Wednesday, May 2, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 1 May 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

Canada calls European rescue irresponsible
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has criticized an international effort to help bail out Europe.Mr. Flaherty chides Europeans for asking other nations, some with lower standards of living, to help them when they won't do enough to help themselves. In an opinion piece in the London Telegraph, Mr. Flaherty says Europeans politicians have failed to act adequately, contrasting their approach to the "bold" actions taken by the United States and Canada in response to the 2008-09 financial crisis. Canada was one of the few countries in the G20 last month that took a public and vocal stance against the International Monetary Fund's drive to create a $400 billion fund to backstop eurozone debt.
Ottawa refused to pay its portion when the fund was approved. The U.S. also did not contribute. Canada's decision raised eyebrows in international circles and led to suggestions it had isolated itself from the world's pre-eminent decision-making body with its stands, but Mr. Flaherty flatly denies the charge. He suggests a super-majority in the fund be required to approve major decisions regarding Europe because the continent represents onnly 34 per cent of the total IMF voting members.




Canadian military clings to stealth jet fighter
The head of the Canadian air force says Canada still wants to buy F-35 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin, despite an official report that blasted the way military officials selected the plane. Lieut.-Gen. André Deschamps has told the House of Commons public accounts committee that the F-35 remains the aircraft assessed in 2010 as the platform that met the military's needs and requirements. Canada announced in July 2010 it would buy 65 of the JointStrike Fighters, which have been hit by a string of cost overruns and delays.
The Conservative government did not hold an open competition. Last month, the government's spending watchdog said the decision to buy the jets was based on bad data from military officials who deliberately downplayed the costs. Critics say the defense department needs to start again and look at other planes. Canada wants the new jets to replace its aging fleet of CF-18 fighters. Canada, which said in 2008 it would spend $9 billion on new fighters, initially said it would cost another $6 billion to operate and maintain them for 20 years. Defense officials now say the total will be around $25 billion.



NDP warns of dire results of federal cuts
The leader of Canada's official opposition New Democratic Party is warning that federal job cuts could send the country back into recession. Tom Mulcair says Europe is struggling because it cut back on stimulus and started cutting civil service jobs too quickly. The Canadian government has told another 3,800 employees that they will lose their jobs. The Conservative Party government aims to eliminate 19,000 jobs in the next three years.



Environment watchdog worried about changes
The federal environment watchdog says Ottawa's new legislation will give the public far less input into natural resource development in Canada. Scott Vaughan, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, says changes to federal environmental assessment introduced last week are among the most major policy developments in 30 or 40 years. Mr. Vaughan says such assessments have always been a "bedrock" of environmental policy in Canada, but the new measures will only provide for consultation with local groups. He says the new legislation raises many questions about how it will be put into practice, but the end result will be "faster and fewer" environmental assessments at the federal level. Last week, the federal government folded into its budget implementation bill more than 100 pages of changes to various pieces of environmental legislation, with the goal of making approvals of resource development more efficient.



Veterans win disability litigation
Lawyers for Canadian veterans says a Federal Court of Canada ruling that Ottawa should stop clawing back disability benefits from former Canadian Forces members is a key legal victory for some of the country's most injured veterans. The plaintiffs, who launched a class-action lawsuit against the federal government, argued last November that the benefits were being unjustly clawed back because the payments were unfairly deemed as income. The lawyers said that veterans' long-term disability benefits were being reduced by the amount of their disability pensions, with some of the most gravely injured not receiving any of their pension. The court agreed that the monthly Veterans Affairs pensions aren't "income benefits," and therefore can't be used to offset money they are owed. Peter Driscoll, a lawyer for the veterans, said if Ottawa doesn't appeal then the decision could mean millions of dollars in retroactive compensation for the former members of the forces.



Fallen newspaper mogul reported receiving residency permit
Conrad Black's reported return to Canada sparked a heated exchange in the House of Commons. The Globe and Mail reports that the Citizenship and Immigration department has granted a one-year temporary resident permit to the disgraced media baron. The newspaper says the permit is valid from early this month, when Black is freed from jail in Florida, until May next year. The Globe says Black paid a $200 fee on March 20 for the temporary-resident permit. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair that privacy rules prevented him from answering questions about reports of Black's return to Canada.
The Supreme Court of Canada made the need for the permit clear earlier this month when handing down a ruling on an unrelated libel case. The decision means that Black could not re-enter the country without the special permission of the minister of citizenship and immigration even once he has finished serving his sentence. Born in Montreal, Black gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2001 after being offered a peerage in Britain's House of Lords, something then-prime minister Jean Chretien forbade him from accepting while he held a Canadian passport. He's due for release Friday from a U.S. prison after serving a reduced sentence for fraud.





International

Bahreini hunger striker to remain hungry
The wife of a jailed Bahraini rights activist says he will not end his nearly three-month hunger strike despite a court-ordered review of his conviction and life sentence. The wife says her husband, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, told her that Monday's court decision does not change his demand for an immediate release, which has become the focus of anti-government protests in recent weeks. Mr. Al-Khawaja and seven other opposition figures received life sentences last year from a military-led tribunal, which was created by Bahrain's Sunni leaders as part of crackdowns against an uprising by the nation's Shiite majority. A court on Monday ordered a full re-examination of the cases.



Gadhafi crony drowns in Austria
The mysterious drowning of Muammar Gadhafi's former oil boss in Vienna has shaken friends and colleagues, who say they suspect enemies may have hunted down and killed the man who knew more than anyone else about the Libyan dictator's billions. The body of Shokri Ghanem, who served for a time as Gadhafi's prime minister and ran the Libyan oil industry for years, was found floating in the Danube River on Sunday morning a few hundred metres from his home, fully clothed.
According to police he drowned, possibly having fallen into the river after a heart attack while on an early morning walk. Mr. Ghanem, 69, was one of the most powerful men in Gaddafi's Libya, effectively controlling the purse strings of the government and the Gadafi family, until he defected to the opposition in May last year as rebels bore down on Tripoli.


Fighting erupts in Mali capital
In Mali, soldiers from the ruling junta overran the main barracks of the presidential guard in the capital Bamako on Tuesday. It was a blow to the loyalist unit that has been fighting since Monday to reverse a March coup. Members of the presidential guard unit launched an attack on key sites in and around Bamako late on Monday in an apparent attempt to unseat the junta. Medical sources report that at least 15 people were killed in the overnight fighting. The junta issued a statement early on Tuesday saying it
remained in control despite the counter-coup effort.



West Africa grouping punishes Guinea-Bissau for coup
West African regional bloc ECOWAS has imposed sanctions on Guinea-Bissau. The move came after talks in Gambia failed to reach an agreement to restore constitutional rule after a coup. ECOWAS says the sanctions went into effect Sunday and target junta members who took power last month. They said their representatives at the Gambia talks concluded that it was pointless to continue because the head of the military junta was not willing to negotiate. Last week ECOWAS authorized the deployment of some 600 standby forces to Guinea-Bissau. The country was just weeks away from holding a presidential runoff election when soldiers attacked the front-runner's home and arrested him and the country's interim president.



Fate of blind Chinese dissident in the balance
Chinese activists says dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng was being held under house arrest illegally and his only offence in escaping may have been to embarrass local officials bent on punishing him for exposing forced abortions. Mr. Chen is now under the protection of U.S. diplomats. American and Chinese officials are deliberating his fate in hopes of reaching a resolution ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's talks with Chinese leaders this week. Bob Fu of the Texas-based group ChinaAid, citing a source close to the U.S. and Chinese governments, said they are discussing a deal to secure American asylum for Mr. Chen. However, Chen's supporters have said he does not want to leave the country.





Financial

WestJet orders new planes from Bombardier
WestJet Airlines has selected Bombardier to supply the propeller aircraft it requires for a new regional service. The Calgary-based airline announced Tuesday that it will take delivery of up to 45 of the Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes over the next six years. They will be used for a new regional service that WestJet expects to launch next year. Until now the Calgary-based airline has exclusively used Boeing jets in its fleet. Gregg Saretsky, WestJet's president and chief executive, says it hasn't been determined how much the planes will cost and how WestJet will finance the purchases. Mr. Saretsky acknowledges that WestJet had looked closely at planes by the European manufacturer ATR but ultimately chose the Bombardier planes due to their combination of seating, speed and range given the distance the planes will need to fly to reach some of the smaller communities to be served.



Markets
The Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday: 12,333 + 40. Canadian dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.30. Oil: $106.06 1.19.




Sports

Sports
FOOTBALL
Canadian Football League teams will be sporting a different look this season as part of the league's 100th anniversary celebration. This week, the league's eight teams will unveil new re-engineered 2012 jerseys created by Reebok. The four East Division squads will donned their new uniforms Tuesday, with the four Western clubs doing so tomorrow Wednesday.
EXTREME FIGHTING
The Winter X Games will not be coming to Canada in the near future. Whistler, BC, had bid for the right to become one of three new hosts cities in ESPN's effort to expand the extreme sports event. But the resort town and former Olympic host lost out to Barcelona, Munich and Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.





Weather

Weather
British Columbia on Wednesday: rain, high C13 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: mix sun cloud rain snow. Whitehorse 6, Yellowknife 11, Iqaluit 2. Alberta: mix sun cloud north, mix sun rain snow south. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: rain. Edmonton, Regina 12, Winnipeg 17. Ontario: rain. Quebec: cloud. Toronto 19, Ottawa 17, Montreal 16. Maritimes: mix sun cloud. Newfoundland and Labrador: rain. Fredericton, Halifax 12, Charlottetown 9, St. John's 3.




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