Wednesday, January 18, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 17 January 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

McKay offers assurances in spy case


A member of the Canadian Armed Forces who was arrested last weekend on espionage charges has had his case adjourned until next week. Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle was to have a bail hearing in Halifax Tuesday, but his lawyer asked that it be rescheduled. Delisle, who is 40, faces charges under the Security of Information Act.

He is accused of passing government secrets to foreign interests over the span of more than four years. The CTV network reports those foreign interests refer to Russia.

The navy intelligence officer worked in a unit that collected and processed information that is shared among allies, including the United States.

In Ottawa Tuesday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay sought to control any damage by saying Canada's allies are unfazed by the revelations. "Let me assure you our allies have full confidence in Canada," the minister told reporters.



Harper fearful of Iranian leadership


Prime Minister Stephen Harper not only believes the Iranians are developing nuclear weapons, but that they wouldn't hesitate to use them if they felt that would achieve their political or religious purposes.

In an interview with CBC Television, Mr. Harper said the evidence is overwhelming that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and that "there is absolutely no doubt they are lying," when it claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. "And that, I think, is just beyond dispute at this point," Mr. Harper said. "I think the only dispute is how far advanced it is."

On the question of whether the regime would ever use such weapons, Mr. Harper said: "I’ve watched and listened to what the leadership in the Iranian regime says, and it frightens me. In my judgment, these are people who have a particular, you know, a fanatically religious worldview, and their statements imply to me no hesitation about using nuclear weapons if they see them achieving their religious or political purposes. And … I think that’s what makes this regime in Iran particularly dangerous."



Leaders to go it alone on health care


Canada's provincial premiers and territorial leaders will take the initiative to improve health care delivery across the country.

At their two-day meeting in Victoria, British Columbia, the leaders decided to create a working group, led by Saskatchewan's Brad Wall and PEI's Robert Ghiz. It will focus on finding and sharing new ways to meet health challenges, including the needs of seniors. They are to deliver their first report in July at a premiers' meeting in Halifax.

The initiative follows the refusal by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to add any money to the new health care funding formula that will take effect in 2015. Under the Canadian constitution, provision of health care is a provincial responsibility.



Oda to review Ethiopia aid


A report on Ethiopia by Human Rights Watch has prompted the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to launch a review of its aid to the African country.

The report alleges that the government in Addis Ababa has forcibly relocated 70,000 indigenous people, and aims to move 1.5 million by next year, cutting them off from food sources and basic health services, while forcing them to endure abuse from the Ethiopian army.

It is doing so, says Human Rights Watch, so it can offer up millions of hectares of fertile farmland to foreign companies from countries such as China, India and Saudi Arabia for large-scale farm factories.

Ethiopia is the third-largest recipient of foreign aid from Canada, at about $170 million a year.

Canada's International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said Tuesday that she is looking into the allegations "to ensure there is no misuse of Canadian taxpayers' resources."



Canada's bank rate unchanged - Flaherty concerned about debt levels


The Bank of Canada is leaving its key interest rate unchanged at one per cent amid what it sees as worsening economic conditions.

The Bank observed that the Canadian economy did better than expected in the last half of 2011.

But it expects the future pace of growth to be more modest than previously forecast, largely due to deteriorating economic performance outside of Canada.

The central bank's announcement prompted Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to restate his concern that low interest rates, which have been in place since 2009, are luring Canadians to take on more debt than they can afford. Household debt to annual disposable income is already at 153 per cent, an all-time high, with about 70 per cent of the debt Canadians carry being in mortgages.

Mr. Flaherty said he does not believe Canada's housing market is a bubble, with the possible exception of two hot spots -- the condo market in Vancouver and Toronto. But, he said he is monitoring the situation. "We watch the housing market carefully and we are prepared to intervene if necessary. Having said that, we're not about to intervene now," the minister told reporters.

Ottawa tightened mortgage rules on three separate occasions in the past four years. Each time housing activity slowed temporarily, but then resumed its previous pace.

In a statement accompanying the interest rate announcement, the central bank implied it has no choice but to keep borrowing costs low to spur economic activity.



Winter fun has its risks


Thousands of Canadians are injured each year participating in winter sports.

According to figures released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, more than 5,600 Canadians of all ages were hospitalized in the fiscal year 2010-2011 with serious injuries related to winter sports and recreational activities. Skiing and snowboarding accounted for the largest proportion of serious injuries.

The number of injuries from the two sports combined more than doubled the 1,114 hockey-related mishaps requiring hospitalization.

Other seasonal activities that led to a hospital stay of at least one night included ice skating, snowmobiling and tobogganing.



Internet protest spreads to Canada


A protest against proposed U.S. legislation to combat Internet piracy is spreading to Canada. Tucows, a Toronto-based company that manages over 11 million domain names and provides other Internet services, and social media service Identi are among the Canadians taking part in the protest.

They will join Wikipedia and others who say they will "go black" on Wednesday to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act.

They argue that the new laws could allow website addresses to be blocked when complaints are filed about copyright infringement. Also, search engines and websites could be compelled to remove links to sites accused of copyright violations, and web payment processors and advertisers could be forced to stop doing business with alleged offenders.





International

Divers find more victims in ship


Coast Guard officials in Italy say they've recovered five more bodies from the cruise ship that capsized off the coast. The bodies of four men and one woman, ranging from 40 to 60-years-old, were recovered from the stern of the ship.

That brings the number of confirmed dead in the accident to 11. Another 24 people are missing

Divers earlier set off explosives in the hull of the grounded ship to speed the search for missing passengers and crew. A Navy spokesman says the micro-charges created four openings to allow divers to enter more easily.

Twelve Canadians survived Friday's grounding of the Costa Concordia.



Iran to hold talks with IAEA


Iran said on Tuesday it was open to discuss "any issues" in talks later this month with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It wants Tehran to address mounting concerns that it may be trying to develop nuclear weapons capability.

With the Islamic state facing intensifying sanctions aimed at its oil exports, a senior Iranian official said a high-level team from the U.N. agency would hold three days of talks in Tehran from Jan 29th to 31st.

Asked whether Iranian officials would be ready to talk about questions of possible military links to the nuclear program, Iran's IAEA envoy, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said: "We are open to discuss any issues that the IAEA is interested to discuss, within the framework of its mandate of course ... I am optimistic that we will have a constructive, professional, technical meeting."



Syria does not want foreign troops


Syria has rejected the possibility of the Arab League deploying troops in the country as suggested by the emir of Qatar.

Syrian officials say such a move would worsen the crisis and open the way for foreign intervention.

The 22-member Arab League sent dozens of observers to Syria on December 26 to monitor the government's implementation of a deal aimed at ending violence that has reportedly killed more than 5,000 people since mid-March.

In an interview with U.S. television this past weekend, Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said he favored sending Arab troops to Syria to stop the killing.



Russian presidential candidate seeks democracy


A wealthy Russian, who is challenging Vladimir Putin for Russia's presidency in March, says his country faces the danger of violent revolution if it does not move quickly to democracy.

Mikhail Prokhorov, a billionaire bachelor says that 15 to 20 percent of the population who live in the big cities want to live in a democratic country.

The 46-year old Prokhorov also denies accusations he was allowed into the presidential campaign to split the opposition and lend democratic legitimacy to a vote Mr. Putin seems almost certain to win.

Mr. Putin is seeking to return to the Kremlin and rule until at least 2018.

But protests against alleged fraud in a December 4 parliamentary vote have exposed growing discontent with the system he has dominated for 12 years.



Chinese woman honored for helping a child hit by vehicle


A Chinese woman who tried to save a child who was struck by a vehicle in the street last October has been named a national role model by the official news agency Xinhua.

Online video showed at least 18 people walked past two-year-old Yue Yue as she lay bleeding and unconscious in the street in southern China before Chen Xianmei picked her up and moved her to safety.

Yue Yue died of her injuries after the incident but the video shocked the Chinese public and triggered an outbreak of national soul-searching about the impact of rapid development and urbanisation



Prominent anti-Taliban tribal leader killed in Afghanistan


Officials in Afghanistan say prominent anti-Taliban tribal leader Mohammad Nahim Agha Mamahas was assassinated today while praying inside a mosque in the city of Kandahar.

The Kandahar governor's office condemned the killing as an anti-Islamic that desecrated a place of worship.

Taliban insurgents have assassinated hundreds of Afghan government officials and supporters in recent years, seeking to weaken public confidence in President Hamid Karzai's administration.



Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash buried


Funeral services were held in Nicosia Tuesday for Rauf Denktash, a champion of Turkish Cypriot independence. Mr. Denktash, who left office in 2005, died last week at the age of 88.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded in response to a short-lived coup by Greek Cypriots backed by Greece's then-ruling military junta. In 1983, Denktash announced the formation of a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state.

His death came just days ahead of reunification talks to be held in New York state under the auspices of the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

Canadian peacekeepers were stationed in Cyprus from 1964 to 1993, one of Canada's longest overseas military commitments. A small Canadian presence remains on the island as reunification efforts proceed.





Financial

Kraft


Kraft Foods Inc. announced Tuesday that it is cutting 1,600 positions in North America as it prepares to split its business in two parts, but only "very minimal" layoffs are expected in Canada. The Northfield, Ill.-based food announced in August that it would split into two independent companies: a global snacks business and North American grocery business.

Kraft said the moves are needed to help the businesses run more effectively. The cuts will be made over the coming year among its sales, corporate and other business units. About 20 per cent of the job eliminations are currently open positions. The biggest single blow will be to Kraft's U.S. sales force -- about 40 per cent of the 1,600 positions being eliminated -- as the company switches to a broker, or independent sales force, south of the border.

"In Canada, we are not doing the same thing," said Kathy Murphy, Kraft Canada's director of corporate affairs. "In Canada, the sales force structure will be the same moving forward as it is today, which is head office, headquarters and retail sales for both companies," Murphy told The Canadian Press. She later emailed that only 10 layoffs were planned in Canada, where the company has some 5,800 employees. Kraft has roughly 127,000 employees worldwide, including 46,500 in North America.



Markets


The Toronto stock market closed lower Tuesday even as commodity prices rose sharply in the wake of data indicating China is managing to avoid an abrupt economic slowdown. The S&P/TSX composite index lost 25.77 points to 12,232.83.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.27 of a cent to 98.5 cents US after the Bank of Canada left its key rate unchanged at one per cent.

New York's Dow industrials moved ahead 60.01 points to 12,482.07.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 17.41 points to 2,728.08 and the S&P 500 index rose 4.58 points to 1,293.67.

Oil closed up $2.01 to US$100.71 a barrel.



Canadian Wheat Board


Former directors of the Canadian Wheat Board have asked a Manitoba judge to stop the federal government from removing the board's monopoly over western wheat and barley sales. The board's lawyers appeared in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Tuesday to argue the government violated its own law -- The Canadian Wheat Board Act -- by not holding a plebiscite among producers before making the change. The government amended the law in December, and wheat board supporters want that amendment declared invalid.

This week's hearing, which is scheduled to continue Wednesday, is to determine whether the court should issue an injunction to prevent the government from making any changes until the case can be heard.

The battle over the wheat board dates back decades. Since the 1940s, wheat and barley farmers in Western Canada have had to sell their grain through the board, which has been federally-backed but governed by a board consisting mostly of elected producer representatives. The Conservatives have long promised to allow farmers the option of selling independently, as their counterparts in other regions do, and changed the wheat board act last December. A section of that act required a plebiscite to be held before any major changes, but the government says Parliament has the right to change its own laws.

The government is aiming to have an open market for wheat and barley by the next crop year, which starts Aug. 1.





Sports

Sports


NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Monday's result: Winnipeg shut out Ottawa 2-0.

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Atlanta defeated Toronto 93-84.

PROFESSIONAL TENNIS

Three Canadians advanced to the second round at the Australian Open on Tuesday. On the men's side, Milos Raonic, seeded 23rd, defeated Filippo Volandri of Italy 6-4, 6-0, 6-2. On the women's side, Aleksandra Wozniak defeated Zhang Shuai of China 6-3, 6-3 and Stephanie Dubois defeated Elena Vesnin of Russia 6-4,1-6, 6-4. Canada's top-ranked women's player, Rebecca Marino, lost to Greta Arn of Hungary 6-4, 6-2.

FREESTYLE SKIING

Hospital officials in Utah say Canadian skier Sarah Burke went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the hill when she crashed during training last week. The details were among the few to emerge about her status after her family cancelled a news conference intended to offer an update on her condition. Burke, 29, has been in an induced coma and is listed in critical condition since she crashed last Tuesday. The following day she underwent surgery to repair a tear in her vetebral artery.

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Long-time coach and former Toronto Argonauts GM Adam Rita will be handling the dual positions with the Prague Panthers of the Austrian Football League. The Panthers joined the league in 2011 after playing in the Czech league for 20 years and winning the championship 12 times.





Weather

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Vancouver, mainly cloudy with a chance of flurries. High minus 4.

Calgary, a mix of sun and cloud in the morning followed by afternoon sun. High minus 24.

Edmonton, sunny. High minus 21.

Regina, clearing skies. High minus 27.

Winnipeg, light morning snow followed by clearing skies. High minus 21.

Toronto, a mix of sun and cloud. High minus 4.

Ottawa, morning cloud with a chance of flurries followed by clearing skies. High minus 12.

Montreal, morning cloud followed by afternoon clearing. High plus 3.

Fredericton, morning showers followed by afternoon clearing. High 6.

Charlottetown and Halifax, morning showers or drizzle followed by a mix of sun and cloud. High 7.

St. John's, cloudy with 60 per cent chance of flurries or freezing drizzle in the morning with periods of rain beginning in the evening. High 5.

Whitehorse, a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of flurries. High minus 22.

Yellowknife, light morning snow followed by a mix of sun and cloud. High minus 20.

Iqaluit, sunny. High minus 31.





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