Saturday, January 21, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Russians linked to espionage case

The arrest last weekend of a Canadian naval officer on espionage charges has been followed with the departure from Canada of four Russian diplomats.

The four, based at the Russian embassy in Ottawa, have been removed from the list of embassy and diplomatic staff that Canada recognizes. Russia insists their departure was routine, but CBC News says it has been able to confirm that at least some of the departures were related to the case of Sub-Lieutenant Paul Delisle.

He faces two charges under the Security of Information Act that deal with communicating information that could harm Canada's interests.

Delisle, who is 40, worked in a sensitive data collection centre that covered Canadian and NATO military operations in the Atlantic region and the Arctic, a resource-rich area in which the Russians - among others - have shown a keen interest.

Decision Monday in Mugesera case

Leon Mugesera, facing deportation from Canada to his native Rwanda, will have to wait until Monday to find out if his latest challenge succeeded or failed.

His lawyers spent Friday in a Montreal courtroom arguing that Canada is obliged to keep him while a UN body examines his claims that he will be tortured if he's returned to Rwanda.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture has requested Canada give it time to examine Mugesera's case, a process that could take a few months.

Mugesera, who is accused of publicly encouraging the Rwandan genocide in 1994, has been fighting deportation from Canada for years.

A decision in this latest court action is expected on Monday.

Mugesera is currently being held in an immigration detention centre near Montreal after being deemed a flight risk.

Chinese businessman deported from Canada receives heavy prison sentence in China

A Chinese businessman who was deported from Canada after living there for more than ten years has been sent to prison in China.

A court in Chengdu in Sichuan province found Zeng Hanlin guilty of contract fraud Friday and sentenced him to 15 years in jail.

The 66-year old Zeng, who fled to Canada in 1999, fought unsuccessfully for refugee status and was deported last February.

Canadian officials ruled that his fear of the death penalty, torture and an unfair trial if he returned to China, were unfounded.

Last year, Canada deported Lai Changxing to China, where he is accused of operating a $10 billion smuggling ring.

He was extradited after China assured Canada he wouldn't face the death penalty.

Last month, state media reported that Lai had confessed to bribery and smuggling and prosecutors had indicted him for allegedly masterminding a smuggling network.

Mexican journalist wants to stay in Canada

A Mexican journalist whose refugee application was denied by Canadian officials is asking the federal government to allow her to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds.

Karla Ramirez, who fled to Canada in 2008, says she's afraid she will be killed if she's sent back to Mexico because of her work to expose government corruption.

Miss Ramirez, who lives in the Pacific coast Province of British Columbia, wrote a book detailing the corruption allegations.

Sarah Burke - public asked to help defray hospital costs

A fund has been set up to offset the medical costs incurred by Sarah Burke, the Canadian freestyle skier who died Thursday in a hospital in the U.S. state of Utah.

She had spent nine days in the hospital after she was injured while training. For most of that time, she was on life support.

The Olympic gold-medal hopeful and four-time Winter X Games champion tore one of the major arteries supplying blood to her brain and went into cardiac arrest.

The goal of the fund is to raise $550,000.

Cost-of-living dips

The Canadian rate of inflation moderated during the month of December.

It dropped by six-tenths of a percentage point to 2.3 per cent. Statistics Canada says it was the sharpest monthly decline since the summer of 2009.

Driving the change were drops in the prices for fuel, food and clothing.

Beef exports to South Korea resume

Canadian beef will once again appear in South Korean grocery stores.

A suspension of Canadian beef imports, that was imposed eight years ago after an outbreak of Mad Cow disease, has now been lifted. That allows for the resumption of exports of Canadian meat from cows younger than 30 months old.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the renewed trade will add $30 million annually to the cattle industry within three years.

He noted, as well, that South Korea was the the last major Asian customer to lift its beef ban.

France suspends operations in Afghanistan

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy says his country is suspending military operations in Afghanistan.

The decision came after the announcement that four French soldiers had been killed in that country by an Afghan soldier.

The shootings in Kapisa province were the latest of several in which western soldiers have been killed by members of the Afghan security forces.

Such incidents undermine trust between Afghan and western troops.

Canadian troops, that were part of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan since 2002, were withdrawn this past summer.

Syrian opposition calling for more protests

The Syrian opposition is calling for demonstrations in support of thousands of detainees they say are still in prison despite a general amnesty declared this week.

President Bashar Assad issued the amnesty crimes committed during the 10-month uprising against his rule.

But his government did not say how many prisoners were covered by it.

The government blames the violence in Syria on terrorists and armed gangs that it claims are part of a foreign conspiracy to destabilize the country.

The government crackdown on protests has claimed the lives of an estimated 5,000 people.

Cuban dissident Wiman Villar dies in hunger protest

Reports indicate that imprisoned Cuban dissident Wiman Villar, who went on a hunger strike to protest his four-year sentence, has died.

The head of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, Elizardo Sanchez, says the 31-year-old Villar died Thursday night of pneumonia in the eastern city of Santiago.

Villar had been hospitalized for a couple of weeks after pursuing his hunger strike for 50 days.

Villar was arrested November 12th. He was convicted of disrespecting authority and resisting arrest, and sentenced to four years.

He protested his sentence by stopping eating.

Anti-piracy protest prevails

The United States Congress has indefinitely postponed legislation to stop online piracy of movies and music.

The demise, at least for the time being, of the anti-piracy bills was a clear victory for Silicon Valley over Hollywood, which has campaigned for a tougher response to online piracy.

Momentum against the Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act and the House's Stop Online Piracy Act, known popularly as PIPA and SOPA, grew quickly on Wednesday when the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and other Web giants staged a one-day blackout.

Google organized a petition drive that attracted more than 7 million participants. That day alone, at least six senators who had co-sponsored the Senate legislation, reversed their positions.

With opposition mounting, it was unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would have received the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation to the Senate floor.

Search of Costa Concordia resumes

The search for missing passengers aboard the Costa Concordia has resumed. For now, it's restricted to areas above the waterline.

A decision will be made Saturday whether to send divers back to areas that are submerged. T

he resumption of the search was ordered after it was determined the ship had stabilized once again.

The ship was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it slammed into well-charted rocks off the island of Giglio a week ago.

Eleven people are confirmed dead.

Rhythm and Blues legend Etta James dies

Etta James, the feisty R&B singer whose raw, passionate vocals anchored many hits and made the yearning ballad "At Last" an enduring anthem for weddings, commercials and even U.S. President Obama's inauguration ball, died Friday. She was 83.

James had been suffering from dementia, kidney problems, and leukemia.

James was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, captured a Grammy in 2003 for best contemporary blues album for "Let's Roll;" one in 2004 for best traditional blues album for "Blues to the Bone;" and one for best jazz vocal performance for 1994's "Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday."

She was also awarded a special Grammy in 2003 for lifetime achievement and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Daughter of former Ukranian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko upset with mother's treatment

Yevgenia Tymoshenko, the daughter of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, says her mother's life is now at risk after President Viktor Yanukovich rejected all early chances to free her.

Her mother, who was twice prime minister, is serving a seven-year jail sentence for abuse of office.

The United States and the European Union say her trial was politically motivated.

And last month, the EU withheld agreements on political association and a free trade zone with Ukraine in protest over her jailing.

But despite diplomatic pressure from EU countries for her release, new criminal cases have been opened against her by justice officials.

Closing markets, January 20, 2012

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 16.41 points to 12,397.1

The Canadian dollar was down 0.17 of a cent to 98.7 cents US.

The Dow industrials ran ahead 96.5 points to 12,720.48.

The Nasdaq was down 1.63 points to 2,786.7 and the S&P 500 index added 0.88 of a point to 1,315.38.

Oil fell $1.93 to US$98.46.

Direct Energy cuts jobs, moves H.Q.

Direct Energy is cutting 500 jobs in Canada as the company shifts its headquarters from Toronto to Houston to concentrate on key growth markets in the northeastern United States and Texas.

In total, Direct Energy, one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers, will still have about 2,000 employees in Ontario and roughly 6,000 across North America. T

he company, which has operations across Canada, also operates approximately 4,600 producing gas wells in Alberta as well as three natural gas fired power plants in Texas.

Direct Energy is a subsidiary of British company, Centrica.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vancouver, rain and 7.

Edmonton, snow, minus 15.

Calgary, variable skies, a few flurries, plus 2.

Saskatoon, snow, minus 10.

Regina, snow, minus 3.

Winnipeg, snow, minus 11.

Toronto, sunny. minus 2.

Ottawa, variable skies, a few flurries, minus 9.

Montreal, snow, minus 11.

Fredericton, mainly sunny, minus 11.

Halifax, snow, minus 4.

Charlottetown, variable skies, a few flurries, minus 8.

St. John's, snow, plus 1.

Whitehorse, snow, minus 26.

Yellowknife, mix of sun, cloud and snow, minus 22.

Iqaluit, mix of sun, cloud and snow. Minus 18.