Tuesday, April 10, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Canadian defence minister admits having known of wrong estimate for jet fighters
Canada's Defence Minister, Peter MacKay, says he was aware the cost of buying a fleet of F-35 fighter jets would exceed the original estimate. He says he has known for two years that it would cost closer to $25 billion, about $10 billion more than the federal government had said would be the price. Mr. MacKay says the additional $10 billion cost is due to an accounting issue which takes into account the cost of pilots' salaries, fuel and maintenance of the current fleet of CF-18 jet fighters. Auditor General Michael Ferguson issued a critical report last week accusing the military of not informing Parliament of the true cost of the procurement. Opposition parties say the minister should resign over the matter. Mr. Mackay has rejected that demand.

Castro chides Canadian PM
Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro is criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government for causing environmental damage through the extraction of crude from the Alberta oilsands. The father of Cuba's communist revolution of more than half a century ago offers that observation in 1,200-word essay on the state of hemispheric affairs that was published over the weekend. Mr. Castro handed the Cuban presidency to his brother, Raul, four years ago, but still periodically offers up his musings on the state of the world in postings on his government's website. In it, Mr. Castro claims that the United States is forcing Canada to extract oil, which is causing irreparable damage to the environment. He also accuses Canadian mining companies of harming millions of people throughout Latin America.

Monday is 95th anniversary of seminal battle
Canada's Governor General David Johnston was in France to participate in ceremonies Monday to marking the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He's met 5,000 young Canadians attending the Vimy ceremonies. Many historians view the First World War battle as a significant turning point in Canada's transformation from a colony to an independent country. It was on Easter Monday in 1917 that the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side-by-side for the first time, captured Vimy Ridge. By the fourth day, April 12th, Canadians controlled the entire ridge at a cost of almost 3,600 lives.

Double lung transplant recipient recovering
A Canadian woman who underwent a double-lung transplant last week is continuing to slowly recover from the operation. Helene Campbell has done some leg exercises and is spelling words to communicate with the help of an alphabetic board. Miss Campbell's operation is receiving a lot of attention because her campaign to promote organ donation. The premier of the Province of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, sent his best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Quebec students group eases demands
One of Quebec's most active student-protest groups has softened its tone and is no longer demanding that university education be free for all. In recent weeks, tens of thousands of students have taken to the streets almost daily against the province's plans to hike tuition fees. One of the most prominent student groups says it's now calling for a tuition freeze and has put off its demand for free education. Students are fighting Quebec's plan to raise tuition by nearly 75 per cent over five years. The increasewould still leave provincial tuition among the lowest in Canada. The protesters call their resistance a matter of principle to protect universal access to affordable education. Protest organizers also say they are planning a massive

demonstration in Montreal for this Saturday -- to mark the ninth anniversary of Jean Charest's election as Quebec premier on April 14, 2003. The students have been warned their semester might be cancelled if they don't get back to class. The Quebec government has refused to budge on the tuition-fee increases. But last week the Liberal government did propose changes to its student-loan program in a bid to end the walkouts.


Syria fires on refugee camp in Turkey
A military bombardment of a town in central Syria killed 30 people on Monday on the eve of a scheduled army withdrawal from urban areas, opposition activists said, dashing the prospects of a U.N.-brokered ceasefire taking hold. Activists say government troops and rebel forces also clashed near Syria's border with Turkey. Turkish officials said two Syrian refugees and a Turkish translator were wounded by gunfire from Syria at a refugee camp in Turkish territory, drawing an angry response from the

Ankara government. The unrelenting violence indicated that a peace plan promoted by international envoy Kofi Annan and initially accepted by both sides was in tatters. Syria was to have started pulling troops out of towns and cities by Tuesday, paving the way for a ceasefire to start 48 hours later. But President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday said his enemies must give written guarantees they would stop fighting and lay down their arms, a demand they immediately rejected.

Ghadafi son to be tried in Libya
Libyan officials say Moammar Gadhafi's son and former heir-apparent Seif al-Islam will be put on trial inside Libya and there will be a verdict before mid-June. Spokesman of the ruling National Transitional Council Mohammed al-Hareizi said Monday Seif al-Islam will be transferred to the capital Tripoli within 10 days and that his trial will conclude before parliamentary elections scheduled two months from now. Seif al-Islam was captured by revolutionary fighters in the southern desert of Libya in November. Al-Hareizi says he will be tried on charges of murder, corruption and rape dating from his late father's 42-year-rule.

Al-Qaeda springs deadly clash in Yemen
Residents and local officials say at least 57 people were killed on Monday in Yemen when fighters from an al Qaeda-linked group attacked a military camp near the southern city of Lawdar, The fighting started at dawn when militants from Ansar al-Sharia attacked the camp in Abyan province, about 120 kilometres from southern port city Aden. The group seized control of a significant amount of territory in Abyan during the turmoil that led to the

replacement of President Ali Abdullah Saleh by his deputy, a deal that Saudi Arabia and the United States hope will prevent al-Qaeda from getting a foothold near key oil shipping routes. Conflict with Islamists in the south is only one of several challenges facing new president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who took office vowing to fight al Qaeda. Officials and residents said 27 fighters were killed in Monday's clash with the army and five when warplanes bombed a checkpoint they were holding. Eighteen soldiers, an army colonel, and six pro-government tribesmen were also killed.

Jailed former Ukrainian leader denies new accusations
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, serving a seven-year jail sentence on abuse-of-office charges, on Monday dismissed new allegations against her of involvement in the murder of a parliament deputy almost 16 years ago. She said they were "absurd" and clearly politically driven. The jailing last October of Mrs. Tymoshenko, the main opponent of President Viktor Yanukovich, has soured Ukraine's ties with the European Union and the United States, which say the case smacks of "selective" justice. But despite Western pressure for her release, Ukrainian prosecutors have additionally accused her of tax evasion and now

say they are investigating her possible involvement in the 1996 contract killing of Yevhen Shcherban, one of the most sensational crimes of post-Soviet Ukraine. Mr. Shcherban, a powerful businessman and politician, died in a hail of bullets as he emerged from a plane in the eastern city of Donetsk. The attackers, disguised as airport mechanics, also killed his wife and several bystanders.

Journalists want open hearing at Guantanamo
Several U.S. news organizations have asked a judge in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to keep the court open to the media this week if an alleged al Qaeda chieftain is allowed to testify about his alleged mistreatment in secret CIA prisons. Defense lawyers have said the court would almost certainly meet in a secret session if the judge permits testimony from Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a Saudi prisoner accused of orchestrating the attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors aboard the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000. Three days of pretrial motions are scheduled to begin on Wednesday in the death penalty case at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. naval base in Cuba. Nashiri would be the first former CIA captive to give a first-hand account in court about interrogation methods that the government considers to be secret.


Securities regulator ending inquiry into forestry firm
Sino-Forest Corp., which has been accused of widespread fraud by misrepresenting its revenue and the extent of its assets in China, said Monday it has received enforcement notices from the Ontario Securities Commission. The company says the notices signal the OSC is near the end of its its investigation and give Sino-Forest and individuals associated with the Chinese forestry company an opportunity to respond to allegations against them. Sino-Forest said it received an enforcement notice on Thursday

that contains "allegations of a serious nature" consistent with the reasons for the OSC's order to cease trade of the company's stock. On Thursday, Sino-Forest announced that its outside auditors had resigned. Ernst & Young LLP resigned over the company's failure to provide financial statements for audit and its inability to satisfactorily address outstanding issues in relation to its 2011 annual financial statements.

Markets
TSE, Dollar, euro on Monday: closed. Oil: $102.25 - $1.06.

MARKETS
In Asia Monday, Japan's Nikkei Index was down 142-points to close at 9,9546. Hong Kong markets are closed for the holiday.

North American markets in Canada and the United states were closed for the holiday on Friday.


Sports
HOCKEY

The Vancouver Canucks' leading goal-scorer Daniel Sedin returned to the ice Monday after missing nine games with due to a concussion. Sedin practised with his team as Vancouver prepares for its first playoff game Wednesday against the LA Kings. Sedin led Vancouver with 30 goals before the injury.


Weather
British Columbia on Monday: mix sun cloud, high C14 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: sun. Whitehorse 9, Yellowknife 0, Iqaluit -16. Alberta, Manitoba: mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan: sun. Edmonton 13, Regina 0, Winnipeg 1. Ontario: mix sun rain snow. Qubec: rain. Toronto 8, Ottawa 6, Montreal 9. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton, Halifax, Charlottetown 9, St. John's 9.