Tuesday, May 8, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 7 May 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Israeli president thanks Canada
Israeli President Shimon Peres thanked Stephen Harper for his staunch support of Israel, and Canada for its 60 years of friendship Monday as the Israeli president began a full state visit. The Nobel laureate has been a fixture in Israeli politics since 1959, serving in 12 cabinets and twice as prime minister.
The president's five-day trip to Canada began as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an early national election amid talk of an "existential threat" to Israel from Iran's nuclear program. Mr. Peres has expressed reservations about a pre-emptive strike against Iran, and his language upon arriving in Canada was that of the diplomat who won the Peace Prize in 1995 for his work with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the Oslo Accords. The Israeli president was greeted by the prime minister in the rotunda of Parliament's Hall of Honour, and the two then moved to Mr. Harper's office for what he called a "chat."

Canadian warship makes drug raid
The Royal Canadian Navy says one of its warships has intercepted an illicit drug shipment in the Gulf of Aden. The navy says HMCS Charlottetown made the seizure Saturday as part of a 26-nation counter-narcotics task force in the Gulf north of Somalia. The navy says eight packages were retrieved from the water, containing 270 kilograms of hashish.

Western premier takes exception to NDP leader's attitude toward oilsands
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is using Twitter to poke fun at federal New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair. Mr. Wall takes issue with comments Mr. Mulcair made over the weekend while discussing the oilsands. The NDP leader said that the oilsands are artificially inflating the Canadian dollar and hollowing out the country's manufacturing sector. He called it the definition of Dutch disease, a reference to the Netherlands and how a natural gas find in that country led to declines in manufacturing in the 1960s. While the oilsands are largely an Alberta issue, Saskatchewan's economy is heavily dependant on resource revenue and the premier says he wants Mr. Mulcair to explain himself.
He says if Mr. Mulcair thinks the oilsands are a disease, Mr. Wall wants to know what the NDP thinks the cure is. The NDP chief said he wants to see the oilsands developed in a responsible way that sees more refining done in Canada and less raw product sent abroad.

Vets department will correct errors
The Harper Canadian government moved quickly Monday to limit the damage of a scathing report from Canada's veterans ombudsman, Guy Parent. He accuses a review agency of being secretive and unfair to ex-soldiers in search of benefits. Federal Court challenges arising out of decisions from the Veterans Review and Appeal Board were the subject of an exhaustive study by the ombudsman office. The office found that 60 per cent of the cases were returned to the agency, which is supposed to provide veterans fair, sympathetic hearings, because it did not give veterans the benefit of the doubt and did not generously interpret the law surrounding compensation. The Conservatives have made support for veterans and soldiers one of their prime political positions. Yet the ombudsman's report accused the board of often leaving applicants in the dark about reasons for its decisions and not disclosing to veterans what medical information it used as the basis for its rulings.
Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney told the House of Commons on Monday that he's ordered the board to accept all of the report's recommendations. The agency, in a letter to the minister, promised to act within 30 days.

Manitoba still dealing with flood claims

The Manitoba government is promising to address complaints from some victims of last year's flood who are still awaiting compensation. The government says it is dealing with 30,000 flood claims. Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton says the province is hiring eight more appraisers and 14 other staff to help process claims. Mr. Ashton also announced help for municipalities. The province has committed itself to cover 90 per cent of the city of Brandon's flood preparation work, roughly double the original commitment. The government is also giving seven smaller municipalities one-time grants to help their rebuildling efforts.

Quebec student conflict boils on despite accord
Talk of peace in Quebec's three-month student conflict appears to be premature. At least seven student associations have voted to reject the tentative agreement between the provincial government and student leaders, some of them by massive majorities of up to 94 per cent. Those details are being provided by protest leaders; there are reports that one student assembly in the Gaspé region agreed to the deal, while many others rejected it. Also, at least seven protests were planned throughout the province later Monday. The deal, aimed at ending three months of unrest in the province, uses a variety of mechanisms to keep student fees frozen until the end of the year but there's a possibility the fees will increase exactly as planned starting next January.


Blind Chinese activist trusts deal with govt.
A Chinese activist who caused a diplomatic dispute between China and the United States said Monday he is confident that the Chinese government will hold up its end of a deal to let him study overseas. Chen Guangcheng is a blind, self-taught legal activist who made a daring escape from house arrest in his rural town into U.S. diplomatic custody in Beijing more than a week ago. Under arrangements announced Friday by Washington and Beijing, Mr. Chen may be able to leave to study in the United States. The activist is in a Beijing hospital where he was taken to receive medical care and was joined by his wife and two children.

Don`t cut too quickly: IMF

The head of the International Monetary Fund is calling for indebted European countries to reduce spending only gradually to avoid further slowing their economies. Christine Lagarde says in a speech in Zurich that countries should avoid cutting too steeply when their economies are contracting. She says governments should not fight any fall in tax revenues caused solely because the economy weakens. Greece and other European countries have been trying to reduce their debt loads as a percentage of their economies. When they have cut deficits, their economies have shrunk. That makes it harder to reduce their deficits as a percentage of their economy, which some have agreed to as part of an international bailout.

Greeks fail to form government
An anti-austerity backlash by voters in Greece and France shook the euro zone on Monday, causing jitters for the euro currency and stock markets amid deepening doubts about whether Greece has a future in the single currency. Greece, where Europe's national debt crisis began in 2009, slid into turmoil after an election on Sunday boosted left and right-wing fringe parties, stripping the two mainstream parties that backed a painful EU/IMF bailout of their parliamentary majority.
Uncertainty over whether the country could avert bankruptcy and stay in the euro deepened on Monday when Antonis Samaras, leader of the conservative New Democracy party which won the biggest share of the vote, failed within hours to cobble together a government. Mr. Samaras had had three days to form a coalition. However, his call for a national unity government to keep Greece in the euro zone but renegotiate the bailout program fell on deaf ears. Rebuffed by a string of anti-bailout parties, Mr. Samaras admitted defeat shortly after President Karolos Papoulias had given him the mandate to negotiate a coalition.

New French president starts job on May 15
Socialist François Hollande will be sworn in as France's new president on May 15. Mr. Hollande won Sunday's presidential election with 51.6 percent of the vote. Nicolas Sarkozy, who finished the first round about half-a-million votes behind his rival, failed in his bid to attract sufficient votes from supporters of far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Putin back in presidential saddle

Russian President Vladimir Putin took the oath of office in a brief ceremony on Monday. On the streets outside thousands of helmeted riot police prevented hundreds of demonstrators from protesting his return to the presidency. Mr. Putin has ruled Russia since 2000, first as president and then during the past four years as prime minister. The new six-year term will keep him in power until 2018, with the option of running for a fourth term. Despite unprecedented security measures in the centre of Moscow, at least 1,000 opposition activists tried to protest along the route Putin's motorcade took to the Kremlin.

Daughter of jail former Ukrainian leader seeks German help
The daughter of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko met with Germany's justice minister on Monday in a bid to increase European pressure on Ukraine's leadership. Eugenia Tymoshenko had a private meeting with Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger in Berlin to discuss her mother's case and the rule of law in Ukraine. Mrs. Tymoshenko has been on hunger strike for about two weeks and needs medical treatment for a back condition. She is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges of abuse of power, a case the West has strongly condemned as politically motivated.

Putin sworn in as Russian President
Vladimir Putin took the oath as Russia's presidentMonday with an appeal for unity. The ceremony,which saw the 59-year-old Putin sworn in for a six-year term, was attended by 2000 dignitaries in the Kremlin's former throne room. Mr. Putin has now taken back the presidency he ceded to his ally Dmitry Medvedev in 2008 after eight years as president. Mr. Putin served as Prime Minister for four years and now Mr. Medvedev has taken over the post. Analysts say Mr. Putin is returning with his authority weakened by months of protests that have polarised Russia and left him facing a challenge to reassert himself. In the latestprotests on Sunday, police detained more than 400 people after violence occurred at a rally attended by about 20,000 people across the Moscow River from the Kremlin.


Call for shakeup at CPR gets boost
The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is backing Pershing Square Capital Management's nominees to the Canadian Pacific Railway board of directors. U.S. investment firm Pershing Square is seeking to replace CP chief executive Fred Green with Hunter Harrison, former head of rival railway CN, a move that Teachers' supports. Teachers' also said Pershing's seven nominees are in the best interests of the railway. The railway's annual meeting is set for May 17.

The Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday: 11,861 - 10.. Canadian dollar: US$1.00. Euro: $1.29. Oil: $97.93 - .56.


Patrick Sharp, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jamie Benn had their way with France at the IIHF World Hockey Championship. The new linemates combined for 11 points as Canada thumped the French 7-2. Canada sits with a 2-and-1 record and has a day off before meeting Switzerland on Wednesday.


British Columbia on Tuesday: rain, high C15 Vancouver. Yukon: rain. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: cloud. Whitehorse 6, Yellowknife 15, Iqaluit 2. Alberta: mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan: sun. Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 24, Regina 16, Winnipeg 17. Ontario, Quebec: rain. Toronto 19, Ottawa 17, Montreal 13. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 16, Halifax, Charlottetown 15, St. John's 14.

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