Thursday, February 2, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 1 February 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

Canada calls for broad support for Iran sanctions
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has ended a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories by calling for Israeli leaders to continue to support international sanctions against Iran because of that country's nuclear program. Speaking in Herzliya, he said the measures are beginning to take effect and that this has become visible in the last several months. The minister says the world must keep acting to oppose Iran's drive for nuclear arms by closing any loopholes in the sanctions. Mr. Baird says he also heard from Israeli leaders about the abysmal human rights situation in Iran. The minister also backed Israel's call on the Palestinian to resume peace negotiations.


Opposition unites in opposing budget cuts
The three opposition parties in Canada's Parliament are calling on the Conservative Party government to increase spending rather than make cuts to balance the budget. They claim it would boost economic growth and job creation. The call comes amid signs that the economic recovery is stalling. Statistics Canada says real gross domestic product declined by 0.1 per cent in November, after zero growth in October. Scott Brison of the Liberal Party says Canada needs a jobs budget, not a cuts budget.



Seniors'  benefits keep them afloat
There's a report that retirement benefits cited by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as possibly being unsustainable are keeping many seniors above the poverty line. The research prepared for his government were obtained by the Canadian Labour Congress. The research shows that if Old Age Security or the Guaranteed Income Supplement were cut off, more than one-third of women and one-fourth of men would fall below the poverty line. The paper was written for the Human Resources Department three years ago.



Senator retracts suicide recommendation
A Conservative senator has backed away from an unconventional proposal for reducing prison costs: give convicted
murderers a rope and let them decide whether to hang themselves.
"Basically, every killer should (have) the right to his own rope
in his cell. They can decide whether to live," Sen. Pierre-Hugues
Boisvenu had said on Wednesday. However, he later told a Montreal radio station he'd gone too far.
Sen. Boisvenu, a victims' rights advocate and now a senator, also said
the death penalty should be considered in certain cases when there's
no hope of rehabilitation.
He says limited use of capital punishment could save money.
He cited the case of the Shafias, the Montrealers who were
convicted this week of killing four female family members. Sen. Boisvenu
estimates that it will cost Canadian taxpayers $10 million to keep
them locked up.
He also cited the example of serial-killer Clifford Olson, who
was incarcerated for decades before he died.


Tobacco raid staged in Quebec
Tobacco inspectors of Health Canada have raided three warehouses in the province of Quebec and seized millions of flavoured cigarettes popular with young people. They were acting under the revised Tobacco Act. It bans the use of additives to create flavours such as chocolate and bubble gum in cigarettes. Officials say more than 25 million cigarettes were seized at the warehouses owned by import companies in the Quebec cities of Montreal, Laval and Boucherville.


Wealthy Tunisian exile gets court date
A billionaire member of Tunisia's once-dominant ruling clan, who is believed to be hiding out in Canada, is scheduled to make a public appearance. The Immigration and Refugee Board says Belhassen Trabelsi is due before its appeal division on April 23 to fight a decision to revoke his residency and expel him. According to the IRB, the reason for the hearing is the appeal of an order revoking his Canadian permanent resident status. Immigration officials moved to revoke his residency last year, shortly after he arrived in January 2011. Mr. Trabelsi will keep his status pending the outcome of his appeal. He is thought to be quietly living in Montreal with his family since last year, when the Tunisian regime collapsed. The billionaire fled here with his family after a revolution toppled his brother-in-law, former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.


Canadian jailed in Mexico charged
A Canadian woman held in Mexico over an alleged plot involving Moammar Gadhafi's son has been formally charged. Mexican officials confirm that charges have now been laid against Cynthia Vanier, who had been held since November while authorities
investigated. The state attorney's office in Mexico City says Mrs. Vanier and three others have been charged, while an arrest warrant is out for a fifth suspect. Vanier, a mediator based in Mount Forest, ON, is accused of masterminding a plot to bring Gadhafi to Mexico. the plot allegedly also involved two Mexicans and a Danish suspect. The Canadian has been moved to a prison in Chetumal, along with a female co-accused.


China wants Canada's help for Arctic role
China says it wants Canada's support to enable it to have a presence in the Arctic. China's ambassador to Canada, Zhang Junsai, made the revelation in a speech in Montreal on Wednesday. Next year, Canada begins a two-year term as chair of the Arctic Council. It represents the eight nations located around the North Pole. Mr. Zhang told the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations that his country would like observer status at future Council meetings. The issue could be on the agenda during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's upcoming visit to China. The Arctic could contain one-quarter on the Earth's untapped oil and natural gas reserves. China has been scouring the globe in recent to find new energy and resources to fuel its booming economy.





International

Dozens die in Egyptian soccer mayhem
In one of the deadliest incidents of violence at a sports event in recent years, at least 73 people were killed on Wednesday during a soccer game in Egypt. Hundreds of other people were injured. The injuries occurred after fans in a stadium in Port Said swarmed on to the field following the defeat of Egypt's top team, Al Ahli, by a local team. Rocks, bottles, fireworks and flares were thrown. Military helicopaters were sent to fly the visiting team and fans out of Port Said. News of the violence prompted a referee to cancel a soccer game at a stadium in Cairo. Fans in Cairo reacted violently, setting fire to one end of the stadium. Egypt's soccer federation has suspended all premier league matches indefinitely. On Thursday, Egypt's parliament will meet in emergency session to discuss the violence.


Pakistani military kills dozens of militants
The Pakistani government reports that Pakistani fighter jets bombed the hideouts of two militant commanders along the Afghan border Wednesday, killing up to 31 insurgents. One of those killed was reported to be a Pakistani Taliban leader
in Orakzai region named Moin ud Din. It was not possible to independently confirm the information because the border region is off-limits to reporters. Militants have in the past disputed army accounts of casualties, and human rights groups say civilians often die in military actions. The attacks followed clashes between soldiers and militants over a strategic mountaintop in Kurram that killed over 60 people in the last week.



Moscow threatens veto on Syria at world body


Russia says it will veto a United Nations resolution calling on Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to step down unless it excludes military intervention to stop that country's crackdown on protests. Escalating violence in Syria has killed thousands of people and activists say Mr. Assad's forces have stepped up operations this week against opposition strongholds from the Damascus suburbs to the cities of Hama and Homs and the border provinces of Deraa and Idlib. Russia and China, both veto-wielding Security Council members, have resisted a Western push for a resolution condemning the crackdown.



UN chief calls for end to new Israeli settlements
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel on Wednesday to halt settlement activity and offer the Palestinians a "goodwill gesture" as the top diplomat sought to kick-start stalled peace talks.
But he appeared to be rebuffed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he considered the issue of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem something to be discussed during negotiations, not before.
His spokesman said later that Mr. Netanyahu spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by phone, saying "Israel is interested in pursuing continued discussions with the Palestinians, and intends to preserve its security interests."
Ban is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories for a series of meetings intended to convince both sides to continue so-called exploratory talks they started last month in Amman.
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, the UN chief warned "these negotiations should not lose momentum."



Nigerian congregation mourns victims of fanaticism


A Catholic church in Nigeria still in mourning after a Christmas Day bombing by a radical Islamist sect buried its dead Wednesday amid wails of grief and under the watch of security agencies that still fear more violence. Neatly dug graves awaited the corpses in a vacant dirt lot in the church's compound, now turned into a mass tomb. Church officials say at least 44 people died in the violence at St. Theresa Catholic Church, some still remain unclaimed and unrecognizable after the Dec. 25 attack by the sect known as Boko Haram. The bombing there Christmas Day struck just after 8 a.m. as worshippers began to leave the sanctuary after a morning service. A car bomb detonated near the church's front steps, cutting down those leaving.



Polish laureate dies
Poland's 1996 Nobel Prize-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska has died. She was 88.
Mrs. Szymborska, a heavy smoker, died in her sleep of lung cancer Wednesday evening at her home in the southern city of Krakow. The Nobel award committee's citation called her the "Mozart of poetry," a woman who mixed the elegance of language with "the fury of Beethoven" and tackled serious subjects with humour. Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said on Twitter her death was an
"irreparable loss to Poland's culture."





Financial

MARKETS
In Asia Wednesday, Japan's Nikkei Index gained 7-points to close at 8,810. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 57-points to close at 20,333.

On North American markets Tuesday, in Canada, the Toronto Stock Exchange gained 16-points to close at 12,452.

The Canadian dollar remained unchanged at 99.72.

In the United States, the Dow Jones lost 21-points to close 12,633.



Automakers open year on positive note
Some of Canada's best-selling automakers are reporting
strong sales in the opening month of 2012.
Chrysler Canada said Wednesday that year-over-year sales in
January jumped 22 per cent, helping it to wrest the title of
Canada's best-selling automaker from Ford.
Chrysler said it sold 16,584 vehicles last month, besting the
13,587 sold in the year-earlier period and enough to make it
Chrysler's best January since 2002.
Ford Canada sales also grew, by five per cent, to 14,978
vehicles, compared with 14,324 in January 2011.
Meanwhile, Japanese automakers, who had been struggling with
supply problems since the Japanese earthquake last March, indicated
that sales levels may be returning to normal.
Honda Canada reported a whopping 127 per cent increase over last
January's sales, with a total 9,168 Honda and Acura vehicles sold.





Sports

Sports
BASEBALL
The Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran reliever Francisco Cordero to a one-year deal worth 4-point-5 (m) million dollars. The 36-year-old right-hander was 5-and-3 with 37 saves last season for the Cincinnati Reds. The signing was formally announced in a team release, a week after several media outlets reported the sides had agreed to a deal.
SOCCER
In Major League Soccer, the Vancouver Whitecaps have re-signed Brazilian forward Camilo to a new contract. The 23-year-old enjoyed a successful 2011 campaign with the club following a pre-season trial. Camilo led Vancouver with 13 goals in all competitions, including 12 in MLS play.




Weather

Weather
British Columbia on Thursday: rain, high C8 Vancouver. Yukon: snow. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: sun. Whitehorse 2, Yellowknife -7, Iqaluit -22. Alberta: sun. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: snow. Edmonton, Regina 0, Winnipeg -1. Ontario: snow north, mix sun cloud south. Quebec: cloud. Toronto 0, Ottawa -4, Montreal -6. Atlantic Canada: snow. Fredericton -6, Halifax 0, Charlottetown -3, St. John's -5.




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