Wednesday, May 30, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Syrians ordered out of Canada
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada is expelling Syrian diplomats in the wake of the massacre in Houla. Mr. Baird says all remaining diplomats in Ottawa and their families have five days to leave Canada. As well, another Syrian diplomat waiting to come to Canada will be refused entry. The minister says Canadians, like other people around the world, were horrified to learn on the weekend about the massacre of more than 100 people, including nearly three dozen children under the age of 10. Other countries have also said they are taking similar actions.





Canada bearish on possible world trade deal
Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast says a comprehensive world trade deal is unlikely for some time and that Canada must compensate by striking new trade deals on its own. The minister says there will be no progress on the Doha round trade negotiations for some years. Given that Canada is depending on exports, Mr. Fast says his government is redoubling efforts to reach deals with the European Union and to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, aswell as opening markets in China, India, Brazil and Japan.

The minister says he wants to announce a new global commerce strategy sometime next year. Mr. Fast did not offer any updates about the state of negotiations with the EU or whether Canada is any closer to joining the TPP grouping. Entry into TPP is being currently blocked by the U.S., Australia and New Zealand over what is seen as Canada's reluctance to open up dairy and poultry to foreign competition





Ottawa won't appeal ruling on veterans
Disabled Canadian veterans will soon be able to collect their full pension along with long-term disability. Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced that Ottawa will not appeal a court ruling on the matter. He did not say how far back the government would go in refunding monies already lost . Earlier this month the Federal Court of Canada rejected clawbacks from the pensions of disabled veterans. Initially, the federal government fought to deduct disability payements from veterans regular pensions. The court said the clawback was unfair under the Pensions Act and violated the reasonable expectations of disabled vets.





Elections watchdog sees lack of voter trust
Elections watchdog Marc Mayrand says it's critical that trust be restored in Canada's electoral system. The chief electoral officer acknowledges confidence in the system has been shaken by a recent court ruling overturning the election result in one Toronto riding, and by the so-called robocall scandal. Mr. Mayrand says Elections Canada has now received 1,100 complaints from voters claiming to have received calls directing them to phoney polling locations during last spring's election. Elections Canada's budget is being cut by eight per cent, forcing the agency to put off some plans, such as a pilot project on Internet voting.





Emergency lifted at northern Ontario town
The state of emergency for the northeastern Ontario town of Kirkland Lake has been lifted. Firefighters have been battling a large forest fire on the north edge of town for the past 10 days. The fire has been as close as three kilometres to the community of more than 9,000 people. On Tuesday morning, the status of the fire was downgraded to "being held" as crews managed to surround the 10-kilometre-long fire with fire hoses. Provincial police say they have determined the fire was started by campers in a recreational area and are asking for the public's help identifying those responsible.



Attempt at lawsuit over NS tar ponds drags on
A lawyer in Halifax, NS, says an appeal in a class-action lawsuit over Cape Breton's notorious tar ponds is disappointing but not surprising after some eight years of legal wrangling. Ray Wagner, who represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, says the former and current residents of Sydney remain dedicated to their battle against the federal and provincial governments. Plaintiffs are seeking compensation for property damage and exposure to industrial toxins from decades of contaminants spewed from the former Sydney Steel Corp. plant, as well as funds to establish a medical monitoring program. Some are also suing to have their properties cleaned up. They include people who live or have lived in neighbourhoods near the steel plant, the former coke ovens operation and the tar ponds, an estuary full of contaminated runoff and sludge from the ovens. The lawyer says the suit could include up to 20,000 people. Earlier this month, the federal and provincial governments filed notices of appeal of a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision certifying the lawsuit as a class action.





NL seal hunt concludes
Newfoundland and Labrador's fisheries minister says 70,000 harp seals have been killed during this year's commercial seal hunt. nearly twice the number that was killed last year. Darin King told the provincial legislature that 680 sealers took part in this year's hunt, which had a total allowable catch of 400,000. About 38,000 harp seals were killed last year. Mr. King says he believes the higher catch level reflects an opening of markets in Asia, an argument animal rights groups contest. Earlier this year, the provincial government announced a $3.6 million loan to Carino Processing Ltd., a seal products company, in an effort to support the hunt.








Egyptian presidential candidate would have coalition
The Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt's presidential election run-off sought to broaden his appeal on Tuesday. Mohamed Mursi promises he would govern in coalition with others and would not impose Islamic strictures such as the veil on women. His chief competitor is former air force chief Ahmed Shafiq, a former associate of ousted president Hosni Mubarak. Mr. Mursi says he would form a cabinet of all groups represented in parliament. Many of Egypt's 50 million eligible voters are wary of having either a conservative Islamist or a former military man linked Mubarak as president.





Myanmar opposition leader makes first trip in decades
Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is in Bangkok, Thailand, on her first trip abroad in more then two decades. For 24 years, Suu Kyi was either under house arrest or too fearful that if she left the country, the government would never let her return to continue the battle for democracy. Her trip is seen as a mark of confidence in recent government reforms including her party's entrance into parliament this year. Suu Kyi is to spend several days in Thailand, meeting with migrant workers and visiting a refugee camp. She has another trip planned for Europe in mid-June.





UN warns of cyber virus
A United Nations agency charged with helping member nations secure their national infrastructures plans to issue a sharp warning about the risk of the Flame virus that was recently discovered in Iran and other parts of the Middle East. The confidential warning will tell member nations that the Flame virus is a dangerous espionage tool that could potentially be used to attack critical infrastructure. Evidence suggest that the virus, dubbed Flame, may have been built on behalf of the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's nuclear program in 2010, according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software maker that took credit for discovering the infections.





Quake again strikes northern Italy
An earthquake killed at least 15 people in northern Italy on Tuesday, damaging buildings and spreading fear among thousands of residents living in tents after a similarly strong tremor in the same region flattened their homes nine days ago. Officials said 200 people had been injured and seven were missing, trapped under the rubble of houses and warehouses in the Emilia-Romagna region, where several building sites had just reopened after the previous quake on May 20. The Italian government said 15 people were confirmed dead, more than twice the number killed in the May 20 quake that, like Tuesday's, had its epicentre near the city of Modena. The number of those forced to leave their homes doubled to 14,000.





Vatican denounces personal attack on Pope
The Vatican's deputy secretary of state says the leak of documents from Pope Benedict's private apartment was part of a "brutal"personal attack on him. Archbishop Angelo Becciu made his comments in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. He says the pope's butler was in possession of "a large number" of the pontiff's private documents when he was arrested last week. It was the first time the Vatican newspaper has reported the arrest of the butler, Paolo Gabriele.






Energy sector heading toward labour shortage
A report warns an aging workforce and a booming energy sector are going to pose a serious challenge for oil and gas companies looking for workers over the next few years. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producerssays the industry will have to fill at least 9,500 jobs by 2015. Executive director Cheryl Knight says retirements will reduce the number of skilled workers who will be difficult to replace with new employees. The energy labour market outlook suggests that the oilsands and pipeline sectors will make the biggest labour demand over the next three years. Tom Huffaker from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the last economic downturn prompted many companies to downsize, but the recovery has been stronger than expected.





Viterra shareholders approve takeover
Shareholders of Canada's largest grain handler, Viterra Inc., on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a friendly takeover bid by Swiss commodities trader Glencore International Plc. The deal was supported by 99.8 percent of shareholders. Glencore offered Viterra $16.25 per share, or $6.l billion in March for the company, which owns the biggest share of Western Canada's grain storage and farm supply outlets, as well as nearly all grain storage capacity in South Australia. The acquisition would bring Glencore into the big leagues of global agriculture, Canada is the biggest exporter of canola, spring wheat and

oats. Glencore would get most of Viterra's country and port grain storage in Western Canada, along with some food processing assets, and its grain storage and handling assets in South Australia. Glencore has also cut side deals to sell some of Viterra's assets to two Canadian companies, Agrium Inc. and Richardson International Ltd. in a move to win political support in Ottawa.





Markets
The Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday: 11,609 + 43. Canadian dollar: US97 US. Euro: $1.27. Oil: $90.75 - .11.






Sports
HOCKEY

When New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur steps on to the ice Wednesday night in the opening game of the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup final, it will mark his 200th career playoff contest. Only Patrick Roy with 247 games, has played in more. Brodeur will lead the Devils into the NHL final against the L.A. Kings.








Weather
British Columbia on Wednesday: rain, high C15 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse 14, Yellowknife 24, Iqaluit 0. Alberta: rain north, mix sun cloud south. Manitoba, Saskatchewan: sun. Edmonton 21, Regina 17, Winnipeg 19. Ontario, Quebec: mix sun cloud. Toronto 22, Ottawa, Montreal 25. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 20, Halifax 16, Charlottetown 15, St. John's 8.