Thursday, May 10, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 9 May 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Opposition stages Commons revolt
Canada's opposition New Democratic Party's legislators are vowing to delay Parliament to prevent the Conservative government from passing its massive budget
bill on Monday. The procedural delays began just two hours after government House leader Peter Van Loan rejected the NDP's proposal to split the 400-plus-page bill up into manageable chunks that could be scrutinized more closely.
The first ploy was to drag out debate on a fisheries committee report on snow crabs and to force a recorded vote on allowing another New Democrat MP to speak on the matter. NDP House leader Nathan Cullen says other tactics will be used to tie up Parliament so that debate on the omnibus budget implementation bill and a vote planned for Monday can not proceed. He says the Conservative government brought this on itself by refusing the NDP plan to split the bill. The bill contains more than 400 pages and makes major changes to some 60 laws, including environmental regulations, fisheries protection, immigration law and employment insurance among other things.

Conservatives give in to pressure on immigration bill
The Conservative government has bowed to pressure and proposed amendments to a controversial new refugee bill. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says migrants deemed part of "mass arrivals" will now have their detention reviewed at the 14-day mark, as opposed to having to wait a year. He says the intention was never to detain legitimate refugees but to have greater ability to process smuggled migrants who arrive in large numbers. Mr. Kenney's also making clear that the government won't be revoking permanent residency status for refugees when the situation in their home countries improves. Refugee advocacy groups and the Opposition have said the bill is dangerous and punishes refugees instead of helping them. The New Democrats said earlier today they believe the bill centralizes too much power in the hands of the minister and does nothing to stop the problem of human smuggling.

RCMP wrecks credit-card scam
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police says Canadian police have dismantled a criminal organization that was allegedly involved in an international debit-card scam worth up to $100 million. The Mounties say 45 people were arrested Wednesday in about 60 raids conducted in the Montreal area and in Ontario. More than 250 officers from various police forces took part in the operation to crack down on the Montreal-based network. Arrest warrants have been issued for 61 people who are expected to face more than 350 criminal charges, including gangsterism, fraud and identity theft

Former wheat monopoly lays off hundreds
The Canadian Wheat Board is cutting hundreds of jobs as its monopoly comes to an end. The board says the number of employees will be down to 288 by the end of the month. The number will drop to about 100 by the end of the year. The Board says last year there were 430 people on the payroll, mainly in Winnipeg. Since the 1940's, western wheat and barley farmers had no choice but to sell through the board. The federal government passed a law last year to strip the Board of its monopoly and open the market as of this summer.

NS mine disaster remembered
A sombre vigil was held early Wednesday near theformer Westray mine in rural Nova Scotia, where 26 men died in an underground explosion 20 years ago. About 50 people gathered in the rain before a black memorial stone in New Glasgow that includes the names of the coal miners who died. Rev. Glen Matheson opened ceremony with a prayer and moment of silence at 7 a.m. Among those in the sodden crowd were relatives of the miners, politicians and union members. Stephen Hunt, a representative of the United Steelworkers of America, told the crowd that not enough is being done to prosecute those responsible for workplace deaths.

Mexico arrests suspects in killing of Canadian at resort
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.

Rich Tunisian exile loses residency status

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board has revoked the permanent residency status of the brother-in-law of the former president of Tunisia. Belhassen Trabelsi had tried to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds. But the Board says there's no sign he will not receive a fair trial in Tunisia. Mr. Trabelsi fled Tunisia as his brother-in-law's régime was collapsing and is facing a variety of charges there, including looting its treasury. However, he has applied for refugee status and as a result he will likely remain in Canada for years while that issue is decided.


South Sudan claims new attacks
South Sudan says its northern neighbour has resumed its aerial bombardment of South Sudan, ignoring international calls for a cessation of hostilities between the two countries. South Sudan's military says there were attacks Monday and Tuesday in the states of Upper Nile, Unity and Northern Bahr el Ghazal. Sudan has repeatedly denied it is carrying out a bombing campaign over southern territory, saying instead it is the victim of its southern neighbour's aggression. The UN Security Council last month approved a resolution threatening non-military sanctions against Sudan and South Sudan if they do not stop escalating violence and return to negotiations.

Greek govt. talks stall
Talks on forming a new Greek government deadlocked Wednesday, with conservative leader Antonis Samaras denouncing a radical leftist leader's call to reject the country's international bailout. Alexis Tsipras, whose Radical Left Coalition party came a surprise second in Sunday's election, is seeking partners for a governing coalition after voters deserted the two main parties in droves, angry at the pain that harsh austerity cuts have brought. Mr. Tsipras on Wednesday was meeting with other party leaders including Mr. Samaras. He heads the conservative New Democracy party that placed first with 18.9 per cent and 108 seats in the 300-member parliament, and the socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos. Mr. Samaras himself failed to hammer out a coalition on Monday. If Mr. Tsipras also fails, the mandate will go to Mr. Venizelos, the former finance minister whose formerly dominant socialist PASOK party plunged to third place with a meagre 13.9 per cent and 41 seats. If no deal can be reached in the next few days, new elections will be called for June.

Poland appeals for jailed Ukrainian former leader
Poland's president is appealing to Ukraine's leaders to change what he says are "anachronistic" laws that have allowed the imprisonment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and others on political grounds. Bronislaw Komorowski's appeal Wednesday comes amid growing concern in the European Union over the imprisonment and treatment of Mrs. Tymoshenko, a former prime minister who is serving a seven-year jail term on abuse of office charges. The imprisonment, widely viewed in the West as politically motivated, has become a pressing political issue in Poland because the two countries are to co-host the Euro 2012 football championship next month. Warsaw strongly disapproves of how Mrs. Tymoshenko is being treated, but also opposes calls by some EU members to boycott Ukraine during Euro 2012, not wanting to see the championship become a failure.

Russian dissidents jailed
Two of Russia's most prominent opposition leaders, Alexei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov, were jailed for 15 days on Wednesday for their role in protests against President Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin. Their sentences are likely to increase concern among opposition leaders that Mr. Putin wants to crack down on protesters following his inauguration for a six-year term on Monday. Both were sentenced over a peaceful protest on Tuesday when they walked along the streets of Moscow with dozens of their supporters but had no permission to stage a rally. They have also been summoned as witnesses in a criminal investigation into a rally on Sunday at which 29 police were hurt in clashes with demonstrators.

Chinese dissident's lawsuit accepted
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei says a court in Beijing has accepted a lawsuit his design firm has filed against a tax office for levying a $2.4 million bill on his company. Mr. Ai said Wednesday the court accepted a lawsuit filed by his company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., against the No. 2 Inspection Squad of the Beijing tax bureau. He says the tax office violated laws in handling witnesses, evidence and company accounts in his case. Mr. Ai was detained for three months last year during an overall crackdown on dissent. Following his release, authorities demanded his design company pay $2.4 million in back taxes and fines.


SNC hit with new lawsuit
Embattled engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is facing its second-class action lawsuit in months after a Toronto firm said it is seeking $1.5 billion on behalf of investors outside of Quebec who saw the value of their asset plummet. Rochon Genova LLP announced the lawsuit Wednesday, alleging the Montreal-based company violated securities law by misrepresenting that it had adequate controls and procedures to ensure accurate disclosure and financial reporting. The claim arises from alleged payments made by SNC-Lavalin to members, associates, and agents of the Gadhafi regime to secure contracts for infrastructure projects in Libya. It follows a $250-million claim filed in March on behalf of investors in Quebec. Quebec law firm Siskinds, Desmeules filed a claim in Quebec Superior Court in March against the company andcertain of its former officers and directors.

TransCanada wins customers for pipeline
TransCanada Corp. says it has received enough customer support to go ahead with a $275-million oil terminal at Hardisty, AB, the start point of the U.S.-bound Keystone pipeline. The Calgary-based company has received binding, long-term commitments of more than 500,000 barrels per day, leading it to expand the tanks and pipeline infrastructure at the terminal to handle 2.6 million barrels from two million barrels. The project is expected to come into service in 2014. CEO Russ Girling says there is overwhelming industry support to transport crude oil safely and reliably to markets across North America. The Keystone system currently delivers crude to refineries in Illinois and a storage hub at Cushing, OK. A proposal called Keystone XL to expand the capacity of the line and extend it to the U.S. Gulf Coast has met stiff resistance from environmentalists and has become a major political question south of the border.

Natives protest against planned pipeline
A few hundred West Coast First Nations and supporters marched Wednesday on Enbridge's annual meeting of shareholders in Toronto. They drummed and sang outside the downtown hotel where shareholders were meeting. The Yinka Dene Alliance opposes a proposed Enbridge pipeline that would cross their territory. Protesters spoke of the importance of clean waterand denounced Prime Minister Stephen Harper's changes to environmental protections. The $5.5-billion Northern Gateway project would see crude from Alberta's oilsands moved through a twin pipeline more than 1,100 kilometres to the B.C. coast. From there, supertankers would ship the crude to Asia. The alliance argues the project poses a threat to aboriginals' way of life by threatening the water and ecosystems.

RIM says U.S. military approves new BlackBerry
Research In Motion says the U.S. Defence Department has given approval use of the BlackBerry 7. RIM says the BlackBerry Torch and Curve models, which include touchscreen models and touchscreen and keyboard models, have passed U.S. army and Defence Information Systems Agency security tests. BlackBerry devices were once the only choice among many government departments and businesses, but recently some U.S. agencies have said they are also allowing Apple's iPhones to be used. The General Services Administration is the latest U.S. body to allow iPhones in the workplace alongside BlackBerrys.
Meanwhile, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has begun issuing iPhones and American drilling giant Halliburton has said it's phasing out BlackBerrys among its 70,000 employees.


The Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday: 11,683 - 22. Canadian dollar: US.99. Euro: $1.29. Oil: $96.54 - .47.


Canada escaped a possible upset at the world hockey championship. Ryan Getzlaf scored in the third period to lead Canada past Switzerland 3-2. The Swiss led the game and then tied it at two to put the pressure on the Canadians.


British Columbia on Thursday: mix sun cloud, high C14 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse 8, Yellowknife 6, Iqaluit 4. Alberta: mix sun cloud. Saskatchewan, Manitoba: rain. Edmonton 10, Regina 14, Winnipeg 27. Ontario: sun south, mix sun cloud north. Quebec: rain. Toronto 16, Ottawa 10, Montreal 14. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 14, Halifax 13, Charlottetown 15, St. John's 12.

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