Thursday, May 3, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 2 May 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports

Canadian parties interpret historic anniversary
A year after the last federal election both the Conservatives and New Democrats are claiming political victory. The historic May 2, 2011, election, which returned the Tories with a majority government, saw the New Democrats surge into Opposition and the Liberals reduced to a rump third party. Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned fellow Tory MPs not to rest on their laurels, but to keep working on the party's plans for prosperity. Mr. Harper says the financial crises of the last few years might not be a passing phenomenon for many countries and there's a historic shift in world economic power and wealth.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says for his party, a longer-term focus means getting ready to govern Canada. Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae warned both the Tories and NDP not to get too full of themselves as they revel in last year's electoral success. A Canadian Press-Harris Decima survey taken in the last week of April showed the Conservatives and the NDP in a statistical tie. The poll of just over 1,000 people indicates the NDP has 33 per cent support while the Tories have 30 per cent.

Commons rules minister was Internet victim
A Canadian House of Commons committee has ruled that the public safety minister's privileges were breached when he became the subject of an online attack. The people behind the video may face contempt of Parliament charges, if anyone can ever figure out who they are. A series of videos by the activist group Anonymous targeted Vic Toews in the days following his introduction of an online surveillance bill, demanding his resignation and the withdrawal of the bill or they would expose information about him. The threats they contained were ruled by the Speaker as worthy of further examination. The committee noted that the freedom of the Internet is protected by the Charter right to freedom of expression, but the Charter offers no protection against bullying. Anonymous' threats against Toews were part of a broader online campaign against the bill, which critics suggested gives authorities far too much power to snoop into people's Internet lives.

PM denies political influence in Black decision
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is suggesting the government would be just as happy if disgraced media baron Conrad Black had been denied entry to Canada. But he says that's not the judgment of the public servants who made the call. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is accusing the Conservative government of giving special treatment to Black by agreeing to let him return to Canada after he is released from an American prison this week.
Mr. Black has been granted a one-year temporary resident permit. He is expected to be released from a Florida prison by Friday. Mr. Mulcair claims friends of the Tories get special consideration. The prime minister says Mr. Mulcair's claims are groundless and intemperate. The Montreal-born Black surrendered his Canadian citizenship in 2001 to accept a peerage in Britain's House of Lords. His controversial business dealings while running Hollinger's global media empire ended with fraud and obstruction of justice convictions in 2007.

Death row Canadian weeps at appeal
The only Canadian on death row in the United States broke down and cried at his clemency hearing in Montana. Ronald Smith's sister Rita Duncan was reading a letter he wrote to their mother after her death last year. Smith covered his eyes, brushed away his tears and was patted on the shoulder by his lawyer. Mrs. Duncan said Smith has always loved her and she is proud to be his sister. Smith's daughter, Carmen Blackburn, also cried as she talked about her father and his remorse, saying she wishes she could take away the pain she can see behind his eyes. Smith is asking that his death sentence for killing two men in Montana 30 years ago be commuted.

Canada gets new $20
The Bank of Canada has unveiled new $20 polymer bank notes. The bills replace paper-cotton bills that wear and tear more easily. Canada has already switched to polymer bank notes, which are more durable and harder to fake than paper money, for the $50 and $100 bills. The Conservative government announced in its 2010 budget that Canada would be switching to synthetic bills. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney displayed the new bill Wednesday in Ottawa.


Myanmar dissident reaches milestone
Aung San Suu Kyi completed her historic journey from political prisoner to parliamentarian Wednesday, assuming public office for the first time in a risky new strategy to work alongside Myanmar's new reform-minded government after her 24-year struggle against military rule. The session Wednesday cements a detente between Suu Kyi's party and the administration of President Thein Sein. It came to power last year after the nation's long-ruling army junta stepped down. The 66-year-old democracy leader will have almost no power in the assembly, but she'll nevertheless have an official voice in the legislative branch and the chance to challenge public policy from inside the halls of power for the first time.

Chinese dissident quits U.S. embassy
Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng left the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday after days of negotiation between the two governments, but supporters said Chen agreed to the deal reluctantly after his family were threatened with reprisals. Both governments said Mr. Chen had left the embassy voluntarily and U.S. officials said he never sought asylum. Nonetheless, China accused the United States of meddling and demanded an apology for the way U.S. diplomats handled the case. Mr. Chen's departure from the U.S. embassy came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Beijing for top-level U.S.-China talks.

UN again penalizes North Korea
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice says a UN Security Council committee on Wednesday added three "very significant" North Korean state companies to a U.N. blacklist of firms banned from international trade. The decision by the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee came after China consented to sanctions on the trio of companies. It falls far short of the roughly 40 firms the United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan had wanted to blacklist after Pyongyang's recent rocket launch. The envoy says newly blacklisted firms are "very significant North Korean entities" involved in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. Diplomats attempted to play down the fact that Beijing had vetoed the vast majority of their proposed listings. Last month, the council adopted a "presidential statement" that strongly condemned North Korea's April 13 rocket launch.

UN warns both Sudans
The UN Security Council threatened Sudan and South Sudan with sanctions on Wednesday if the former civil war foes fail to halt an escalating conflict and resume talks within two weeks on a string of disputes over oil revenues and border demarcation. The 15-member panel unanimously approved a resolution after weeks of border fighting between the African neighbors that have raised fears Khartoum and Juba, which split when the south seceded last year, could launch an all-out war. China, which has close trade relations with both countries, and Russia were reluctant to support the threat of sanctions against Sudan and South Sudan, but did so because the African Union had requested a legally binding resolution.
The AU asked for backing from the U.N. Security Council for demands made by its Peace and Security Council last week for Sudan and South Sudan to cease hostilities, withdraw troops from disputed areas and resume talks within two weeks with the aim of resolving all outstanding disputes.

Greek credit rating revives slightly
The Standard & Poor's ratings agency lifted Greece's credit grade out of default on Wednesday after the country completed a massive debt writedown with private creditors. Athens finalized its bond swap, the largest in history, on April 25. The deal wiped $132 billion off Greece's debt and saw private bondholders take a cut of about 75 per cent on the real value of their investment. An integral part of the conditions for the crisis-hit country to continue receiving international rescue loans, the bond swap aims to trim Greece's debt from about 165 per cent of gross domestic product last year to about 120 per cent by 2020. Greece has been relying on billions of euros in international rescue loans since 2010, after years of overspending and mismanagement of the country's finances left it locked out of the international bond market and facing a potentially catastrophic bankruptcy.

Europeans passing message in Tymoshenko case
Two more European governments on Wednesday joined other dignitaries planning to boycott Euro 2012 football games played in Ukraine to protest the nation's treatment of jailed ex-Premier Yulia Tymoshenko. Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger says his government made the decision as "our sign of solidarity" with Mrs. Tymoshenko. Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders called on the Ukraine government to respect all of her rights, including medical care and to receive visits.
The two governments join other officials in condemning Ukraine over Mrs. Tymoshenko's situation. She is serving a seven-year jail sentence in a case the West has called politically motivated. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is a fierce rival of Mrs. Tymoshenko, but government officials have denied any claims of bias in the case.


Railway management counsels against executive revolt
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. has issued another public appeal to its shareholders, saying its board is unanimously opposed to replacing CEO Fred Green with Hunter Harrison, the retired CEO of rival Canadian National Railway. The company's board and management has been waging a highly public battle with activist investor Bill Ackman, head of the Pershing Square group of funds, who insists that Mr. Green must be replaced with Mr. Harrison. The latest letter issued by CP chairman John Cleghorn says the installation of Mr. Harrison would be disastrous for the railway because his approach would require massive spending cuts rather than investments for growth. Public statements by him and Pershing Square imply that they plan to cut expenses by $700 million by 2015, which is equivalent to 45 per cent of CP's workforce and more than the expense of its entire fleet's leases, depreciation and maintenance. Mr. Cleghorn reiterated that the railway has strong customer relationships and that it is undertaking measures to grow revenues.

The Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday: 12,230 - 103. Canadian dollar: US$1.01. Euro: $1.29. Oil: $106.06 1.19.


Their new uniforms may be ready but the Winnipeg Blue
Bombers will have to wait even longer than expected to play in their
brand new stadium.
Team president Garth Buchko announced Wednesday that the closest
thing to a guaranteed opening date is now Sept. 21, almost two
months later than the last projected opening date of July 26.

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