Thursday, January 12, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 11 January 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Prime Minister Harper announces second trip to China

Canada's prime minister will make his second official visit to China next month. Stephen Harper announced his travel plans on Wednesday as he prepared to meet China's ambassador, Zhang Junsai, in Ottawa. Chinese President Hu Jintao formally invited Mr. Harper back late last year. Mr. Harper was waiting for China's government to propose a specific date. He made his first trip to China in December, 2009. China had criticized Mr. Harper for delaying his first visit to China after he became prime minister in 2006. In announcing his second visit, Mr. Harper noted that more than one million Canadians are of Chinese descent.

Complications arise in deportation order of Rwandan man

Despite a deportation order, a Rwandan man accused of helping to incite the 1994 genocide may be staying for in Canada for now. Leon Mugesera was ordered to be deported on Wednesday after a Federal Court in Montreal ruled against his last-ditch effort to stay in Canada, where he has lived for almost 20 years. However, a pair of other developments Wednesday complicated matters. Mr. Mugesera's lawyer says the United Nations Committee Against Torture has ordered Canada to keep him here while it investigates his claims he'll be tortured in Rwanda, and Mr. Mugesera was brought to hospital to be treated for an unspecified health issue. Television images showed him being carried out of his Quebec City home, laid out on a stretcher. Mr. Mugesera faces deportation as early as Thursday to Rwanda, where he is wanted on outstanding charges. His lawyer, Johanne Doyon, says that in the past Canada has generally heeded the wishes of the UN body but she says she has notreceived any confirmation yet in the current case. He is accused of helping to incite Rwanda's genocide by delivering a 1992 speech that promoted the killing of ethnic Tutsis. He has been involved in a lengthy legal battle with Canada to stay here -- a battle that wound up before the Supreme Court of Canada in 2005.

Canada announces more help for Haiti

Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda says Canada will help Haiti move people who have been camped outside the National Palace since the 2010 earthquake. Nearly 20,000 people live in the camp across the street from the collapsed National Palace. Ms. Oda did not disclose the cost. President Michel Martelly says people will begin moving in six weeks and the project will be finished next year. Hundreds of people from the camp cheered Wednesday's announcement. Officials say more than 500,000 people still live in temporary settlement camps around the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Aboriginals against Canadian pipeline

Aboriginal leaders in British Columbia have outlined their reasons for opposing the multi-billion dollar pipeline project that would see oil delivered from the neighboring province of Alberta to B.C for export to Asia. The leaders announced their objections at environmental hearings that began in the town of Kitmat on Tuesday. They warn of possible disasters and said they must put their homes and children ahead of any jobs the pipeline might create. The hearings continuedWednesday in Kitamat.Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the pipeline project will benefit Canada.

First Nation files suit over oil and potash developments

A First Nation in southeastern Saskatchewan has filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit claiming the band has been denied billions from oil and potash developments. The claim by the George Gordon First Nation is against the provincial and federal governments. The band says it should have been consulted about several projects under a treaty land deal signed in August 2008. It gives as an example BHP Billiton's Jansen potash mine not far from the band's reserve near Punnichy, Sask. The First Nation alleges BHP Billiton was given exclusive control over potash exploration rights in the region without the band's knowledge. A spokesman with Saskatchewan's Justice Ministry says the government doesn't believe it has done anything wrong.

NDP MP crosses floor to Liberals

A member of Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party has joined the Liberal Party. Lise St-Denis of the Saint-Maurice Champlain riding in the Province of Quebec says she's more comfortable with Liberal policies than those of the NDP. Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae says no one can accuse Ms. St-Denis of being an opportunist for leaving the official opposition to join the Liberals who finished third in last May's federal election, their worst showing ever. The NDP became the official opposition and the Conservative Party, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was re-elected.

Polars bears in trouble in Canada's Hudson Bay region

Wildlife experts say some of Canada's polar bears have been pushed to the brink of starvation because ice was slow to form on Hudson Bay, a vast body of water in the Canadian North. Experts say the bears need the ice to hunt seals, their main source of food. As a result, the bears lost about six weeks of hunting time, forcing them to search for food near garbage dumps in local communities.

Ottawa gives B.C. five years to pay HST transition money

The B.C. government has been given five years to repay the federal government $1.6 billion in Harmonized Sales Tax transition money. The federal governmentagreed to waive any interest charges over the term. A B.C. government statement says the extended repayment plan saves the provincial debt interest costs that can now go towards protecting core provincial services. The province started negotiating a repayment plan shortly after B.C. residents voted down the controversial harmonized sales tax last year. While the payments will be made over the next five years, the full cost of the $1.6 billion will still be on the B.C. government's books for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has said repaying the funding will have an economic drag on provincial finances.

Red Tape commissioners' expenses released

New documents show a junior cabinet minister and his entourage spent $35,000 in expenses over six weeks as part of the government's Red Tape Reduction Commission. Receipts and expense forms show Conservative MP Rob Moore and his staff accounted for well over half the travel and hospitality costs incurred by MPs on the commission. The group was set up to look at the burden on businesses of complying with government regulations. Travel and hospitality costs for the six Conservative MPs on the commission -- including Mr. Moore and three of his aides -- totalled $60,000. The documents also show Treasury Board bureaucrats questioned why a limousine was needed to take Tory MP Cathy McLeod on a short trip to the airport. An aide explained Ms. McLeod took an 11-minute ride to the Winnipeg airport in a luxury vehicle because her flight was late and she needed to get to Toronto for an event with the prime minister. The Canadian Press obtained documents and hospitality expenses under the Access to Information Act.

Investigation demanded for Canadian's death in Grenada

The prime minister of Grenada, Tillman Thomas, is avoiding demands for an inquiry into allegations of systemic police misconduct. Mr. Thomas will only say the government will look into allegations that police brutality is widespread. There have been calls for an independent probe after the death this monthof Canadian visitor Oscar Bartholomew. He was allegedly beaten into a coma by police. Five officers are charged with manslaughter.

Former MP Jean Pigott dead at 87

A former Canadian Member of Parliament, Jean Pigott, has died at the age of 87. Ms. Pigott began her political career by winning a federal byelection in 1976. She lost her seat in the old riding of Ottawa-Carleton in 1979 but remained on Parliament Hill as an adviser to then Prime Minister Joe Clark. In 1984, she was appointed by then prime minister Brian Mulroney as chairwoman of the National Capital Commission in the federal capital, Ottawa. In 1995, she was made an officer in the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor.


Syrian president keeps up the pressure as seven die

President Bashar al-Assad vowed Wednesday to defeat what he called a "conspiracy" against Syria as the rebellion against his regime showed no signs of abating. A rocket attack Wednesday killed at least seven people--including a French journalist--in the flashpoint city of Homs. The journalist was identified by his employer, France 2 television, as 43-year-old Gilles Jacquier. He is the first Western reporter to die since in Syria since the anti-regime protests erupted in March. An AFP reporter at the scene in Homs said Janquier died when a shell exploded amid a group of journalists covering demonstrations in the central city on a visit organised by the authorities. Meanwhile, a former member of the Arab League observer mission in Syria is accusing Syrian authorities of war crimes. Anwar Malek abruptly resigned from the League's mission, saying that the government's crimes were turning the League's mission into a farce. The Arab League monitoring mission has about 165 observers. It arrived in Syria last month to verify whether government security forces were complying with an agreement to halt its crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad. The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed.

China to discuss Arab uprisings

Reports say that China's president, Wen Jiabao, will discuss the uprisings in the Arab world with leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar during a visit to those countries later this month. His visit will be the first by a Chinese premier to Saudi Arabia in 20 years and to the other two since diplomatic relations were established in the 1980s. The uprisings, known as the Arab Spring, led to the overthrow of leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. There were also protests in Bahrain and Yemen. But the strongest protests have been in Syria which are now in their tenth month. The Arab Spring protests caused deep concern in China and saw the government launch one of its broadest campaigns of repression in years to prevent similar protests.

Chinese dissident says police entered home and took computers

One of China's most prominent dissidents, Hu Jia, says police confiscated two computers from his home Wednesday. Police also warned him that he could face renewed detention or investigation on accusations that he broke the terms of his jail release. The 38-year-old Hu was released in June last year after serving a jail sentence of three-and-a-half years for inciting subversion of state power. Such a charge is used to punish dissidents who criticise China's ruling Communist Party in print and online. Hu has avoided making statements in public since his release. But he did support rights campaigners and protesters through online comments. He also told a journalist with the Reuters news agency that officials appear to be seeking to silence him with the threat of more punishment.

Iran says nuclear scientist killed in bomb attack

Iran says one of its nuclear scientists was killed Wednesday in a bomb attack. The bomb was reportedly attached to his car when it detonated. Iranian officials are blaming Israel for the incident. The name of the scientist was not revealed. Iran has blamed Israeli, British and U.S. intelligence for previous assassinations of Iranian scientists working on the country's nuclear program. Both Israel and the United States have rejected the claims. Iran has a number of sanctions imposed on it by the West because of its nuclear program. The West says Iran is secretly building atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies.

Mitt Romney wins Republican Party primary

The former Governor of the U.S. state of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, won the New Hampshire Republican Party primary on Tuesday. Mr. Romney also won last week's caucuses in the state of Iowa,. Analysts say he has established himself as the man to beat for the nomination of his party to challenge President Barack Obama of the Democratic Party in the 2012 election.

Communist Party leader confident of winning Russian election

The leader of Russia's Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, says he has a good chance of defeating Vladimir Putin in the March presidential election. He also warns officials that rigging the election would amount to raping the country. The 67-year old Zyuganov says Mr. Putin's approval ratings would not allow him to receive the 50 percent plus one vote needed to secure an outright victory in the first round on March 4. Mr. Zyuganov believes he has a good chance of beating Mr. Putin in the second round which would be held if no candidate managed to win an overall majority in the first round. Prime Minister Putin is hoping to win back his presidency but his approval ratings have declined to record lows amid a wave of protests.


Wednesday's markets

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index declined 9.71 points to 12,260.94. In New York the Dow was down 13.02 points to 12,449.45. The Nasdaq gained 8.26 points to 2,710.76 and the S&P 500 added 0.4 of a point to 1,292.48. The Canadian dollar closed at 98.11 cents US on down 0.22 of a cent. The U.S. dollar stood at 101.93 cents Cdn, up 0.23 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5619, down 1.24 cents, and US$1.5323, down 1.57 cents. The Euro was worth C$1.2952, down 0.36 of a cent.

Ottawa gives BC five years to pay HST transition money

The B.C. government has been given five years to repay the federal government $1.6 billion in Harmonized Sales Tax transition money. The federal government agreed to waive any interest charges over the term. A B.C. government statement says the extended repayment plan saves the provincial debt interest costs that can now go towards protecting core provincial services. The province started negotiating a repayment plan shortly after B.C. residents voted down the controversial harmonized sales tax last year. While the payments will be made over the next five years, the full cost of the $1.6 billion will still be on the B.C. government's books for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has said repaying the funding will have an economic drag on provincial finances.




Jaroslav Halak, who led Montreal to the third round of the playoffs in 2010 before being traded to St. Louis at the end of that season, returned to play at the Bell Centre for the first time since the trade on Tuesday. Halak made 19 saves in a 3-0 Blues victory and was awarded the first star. It was his second shutout of the season. Other results on Tuesday: Ottawa defeated Pittsburgh 5-1, Toronto shut out Buffalo 2-0, Boston defeated Winnipeg 5-3, Calgary defeated New Jersey 6-3 and Vancouver defeated Tampa Bay 5-4 in the shootout.


Tuesday's result: Washington defeated Toronto 93-78.


Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke is in hospital after suffering a serious injury while training on a superpipe in Utah. The 29-year-old resident of Squamish, B.C. was airlifted to a Salt Lake City hospital after crashing at the end of a training run. Peter Judge, the CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, says it's his understanding she is in a coma. Burke was training with a private group ahead of the Winter X Games when the accident occurred. Burke is a halfpipe pioneer and lobbied tirelessly to get her sport included in the Olympics.


After winning the men's doubles title over the weekend at the ATP tournament in Brisbane, Canadian Daniel Nestor and his partner, Max Mirnyi of Belarus, the second seeds, won their first-round match Tuesday at the ATP tournament in Sydney. Both tournaments are tuneups for the Australian Open, which gets underway this coming Monday. Meanwhile, after winning the Chennai Open in India last week for his second career ATP Tour title, Canadian Milos Raonic lost decisively in straight sets to American Mardy Fish on Thursday. Raonic withdrew from the eight-man exhibition tournament after the loss, citing an upset stomach. CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Jim Popp will be staying with the Montreal Alouettes. The Indianapolis Colts have hired Ryan Grigson, Philadelphia's player-personnel director, as their new GM. Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted Friday that Popp, the Als' longtime G-M, was a candidate for the Colts' job.


Thursday's forecasts

Vancouver has a mix of sun and cloud with a forecast high temperature of four degrees Celsius. Calgary is mainly sunny with a high of zero. Regina is sunny, a high of minus-11. Winnipeg is sunny, a high of minus-17. Toronto has periods of rain, a high of three, Ottawa has snow beginning in the morning and a risk of freezing rain, a high of minus-five. Montreal is cloudy with periods of snow beginning around noon, a high of minus-four. Fredericton has a mix of sun and cloud with snow beginning in the late afternoon, a high of minus-seven. Charlottetown is mainly sunny with increasing afternoon cloud followed by evening snow, a high of minus-four. Halifax has increasing cloud with snow beginning in the late afternoon, a high of minus-two. St. John's is sunny, a high of minus-nine. Whitehorse is mainly cloudy with a 60 percent chance of snow, a high of minus-six. Yellowknife is mainly cloudy, a high of minus-16. Iqaluit is sunny with a high of minus-28.

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