Thursday, January 19, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 18 January 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

White House sets aside Keystone deadline

The US White House has set aside a deadline for approving the controversial Keystone transborder oil pipeline from Canada. President Barack Obama was under pressure from the rival Republican Party to render a decision on the multi-billion-dollarproject by next month. The 2700-kilometre pipeline proposed to transport oil from the Canadian province of Alberta to the U.S. Gulf coast. But Mr. Obama preferred to pass judgment only after the presidential elections in November. The pipeline project ran into an obstacle late last year when environmentalists objected that its American route passed through an important watershed in Nebraska. Mr. Obama's administration is asking project developers to submit a new route. In reaction, a Republican congressmen from Arkansas, Tim Griffin, warned that the White House decision will encourage Canada to find other foreign markets. Canada's foreign affairs minister, John Baird, says the latest delay proves that Canada needs to develop its energy markets in other countries. He says that the Keystone project is capable of creating many jobs in both countries and providing a secure source of energy for the United States.


Obama tells Harper pipeline deal off--for now

U.S. President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Stephen Harper Wednesday to inform him the Keystone XL pipeline was being rejected. The prime minister's spokesman said Mr. Obama explained he was turning down TransCanada's application without prejudice, meaning TransCanada is free to re-apply. The spokesman said Harper expressed his profound disappointment at the decision. He also said Mr. Harper told Mr. Obama the project would boost jobs and economic growth both in Canada and the United States and he hopes it will continue. The Prime Minister also repeated Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports. Mr. Obama's decision gets him around a 60-day deadline Congress imposed last month on the controversial pipeline that would carry Alberta bitumen to Texas. Republicans were trying to get Mr. Obama to approve the pipeline before the presidential election and say the president is selling out American jobs and energy security for politics.

PM refuses comment on spy revelations

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is refusing to comment on a high-profile espionage case because it is before the courts and relates to national security. Mr. Harper congratulated Canada's security agencies in the arrest of naval Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle. He faces two charges under the Security of Information Act that deal with communicating information over the past five years that could harm Canada's interests. Defence Minister Peter MacKay also commented on the case saying that the serious naval-security breach has not damaged Canada's relationship with its allies. Mr. MacKay would not confirm reports thatMr.Delisle passed on information to Russia nor would the minister provide any details of the case.

 Minister of Defence MacKay stresses Arctic importance

Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the country's military is part of the growing civil infrastructure in the Arctic region.

He told an international conference on Arctic governance that the army, navy and air force contribute to civilian goals in the North as well military ones.

Mr. MacKay says scientific and defence staff will share a new facility in Resolute, Nunavut.

And he says that information used to enforce Canadian Arctic sovereignty can also be used to protect its environment.

Mr. MacKay adds that military staff perform search and rescue functions throughout Canada's entire North.

Certain cancers are on the increase in Canada

Statistics Canada says the five-year rate for cancer rose 2.1 per cent a year between 1997 and 2008. The study says the increases were relatively large for liver and thyroid cancers while the rates declined for cancers of the larynx and cervix. The study says rates for prostate cancer, the most common cancer, rose 3.0 per cent a year over the study period. And the rate for breast cancer, the second most common cancer, rose an average of 1.3 per cent a year during the study. The agency says there are a number of factors involved in the rising rates including an aging population, better screening methods, more extensive screening and higher survival rates.

Chamber of Commerce president seeks more relations with China

The President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce says that Canada-China relations are quickly becoming one of Canada's most important external relationships. Perrin Beattuy says that now, more than ever, what happens in China represents both a challenge and an opportunity for Canadian businesses. He also says that there are still barriers in both countries that must be removed in order to open access to the opportunities ahead and build a partnership of shared growth and prosperity. In commenting on a report entitled, "Advancing Our Economic Ties With China," Mr. Beatty says there are three priorities for Canadian business: implementing a strategy of political engagement with China; removing barriers and irritants to more trade and better trade with China; and improving the investment relationship with China.

Finance Minister Flaherty might delay tabling of budget

The date of the release of the Canadian government next budget is still undecided. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flahertysays he isstill observing the European debt crisis and what effect it may have on Canada's economy. However, the minister told reporters he will decide on a date soon. There has been speculation the budget wouldbe tabled in late February or early March. But it's possible Mr. Flaherty may wait as long as possible to see if European leaders can contain the crisis.

Lawyers file for clemency for Canadian man on death row in Montana

Lawyers for the only Canadian on death row in the United States are officially asking the state of Montana for clemency. Ronald Smith, who is 54, has been on death row for nearly three decades for killing two men in 1982. A former resident of Red Deer, Alta., he has exhausted all other appeals. He is asking the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole to recommend that his sentence be commuted from death to life in prison. The application says Smith is as a changed man, who made a terrible mistake when he was 24 years old and was high on a combination of drugs and alcohol. It says Smith originally requested the death penalty because of his remorse and because he was alone, without consular assistance, in a foreign country.

Police mum on suicide of possible Mafia mole

Police aren't confirming reports that a former Montreal police officer accused of trying to sell confidential information to the Mafia has committed suicide. Police in Laval, north of Montreal, confirm a man's body was found Wednesday morning inside a hotel room, but are not confirming his identity. Police say that information can't be released until the investigation at the hotel is complete. A spokesperson also said police also can't confirm if it's a suicide, but everything seems to be pointing towards that. One Montreal newspaper published the name of a man this morning they described as the suspected mole. Montreal's police chief, Marc Parent, held a news conference Tuesday and promised swift action following allegations that a retired officer tried to sell information on informants to the Mafia. The man had not been charged and the alleged offences occurred after his retirement a year ago.


People died needlessly in African famine

International Aid agencies say thousands of Africans have died needlessly in a food crisis. The agencies claim that millions of dollars were wasted because the foreign community did not respond to early warnings of the crisis in East Africa. A report released by Oxfam and Save the Children says that rich donor nations waited until the crisis was at its worst before donating money. A food shortage was predicted as early as August, 2010. But most donors did not respond until famine was declared in parts of Somalia in July. The report says the delays caused increased costs for aid agencies and thousands of deaths. The British government estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 people have died from the famine, mostly in Somalia.

World Bank revises growth forecasts

The World Bank is substantially cutting its forecasts for growth in both developed and poorer countries. It now projects that the global economy will expand 2.5 per cent this year and 3.1 per cent in 2013. That's down from a June forecast of 3.6 per cent growth for both years. Andrew Burns, head of the bank's global economics team and lead author of the report, says the world is very different than it was six months ago and adds this is going to be a very difficult year. The report noted two major reasons for the projected global slowdown. Europe's debt crisis has worsened. And several big developing countries have taken steps to prevent growth from overheating and fuelling inflation.

Rough weather prevents search operations on partially sunken Italian cruise ship

Search operations have been suspended off Italy's Tuscan coast after the grounded Costa Concordia cruise liner shifted under heavy seas. The ship had more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board Friday when the captain made an unauthorized manoeuvre and hit a reef. The death toll rose to 11 on Tuesday, with 24 others still missing. The captain faces criminal charges including manslaughter. Twelve Canadians were aboard the ship. All survived. The captain of the vessel has been arrested.

Attacks continue in Afghanistan

Two attacks just hours apart in the southern Afghan province of Helmand killed 16 people and wounded more than 20 others on Wednesday. A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed 10 civilians and two policemen in the first attack, while an intelligence official was among the dead in a second blast caused by a mine and that was claimed by the Taliban.

Arab league monitors in Syria might receive extension.

Syria may allow Arab League monitors stay on after their mission expires on Thursday. But opponents of President Bashar al-Assad say the United Nations Security Council should step in to stop 10 months of bloodshed that has claimed the lives of some 5,000 people. Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers are scheduled to consider their next step later this week. However reports indicate they are split over how to handle Syria as is the U.N. Security Council which has failed to adopt any position. Hundreds of killings on both sides have been reported since the Arab League sent observers to Syria last month to see whether Damascus was respecting a peace plan it accepted on Nov. 2. Critics say the observers have only provided Mr. Assad with diplomatic cover and more time to crush his opponents.

Police douse Bahrain rally with rubber bullets and tear gas

The key Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq says Bahraini police fired rubber bullets and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse protesters who were attempting to hold a banned demonstration in Manama. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests. Security forces prevented the small groups of people, who were chanting anti-regime slogans and demanding democracy, from reaching the Ras Rumman diplomatic quarter in the capital's business district. The authorities said on Tuesday that they were prohibiting the demonstration, called by the Shiite-led opposition, for security reasons. The incident comes just days after King Hamad introduced constitutional reforms that give more power to the elected parliament, but fall far short of the demands set down by the opposition. A brutal crackdown on protests in mid-March led to the death of 35 people, including five security personnel and five detainees tortured to death, according to a commission appointed by the king. Hundreds were injured.

Russian opposition upset with listening devices

Russian opposition activists have accused the country's powerful special services of listening in on their private conversations ahead of a mass protest next month. Opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov and parliament member Gennady Gudkov claim the Kremlin and the security service are seeking to split the protest movement against Vladimir Putin. Their statement was made after a video recording of their recent conversation was posted on the Internet. The release of the recording came ahead of a mass rally the protest movement hopes to stage on Feb. 4.

China asked to open its markets to foreigners

A European trade envoy is asking China to open its markets to foreign suppliers of technology and other goods that are purchased by the Chinese government. The comment was made by European Union Internal Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier, a day after meeting China's finance minister. When China joined the World Trade Organization ten years ago, it promised to join a global treaty that extends free trade rules to government purchases. But U.S. and European officials and businesses say China is still offering too little market access. Foreign companies can bid for Chinese government contracts but business groups complain they often have trouble getting information on bid requirements. They say Chinese rules often are imposed unevenly, often to the favour of local firms.


Wednesday's markets

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index gained 94.69 points to 12,327.52 In New York, the Dow closed up 96.88 points to 12,578.95. The Nasdaq composite index gained 41.63 points to 2,769.71, and the S&P 500 index climbed 14.37 points to 1,308.04. The Canadian dollar closed at 98.89 cents US, up 0.39 of a cent. The U.S. dollar stood at 101.12 cents Cdn, down 0.40 of a cent. Pound sterling closed at C$1.5613, up 0.49 of a cent, and US$1.5440, up 1.09 cents. The Euro was worth C$1.2860, up 1.30 cents.

Federal government plans to cut red tape

The federal government says it will cut red tape by ensuring that every time a new regulation is brought in, an old one gets chopped. That's one of the key recommendations of a commission set up to find ways to reduce the regulatory burden on business. Commission chairman Maxime Bernier, the minister of state for small business, says it's time to reduce the irritants posed by red tape. The commission also recommends that the government reduce the amount of information it demands from businesses and that it allow more information to be filed electronically to reduce costs. It also says the auditor general should be put in charge of monitoring efforts to cut red tape. The commissioner was set up a year ago and included six MPs and six business representatives, including Catherine Swift, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.




Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara will be the captains at the NHL all-star game in Ottawa. Alfredsson was voted into the starting lineup by fans, while Chara was named to the team last week. The showcase event goes Jan. 29th at Scotiabank Place....Wednesday's results: Ottawa defeated Toronto 3-2, New Jersey defeated Winnipeg 5-1, San Jose defeated Calgary 2-1 in a shootout, Columbus defeated Edmonton 4-2 and Los Angeles defeated Vancouver 3-2 in a shootout.


Canadian ski cross star Kelsey Serwa's season is over. The 22-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., announced Wednesday she'll require season-ending knee surgery after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during a World Cup race last week in France. Despite the injury, Serwa managed to finish fourth in the competition. Serwa won the first two World Cup races of the season and was leading the overall standings at the time of her injury. She returned to Canada earlier this week and test results confirmed the extent of the injury and that she'll require surgery.


Toronto re-signed second baseman Kelly Johnson, pitcher Carlos Villanueva and outfielder Ben Francisco to one-year contracts on Tuesday. Johnson will earn $6,375,000, Villanueva will earn $2,277,500 and Francisco will earn $1,537,000 (all figures US). Pitchers Casey Janssen and Brandon Morrow have yet to be re-signed.


Thursday's forecasts

Vancouver is cloudy with a forecast high temperature of minus-three Celsius. Sunny across the prairies. Highs: minus-20 in Calgary, minus-22 in Regina and Winnipeg. Toronto has periods of snow, a high of minus-one. Ottawa is cloudy with a chance of flurries, a high of minus-four. Montreal is sunny, a high of minus-eight. Highs: minus-10 in Fredericton, minus-eight in Charlottetown, minus-six in Halifax. St. John's is cloudy with a chance of showers or flurries, a high of minus-two. Sunny across the Far North. Highs: minus-25 in Whitehorse, minus-20 in Yellowknife, minus-25 in Iqaluit.

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