Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 27 February 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Rail head tries to reassure after disaster
The head of Via Rail is telling Canadians train travel is safe following a derailment that killed three engineers. Via President and CEO Marc Laliberté was s at the site of Sunday's derailment in Burlington, ON, west of Toronto. Mr. Laliberté says while the crash that killed three and injured 45 passengers is "tragic" it is a rare occurrence, adding "rail travel is still very safe." He says two of the engineers killed were experienced drivers, each with more than 30 years in the industry. They were joined in the cab of the4 locomotive by a trainee, and investigators haven't ruled out the possibility that the trainee was driving at some point. The president says it's too early to speculate on the cause of the crash, which occurred as the train was switching tracks. CN says it investigated the tracks before the crash Sunday and found no signs of deterioration or wear.

Tories back inquiry into their alleged dirty tricks
The House of Commons has unanimously passed a motion calling on all Members of Parliament s to do everything they can to aid an investigation into alleged vote suppression during last spring's election. The NDP motion asks all MPs to turn over to the RCMP and Elections Canada all information they have on the "despicable" phone campaign aimed at discouraging opposition supporters from voting. The motion also asks all parties to immediately turn over all documents related to the investigation. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives supported the motion, even though it is their party that's been accused of conducting the dirty-tricks phone campaign, in which voters in several dozen ridings were either harassed or given false information on the location of polling stations. The Tories deny the charges. Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer has rejected a Liberal request for an emergency debate on the controversy since Elections Canada and the police are already investigating the matter.

Opposition party admits skulduggery
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae has admitted that one of his staffers was responsible for a series of anonymous Internet attacks aimed at
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Mr. Rae says the offending staffer has resigned and he is extending a full apology to Mr. Toews. Two weeks ago, the minister came under attack on the web over his sponsorship of an Internet surveillance bill. An anonymous Twitter user dished out salacious details of the minister's divorce proceedings. An effort to track the source pointed to an origin within the Parliament Buildings. Mr, Rae says the Twitter user was a member of the Liberal research office.

Review of aerospace industry off and running
David Emerson, the former Liberal and Conservative cabinet minister, has been chosen to head a sweeping review of federal aerospace and space policies and is scheduled to report his findings by the end of this year. The announcement was made Monday by Christian Paradis, the federal industry minister. Mr. Paradis says the review will examine how government, industry and other key stakeholders can address key issues facing the aerospace and space sectors. Mr. Emerson will report his findings to the industry minister in late 2012. Mr. Paradis says that the review was being launched "to ensure that Canada continues to have a strong aerospace and space sector and we will continue to protect the nearly 80,000 jobs that rely on it."

Nunavut fire kills two
At least two people are dead and dozens are homeless and without any of their worldly goods after a fire razed an apartment block in the middle of a frigid Arctic night in Iqaluit. Fire broke out in the 22-unit building about 10 p.m. Sunday in -50 C temperatures. Nothing of it is left. Most of the residents were students at Nunavut Arctic College, along with their spouses, children and other adult family members. The 53 children affected range in age from infants to young adults. They have been accommodated in hotels, the college's old residence and with local people. Town officials met Monday with the evacuees to discuss their next move.


UN wants to deliver aid to Syrian civilians
Senior diplomats at the UN Human Rights Council on Monday increased pressure on Syria to allow aid to civilians caught up in the bloodshed while warning the regime it will be held to account for "atrocities" against its people.
Council President Laura Dupuy Lasserre told delegates meeting in Geneva that it hoped for a "positive response" from Syrian authorities so that help could be delivered to those affected by the violence. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, one of around 90 government ministers and senior officials at the gathering, said his country wanted to see the régime brought before the International Criminal Court. The Human Rights Council will on Tuesday hold a special debate on Syria after Russia, which has angered the West over its vetoes of UN Security Council resolutions on the crisis, gave its agreement. Meanwhile, the Local Coordination Committees, one of the main Syrian activist groups, that 135 people were killed across the country Monday, including 64 who died while fleeing the central city of Homs.

Germans vote for new Greece bailout
German lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Monday to endorse a second multi-billion euro lifeline to avert a Greek bankruptcy which Chancellor Angela Merkel warned would entail incalculable risks. Deputies voted by 496 to 90, with five abstentions, to approve the eurozone deal to hand Athens another $175 billion ahead of a key EU summit later this week to ratify the package. Mrs. Merkel said Greece faced a path ahead that was long and not without risk, adding: "That goes also for the success of the new programme. Nobody can give a 100-percent guarantee of success." Germany, Europe's biggest economy and effective paymaster, came under renewed pressure at a G20 weekend gathering in Mexico to agree a bolstering of the eurozone's defence funds to 750 billion euros.

Australian leader wins ferocious power struggle
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard easily won an internal party vote Monday against the colleague she deposed two years ago, Kevin Rudd, and declared that she had put down the internal strife that has undermined her unpopular government for months. Gillard defeated Rudd 71 votes to 31 in a ballot of Labour Party lawmakers, but she faces the challenge of reuniting her bitterly divided party and Cabinet. Mr. Rudd resigned as foreign minister shortly before she called the vote last week, and at least five other members of Gillard's Cabinet backed her challenger. Mrs. Gillard won one of the most crushing victories in a major party leadership ballot of recent years after one of the most vicious public campaigns between rival camps of the same party ever seen in modern Australian politics.

Spanis legal crusader acquitted
Spain's Supreme Court cleared crusading human rights investigator Baltasar Garzon on Monday of abusing his authority when he decided to investigate the murders of more than 100,000 people by the forces of former dictator Francisco Franco. Mr. Garzon, internationally known for ordering the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998, had been charged with violating an amnesty for political crimes passed in 1977 to ease the transition to democracy after Franco's rule. In its ruling, the court said Mr. Garzon's legal action contained "arguments we consider erroneous," but nothing that meant he was guilty of over-stepping the amnesty. The case rekindled a debate in Spain and beyond aboutwhether more should be done to explore the darker events of the Franco régime, which lasted from the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 until Franco's death in 1975.

World Bank wants China to rethink economic blueprint
The World Bank and Chinese researchers said Monday. China needs a new economic strategy after three decades of rapid growth and must reduce the dominance of state companies and promote free markets to achieve its goal of becoming a high-income society, The recommendations in a report on development of the world's second-largest economy through 2030 come amid debate in the ruling Communist Party over the future course of reform. The report's emphasis on curbing state industry clashes with Beijing's strategy over the past decade of building government-owned champions in fields from banking to technology and is likely to provoke opposition.
The report highlights the fact that after three decades of reforms allowed Chinese entrepreneurs to become world leaders in export-driven manufacturing, state companies still control domestic industries from steel to airlines to oil to telecommunications. Government companies are supported by low-cost credit from state banks. Business groups complain regulators shield them from foreign and private competitors despite Beijing's open-market pledges.

Outcome uncertain in first round of Senegal vote
As votes were being tallied on Monday from Senegal's presidential election, leading opposition candidate Macky Sall declared that no candidate had gotten the necessary 50 per cent, making a runoff "inevitable." Mr. Sall says that he had won both the capital and several major towns in the interior. However, he said neither he nor the country's 85-year-old president who is seeking a third term had gotten the majority needed to avoid a runoff. Many experts say that for President Abdoulaye Wade to remain in power he needed to win on the first round when the opposition was split between 13 candidates. In a runoff, his chances of winning are much slimmer because the opposition will be united. Opposition leader Sall put the ruling party on notice, saying that continuing to assert that Wade would win outright is indication that the ruling party plans to rig the vote.


:Pipeline firm will pursue stalled U.S. project piecemeal
TransCanada says it will pursue the most urgently needed portion of its controversial Keystone XL pipeline as a stand-alone project. The Calgary-based pipeline giant says the stretch of hte project between Cushing, OK, to the Gulf Coast should be in service by mid to late 2013. That US$2.3-billion project will be reviewed outside of the State Department's presidential permit process, which has seen repeated delays amid staunch environmental opposition. A supply glut at an enormous storage hub at Cushing has lowered the price Canadian and some U.S. producers can get for their crude. TransCanada and rival Enbridge have been looking at ways to drain those supplies to Gulf Coast refineries, which are thirsty for heavy crude like that produced in the oilsands. TransCanada also says it plans to file a new application to the State Department in the near future for the northern portion of Keystone XL to Steele City, Neb.

Ontario prefers low dollar to oil industry growth
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is rejecting calls from his Alberta counterpart to do more to publicly defend the oilsands. Alberta Premier Alison Redford wants the premiers of Ontario and Quebec to speak out in favour of the oilsands, saying it's not enough for her to talk about the importance of the resource. A study by the Calgary-based Canadian Energy Research Institute says Ontario enjoys the lion's share of oilsands benefits outside Alberta.
However, Mr. McGuinty says any benefits to Ontario were more than offset by the soaring loonie, which he calls a petro-dollar. He says the high dollar, up from 67 cents in 2003 to around parity with the U.S. greenback today, has "knocked the wind" out of Ontario's manufacturing and export sectors. Mr. McGuinty says given a choice between a rapidly growing oil and gas sector in the West or a lower dollar, he'd take the lower dollar.

Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday: 12,700 - 25. Canadian dollar: US$1.00. Euro: $1.33. Oil: $107.61 - $2.16.


The City of Montreal is asking people for ideas on how the late baseball great Gary Carter should be remembered.
Starting today and until March 31, residents will be able to pitch ideas via the city website. The city's decision-making bodies will study the best proposals and Carter's family will be involved in the final decision. The agency that runs Montreal's Olympic Park has also expressed its intention to create a public space honouring Carter near the Olympic Stadium where he played.
Canadian Milos Raonic has a career-best ATP Tour ranking despite losing yesterday in the final of a tournament in Memphis. The 21-year-old from Thornhill, Ontario, was listed at Number 24 in the rankings today. He began the week at Number 35 and reached the final of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, losing to Austrian Jurgen Melzer on Sunday night.


British Columbia on Tuesday: mix rain snow south, mix sun cloud north, high C5 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: snow. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse -3, Yellowknife -12, Iqaluit -27. Prairies: sun. Edmonton, Regina -7, Winnipeg -4. Ontario, Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto 2, Ottawa -2, Montreal -3. Maritimes: snow. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton -4, Halifax 2, Charlottetown -5, St. John's -6.

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