Friday, January 27, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 26 January 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada to focus on economic growth and job creation


Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday saying that his government is about to make changes to immigration, pensions and research and development policy.

Mr. Harper said the idea is to position Canada as a more competitive force in the global economy and to confront the pressures of an aging population.

Speaking to 2,600 delegates, he also promised to press ahead with developing ways to export energy to Asia. And he criticized wealthy countries for being too complacent about their growing debt that they cannot afford.

He said such debt loads could hurt the entire global economy.

In addition, Mr. Harper said his government has worked to keep financial disorder out of Canada and is stepping up efforts to set the country in the right direction for coming decades.

 



Canada urged to act on Libyan torture allegations


The new leadership in Libya is accused of condoning torture and Amnesty International has called upon Canada to act. It says that as one of the members of the military coalition that aided in the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, Canada has influence in the North African country.

Amnesty says several detainees have died after being subjected to torture in recent weeks and months. It contends it was part of wide-spread ill-treatment of Gadhafi loyalists.

Amnesty said the torture is being carried out by "officially recognized military and security entities" as well as the many armed militias still active in the country.

In a related development, Doctors Without Borders says it is suspending its work in Libyan prisons because of rampant torture of detainees. It says many were brought to them for care, only to make them fit for further interrogation.



Next Canadian budget to help aboriginals


Canada's Aboriginal Affairs Minister, John Duncan, says the upcoming federal budget will be consistent with the priorities agreed to by aboriginal leaders and the federal government.

Talks took place in the federal capital Ottawa this week between First Nations and federal officials including Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mr. Duncan says that, among other things, the summit included a promise to move forward with recommendations on education reform.

Both sides also agreed to set up task forces and working groups on issues such as how the government funds aboriginal groups and economic development.

And they also pledged to report back in one year on the progress they have made overall.



Canada's job market could be in bad shape for years to come


One of Canada's major banks, CIBC, says this country's job market may be in its worst shape in decades.

The bank's senior economist, Benjamin Tal, says the biggest challenge the Canadian labour market faces over the next five to 10 years will be to improve skills.

He says Canadian workers do not have the skills companies want.

He says that's one reason why more Canadians are seeking lower-paying jobs such as work in restaurants and hotels.



Consumer confidence up


The Conference Board of Canada reports a rise in consumer confidence, one indicator of how the economy is expected to perform.

The Ottawa-based think-tank says its index of consumer confidence for January rose four points to 73.9.

It calls it a "welcome development". Last month, the index dropped to its lowest level in more than two years.

However, even with January's positive showing, the index remains 14-points below where it was at the same time last year.



Flaherty concedes on national regulator


The Government of Canada has decided to end its campaign to create a single national securities regulator.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, speaking in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, said the government will respect a critical ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada.

It reaffirmed that the day-to-day regulation of financial markets is the responsibility of Canada's provinces and territories.

But Mr. Flaherty says he's still hoping to create a national body that would monitor what he calls systemic risks to financial markets.





International

Dead and missing in Rio de Janeiro as buildings collapse


At least six bodies were pulled from the rubble of three collapsed buildings in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. Another 16 people were still missing after the buildings went down in the city's historic centre.

According to the institution responsible for approving construction in Rio, unauthorized construction projects were under way in the building. The head of the accident prevention unit of Rio's Regional Council of Engineering, Luiz Cosenza, told the Globo television network that illegal projects could have led to the collapse.

"Two projects were happening in the building," said Cosenza. "They were illegal works; they were not registered with the council."

He didn't provide details but said the work was not being supervised by any registered professional.

The buildings housed schools that taught languages and computing, several accounting offices and numerous other businesses.



Syria said to be holding talks with rebels


Syrian authorities are reportedly holding ceasefire talks with rebels who have seized some areas near the capital Damascus.

Analysts say it's an indication that a 10-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad has is now approaching the capital.

Meanwhile, Arab League monitors have resumed work after a one-week break during which league officials decided to prolong their mission by another month.

However, Syrian opposition groups have accused the observer mission, which deployed on December 26, of giving the Syrian government a diplomatic cover to pursue a crackdown on protesters and rebels.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed since March.

On Sunday, the Arab League called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign as part of a transition plan.



Iran ready to discuss its nuclear program with world powers


Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country is ready to hold talks with world powers on its nuclear program.

The last round of talks between Iran and the major powers was held in Turkey in January 2011 but the negotiations collapsed.

Taking part in those talks, apart from Iran, were Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. In his comments Thursday, Mr. Ahmadinejad also says the new sanctions imposed Western nations they would not hurt Iran.

On Monday, the European Union imposed an embargo on Iranian oil exports. Iran is already under four rounds of United Nations sanctions.

The West and Israel claim Iran is using its nuclear program to secretly build atomic weapons, a claim Tehran denies.



Egypt imposes travel bans on NGOs


Egypt banned at least 10 Americans and Europeans from leaving the country, including the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood.

The United States warned Thursday that the campaign raised concerns about Egypt's transition to democracy and could jeopardize American aid that Egypt's battered economy needs badly after a year of unrest.

The travel ban was part of an Egyptian criminal investigation into foreign-funded democracy organizations after soldiers raided the offices of 10 such groups last month, including those of two American groups.



Kenyan minister Kenyatta steps aside


Uhuru Kenyatta resigned Thursday as Kenya's Minister of Finance.

His action follows a ruling this week by the International Criminal Court. It ruled he should stand trial for his alleged role in 2007-08 post-election violence. However, Kenyatta retained his position as Deputy Prime Minister.

The head of the public service, Francis Muthaura, who also had the charges against him confirmed by The Hague-based court, resigned as well.

Kenyatta, one of Africa's wealthiest men, and Muthaura, often described as President Kibaki's right-hand man, face five counts including orchestrating murder, rape, forcible transfer and persecution in the aftermath of the December 2007 polls.

Kenyatta said after Monday's ruling that his "conscience is clear" but vowed to cooperate with the court.



Moscow officials give permission to hold protest


The city of Moscow has given permission for a mass opposition protest on February 4th.

The official permission for the rally, which will be the third such event in the Russian capital in less than two months, means people can take to the streets without fear of being instantly arrested.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in next month's rally aimed at criticizing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's domination of Russia.

The rally is being held a month ahead of the presidential election in which Mr. Putin is re-seeking the post.

The latest opinion poll says Mr. Putin is on course to win 62 per cent of the vote.





Financial

Markets


The S&P/TSX composite index was down 74.89 points to 12,464.3.

New York's Dow industrials fell 22.33 points to 12,734.63.

The Nasdaq was down 13.03 points to 2,805.28 and the S&P 500 index slipped 7.6 points to 1,318.45.

The Canadian dollar closed up 0.18 of a cent to 99.83 cents US.



BMO boosts lending


The Bank of Montreal says it will boost the amount it makes available for loans to Canadian businesses by about 30 per cent as it seeks to shore up its business borrowing.

The bank announced Thursday that it will make an additional $10-billion available to small and medium-sized businesses on top of the $38 billion it had in its commercial loan portfolio as of the fourth quarter of 2011.



CP Rail


Canadian Pacific Railway says efforts to boost efficiency helped improve its fourth-quarter profit by 19 per cent.

The Calgary-based railway says net earnings came in at 221 million dollars. That compares to a profit of 186 million a year ago.

CP says its revenue grew to 1.4 billion dollars from 1.29 billion dollars.

However, the company's operating expenses were also higher, rising 109 million dollars to 1.1 billion dollars.



Potash Corp.


Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan reports that its profits grew in the fourth quarter to 683 million dollars.

That's up from 508 million dollars a year ago.

Sales grew to 1.87 billion dollars from 1.81 billion dollars.



Air Canada to enhance New York service


In an apparent bid to stave off competition from rival Westjet, Air Canada has announced it will soon be increasing its service to New York City.

Starting in May, it will begin flying into J.F.K., while at the same time will offer hourly flights to La Guardia Airport.

WestJet paid more than $17 million last fall for eight slot-pairs at LaGuardia.

Air Canada, Canada's dominant air carrier, will be operating 38 return flights a day to the New York area. They will originate from a number of Canadian cities, including Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.





Sports

Hockey & Tennis


HOCKEY

The Canadiens beat Detroit 7-2 Wednesday night, halting the Red Wings' seven-game win streak. The Canadiens started strong, scoring four times on their first 11 shots on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

TENNIS

Rafael Nadal is through to the Australian Open final. The Spaniard defeated Roger Federer 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4 in the semifinals and will face the winner of Friday's match between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Daniel Nestor's Aussie Open run has come to an end. The Toronto native and Belarusian partner Max Mirnyi lost their semifinal 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to India's Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.



Own the Podium


Anne Merklinger has been named the new chief executive officer of Own The Podium, a Canadian program to assist aspiring Olympic athletes in their quest for medals.

Own The Podium divides about $70 million annually in federal government funding between summer and winter sport. Merklinger replaces former Olympic swim champion Alex Baumann, who stepped down from the post to take a similar position in New Zealand.

Merklinger, a national team swimmer in the 1970s and later a competitive curler who played in four national championships, was previously director of summer sport





Weather

Friday, January 27, 2012


Vancouver, rain and 7.

Mainly sunny across the prairies, highs of zero in Edmonton, minus 1 in Calgary, minus 3 in Saskatoon, minus 3 in Regina and minus 4 in Winnipeg.

Toronto, snow mixed with rain, high 3.

Ottawa, snow and 1.

Montreal, mix of snow and rain, high 2.

Fredericton, snow, 4.

Halifax, rain, 7.

Charlottetown, snow and 3.

St. John's, mainly sunny, high minus 5.

Sunshine across the far north, with highs of minus 7 in Whitehorse, minus 29 in Yellowknife and minus 30 in Iqaluit.





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