Saturday, April 7, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 6 April 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Opposition accuses govt. of lying about fighter jets
The leader of Canada's official Opposition New Democratic Party, Thomas Mulcair, says there's convincing evidence that the federal government gave false information to Parliament. Mr. Mulcair was referring to the Auditor General's suggestion that cabinet knew the true cost of acquiring F-35 jets was $25 billion. Publicly, the government said the cost was $16 billion. Mr. Mulcair also called for the resignation of Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

Ottawa recalls trustee at troubled Ontario reserve
The federal government has withdrawn the third-party manager who had been handling the finances of the troubled northern Ontario reserve of Attawapiskat after the community improved health and safety conditions for its residents. A spokesman for aboriginal affairs minister John Duncan has confirmed that the third-party manager is being withdrawn because of progress in reserve management. The spokesman says a transition of power will take place over the next two weeks, and the band will revert to "co-management" of its affairs and finances on April 19. The community of 2,000 declared a state of emergency last October after a severe housing shortage forced more than two dozen families to live in temporary shelters, some without insulation or plumbing. The federal government removed control of public funding from the band in November and ordered an audit of its spending. The decision to bring in a third-party manager was met with much resistance from band officials.

B.C. govt. reassuring about Mounties accord
Municipal and provincial politicians in British Columbia say they've been caught off guard by Ottawa's decision to offer Mounties a pay raise. But Attorney General Shirley Bond says the Harper government has reassured her the decision is unlikely to increase costs in B.C. and may, in fact, result in a net benefit. Mrs. Bond says the province is asking for a clarification as soon as possible. The development comes just weeks after six provinces, including B.C., and three territories signed a new 20-year policing deal with Ottawa. B.C. had threatened to ditch the Mounties and set up its own provincial police force if Ottawa didn't meet its demands for a greater say in how the RCMP manages its local operations.

Death row Canadian comes closer to death
The only Canadian convict sentenced to death in the United States appears to be a step closer to execution. Ron Smith has a hearing next month in the U.S. state of Montana. But staff at the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles recommend he be denied clemency. A document says there does not appear to be any extraordinary circumstances to justify sparing Smith's life. The 54-year-old Smith was sentenced to death in 1983 for killing two men in Montana.

Accused smuggler deported by Canada goes on trial
Lai Changxing, who fought deportation from Canada for 10 years, has gone on trial in the Chinese city of Xiamen. He's been accused of heading China's largest smuggling ring. The case is been heard nearly nine months after Lai was deported from Canada. Lai was considered China's top fugitive during the 10 years he fought deportation from Canada. China's government has assured Canada that Lai will not face the death penalty.


Malian rebels declare independence
Mali's Tuareg rebels have declared independence for their Azawad nation. The traditionally nomadic Tuareg people have been fighting for independence for the northern half of Mali since at least 1958. The Tuaregs accuse the southerners of marginalizing the north and of concentrating development, including lucrative aid projects, in the south. They have fought numerous rebellions attempting to gain the north's freedom. But it was a March 21 coup in Bamako that allowed the Tuareg rebels to make
significant gains. In a three-day period last week they seized the three largest cities in the north. Meanwhile, the military chiefs of 13 of Mali's neighbours met Thursday in Ivory Coast to work out plans for a military intervention to push back the rebels in the north, as well as to restore constitutional rule.

Malawi president dead
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has died after a heart attack, although few of his countrymen mourned a leader widely seen as an autocrat responsible for a stunning economic collapse. The 78-year-old was rushed to hospital in the capital, Lilongwe, on Thursday after collapsing but was dead on arrival. Medical sources said the ex-World Bank economist had been
flown out to South Africa because an energy crisis in the nation of 13 million was so severe the Lilongwe state hospital would have been unable to conduct a proper autopsy or even keep his body refrigerated. Many Malawians blame Mutharika personally for the economic woes, which stem ultimately from a diplomatic spat with former colonial power Britain a year ago. Mr. Mutharika came to power in 2004 and presided over a 7-year boom underpinned by foreign aid and favourable rains that made Malawi one of the world's fastest-growing economies. The good times ended last year after a spat with Britain, Malawi's biggest donor, that led to tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and the freezing of millions of dollars of aid.

Syrian bloodshed continues days from ceasefire
At least 24 Syrians were killed in violence on Friday and the military tried to halt a refugee exodus, opposition activists said, only four days before a troop pullback agreed by President Bashar al-Assad as part of a U.N.-backed peace plan. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said shelling had killed at least 10 people, including four rebel fighters, in the flashpoint central city of Homs. Two soldiers died in separate clashes and one person was killed in the town of Douma. The British-based Observatory also reported seven civilians and four soldiers killed in clashes and bombardments in Anadan, north of Aleppo. The fresh violence erupted a day after U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the conflict was worsening and attacks on civilian areas persisted, despite assurances from Damascus that its troops had begun withdrawing under the peace plan.

Protesters march to support hunger striker
Bahraini security forces fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands of protesters marching Friday in support of a jailed human rights activist whose nearly two-month hunger strike has become a powerful rallying point for the tiny nation's Shiite-led uprising against the Sunni monarchy. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's declining health has brought appeals for international intervention from groups such as Amnesty International. He and seven other opposition leaders were sentenced to life in prison in June after bring convicted of anti-state crimes. Bahrain's Shiite majority began an uprising nearly 14 month ago against the political controls of the Sunni monarchy, which remains backed by its Western allies and holds strategic ties such as hosting the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Security forces used tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades at the crowds as they moved toward the heavy fortifications ringing Pearl Square in the capital Manama, which was the initial hub of the protests last year before being raided by riot police and troops.

Pontiff celebrates Good Friday service
Pope Benedict XVI began a Good Friday service at the Vatican by kneeling in silent prayer. Benedict rested his folded hands on a red cushion near the central altar of St. Peter's Basilica as he prayed during the solemn commemoration of Jesus' death by crucifixion. Hours later, Benedict went to Rome's Colosseum to preside over the traditional Way of the Cross procession. The pope, who turns 85 on April 16, is not expected to carry the
cross, but will deliver a speech at the end of the torch-lit nighttime procession. Tens of thousands of tourists and Romans were expected to flock to the ancient arena to hear him. On Sunday, Benedict will preside over Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square.

Russia indignant over conviction of arms dealer
Russia has criticized a U.S. court on Friday for sentencing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison, calling the ruling groundless and politically motivated and vowing to press the United States to return him to Russia. Bout, the subject of a book titled "Merchant of Death", was caught in an undercover sting in Bangkok in 2008 by U.S. agents posing as Columbian guerrillas seeking weapons and later extradited to New York. His arrest and trial have been an irritant in ties between Russia and the U.S., which face new uncertainty as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin prepares to return to the presidency for a six-year term in May. The Foreign Ministry repeated Russia's allegations that Bout is the victim of a smear campaign and selective justice.

Venezuelan leader implores heavenly help
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wept and asked God to spare his life during a pre-Easter Mass on Thursday after returning from his latest session of cancer treatment in Cuba. Mr. Chavez has undergone three operations in less than a year, and received two sessions of radiation treatment. He says the latest surgery was successful, that he is recovering well and will be fit to win a new six-year term at an election in October. In a televised speech to the Catholic service in his home state of Barinas, Mr. Chavez cried and his voice broke as he eulogized Jesus, revolutionary fighter Ernesto "Che" Guevara and South American independence hero Simon Bolivar. Having dominated the continent's biggest oil exporter for the last 13 years, Mr. Chavez' sickness has thrown its politics into turmoil in the run-up to the election on Oct. 7.

Tsunami ship sunk
The long, lonely voyage of the Japanese ghost ship is over. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter unleashed cannon fire on the abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru on Thursday, ending a journey that began when last year's tsunami dislodged it and set it adrift across the Pacific Ocean. It sank into waters more than 1,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Alaska, more than 200 kilometres from land. The crew pummeled the ghost ship with high explosive ammunition and, soon after, the Ryou-Un Maru burst into flames, began to take on water and list, officials said.


Ottawa investigates U.S. retailer
The federal government is conducting a review of U.S. retail giant Target Corp.'s proposed move into Canada to determine whether bookshelves and cultural products will carry enough home-grown content. The government review, under the Investment Canada Act, was ordered by Heritage Minister James Moore. The review stems from an order by the Privy Council Office on March 27, which found it "in the public interest" to review Target's investment in Canada. Target said Thursday that the review will focus on its planned retailing of cultural products, including books, DVDs, music and magazines. The American retail giant is set to begin opening the first of between 125 and 135 stores in Canada at former Zellers locations acquired from Hudson's Bay Co. The store openings are set to start next year.

Toronto Stock Exchange, Canadian dollar: closed for holiday. Oil: 103.31, unchanged.


Zach Bell raced to a silver in the men's omnium to win Canada's third medal at the world track cycling championships in Australia. The Watson Lake, Yukon rider finished the multi-discipline event with 16 points, six back of Australia's Glenn O'Shea. It's Canada third medal at the event after collecting a silver and a bronze yesterday.


British Columbia on Saturday: sun, high C12 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: mix sun cloud snow. Whitehorse 7, Yellowknife -9, Iqaluit -8. Alberta: mix sun cloud south, sun north. Saskatchewan: snow. Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 3, Regina 0, Winnipeg 13. Ontario: rain north, sun south. Quebec: sun. Toronto 14, Ottawa 11, Montreal 12. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 8, Halfax, Charlottetown 2, St. John's 4.

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