Saturday, April 14, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 13 April 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Canada denounces North Korean rocket launch
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has condemned North Korea's rocket test as reckless and provocative. The minister says the country shouldn't be squandering its resources on missiles while its people are starving. He says the failed test will further isolate what he calls a rogue regime. Mr. Baird says he wants to see North Korea comply with both the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The missile failed shortly after launch and crashed in pieces into the sea.

Canada finally presents new environmental rules for big vehicles
Canada has revealed long-delayed regulations on Friday that aim to make big trucks and buses up to 23 percent less polluting by 2018. The greenhouse gas emissions rules will come into effect starting with the 2014 model year. They will apply to full-size pickups, heavy trucks and buses as well as to cement, garbage and dump trucks. Environment Minister Peter Kent says the new standards will reduce emissions from 2018 heavy duty vehicles by up to 23 percent from those sold in 2010. The Conservative government said in May 2010 it would produce new emissions standards for heavy duty vehicles within months but failed to do so. Canada, a major energy producer that abandoned the Kyoto protocol on climate change last year, wants to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. Environmentalists say this will be almost impossible, given rapid expansion of the country's oil and gas industry.

Mounties raid engineering firm
RCMP investigators executed a search warrant Friday at the Montreal headquarters of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, which has been searching for the justification for millions of dollars of mysterious payments. The global construction and engineering company said the police action relates to an investigation of some former employees. The Montreal-based company said last month that it planned to inform police and other authorities about the results of an internal investigation into US$56 million of payments that resulted in the departure of its CEO and two other senior executives. Chief executive Pierre Duhaime stepped aside after a probe revealed he approved payments to undisclosed agents on two large projects, breaching the company's code of ethics. SNC-Lavalin has refused to indicate the whereabouts of the projects involved, or rule out if they included construction projects in Canada. However, the company has said that it didn't believe the payments in question were related to its operations in Libya. SNC was one of the major Canadian companies doing business in the North African country prior to the fall of Moammar Gadhafi last year.

High court invalidates wiretapping law
The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down a law that allowed police to immediately start wiretaps in urgent cases without getting a search warrant. The unanimous ruling strips police of an investigative power and gives Parliament 12 months to rewrite the law. The ruling stems from an unusual case that reached the high court after the conviction of six men in a kidnapping case in Richmond, BC. A British Columbia Supreme Court judge sentenced the men to prison terms ranging from 10 to 18 years. The RCMP started wiretapping immediately after they learned of the kidnapping and only obtained the necessary judicial authorization 24 hours later. At trial, the judge ruled the police violated the Charter of Rights, but admitted the wiretap evidence anyway.

Ontario won't guarantee public sector jobs
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says he can't guarantee there won't be any public sector job layoffs as the Ontario government struggles to eliminate a $15.2-billion deficit. Mr. McGuinty says the government needs teachers, doctors, university professors and everyone else paid by taxpayers to take a two-year wage freeze. He says the government wants to "hit the pause button" on pay
hikes in order to protect gains in health care and education, especially smaller class sizes and full-day kindergarten. The Premier says the government has made the choice to delay salary increases rather than lay off nurses and teachers. He insists it was not an easy decision. Mr. McGuinty did not make any reference to the Elementary Teachers Federation and the Ontario Medical Association, both of which are publicly fighting with the Liberals over the wage freeze.

Province appeals sentence for hockey molester
The government of the western Canadian province of Manitoba is appealing the sentence for sex crimes given to former junior hockey coach Graham James. A Winnipeg judge recently sentenced him to two years in prison for sexually assaulting former National Hockey League star Theo Fleury and his cousin, Todd Holt, when they were teenagers. Mr. Holt called the sentence a travesty. Former National Hockey League player Sheldon Kennedy was also assaulted by James when he was a teenager. He says society needs to start recognizing the severity of such crimes. James previously served about 18 months in prison for molesting Kennedy and two other players.


Conference set to start on Iran's nuclear program
Iran and six world powers prepared on Friday for rare talks aimed at easing fears that a deepening dispute over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program could plunge the Middle East into a new war. Senior officials from Iran and the big powers arrived in
Istanbul ahead of Saturday's talks which are aimed at restarting stalled diplomacy after months of soaring tension and persistent speculation that Israel might bomb Iranian nuclear sites. The meeting is widely seen as a chance for the countries involved, the United States, France, Russia, China, Britain and Germany and Iran to halt a downward diplomatic spiral and to seek ways out of years of deadlock. Western diplomats have expressed cautious optimism that Iran, which is OPEC's second-biggest oil producer but has seen its economically vital exports squeezed by increasingly tough sanctions, may finally be ready to discuss curbs to its nuclear programme to relieve the pressure. The West accuses Iran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability and Israel has hinted at pre-emptive military strikes to prevent its foe from obtaining such arms. Iran has promised to put forward "new initiatives" in Istanbul, and continues to say its nuclear program is peaceful.

North Korea admits rocket fiasco
North Korea says its much hyped long-range rocket launch failed on Friday. The isolated North, using the launch to celebrate the 100th birthday of the dead founding president Kim Il-sung and mark the rise to power of his grandson Kim Jong-un, is now widely expected to press ahead with its third nuclear test to show its military strength. The United States and Japan said the rocket, which they claimed was a disguised missile test and the North said was to put a satellite into orbit, crashed into the sea after travelling a much shorter distance than a previous North Korean launch. Its failure immediately raised questions over the impoverished North's reclusive leadership which maintains one of the world's largest standing armies but which cannot feed its
people without outside aid.

Accused would-be attackers of Danish paper on trial

Four men went on trial in Denmark on Friday accused of planning a "Mumbai-style" terror attack on the offices of a Danish newspaper whose publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005 outraged many Muslims. The men, three Swedish citizens and one Tunisian, pleaded not guilty to involvement in the worst terrorist plot in Denmark to date, denying allegations they had planned to kill a large number of people at the offices of the paper, Jyllands-Posten. The newspaper was the first to print a dozen cartoons lampooning Islam in 2005, triggering protests against Danish interests abroad and riots in countries from the Middle East and Africa to Asia the following year in which at least 50 people died. Denmark's state security police has said the planned attack was modelled on a 2008 shooting spree in Mumbai, when 10 Pakistani gunmen killed 166 people in a three-day assault at city landmarks.

Polls favour French president's adversary before election
French President Nicolas Sarkozy defended his economic record on Friday as opinion polls suggested his prospects of re-election were crumbling just over a week from round one of a vote where Socialist Francois Hollande is the clear frontrunner.
Four polls published in less than 24 hours showed Mr. Hollande extending his lead, with the conservative incumbent's modest
gains of the past month starting to evaporate ahead of a two-round contest taking place on April 22 and May 6. Mr. Sarkozy maintained that he had helped France weather economic crisis over the past four years far better than countries such as Greece or Spain, and he renewed warnings of market turmoil if Hollande won power. Mr. Hollande, who says he can slash the public deficit but also promote jobs and education as he hikes tax on the rich, stuck to his line in three newspaper interviews published on Friday. He said austerity would be self-defeating if not accompanied by efforts to promote economic growth in France and Europe.

Americas summit starts
Americas Summit host President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia welcomed businessmen and fellow leaders to Colombia on Friday with a call to bury political differences and advice for the United States to turn its attention back to Latin America. U.S. President Barack Obama had a rapturous welcome at the last Summit of the Americas in 2009, and Latin Americans had big hopes, including the possibility of U.S. rapprochement with communist-run Cuba. But global priorities such as the Middle East situation have distracted Mr. Obama, and China has stolen a march on the United States in its own backyard to emerge as the No. 1 trade partner with various countries including regional powerhouse Brazil. Canada will be represented at the event by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Republican presidential candidate addresses gun lobby
Mitt Romney is headlining the annual convention of the most powerful American gun lobby on Friday,courting gun-rights activists even as the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager thrust the divisive issue of arms control to the forefront of election-year politics. The Republican presidential candidate's efforts to assure the National Rifle Association that he is on its side is a reflection of how deeply many U.S. voters believe in their constitutional right to bear arms. The NRA nonetheless considers President Barack Obama a foe and plans to mount an aggressive effort against him. The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, lthough the country is fiercely divided over how exactly to nterpret the Second Amendment that protects gun possession. The uproar over the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of a volunteer neighbourhood watchman in Florida has galvanized pro-and anti-gun control activists alike.


Republicans won't abandon Canadian pipeline project
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will revive efforts to quickly advance the stalled Keystone XL crude oil pipeline and insist that approval for the project be part of a long-term deal to fund highways and other infrastructure. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama put a hold on TransCanada's $7 billion project, which would ship oil from Alberta and northern U.S. states to Texas, because he said it needed further environmental review. Republicans say the United States needs the jobs and the oil as the economy continues to struggle and gasoline prices surge. Last month, Republicans in the Senate tried to attach approval for the pipeline to a two-year highway funding bill. The bid failed on a vote of 56-42.

Air Canada 'sickness' causes chaos
Thousands of unlucky Air Canada passengers had their flights cancelled or delayed as pilots called in sick as part of what the airline dubbed an "illegal job action." The airline issued a Canada-wide travel alert, warning that airport disruptions could affect flights all day and into the weekend. More than 60 flights set to depart or arrive at Air Canada's hub in Toronto were cancelled, while scores of others were delayed. Passengers were also disrupted in other cities, including Montreal. The airline is most vulnerable where passengers have a choice of carriers like WestJet Airlines, Porter Airlines or other carriers. However, some passengers have no choice where Air Canada offers the only service, including direct flights. The country's largest carrier and its regional partners operate 1,500 flights a day, including 660 by the mainline carrier. The Air Canada Pilots Association urged members to go to work as usual and disregard dissident pilots who want colleagues to book off sick.


Brent Sutter wasn't out of work for long. Hockey Canada has named the former Calgary Flames head coach to be behind the Canadian team bench for the 2012 men's world championship. Sutter and the Flames parted company just Thursday. Guy Boucher of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Kirk Muller of the Carolina Hurricanes will serve as Sutter's assistants at the tournament.


British Columbia on Saturday: rain, high C12 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse 6, Yellowknife -8, Iqaluit -5. Alberta: snow. Saskatchewan: rain north, cloud south. Manitoba: cloud. Edmonton 1, Regina, Winnipeg 13. Ontario: rain. Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto 16, Ottawa 14, Montreal 15. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia: sun. Prince Edward Island: mix sun cloud. Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton 15, Halifax 14, Charlottetown 10, St. John's 6.

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