Tuesday, May 1, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 30 April 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

More federal employees get bad news
Another 3,800 civil servants were told Monday that their jobs are in jeopardy. Parks Canada took the biggest hit in the government's third wave of notifications, with over 1,000 people told their jobs are at risk. More than 600 positions will be eliminated entirely. Other departments facing job losses include Human Resources and Skills Development, Aboriginal Affairs, Library and Archives and Statistics Canada. At Transport Canada, cuts are to the airport security oversight and marine security branches. At Correctional Services Canada, the inmate grievance program has been closed. The news follows the Conservatives' announcement of the closure of two prisons and a mental health facility. The Conservative budget aims to eliminate 19,000 jobs in a bid to save $5.2 billion in the next three years.

Economy falters in February
Canada's government recording agency, Statistics Canada, says the economy was surprisingly weak in February. The agency says the economy shrank, with gross domestic product declining by two-tenths of a per cent. Economists had been expecting Canadian GDP would grow, not decline, by that same point-two per cent. Statistics Canada says temporary closures in mining and other goods-producing industries contributed to February's decline from January.

Fallen media baron may find hurdles to Canada return
Immigration lawyers say Conrad Black faces yet another long legal battle if he hopes to return to Canada. The disgraced former media baron, who renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a British lord, is due to be released Friday after serving three and a half years in prison. Black has suggested he would like to reclaim his citizenship, but immigration lawyers cited by the Canadian Press say that would be no easy feat. Black's fraud and obstruction of justice convictions make him inadmissible for permanent residency in Canada, despite the fact he's married to a Canadian citizen, Barbara Amiel.
They say Black's only hope is a temporary residency permit, which essentially stands as permission from the immigration minister or his delegates. A recent Supreme Court ruling says Black would require such a permit to come back, but lawyers say it's anyone's guess as to whether he'll receive it.

Canadian govt. stops art selloff
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has put a stop to his department's sale of paintings by famous Canadian artists. The sale was the first of its kind in the department's history and was planned as part of budget cuts across the foreign service. Some of the art has hung in Canadian embassies, consulates, and official residences, since the 1930s. The proposed sale included valuable pieces by Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul-Emile Borduas, and William Kurelek. Twenty paintings had been collected from foreign missions around the world and stored in Ottawa last fall.The pieces were purchased when the artists were up-and-coming. A Jean-Paul Lemieux called Girl with Fur Hat was bought from the artist directly for $600 dollars in 1963. The department estimates its value now at $300,000. But a Lemieux recently fetched $2.3 million at auction.

Gov.-Gen ends Brazil visit
Canada's Governor-General, David Johnston, has ended up a visit to Brazil encouraging both countries to collaborate on learning and innovation. During the two-day visit the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at increasing ties in science and technology research. Mr. Johnston will make a brief visit to Barbados Monday and is expected to promote stronger business, security and educational linkages with the Caribbean nation.


Bahreini court orders retrials
A Bahrain court Monday ordered retrials for a prominent hunger striker and 20 others convicted by a military-led tribunal in crackdowns against a 14-month-old uprising in the Gulf kingdom. The decision, which shifts the cases to Bahrain's highest appeals court, was seen as a victory for supporters of rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and other opposition figures sentenced last year under martial law-style rules imposed by Bahrain's rulers.
But there appeared no immediate possibility for the release of the group, which includes some of the top figures in protests by Bahrain's majority Shi'ites seeking to break the near monopoly on power held by the Western-backed Sunni dynasty. At least 50 people have been killed in unrest since February 2011.

Suicide bomber in Nigeria kills 10
Rescue officials say a motorcycle-riding suicide bomber drove into a convoy carrying a top police official in northeast Nigeria on Monday, detonating his explosives and killing at least 10 people, The attack targeted police commissioner Mamman Sule. He was being driven in a convoy toward his offices, near the governor's office in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba state. The bomber missed injuring Mr. Sule, but the explosives caused massive damage at a roadside market and blew out the glass windows of the nearby state Ministry of Finance building. Rescue officials collected 11 corpses after the attack, which left 26 injured. The . The dead included the suicide bomber.

West Africa imposes sanctions on Guinea-Bissau over coup
West African regional bloc ECOWAS slapped sanctions on Guinea-Bissau's military rulers on Monday and threatened to use force to dislodge them, after talks to restore constitutional order in the coup-stricken nation broke down. Guinea-Bissau has been run by soldiers since an April 12 coup that derailed presidential elections and set back Western efforts to combat drug cartels using the country as a transit hub for cocaine bound for Europe. An ECOWAS communiqué says heads of state from the regional grouping would meet on May 3 to consider all other necessary measures, including the use of force against the junta if it continues to cling to power. Details of the sanctions were not immediately available, but are likely to add pressure on the junta, which has already delayed the payment of public wages.

U.S. puts Canada on list of intellectual thieves
The office of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says the U.S. on Monday again put Russia and China on its annual list of countries with the worst records of preventing the theft of copyrighted and other intellectual property. Argentina, Canada and India were also put on the "priority watch list," along with Algeria, Chile, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela. Canada, among the North American Free Trade Agreement nations along with Mexico and the United States, made the list for the fourth consecutive year.
The priority watch list carries no threat of sanctions, but hopes to shame governments into cracking down on piracy and counterfeiting and updating their copyright laws.

EU chief won't attend Ukrainian soccer event
The chief of the European Union's head office will not go to Ukraine during the June European Soccer Championships unless there is improvement in the human rights situation there. EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso says he will follow the lead of EU's Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who also said she would not attend the ceremonial Euro 2012 opening on June 8.
The tournament, Europe's most important soccer championship for national teams, is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine from June 8 until July 1. Activists have called for protests against Ukraine in support of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is serving a seven-year jail sentence in a case the West has called politically motivated.

Ireland starts EU referendum
Ireland's government has launched its campaign to secure public support for the European Union's fiscal treaty, and warns that rejection could destabilize the euro currency. Government parties and other pro-EU groups began erecting campaign posters Monday, one month before voters must decide whether to accept a treaty designed to rein in deficits across the 17-country eurozone. Ireland is the only euro member putting the treaty to a public vote. Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore says Ireland would be the biggest loser if voters reject the treaty. He says Ireland's future funding options would be thrown into grave uncertainty and increase pressures on the euro.


Engineering giant said facing investigation in Tunisia
A Montreal newspaper is reporting that SNC-Lavalin is facing a corruption investigation in Tunisia over a $320-million contract it was awarded with an Italian partner. La Presse says the North African country's commission of inquiry into corruption and embezzlement has opened a file on the awarding of the 2010 contract with Ansaldo Energia. The newspaper says the commission has found a document incriminating the embattled engineering giant in the palace archives of ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled the country in January 2011. The latest allegations come as SNC-Lavalin's former head of
construction sits in a Swiss jail.
He hasn't been charged but is being held on suspision of corrupting a public official, fraud and money laundering tied to his dealings in North Africa. Justice officials say former SNC executive vice-president Riadh
Ben Aissa has been in custody since mid-April.

The Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday: 12,293 + 55. Canadian dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.30. Oil: $104.80 - .13.


Paul MacLean is being rewarded for guiding the Ottawa Senators to the playoffs. MacLean is one of the nominees for the Jack Adams Award handed out to the National Hockey League's best head coach. In his first year as Senators coach, MacLean turned around a team that finished 13th in the East last season. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock and John Tortorella of the New York Rangers are the other nominees.


British Columbia on Tuesday: rain, high C11 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse 13, Regina 16, Winnipeg 20. Ontario: rain north, mix sun cloud south. Quebec: rain. Toronto 19, Ottawa 13, Montreal 13. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia: mix sun cloud. Prince Edward Island: sun. Newfoundland: rain. Fredericton 14, Halifax 10, Charlottetown 9, St. John's 4.

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