Thursday, March 22, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 21 March 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

Quebec threatens court action over aviation maintenance debacle
Quebec Premier Jean Charest is threatening to sue the federal government in a bid to keep 1,800 Aveos Fleet Performance jobs in Montreal. Mr. Charest's threat Wednesday came as members of the national assembly unanimously adopted a resolution saying they would do everything they legally could to help the Aveos employees. About 200 Aveos employees staged a protest outside the national assembly in Quebec City in their latest attempt to keep their maintenance jobs. On Tuesday, the Quebec government announced it was considering the possibility of suing Air Canada to ensure maintenance work remains in the country. Aveos blamed Air Canada for its financial troubles, saying in a court filing that the airline reduced, deferred, and cancelled maintenance work, which resulted in approximately $16 million in lost revenue in less than two months. Aveos announced last weekend it was shutting down three main plants in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal, as well as other facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Trenton and Mississauga.



NDP interim leader set to depart
Nycole Turmel says she's leaving Canada's opposition New Democratic Party in good shape for the new leader to be elected on Saturday. After eight months as interim leader, she says the 102-member caucus is united and the party still on track to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives in the 2015 election. Miss Turmel dismisses polls that suggest the Bloc Québécois has overtaken the NDP in Quebec, Almost 60 per cent of the party's seats were elected there in last spring's national election. She says polls are transitory and that the new leader will have three years to make up any ground lost since the party's former leader Jack Layton's death last August.




Canadians catching flights from U.S.
Canadians are increasingly travelling to American airports to save money on their tickets. A Canadian Airports Council report found that last year, 4.8-million one-way trips were made by Canadians to American airports. That's an increase of 15 per cent more than in 2010. Canada's aviation industry has long complained that the federal government's extra taxes and fees on air fares are angering travellers. The U.S. aviation industry enjoys many subsidies that keep ticket prices low.



SK budget stays the course
Seniors and families with children will have to pay more for prescriptions in a Saskatchewan budget that pinches pennies but makes no deep cuts. Finance Minister Ken Krawetz says their out-of-pocket costs will rise to $20 from $15 per prescription. It's one of the cost-saving measures the government is using to keep the books in the black with a surplus of $95 million. The province is forecasting revenue of $11.3 billion and expects to spend $11.2 billion, up 4.7 per cent over last year. The government is also eliminating the equivalent of 500 full-time jobs, but says that will be done through retirements and managing vacancies. New spending focuses on the Saskatchewan Party's election campaign promises and includes money for highways, surgeries and a tax credit for first-time homebuyers.



Jailed potato farmer's family grateful for public support
A year after Henk Tepper was jailed in Lebanon on accusations he exported rotten potatoes, the Canadian farmer's family is thanking the public for its support, saying it has helped them remain strong through the ordeal. The Drummond, NB, man has been in custody in Beirut since March 23 last year on an international arrest warrant on allegations he exported rotten potatoes to Algeria in 2007. Algeria also alleges that Mr. Tepper forged documents related to the
export of potatoes from Quebec and Prince Edward Island. His lawyers have denied all of the allegations, saying the potatoes were inspected in Canada before shipment and met Algerian standards. In a statement Wednesday, the family said they appreciate that people have kept Tepper in their thoughts and prayers.
Mr. Tepper's family has criticized Ottawa's efforts in the past to have Mr. Tepper return to Canada, accusing the federal government of not doing enough to bring him home. But Diane Ablonczy, Canada's minister of state for foreign affairs, said Wednesday the federal government is working with its diplomatic partners to help secure his release.




Seal hunt opens early in Quebec islands
The federal Fisheries Department is opening the harp seal hunt early for fishermen in Iles-de-la-Madeleine because of worsening ice conditions. The department received a request from a local sealers' association to open it Thursday, four days before it was originally set to start and that officials granted the request because there is so little ice and weather forecasts indicate that winds might push it further out to sea in the coming days. He says only two to five boats planned on heading out from Iles-de-la-Madeleine, which has a quota of 25,000 animals. The department has set an annual harp seal quota of 400,000 animals amid criticism the allocation is too high since markets have dried up and the population is suffering because of poor ice.





International

French police besiege murder suspect's apartment
French Interior Minister Claude Guéant said Wednesday a suspected French serial killer Mohamed Merah attacked a Jewish school because he could not find a military target in the southern city of Toulouse, Monday's attack left three children and a teacher dead. Merah is suspected of carrying out two attacks before the school assault, killing three French paratroopers in and around Toulouse last week in what he reportedly said was a protest against French military involvement abroad. Merah claims to be an Al-Qaeda militant and was holed up late Wednesday in his apartment in Toulouse where police have been speaking with him in a bid to get him to surrender since earlier in the day.



UN Council backs action to stop Syria violence
The UN Security Council, including Russia and China, threw its weight on Wednesday behind efforts by mediator Kofi Annan to end the bloody conflict in Syria, providing a rare moment of global unity in the face of the year-long crisis. The council unanimously threatened Syria with unspecified "further steps" if it failed to comply with Mr. Annan's peace plan, which calls for a ceasefire and demands swift access for aid agencies. The fact that all major powers signed up to the proposal represented a major blow to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he battles a popular uprising. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Washington that the UN has sent a message to him that he faces increasing isolation if he refuses the peace plan. At least 8,000 people have died in the revolt, according to UN figures. Mr. Assad's forces have won a string of gains as they turned their firepower on areas held by rebels. But the fighting shows no sign of abating and analysts expect the insurgents to change their tactics and adopt guerrilla warfare.



Al-Qaeda claims Tuesday Iraq attacks
Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for dozens of bombings that killed at least 52 people across the country on Tuesday in attacks aimed at undermining tighter security measures ahead of week's Arab League summit in Baghdad. Iraq is due to host the meeting for the first time in over 20 years and the government is anxious to show it can maintain security following the withdrawal of U.S. forces in December. The group says Tuesday's attacks in which 30 bombs struck cities and towns across Iraq and killed at least 52 people and wounded 250 had targeted a security clampdown ahead of the summit in Baghdad


British hostage in Somalia freed
British hostage Judith Tebbutt was released Wednesday in Somalia, six months after she was kidnapped by gunmen who killed her husband, saying she had endured "hard psychological moments" in captivity. Mrs. Tebbutt, 57 and looking thin but in good spirits, was flown to Nairobi aboard a small aircraft shortly after her release in the Addado region of northeastern Somalia. A ransom of $1.2 million was paid after negotiations involving British citizens of Somali origin. Mrs. Tebbutt's was kidnapped on Sept. 11 last year while on holiday in Kenya with her husband. The British embassy in Nairobi said she had been taken to a "safe place" to meet her family following her arrival in the Kenyan capital. She was snatched from a remote Kenyan beach resort near the Somali border by assailants who shot dead her husband David in a late-night raid.



Soldiers in Mali revolt against struggle against rebellion
In Mali, the military has surrounded the presidential palace in Bamako with armoured vehicles. Heavy gunfire rang out across the Bamako and in a nearby. There was also automatic gunfire coming from close to the state broadcaster.Its programs went off air. Soldiers blocked the path towards its premises. The incidents came amid growing anger in the army at the government's handling of a Tuareg-led rebellion in the north of the country that has claimed dozens of casualties and forced nearly 200,000 civilians to flee their homes.



Venezuelan opposition leader undeterred  by supposed threat
A top aide to Venezuela's opposition candidate Henrique Capriles says he will continue a nationwide "house by house" campaign tour despite a warning by President Hugo Chavez that there was a plot to kill him. Mr. Capriles, seeking to unseat Mr. Chavez in an Oct. 7 election, has embarked on a three-month tour that is largely targeting pro-government districts to try to win over disenchanted
supporters of the socialist leader. The already volatile atmosphere was heated further this week when the president announced that evidence had been discovered of a plan to assassinate the youthful state governor, and implied that the plot came from elements in the opposition. Mr. Capriles has dismissed Chavez's comments as irresponsible, and said he did not know whether to take them as a warning or as a threat. The 39-year-old Miranda state governor has declined an offer of protection provided by the government.


Name of late Czech leader to be honoured


The Czech government has agreed to rename the country's main airport in Prague to honour deceased former President Vaclav Havel. Mr. Havel, a former anti-communist dissident and playwright, was jailed by the country's totalitarian rulers before the 1989 bloodless "Velvet Revolution" catapulted him to the presidency. He is acclaimed for his peaceful resistance to the oppressive government in the 1970s and 1980s that inspired human rights campaigners around the world. One of Mr. Havel's close aides has protested the plan, saying the former president actually never liked flying. But the idea that Mr. Havel should be remembered by a landmark like the country's main entry port won wide support across the political scene. Mr. Havel died on Dec. 22 last year, aged 75.


Belgium mourns young crash victims
King Albert II and thousands of mourners attended a memorial service Wednesday for victims of last week's bus crash in a Swiss tunnel that killed 22 children and six adults. Under a sparkling sky, soldiers in solemn procession bore 15 coffins into a 5,000-capacity hall, one brown casket containing the remains of a teacher, and 14 white ones, each containing the body of a 12-year-old schoolchild. The students and the teacher were from one of two schools in northern Belgium that shared a bus for a traditional "snow class" vacation in Switzerland. They were returning from that exuberant holiday on March 13 when tragedy struck. Their bus, carrying 52 people back home, slammed into a tunnel wall. Twenty-four children were injured. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. A separate service will be held Thursday for the victims from the other school, in the town of Heverlee.





Financial

Bombardier in air deal in China
Bombardier Inc. signed an agreement Wednesday with China's COMAC aircraft manufacturer to develop common technological features between Bombardier`s CSeries and the Chinese C919. The two aircraft manufacturers will work on four projects during the first phase of a long-term collaboration. The initiatives to be completed over the next 12 months involve the cockpit, electrical system, aluminum-lithium specifications and customer service. The definitive agreement signed in Shanghai by Bombardier CEO Pierre Beaudoin and his Chinese counterpart follows a framework deal reached last March. The companies said the strategic long-term relationship demonstrates the "complementary nature" of the 110- to 149-seat CSeries and the 168- to 190-seat narrow-body C919 that would compete with Boeing and Airbus.



Markets
Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday: 12,436 + 6. Canadian dollar: US$1.00. Euro: $1.31. Oil: $105.61 - $2.48.




Sports

Sports
HOCKEY
The Ontario Hockey League has granted exceptional status to a 15-year-old player for just the third time in its history. Connor McDavid is set to enter the OHL next season as an under-age player after being granted the exemption by Hockey Canada. Aaron Ekblad was allowed to play as a 15-year-old this season, while John Tavares did the same in 2005.





Weather

Weather
British Columbia on Thursday: rain south, mix sun cloud north, high C8 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse -6, Yellowknife -15, Iqaluit -13. Alberta: snow. Saskatchewan: mix sun cloud snow north, rain south. Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Edmonton 1, Regina 21, Winnipeg 22. Ontario: mix sun cloud north, rain south. Quebec: sun. Toronto 26, Ottawa 25, Montreal 22. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Nova Scotia: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 23, Halifax 26, Charlottetown 22, St. John's 4.




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