Saturday, May 12, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Ontario would retain gun purchase records
Ontario says it won't create a provincial gun registry, but it will require stores to keep records of who buys guns, despite federal objections. Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur has written her federal counterpart, Vic Toews, to say Ontario will comply fully with the requirements of Bill C-19. It ended the federal gun registry. But Mrs. Meilleur says Ontario retailers will still be required to log names and address of anyone purchasing a gun as part of the permit process. The minister says it's up to Mr. Toews to change the federal Firearms Act if he wants Ontario retailers to stop collecting information on gun buyers.







Wildfires again menace Alberta


As people in Slave Lake, AB, prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of wildfires that ravaged the town, the threat of new wildfires in the region is listed as extreme. Alberta fire officials say the forests north of Edmonton are bone-dry, trees and grass haven't greened up, humidity is low and winds are strong and gusty. The combination of factors means the potential in the northern half of the province for wildfires ranges from high, to very-high to extreme. In and around the Lesser Slave Lake region there are 84 firefighters, 27 support staff, six heavy equipment groups, fourteen helicopters and two airtanker groups ready to jump on any new wildfires.







B.C. under pressure to take stand on proposed pipeline
British Columbia's environment minister acknowledges he's feeling the pressure to take a stand on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, but he says his government is determined to keep quiet until federal environmental reviews are completed. Environment Minister Terry Lake said Thursday the province's silence on the pipeline decision created a demand for clarity that the government was willing to withstand. Mr. Lake says it's still early in the review process and he is cautious about stating a position. Environmental groups, First Nations and B.C.'s Opposition New Democrats have come out firmly against the $5.5 billion Enbridge plan to pipe Alberta oil to north coast B.C. and ship the oil to Asia on supertankers. On the other side, the federal and Alberta governments also haven't been shy about touting the project's potential economic benefits to Canada.



Alberta premier takes exception to NDP leader's remarks about oilsands
Alberta Premier Alison Redford is speaking out about federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair's comments about the oilsands. The NDP leader said last weekend that the oilsands are artificially inflating the Canadian dollar and harming the country's manufacturing sector. He called it the definition of Dutch disease. This was a reference to the Netherlands and how a natural gas find in that country led to declines in manufacturing in the 1960s. Mrs. Redford says she's not sure whether Mr. Mulcair's comments were informed or just his opinion. But she added she hopes he explains his motivation because someone looking to lead the country one day needs to understand just how important the oilsands are to the entire country.



Cost of Libya campaign understated
The director of the National Defence Departyment's military's strategic joint staff has been called to explain duelling figures on how much the Harper government spent on the NATO mission, which ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year. Maj.-Gen. Jon Vance defended Peter MacKay, the defence minister, who claimed last October the air and sea campaign was under budget and set back the federal treasury by only $50 million. The actual incremental cost ended up being $103 million when all of the bills were tallied last February. Maj.-Gen. Vance says Mr. MacKay did not mislead the public and answered the

question of how much had been spent up until that time.

But he concedes the minister would have known the estimated cost at the time and did not speculate on why Mr. MacKay chose to go with the lower figures exclusively. Opposition parties slammed the Harper government for the confusion and compared it to the figures fiasco surrounding the F-35 stealth fighter purchase.





PM says job figures are vindication
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says job growth over the past two months shows that his government's economic stewardship is working. Canada booked its best two-month jobs gain in three decades with news Friday that the economy churned out 58,200 new jobs in April. Canadians found work in most regions of the country, many in the high-paying manufacturing, construction and resource industries. Since the start of March, 140,500 jobs were created, the best two-month employment performance the country has seen since 1981. Mr. Harper says the news is encouraging, but he adds that he doesn't want Canadians to become complacent. He says challenges remain for the global economy, and he called on Parliament to pass the government's budget measures.








Biggest U.S. bank suffers stiff loss
JPMorgan Chase stock lost more than 8 per cent of its value Friday after the bank, the largest in the United States, revealed a huge $2-billion loss in a trading group that manages the risks the bank takes with its own money. More than three years after the financial crisis, the surprise disclosure quickly revived debate about whether banks can be trusted to handle risk on their own. Sen. Carl Levin, chair of a subcommittee that investigated the crisis, said the loss was the latest evidence that what banks

call 'hedges' are often risky bets that so-called too-big-to-fail banks have no business making.





Greeks struggle to form govt.
Greece's politicians were locked in last-ditch efforts Friday to form a coalition government. Chances of a deal appear slim even with the country's future in Europe's common currency at stake. The political instability has alarmed Greece's European creditors. They've warned that the country's international bailout loans and its use of the euro could be threatened. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has suggested the 17-nation eurozone could deal with an abrupt Greek exit.

Greeks punished both main parties in Sunday elections for their handling of the country's protracted financial crisis and the deep

austerity measures they had to accept to get international bailout loans. Voters instead chose a smaller parties on the right and left, leaving a hung parliament with no group able to form a government. Hopes for a three-party deal between election winner conservative New Democracy, the third-place Socialist PASOK party and the small Democratic Left party of Fotis Kouvelis diminished Friday when Mr. Kouvelis insisted he could not participate in a government with just the country's two main parties.





Russian police sweep Moscow streets of protesters
On the day Vladimir Putin returned to Russia's presidency, police swept through Moscow clearing streets of protesters, herding away bystanders and detaining people for just wearing white ribbons symbolizing the opposition. Activists have since thrown away their banners in a change of tactics intended to get round a ban on unsanctioned rallies and avoid being detained. A few hundred young people are now in the fifth day of a round-the-clock movement that they call "the people's stroll." moving from one place to another about the Russian capital. The protesters unfurl yoga mats, sing Russian folk songs and read out passages from the constitution in the capital's leafy spaces, leaving police uncertain how to react. One of the protesters is 35-year-old anti-corruption blogger and opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. He was detained by police on Tuesday morning.



Brother of victim of Norwegian mas killer shows rage
The brother of a man gunned down by Anders Behring Breivik hurled a shoe at the mass killer in court on Friday, shouting "Go to hell, go to hell, you killed my brother." The outburst followed days of harrowing testimony from survivors of Norway's worst peacetime massacre. The shoe missed Breivik but struck his co-defence lawyer. Police said the attacker, who was quickly escorted from the

court, was a brother of one of the 69 people Breivik methodically shot dead on the small island of Utoeya last July during a youth camp organised by the ruling Labour Party. Breivik admits the killings but denies criminal responsibility, saying he was defending Norwegian ethnic purity from Muslim immigration.





South Sudan retreats from disputed region
The UN says South Sudan has withdrawn its police from the disputed Abyei region on its border with Sudan after the world body's Security Council threatened the African neighbors with sanctions to try and stop an escalating conflict. Sudan and South Sudan both claim Abyei, a border region containing fertile grazing land, which Khartoum occupied in May last year, triggering the exodus of tens of thousands of civilians after a southern attack on an army convoy.

Recent border clashes between Sudan and South Sudan, which culminated with South Sudan seizing a disputed oil field, prompted the Security Council to pass a resolution last week threatening sanctions if the two sides did not follow an African Union ceasefire plan. South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July, six months after a referendum agreed under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war that killed more than 2 million people.





Algerian ruling party wins again
Algeria on Friday declared its ruling party for the past 50 years the victor in a parliamentary election. The governing elite in Algeria had promised reform and a new generation of leaders in response to last year's upheavals in the region, but the election preserved the status quo. Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia said the National Liberation Front would be the biggest party in the new parliament, with 220 of the 462 seats. The official results showed that the FLN had increased its share of seats to 47 percent from 34 percent.



Syria claims having thwarted another suicide bombing
Syrian state television reports that security forces foiled an attempted suicide car bombing with 1,200 kilograms of explosives in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday, a day after two bombs in the capital Damascus killed at least 55 people. The would-be bomber was killed in the al Shaar district of Syria's largest city which, like Damascus, has seen increasing street protests against President Bashar al-Assad and rising levels of bloodshed after months of relative calm. Twin bombings in southern Damascus killed 55 people andwounded more than 300 on Thursday, the deadliest attacks since the uprising against Mr. Assad erupted 14 months ago.

The blasts further undermined a tattered ceasefire agreement repeatedly violated by the army and rebels since it was brokered by international mediator Kofi Annan four weeks ago. The deal has been overseen by nearly 150 unarmed UN observers in Syria.








Markets
The Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday: 11,695 - 41. Canadian dollar: US.99. Euro: $1.29. Oil: $95.83 - $1.25.



Report most supports SK grain handler takeover
A report released by the Saskatchewan government Friday says there are both potential upsides and downsides to Glencore's $6.1-billion takeover of Regina grain handler Viterra. The report by Informa Economics, commissioned by the province, says the transaction is likely to improve Saskatchewan farmers' ability to export their crops worldwide and cement the province's reputation as being open for business. But its says the deal, which would see Glencore sell much of Viterra's Canadian business to Richardson International and Agrium Inc., raises some concerns about competition for crop nutrients, such as nitrogen.

The effect on employment in the province is expected to be mixed and the impact on provincial coffers is expected to be modest. The report says the deal will give Saskatchewan farmers better access to international markets just as the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly over the sale of wheat and barley comes to an end. Once concern noted in the report is that Calgary-based Agrium might be able to raise nitrogen prices.








CFL team loses president
FOOTBALL

Montreal Alouettes President Ray Lalonde is leaving the organization for personal reasons, the Canadian Football League team announced Friday. Lalonde joined the Alouettes in March 2011 and implemented a new commercial strategy in time for last season. During his time with the Alouettes, Lalonde bolstered the team's presence in the community and also shored up and modernized its business units.








Weather
British Columbia on Saturday: sun, high C20 Vancouver. Yukon: mix rain snow. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse 7, Yellowknife 12, Iqaluit 4. Prairies: sun. Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg 21. Ontario: sun north, mix sun cloud south. Quebec: rain. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal 25. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 11, Halifax, St. John's 13, Charlottetown 12.