Tuesday, January 31, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 30 January 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Canadian lawmakers back

Canada's Members of Parliament returned to the House of Commons in Ottawa after their six-week holiday recess. The opposition Liberal party expects the governing Conservative Party to introduce significant cuts to government spending in their upcoming federal budget. The Liberals say they hope the cuts will be done intelligently and with the primary focus on jobs. Another big issue will be proposed changes to the country's public and private pension systems.

Canada calls on Palestinians to return to table

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has called on the Palestinians to resume peace talks with Israel to createa two-state solution to Cthe two sides' long conflict. Mr. Baird says the Palestinians will come closer to achieving their own state if they don't impose pre-conditions on the talks. The minister's comments in Israel came one day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused each other of stalling the talks. The two sides have been holding exploratory discussion through the mediation of Jordan for some months. Mr. Baird's speech largely avoided the main issues of contention. The minister is travelling with his cabinet colleague, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Canada defends human rights in Libya

Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast says Canada expects Libya's new government to respect human rights. Mr. Fast says the Canadian government and Canadian firms are prepared to help Libya make the transition to democracy. But he says he's worried by reports that supporters of overthrown dictator Moammar Gadhafi are being subjected to torture, rape and killing. He says he raised the issue with ministers of the interim government several times during his now concluded three-day visit to Libya. Mr. Fast also says many Canadian firms are considering their options in Libya once security is established there.

Chinese deported from Canada to appeal sentence

A wealthy Chinese man who fled to Canada and was jailed for fraud after he was deported will appeal his sentence. Zeng Hanlin fled in 2004 to escape the charges but was deported in March last year after Canadian authorities dismissed concerns he would be tortured or executed if he returned to China. The 66-year old Zeng was tried and convicted of fraud in November over a stock scheme linked to a failed business merger. A court in the Chinese city of Chengdu sentenced him to 15 years in prison. His son, Sam Zeng, says the family would hold a news conference in the Canadian city of Toronto next week ahead of Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to China. He wants Mr. Harper, who arrives in Beijing next Monday, to raise his father's case during talks with Chinese leaders. Canada, which does not practice capital punishment, bans the return of prisoners to countries where they might face the death penalty. But it has recently deported several people wanted by China.

Former Bloc leader denies misappropriate accusation

The former leader of Canada's opposition Bloc Québécois party, Gilles Duceppe, is taking action against accusations that he mishandled public funds. Mr. Duceppe says he will present a legal opinion to the parliamentary body that's investigating reports he used House of Commons funds for partisan purposes. Mr. Duceppe says the allegations are false and the notice will show he always made sure to respect parliamentary rules. There had been speculation that Mr. Duceppe was planning a takeover of the Quebec-based opposition Parti Québécois from current party leader Pauline Marois. But Mr. Duceppe said last week after the accusations were made public, that he's out of active politics at least until he clears his name.

Minister reproves 'honour' killing

Canada's Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the practice of honour killings is barbaric and unacceptable in this country. He commented after three members of the Shafia family of Laval, QC, were found guilty Sunday in the 2009 deaths of three teenaged sisters and a fourth woman. Mr. Nicholson say the federal government is committed to protecting vulnerable people from all forms of violence and to hold perpetrators accountable. A jury found that Mohammad Shafia, his wife and their son killed the couple's three teenaged daughters and Shafia's first wife.



EU leaders agree on euro rescue fund

All European Union leaders except two have agreed to create a permanent rescue fund for the euro. Twenty-five of the 27 EU leaders agreed to set a a 500-billion euro European Stability Mechanism. The instrument will go into effect in July, a year earlier than planned. The International Monetary Fund had been pressing the EU to increase the size of the fund. Britain and the Czech Republic refused to support the Fund. The development comes as the risk premium on southern European government bonds rose. The yield on 10-year Portuguese bonds compared with those of Germany rose 15 per cent. Greece's negotiations with private bondholders over its national debt remained unfinished.

Syrian forces beat back rebels before capital

Syrian activists report that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed at least 25 people on Monday as they battled their way deep into eastern suburbs of Damascus to seize them back from rebels. The death toll comprised 19 civilians, mostly killed in tank and mortar bombardment, and six members of the Syrian Free Army. The Syrian Free Army is a loosely grouped organisation of
army defectors who have turned against Assad and joined a mass protest movement against his 11-year rule.

U.S. democracy advocates seek refuge in Cario

Three American democracy advocates barred by Egyptian authorities from leaving the country have sought refuge at
the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, as tensions between the two allied nations sharply escalated over a probe into foreign-funded organizations. The unusual step comes amid a row over an Egyptian crackdown on U.S.-funded groups promoting democracy and human rights that could jeopardize more than $1 billion of crucial U.S. aid to Egypt, one of its biggest recipients. The investigation is closely intertwined with Egypt's political turmoil since Hosni Mubarak's fall nearly a year ago. The generals
who took power have accused "foreign hands" of being behind
protests against their rule and frequently depict the protesters as
receiving foreign funds in a plot to destabilize the country.

Trade body rules against China

The World Trade Organization on Monday upheld its ruling that Chinese restrictions on key raw material exports broke trade rules following an appeal by Beijing. An appeal body said China must bring its duty and export quota measures on elements including magnesium and zinc into line with its WTO obligations, The WTO found in favour of the United States, European Union and Mexico in July following a complaint that China had failed to meet the promises it made when joining the body. The ruling applies to bauxite, coking coal, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorus and zinc, many of them vital to the chemical and metal industries. Beijing launched an appeal on Aug. 31. Both the United States and the European Union claimed victory after the publication of the appeal body's report.

Former Haitian dictator to be accused of lesser charges

A Haitian judge says he is recommending that Jean-Claude Duvalier face trial on corruption charges but not the more serious human rights violations during his brutal 15-year rule. Magistrate Carves Jean says the statute of limitations has run out on the human rights violations that occurred when the former leader known as "Baby Doc" led the country in the 1970s and 1980s. Mr. Jean says he will recommend that the corruption case be handled by a special court that handles relatively minor offences. The
former leader would face no more than five years in prison.

Mexican envoy to Venezuela freed

Mexico's envoy to Caracas was briefly seized overnight then freed on Monday in the latest high-profile kidnapping in Venezuela. Ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife were seized in their car in Caracas then released in a slum before dawn. The Mexican embassy confirmed the kidnapping took place on Sunday night and said the envoy was recovering fine after his pre-dawn release. Senior diplomats from Chile and Belarus were also seized in similar incidents last year.


Drug firm withdraws takeover offer

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. says a "lack of progress" has led it to withdraw its offer for Irvine, CA-based ISTA Pharmaceuticals Inc. of US$7.50 per share. Originally, the Mississauga, ON,-based pharmaceutical company had planned a deadline of Jan. 31 for the offer, but on Monday decided to pull out early. Valeant has been pursuing ISTA for months, but the target company said it was in talks with a number of parties that have expressed interest in pursuing a transaction. ISTA operates the third-largest branded prescription eye care business in the United States.


Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday: 12,436 - 30. Canadian dollar: US99. Euro: $1.31. Oil: $98.97 - .59.



The National Hockey League's first star of the week award goes to Toronto Maple Leafs centre Mikhail Grabovski. He led the league with five points last week. Grabovski had one goal and four assists in back-to-back wins over the New York Islanders. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne is the second star and Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is the third star.



British Columbia on Tuesday: rain south, cloud north, Vancouver C8. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse -9, Yellowknife -23, Iqaluit -18. Prairies: mix sun cloud. Edmonton 4, Regina 2, Winnipeg -1. Ontario: rain south, cloud north. Quebec: sun. Toronto 7, Ottawa -3, Montreal -5. Atlantic Canada: snow. Fredericton -6, Halifax, St. John's -4, Charlottetown -10.

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