow closed up 69.78 points to 12,462.47, the Nasdaq composite index gained 25.94 points to 2,702.5 and the S&P 500 index climbed 11.38 points to 1,292.08. The Canadian dollar closed at 98.33 cents US, up 0.57 of a cent. The U.S. dollar stood at 101.70 cents Cdn, down 0.59 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5743, down 0.74 of a cent, and US$1.5480, up 0.17 of a cent. The Euro was worth C$1.2988, down 0.76 of a cent.

Housing contruction up in December

Housing construction picked up in December. Canada Mortgage and Housing says housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted rate of more than 200,000 units--up almost 15,000 from November. The corporation says urban starts rose by almost 53 per cent in Atlantic Canada, 35 per cent in Ontario and nine per cent in Quebec.




Monday's result: Florida defeated Vancouver other NHL news, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended for five games for hitting Vancouver's Sami Salo on Saturday. NHL Vice President Brendan Shanahan says Marchand committed a predatory act by going low to flip the Canucks defenceman. Salo suffered a concussion on the play.....Longtime Montreal Canadiens assistant general manager Ron Caron is dead at age 82. Nicknamed the "Old Professor," Caron worked under GM Sam Pollock in Montreal and helped the team win six Stanley Cups in the 1970's. Caron went on to spend a decade as GM of the St. Louis Blues. There is no immediate word on the cause of death.






Monday's result: Toronto defeated Minnesota 97-87.


Venus Williams is prolonging her absence from the tennis tour because of an auto-immune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain. The seven-time Grand Slam title winner says she's skipping the Australian Open, which starts Monday. She does say she plans to be back in action next month.

Williams hasn't played competitively since Aug. 29 at the U.S. Open.


Wednesday's forecasts

Vancouver is sunny with a forecast high temperature of four degrees Celsius. Calgary is sunny, a high of minus-five. Regina has periods of snow and blowing snow ending in the afternoon followed by clearing skies, a high of minus-16. Winnipeg has snow and blowing snow, a high of minus-14. Toronto is mainly sunny with increasing afternoon cloud, a high of seven. Ottawa is mainly cloudy, a high of minus-10. Montreal has increasing cloud, a high of minus-nine. Fredericton is sunny, a high of minus-13. Charlottetown has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of flurries, a high of minus-nine. Halifax has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of flurries, a high of minus-eight. St. John's has snow, a high of minus-one. Whitehorse is mainly cloudy, a high of zero. Yellowknife has a mix of sun and cloud in the morning followed by clearing skies, a high of minus-16. Iqaluit is sunny, a high of minus-32.

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