Saturday, May 19, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 18 May 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

G8 summit starts
U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and five other world leaders on Friday to the Camp David presidential retreat near Washington, kicking off two international summits aimed at tackling global issues ranging from the future of battle-scarred Afghanistan to the European economic crisis. The leaders of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will open the G8 summit with dinner. Mr. Harper, the longest-serving leader at the Camp David summit, arrives on a wave of good news. A new report ranks Canada first when it comes to G8 countries fulfilling pledges made at international summits. The University of Toronto's G8 Research Group study also found that one of the areas in which countries are doing the worst is the maternal and child health initiative launched by Canada at the 2010 G8 summit in Muskoka. Only four countries lived up to their commitment.



Toronto to hold inquiry into police operations at G20
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says a retired judge will hear misconduct charges levelled against dozens of Toronto police officers arising out of the tumultuous G20 summit two years ago. Chief Blair's decision follows intense pressure for "real accountability" sparked by a scathing review of summit policing by Ontario's independent police watchdog. On Wednesday, Gerry McNeilly of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, said the evidence in at least 107 citizen complaints ranging from illegal detentions to brutality was enough to warrant misconduct charges. At least four of those relate to senior commanders, who gave orders during the June 2010 weekend that saw the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. The hearings will be conducted in public and the results made public. Mr. McNeilly's 300-page report slammed police for wantonly trampling constitutional rights and using excess force.


NDP chief to visit Alberta
Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is coming to Alberta to discuss the oilsands, but it isn't clear if he will tour the area that he says is killing manufacturing jobs in Central Canada. Mr. Mulcair's comments about the oilsands driving up the value of the Canadian dollar and killing jobs have angered Alberta Premier Alison Redford. Mrs. Redford has said she won't meet with Mr. Mulcair until he visits the Fort McMurray region to educate himself about the oilsands. Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason says Mr. Mulcair is to fly into Edmonton May 30 for meetings in the capital the following day. Mr. Mason says Mulcair is to meet with unnamed political and business leaders.


High court judge to retire
Justice Marie Deschamps is retiring from the Supreme Court of Canada, leaving Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fill a third court vacancy in less than a year. Mrs. Deschamps will step down in August after a decade on the court. Her departure is the third in less than a year from the country's highest court, following the appointments last fall of justices Andromache Karakatsanis and Michael Moldaver.


Montreal approves law aimed at vandals
A bylaw banning protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations in Montreal "without a valid excuse" has been passed at city hall. Mayor Gerald Tremblay says the measure gives police the tools they have lacked until now to intervene and arrest troublemakers before violence and vandalism occur. The ban goes into effect in a city that has seen hundreds of arrests and witnessed violent protests in the last few months. The bylaw was passed as members of the Quebec legislature continued their debate on a controversial bill aimed at putting an end to student protests. The legislation provides for fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for any individual who prevents someone from entering an educational institution. Penalties climb to between $7,000 and $35,000 for a student leader and to between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or student federations.



Residents of Alberta town weren't properly warned of fire risk
A report into last spring's disastrous fire in Slave Lake, Alberta, says residents weren't warned about safety risks or evacuation plans in the days before fires wiped out one-third of the northern town. An independent review also says the government's advisories didn't include details about the behaviour of the wildfires in windy conditions. The report says such information could have helped local authorities and the public make informed decisions. Some residents complained after the fires that they weren't given enough warning and were forced to turn around when they tried to leave because roads were closed. Flames destroyed more than 500 homes and buildings in Slave Lake.


Germany allows extradition procedures for Canadian conservationist
A German court has allowed a Costa Rican extradition request involving the Canadian founder of an anti-whaling group to move forward. Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was arrested in Germany last week on an international warrant issued by Costa Rica. He's wanted there for allegedly endangering a fishing boat while filming a documentary in 2002. Sea Shepherd now says a German court has granted a preliminary extradition arrest warrant to Costa Rica, but has also granted bail for Mr. Watson for as long as his case is being considered. He is expected to be released on bail of 250,000 euros on Monday.





International

EU prepared for Greek euro exit
The EU's trade commissioner says European officials are working on contingency plans in case Greece leaves the euro zone, while Berlin says it is prepared for all eventualities. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, one of Greece's harsher critics, said market turmoil fuelled by the euro zone debt crisis could last another year or two. Policymakers insist they want Greece to remain in the euro zone but European Union trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said the European Commission and the European Central Bank were working on scenarios in case it has to leave. Speculation about such planning has been rife, but de
Gucht's comments appeared to be the first time an EU official has acknowledged the existence of contingencies being drawn up.



Rebellious inmnates of Venezuelan prison surrender


About 300 inmates have filed out of a troubled penitentiary where a group of armed prisoners has held off Venezuelan authorities for three weeks. Several inmates emerged from La Planta prison on Friday morning with their hands on their heads, flanked by troops, and stepped aboard a truck to be transferred to another prison. The inmates began leaving on Thursday night hours after heavy gunfire erupted inside the prison. Authorities have been trying to persuade members of an armed group inside La Planta to leave so it can be shut down. It was unclear how many inmates remained inside, or whether some intended to keep resisting. Venezuela's government is trying to close La Planta following two escape attempts and complaints of overcrowding. A group of armed inmates have effectively kept the authorities out of the prison since late last month.


Protest held in city loyal to Syrian regime
Syrian security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse thousands rallying Friday in Aleppo in what activists said was the largest protest yet in a city that has largely remained loyal to President Bashar Assad during the country's 15-month uprising. A raid on dormitories at the city's main university killed four students and forced the temporary closure of the state-run school earlier this month. On Thursday, some 15,000 students demonstrated outside the gates of Aleppo University in the presence of U.N. observers, before security forces broke up the protest. Even bigger numbers took to the streets Friday. Aleppo-based
activist Mohammad Saeed said it was the largest demonstration there since the start of the uprising.


Bahrainis protest against Gulf unity plan
Tens of thousands of protesters in Bahrain joined a march to denounce proposals for closer unity between the unrest-torn Gulf Kingdom and neighbouring Saudi Arabia. The demonstration stretched for more than five kilometres. There were no immediate reports of violence, but the huge turnout Friday points to strong opposition to proposals to unify the decision making between the Sunni rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Gulf leaders earlier this week delayed any decision on the unity plans. Bahrain's Shiite-led protesters strongly object to the plan. The nation's majority Shiites began an uprising 15 months ago for a stronger political voice in the Sunni-ruled nation.



Chinese smuggler gets life
China's state media say former fugitive Lai Changxing has been sentenced to life in prison for running a large-scale smuggling operation that paid off scores of Chinese government officials. Xinhua reports that Lai was convicted and sentenced Friday morning by the Intermediate People's Court in Xiamen, the port city which operated as his base. He had battled deportation from Canada for a decade, saying he risked torture or execution if returned. Lai's smuggling operation reached to the highest levels of government, involving a deputy police minister and implicating a member of the Communist Party's decision-making Politburo. Lai's
network smuggled everything from cigarettes to cars to oil. The court said the operation totalled $30 billion and bribed 64 officials between 1996 and 1999.



New French leader will respect Afghanistan promise
French President François Hollande said Friday he would carry out his pledge to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan by year's end, two years earlier than the U.S. ally once planned. He made the declaration to President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. The leaders, meeting for the first time, also agreed that managing the eurozone debt crisis is critical to global financial health. Mr. Obama said this weekend's gathering of Group of Eight economic powers at Camp David will promote a "strong growth agenda." Mr. Hollande, elected May 6, is insisting on rethinking a European austerity treaty. But he also is trying to convince Mr. Obama and other leaders at the G-8 economic summit that his position will not send worsen the debt crisis. On Afghanistan, a compromise appeared likely that would see 3,300 French troops shift from combat roles earlier than once planned, but leave some French presence in Afghanistan in a different role.


Facebook shares rise, fall
Facebook Inc. shares rose less than expected on their first day of trade on Friday and huge order volume caused technical problems that marred the coming out party of the No. 1 online social network. Its shares were up 8 percent in early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, after opening 11 percent higher and then rapidly dropping to touch their initial public offering price of $38. The gains were below market forecasts of as much as a 50 percent jump. Facebook, which has about 900 million users globally, priced its IPO at the top end of its target range, becoming the first U.S. company to go public with a valuation greater than $100 billion.




Financial

U.S. presidential runner touts Canadian pipeline project
American Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney is vowing to approve TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline on his first day on the job if elected in November. Mr. Romney has been criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama for months for failing to give the green light to the pipeline. The president rejected the project earlier this year, but invited TransCanada to apply for another permit once the Calgary-based company rerouted the project around a crucial aquifer in Nebraska. TransCanada recently came up with a new route for Keystone XL, one that skirts the Nebraska aquifer before joining up with the original proposed path of the pipeline. Environmentalists say the new route continues to pose threats to
Nebraska's drinking water since it still traverses the aquifer, only avoiding a portion of the state's Sandhills region where groundwater is close to the surface.



Markets
The Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday: 11,281 - 50. Canadian dollar: US97 - 0.57. Euro: $1.30. Oil: $91.65 - .91.




Sports

Sports
BOXING
Three-time world champion Mary Spencer has to hope to receive the lone wild card berth for the London Olympics. The boxer from Windsor, ON,was upset in her first bout at the world championships and didn't get one of two qualifying berths.




Weather

Weather
British Columbia on Saturday: mix sun cloud, high C15 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse 11, Yellowknife 9, Iqaluit -1. Alberta, Manitoba: rain. Saskatchewan: mix sun cloud. Edmonton 13, Regina 17, Winnipeg 18. Ontario: sun south, rain north. Quebec: sun. Toronto 25, Ottawa 28, Montreal 26. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia: sun. Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 24, Halifax 19, Charlottetown 20, St. John's 13.





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