Wednesday, May 9, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 8 May 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports
Canadian

Parliament warned govt. will miss environmental targets
The Canadian Parliament's environmental watchdog says Canada is acting too slowly to combat climate change and has little chance of achieving its modest 2020 target for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The government pulled Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change last year. But it has promised to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Scott Vaughan says the government is not moving quickly enough to introduce the necessary regulations and noted that an official forecast in July 2011 showed emissions in 2020 would in fact be 7.4 percent above the 2005 level.
Mr. Vaughan says the federal environment department has no plan to show how various departments and agencies would co-operate and has not provided estimates of how various sectors of the economy
should cut emissions. In response to the report, Environment Minister Peter Kent said the government was making "significant progress" on meeting its 2020 target.



Canada has mental health strategy
Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is welcoming the country's first national mental health strategy. But it's not clear whether Ottawa will take a minor or major role in its implementation. The minister's presence at the formal launch of the Mental Health Commission of Canada's blueprint suggests government will be a player of some kind. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper has often suggested that health-care delivery is best left to the provinces. And the minister has made no mention of federal money for the strategy. She has invited the head of the commission to attend an international conference on mental health with her.



Electoral scammer is slippery customer
Elections Canada's hunt for the elusive Pierre Poutine has led investigators down a blind alley. Investigators sought Internet records from a Saskatchewan-based website that lets people surf the web anonymously. The agency believed the company, Freeproxyserver.ca, might have information that could lead investigators to the person behind misleading and harassing calls during the last election campaign. But a newly released court document shows the company told Elections Canada last month that Internet records that might help identify Poutine no longer exist. Marc Norris, who runs the website, says it is standard practice to get rid of old records after a certain length of time. He says he complied with the production order and spoke by phone with Elections Canada last month.



B.C. apologizes to Japanese Canadians
British Columbia's first elected Japanese-Canadian politician wiped tears from her eyes Monday as she looked up at her eighty-five-year-old father seated in the legislature to witness an apology 70 years overdue. North Vancouver-Lonsdale Liberal MLA Naomi Yamamoto said the emotions poured out despite her best efforts to maintain her composure during the apology introduction. The post-apology ceremony turned into an all-party gathering as members of the Liberal and Opposition New Democrat caucuses crowded into Mrs. Yamamoto's office to recognize Japanese-Canadian internees. Up to 22,000 Japanese-Canadians, mostly living in British Columbia's Lower Mainland, had their property seized and were placed in internment camps in the province's Interior and across Western Canada or deported to Japan. Eighty per cent of them had been born in Canada.


Alberta Premier shuffles cabinet
Alberta Premier Alison Redford trimmed her cabinet Tuesday, rewarded some veterans and promoted a controversial rookie to the critical post of energy minister. Ken Hughes, a first-time legislature member from Calgary, replaces defeated cabinet minister Ted Morton as the point man for the province's oil and gas industry. Veteran cabinet minister Doug Horner, the current Treasury Board President, becomes the government's top money man by adding Finance to his portfolio.
Solicitor General Jonathan Denis is now also attorney general and justice minister. Former education minister Thomas Lukaszuk was moved to deputy premier. The cabinet has 19 members, including Mrs. Redford, which is two less than the pre-election group.
Mr. Hughes, 58, has been a key member of Redford's inner circle and was a federal Conservative MP from 1988 to 1993. His most recent job was a four-year stint as chair of Alberta Health Services, the amalgamated superboard tasked with delivering front-line care throughout the province. In that role he became a target for critics who charged the system was falling off the rails.



MP wants tanning salons off limites for teens
Conservative MP James Bezan is hoping to make that pre-prom visit to the tanning salon a thing of the past for Canadian teens. Mr. Bezan is pushing for age limits on the use of the devices. The private member's bill would ban the use of tanning beds and booths for Canadians under the age of 18. It would also require warning signs to be posted in salons, and labels to be affixed to tanning equipment. The MP, whose wife successfully fought melanoma twice in the past, said it's alarming how many young people are being diagnosed with a disease that used to be most common among seniors. An age limit on indoor tanning has already been put in place in Nova Scotia, and British Columbia announced similar legislation in March.



Suspects arrested in killing in Mexico of Canadian tourists
Prosecutors in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca say they have arrested five suspects in the killing of a Canadian woman and a Mexican man who were reported missing on Dec. 16. Prosecutors say Mexican-born Canadian citizen Ximena Osegueda and a friend were on a beach near the resort of Huatulco when members of the violent Zetas drug cartel attacked them, slit their throats and stole their possessions. A statement released by prosecutors on Monday says that three other men who allegedly participated in the brutal slayings are still at large and are being sought by police. Local media in Canada identified Osegueda as a University of British Columbia student. The bodies of Osegueda and Alejandro Honorio Santamaria were found partly burned and buried on a beach.




International

UN warns of Syrian civil war
UN envoy Kofi Annan has warned that world powers share a "profound concern" that Syria is descending into civil war but have pledged to deploy 300 cease-fire monitors there by the end of the month. But he says the world can't wait forever for the truce to work. Mr. Annan said in Geneva that there has been a series of bombings that are really worrying and that the UN's ceasefire-monitoring mission "is the only remaining chance to stabilize the country." Mr. Annan spoke after briefing the UN Security Council by videoconference from Geneva, where he warned that failure to prevent a civil war "will not only affect Syria, it will have an impact on the whole region." Mr. Annan also says he also told the Council that unacceptable levels of violence and abuse are continuing in Syria and that government troops are still present in and around cities and towns.



Interpol calls for arrest of Iraqi fugitive
Interpol called for the arrest of fugitive Iraqi Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi at the request of Iraqi authorities on Tuesday on suspicion of planning attacks. The move will likely complicate attempts to defuse Iraq's simmering political crisis. Mr. Hashemi, a top Sunni Muslim politician with the Iraqiya block, fled Baghdad in December when the Shi'ite-led government accused him of running death squads. The vice-president, who is thought to be in Istanbul, has denied he was involved in murdering six judges and other officials. He says the charges are politically motivated and has refused to stand trial in Baghdad. The case strained Iraq's fragile coalition of Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish political blocs and generated fears of a return to the broad sectarian violence that wracked the country during the darker days of the war in 2006-2007.


Israeli leader forms unexpectedly coalition
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called off plans to hold early parliamentary elections and struck an agreement with the rival Kadima Party. Mr. Netanyahu now presides over a coalition with 94 seats in the 120-member parliament, one of the broadest governments in Israeli history. Mr. Netanyahu and Kadima's leader, Shaul Mofaz, appeared together at a news conference, saying their alliance would bring much-needed stability to Israeli politics.
They promised close co-operation on Iran and expressed hope that long-stalled peace talks with the Palestinians would resume. The prime minister's previous coalition, which had been remarkably stable
since taking office in March 2009, has been divided by divisions in recent weeks over court orders to demolish two West Bank settlements and to end draft exemptions for tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men. Unable to bridge these differences, Mr. Netanyahu announced Monday he would push for early elections in September, more than a year ahead of schedule. But in an overnight deal that stunned the nation, he instead joined forces with Kadima, the largest party in parliament with 28 seats.


Anti-Putin protesters occupy Moscow square
As many as 300 anti-Putin protesters took over a Moscow square for most of the day Tuesday until hundreds of helmeted riot police swept in to disperse the young crowd, detaining some of them seemingly at random. The impromptu rally had moved to the Chistiye Prudy square after police broke up a demonstration by hundreds of opposition activists who had spent the night outside the presidential administration offices to protest Vladimir Putin's return as Russia's president.
The cat-and-mouse game between protesters and police began on Monday, the day of Mr. Putin's inauguration at a formal ceremony inside the Kremlin. Hundreds of activists tried to protest near Red Square and along the route Mr. Putin's motorcade took to the Kremlin, but they were turned back or detained by thousands of riot police. Police said they made about 300 detentions on Monday.



Ukraine cancels summit
Ukraine on Tuesday was forced to call off a Central Europe regional summit after most heads of state boycotted it over the treatment of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The embarrassing move came after a dozen heads of state, including the German and Czech presidents, had refused to attend the Central and Eastern European summit to be held Friday and Saturday in the Crimean resort city of Yalta. Mrs. Tymoshenko is on a hunger strike to protest against an alleged beating by prison officials. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said it decided to postpone the summit until a later date because of the leaders' inability to come.



Blind Chinese rights advocate says authorities have made commitments
Rights advocate Chen Guangcheng says the Chinese government has quietly promised him it will investigate abuses he and his family suffered at the hands of local authorities. Beijing's apparent willingness to look into the blind legal activist's complaints is another sign that his maneuvre late last month, when he fled house arrest in his home town for the U.S. Embassy and set off a diplomatic conflict, has succeeded in getting high officials to address his concerns. Mr. Chen says an official from a central government bureau that handles citizens' complaints has visited him in his Beijing hospital four times, including to take a statement last Thursday.
He says it remains to be seen how seriously Beijing would probe abuses by township and county officials, which date back to 2005 after Mr. Chen angered local authorities by documenting forced late-term abortions and sterilizations in his rural community.





Financial

Credit card firms denounced
Canada's Competition Bureau says the country's credit card issuers have set up a perverse system that thwarts the normal rules of the marketplace and costs consumers billions of dollars annually. The lead counsel for the bureau opened the case against Visa and MasterCard with a sweeping indictment of their practices. Kent Thomson told a tribunal Tuesday that Canadian merchants are paying among the highest fees in the world for the privilege of accepting credit card purchases.
He says those fees added about $5 billion to consumer costs last year. Credit card fees can be as high as 50 times greater than those on debit cards. Mr. Thomson says Visa and MasterCard are able to get away with such uncompetitive practices by forbidding merchants to charge charging extra for credit card purchases. The issue was referred to the tribunal by the Competition Bureau after a group representing independent firms complained they suspected credit card companies engaged in price fixing.




Broadcasters ordered to turn down volume on TV ads

Canadian broadcasters will have to turn down the volume on their TV ads. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has given broadcasters until September to ensure both their programs and commercials are transmitted at the same volume. The commission says 2009's international standard for measuring and controlling television signals will apply to minimize fluctuations in loudness between programming and commercials. Canadians flooded the CRTC with complaints last year about annoyingly loud TV commercials.


Markets
The Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday: 11,705 - 156. Canadian dollar: US$1.00. Euro: $1.29. Oil: $97.29 - .65.




Sports

Sports
BASKETBALL
Canada's biggest basketball star has been hired to head up its men's national team. Steve Nash was named general manager of Canada's men's senior team at a press conference in Toronto today. The sport's national governing body has had the two-time National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player from Victoria, BC, in its sights for some time to head up a program that hasn't made an Olympic appearance since the 2000 Games.
TENNIS
Canada's Milos Raonic dominated former grand slam finalist David Nalbandian 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Madrid Open. The 21-year-old from Thornhill, ON, defeated the Argentine in just 74 minutes with his 16th ace. The Canadian will face world Number 3 Roger Federer in the third round.




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