Wednesday, March 21, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 20 March 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

PM to pay respects to tsunami victims
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pay his respects to the victims of last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami during his trip to Asia this week. It will be his second to the Far East in two months. He'll be talking business with Japan's prime minister and is widely expected to announce the opening of free-trade negotiations with the island nation. A similar discussion is expected in Thailand, where Mr. Harper will meet with that country's business community. That community expressed interest in Canada's natural gas wealth earlier this week. The primeminister will also attend a nuclear security summit in South Korea. World leaders taking part are expected to focus not only on questions of weapons proliferation, but on the need to better oversee the peaceful use of atomic energy.

Airline maintenance firm to liquidate
Aveos Fleet Performance plans to begin liquidation, terminating the employment of all its 2,600 employees across the country. The Montreal-based private company, which has provided maintenance services to Air Canada, says it will immediately cease all operations after appearing in Quebec Superior Court. The move terminates the company's remaining employees after 1,175 were let go on Sunday when Aveos decided to close its airframe repair business. About 160 employees will remain to oversee the liquidation process. Aveos said Air Canada's $15-million financial pledge Monday afternoon to help the company "following months of protracted negotiations" did not address its challenges. Air Canada was Aveos' main customer, accounting for about 90 per cent of its work.

Air Canada pilots launch Charter challenge
Air Canada pilots have launched a constitutional challenge against federal back-to-work legislation. The 3,000 pilots represented by the Air Canada Pilots Association say the law passed last week contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The legislation forces them to fly and to accept a contract imposed by arbitration. Association President Capt. Paul Strachan says the law should be struck down. The union has gone to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for a ruling.

NDP leadership candidate calls for election fund
New Democratic Party leadership candidate Thomas Mulcair wants the party to create a $3.38-million fund to take on the Conservatives in the next election. He says the fund should be a key element of the NDP's plans to prepare for the next election. Mr. Mulcair says the party should start a campaign next Monday to define Prime Minister Stephen Harper and what he's doing wrong, knowing the Tories will do the same to the new NDP leader. Mr. Mulcair will face off against six other candidates at a
convention in Toronto on Saturday, but party members are already casting votes and can continue to do so from home during the balloting.

Quebec budget banks on northern development plan
Premier Jean Charest's Quebec government has tabled a budget that is banking on potential revenue from natural resources to convince voters that he deserves re-election. Tuesday's budget predicts a bonanza of billions of dollars in mining and other royalties over several years from Mr. Charest's ambitious plan to develop northern Quebec. The focus is in line with Charest's ongoing strategy of touting the economic benefits of his Plan Nord. The premier has been holding news conferences galore to promote the development, and has been roaming the globe to discuss what he hopes will become his political legacy. Mr. Charest was last elected in December 2008 and has until late 2013 to head to the polls. Finance Minister Raymond Bachand's budget calls for a $1.5-billion deficit in 2012-13 before a return to balanced books the following year.

Commemorative Titanic stamps coming out
Five stamps commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic will be released by Canada Post on April 5. The stamps, created by designers Dennis Page and Oliver Hill of Halifax, depict various parts of the Titanic, which hit an iceberg
and sank in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912, with the loss of 1,500 lives. A souvenir sheet of four stamps depict the bow of the Titanic stretched over a map of the Atlantic Ocean between the points of Southampton in England and Halifax. The city played a central role in the Titanic story as cable ships from the city were dispatched to pick up bodies from the Atlantic in the days after the accident. Three cemeteries in the city contain the remains of 150 people whose bodies were recovered at sea.

Abusive coach gets two-year sentence
Disgraced former Canadian junior hockey coach Graham James has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing two of his players. James pleaded guilty in December to repeatedly sexually abusing NHL star Theo Fleury and his cousin, Todd Holt, when they played for him in the Western Hockey League in the 1980s and '90s. The Crown had requested six years in prison, while James's lawyer wanted a conditional sentence of up to 18 months with no jail time. The prosecution argued that James violated the trust of his players and is at a high risk to reoffend again. James's lawyer said his client has been punished enough.


Russia shifting to UN action on Syria
Russia said Tuesday it's ready to support a United Nations resolution endorsing Kofi Annan's plan for settling the Syrian crisis, signalling it is prepared to raise the pressure on its old ally. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that the resolution
shouldn't turn into an ultimatum to the Syrian government, setting the stage for tough bargaining over the wording of the document at the UN Security Council. But Mr. Lavrov appeared to indicate Russia's growing impatience with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose government he said made "many mistakes" that led to a worsening of the conflict. Russia and China have twice shielded Assad's regime from UN sanctions over its yearlong crackdown on protesters, in which more than 8,000 people have died. But the Kremlin has also offered strong support to Annan, the former United Nations secretary general who is the joint UN and Arab League special envoy. Mr. Annan met twice with Mr. Assad earlier this month and made proposals to end the bloodshed, which haven't yet been made public.

Libyan says deal reach to return Gadhafi henchman
Libya's deputy prime minister, Mustafa Abu Shagour, says Mauritania has agreed that Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, arrested in Nouakchott last week, can be extradited to Libya. The decision, if implemented, sets Libya on a collision course with France and the international war crimes court in The Hague, which also want to extradite Senussi, Gaddafi's right-hand man before the Libyan dictator's overthrow and death in a popular revolt last year. A Mauritanian security source said a deal was close but acknowledged pressure from Paris. Mr. Senussi, whose whereabouts had been unclear for months, was arrested at Mauritania's Nouakchott airport late on Friday when he stepped off a flight from Morocco. A senior Libyan delegation to Mauritania praised President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz for his "brave stance" in arresting Mr. Senussi and during talks at his presidency stressed that he should be extradited to Libya.

Dozens killed in Iraq
A wave of attacks Tuesday in more than a dozen Iraqi cities killed at least 44 people on the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of the country, just days before Baghdad hosts a landmark Arab summit. The violence, which left 190 people wounded, bore the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda, which typically attempts to launch coordinated nationwide mass-casualty bombing campaigns, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility. The bloodletting was swiftly condemned by Iraq's parliament speaker as a bid by the jihadist group to derail this month's summit. Officials said bombings and gun attacks rocked 14 towns and cities spanning the northern oil-rich hub of Kirkuk and the southern shrine city of Karbala in the deadliest violence to strike Iraq in more than two months. In central Baghdad, a car bomb exploded in the parking lot opposite the foreign ministry, despite dramatically heightened security measures in the capital in preparation for the March 27-29 Arab League summit.

Egypt's Christian leader laid to rest
Tearful and wearing mourning black, tens of thousands of Egyptian Coptic Christians on Tuesday joined a funeral Mass for their patriarch, Pope Shenouda III, at the main cathedral in Cairo. St. Mark's Cathedral was packed with local clerics, visiting clergymen and dignitaries as deacons chanted sombre hymns and bearded, black-clad priests and monks recited prayers and dispensed incense smoke from censers. Shenouda's body lay in a white casket in the elaborate regalia he traditionally wore to oversee services, complete with an ornate golden crown. Shenouda died on Saturday at age 88 after serving for 40 years at the helm of the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the world's oldest
Christian denominations.

French police track ruthless gunman
Police spread out across southern France by the hundreds Tuesday, hunting for an expert gunman suspected in three deadly attacks who may have neo-Nazi ties or grudges against minorities. The manhunt took place as friends and family mourned four people slain at close range Monday at a Jewish school in the city of Toulouse, a rabbi, his two young sons and a young girl. Authorities suspect the school killer was also behind two recent attacks in the same area on French paratroopers that left three
soldiers dead and one seriously wounded. The victims were of North African and French Caribbean backgrounds. Focus fell Tuesday on three paratroopers who had been expelled from their regiment near Toulouse in 2008 for neo-Nazi sympathies. The killer on Monday handled large-calibre guns with expertise, leading some to suspect he had a military or police background.

Queen addresses lawmakers
Greeted by a fanfare of trumpets and guarded by men in plumed helmets, Britain's Queen Elizabeth celebrated 60 years on the throne with an address to parliament in the medieval hall where one of her distant predecessors was sentenced to death. The 85-year-old Queen addressed both the Lords and the Commons in Westminster Hall, an honour reserved only for monarchs and the most illustrious visitors. Speakers of both houses, in traditional manner, heaped praised the queen's dedication to her subjects at Tuesday's ceremony.


Canadian grainhandler taken over
Grain handling company Viterra Inc. has agreed to be acquired by Switzerland-based Glencore International in a $6.1-billion deal that will see two Canadian partners pick up major parts of the business. Glencore says the company will use Viterra to build its business in North America. The deal will see Glencore will pay $16.25 per share for Viterra. Calgary-based Agrium Inc. and privately held Richardson International, based in Winnipeg, will then in turn buy the majority of Viterra's Canadian assets for $2.6 billion in cash. The proposed transaction will entail a review under the Investment Canada Act which will test the takeover to see if it is of net benefit to Canada. Part of the agreement also includes keeping Viterra's North American head office in Regina, a key concern of Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. Under the deal, Agrium will pay $1.8 billion to buy the majority of Viterra's retail agriproducts business, including its 34 per cent interest in Canadian Fertilizer Ltd.

Media firm lays off 500
Canadian media company and publisher Transcontinental Inc. says it will cut about 500 jobs as it integrates its recent acquisition of Quad/Graphics' Canadian operations. Two of the six Quad/Graphics plants, one in Nova Scotia and one in Quebec, will close by the end of June. Transcontinental says that in the coming months some 500 of the 6,900 employees currently working at 33 printing plants will be affected by the integration of the Quad/Graphics acquisition.
The Montreal-based company said the acquisition of the Canadian assets of Quad/Graphics is expected to bring in $230 million in new business.

Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday: 12,431 - 49. Canadian dollar: US$1.00. Euro: $1.31. Oil: $105.61 - $2.48.


Disgraced former Canadian junior hockey coach Graham James has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing two of his players. James pleaded guilty in December to repeatedly sexually abusing NHL star Theo Fleury and his cousin, Todd Holt, when they played for him in the Western Hockey League in the 1980s and '90s. The Crown had requested six years in prison, while James's lawyer wanted a conditional sentence of up to 18 months with no jail time. The prosecution argued that James violated the trust of his players and is at a high risk to reoffend again. James's lawyer said his client has been punished enough.


British Columbia on Wednesday: mix sun cloud north, rain south, high C8 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse -8, Yellowknife -17, Iqaluit -14. Alberta, Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan: sun. Edmonton 6, Regina 9, Winnipeg 16. Ontario: rain north, mix sun cloud south. Quebec: sun. Toronto 25, Ottawa 26, Montreal 24. Atlantic Canada: sun. Fredericton 24, Halifax 22, Charlottetown 18, St. John's -3.

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