Tuesday, May 15, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Euro gets boost in Ottawa
The battered euro received a rare boost Monday when Poland's prime minister affirmed his country's commitment to adopt the currency, despite the financial woes that threaten Europe. Donald Tusk says Poland has coped well during the economic downturn and will continue to work with the European Union to strengthen the currency that 17 of its 27 members use. Mr. Tusk says Europe's future depends on a common currency.

His vote of confidence on Monday came as the political stalemate in Greece entered its eighth day and raised the possibility of the country's exit from the eurozone. Poland committed to joining the eurozone when it became a EU member and nothing has changed to this extent, he said Monday after a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Parliament Hill. Mr. Harper decline to speculate whether the continuing political and economic uncertainty currently facing Greece warrants its expulsion from the eurozone. Mr. Harper said his government is focused on increasing jobs and growth at home and getting its budget passed. He also paid tribute to Mr. Tusk's management of Poland's economy.





RCMP absolved of abuse at Toronto summit
The watchdog that keeps an eye on Canada's federal police says it acted appropriately during the G20 summit in Toronto in June 2010. The event was marred by violence and mass arrests. In its long-awaited report on the Ontario G8 and G20 summits, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police says there were no incidents of unreasonable force by the Mounties. It also found RCMP planning was thorough and intelligence-gathering was done with attention to the rights of demonstrators. The report says that though Mounties were involved in boxing in demonstrators, they were acting on orders of the Toronto police in charge. The commission launched its investigation after receiving more than two dozen complaints about the Mounties' role.





Canada Post arbitration bogs down
Arbitration hearings to settle a lingering dispute between Canada Post and its biggest union have been delayed again after the union won a stay of proceedings from the Federal Court of Canada. The union is seeking to block arbitrator Guy Dufort from hearing the case because of his previous work for Canada Post and history as a Tory candidate in Quebec. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has asked Mr. Dufort to step down, but he has so far refused. Federal Court will hold a hearing in July to review Mr. Dufort's appointment.

Canada Post locked out some 50,000 of its employees last year after a series of rotating strikes by the union. The dispute ended with federal back-to-work legislation that forced workers to accept wages that amounted to less than Canada Post's last offer. On other issues, the law imposed a form of winner-take-all arbitration in which both the union and the post office make a final offer, one of which would be accepted.





Ontario Liberals deny defiance on gun registry
Ontario's opposition Progressive Conservative Party has accused the Liberal government of planning to create a provincial gun registry. Premier Dalton McGuinty says he has no intention of creating an Ontario gun registry. But he says but he does want stores to follow a practice started in 1978 to keep registers of who buys guns. Opposition Leader Tim Hudak says Mr. McGuinty was a strong supporter of the long gun registry that was recently abolished by the federal Conservative government. He says the premier's true motive is to bring in what he calls a back-door gun registry. Ottawa has told the provinces the collection of gun sales data is no longer authorized under the Firearms Act.





Embattled Quebec minister quits
Quebec's education minister and deputy premier resigned from politics Monday in a bombshell announcement that came after months of student-related unrest. Education Minister Line Beauchamp said she was not resigning because of violence and intimidation related to the student strike. Making the announcement at a news conference with Premier Jean Charest, she said she was leaving because she didn't feel like she was helping to solve the problem. She says she had spoken to student groups about letting a parliamentary committee study the issue of university funding. She also asked whether they trusted the people's elected representatives to study the question and that on Monday they had refused.



Conservationist detained in Germany


A Canadian conservation activist is under arrest in Germany. The founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder, Paul Watson, has been detained in Frankfurt on an arrest warrant stemming from an alleged confrontation with a Costa Rican gun boat back in 2002. The Society says Mr. Watson is accused of perturbing ship traffic during filming of a documentary in Guatemalan waters. He now faces extradition to Costa Rica.








Syrian rebels claim victorious battle
Syrian rebels say they killed 23 government soldiers on Monday, and efforts to find a viable political alternative to Bashar al-Assad faltered when an opposition group said it would boycott Arab-backed talks to unite its splintered ranks. The latest bloodshed centred in the town of Rastan, where opposition sources said President Assad's forces killed nine other people, further unravelling a month-old UN ceasefire pact that is being overseen by international monitors. Rastan, 180 kilometres north of Damascus, has slipped inand out of government control during a 14-month-old uprising in which peaceful protest has given way to a sectarian-tinged insurgency that answers Assad's violent bid to crush unrest.





Gulfs delay decision on union
Gulf Arab states say they will delay decisions on proposals for closer political and security ties, seen as a potential shield against rival Iran and pro-reform challenges inspired by the Arab Spring. Monday's decision by the Gulf Co-operation Council came as a surprise after officials in Bahrain predicted it would get approval to integrate policies with Saudi Arabia, which has helped Bahrain's monarchy battle a 15-month-old uprising. The Bahrain-Saudi pact was considered a possible first step toward deeper co-operation among the six GCC states. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal says the plans now require more study. The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.



Pakistan willing to reopen Afghanistan border
Pakistan's foreign minister indicated Monday the time has come to reopen the country's Afghan border to NATO troop supplies, saying the government had made its point by closing the route for nearly six months in retaliation for deadly U.S. airstrikes on its troops. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar's comments offered the clearest indication yet that Pakistan is ready to give in to U.S. pressure to reopen the supply line, even though Washington has so far refused to apologize for last year's attack and end drone strikes in the country as demanded by Pakistan's parliament. But there could be clear benefits to reopening the route as well.

Pakistan is keen to attend a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21 that will largely focus on the Afghan war, and an invitation is likely contingent on the country allowing troop supplies to resume.





EU delays Ukraine accord
EU foreign ministers postponed ratifying a co-operation agreement with Ukraine on Monday in a protest over its human rights record, but were unable to agree on whether to snub Ukraine when it hosts the European soccer tournament next month. The 27-nation bloc has become increasingly concerned by Kiev's treatment of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who has said she has been beaten and whose health has deteriorated sharply since she was convicted of allegedly abusing her powers as prime minister. At a meeting in Brussels, it proved impossible to formulate a common response among all ministers or to agree on a possible boycott by government ministers of next month's high-profile Euro 2012 tournament which is co-hosted by Ukraine.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said, however, that the Tymoshenko case remained of crucial importance.





Palestinians end hunger strike
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners agreed Monday to end a hunger strike after winning concessions from Israel to improve their conditions. The deal ended a strike in which prisoners had gone without food for up to 77 days. Two men launched the strike on Feb. 27, and were joined by hundreds of others on April 17. According to a Palestinian negotiator, Israel agreed to allow prisoners from both the West Bank and Gaza to receive family visits. The visits from Gaza were halted in 2006 after Hamas-linked militants in Gaza captured an Israeli soldier. After the soldier was released in a prisoner swap last October, the Palestinians said the

ban should be lifted.





Greeks struggle to form government
Greek Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday he was not optimistic that a coalition government could be formed a week after an inconclusive election but urged all parties participating in talks to fight until a solution was reached. President Karolos Papoulias has summoned all parties in parliament apart from the ultra right to a third day of talks on Tuesday.





Mexicans try to identify bodies of mass murder victims
Mexican authorities struggled Monday to identify the 49 people found mutilated and scattered in a pool of blood near the U.S border. The bodies of 43 men and six women with their heads, hands and feet chopped off were dumped at the entrance to the town of San Juan. The Nuevo Leon government said the notorious Zetas drug gang had claimed responsibility for the bloodbath, one of the worstto hit Mexico during its struggle against the powerful cartels. Authorities said at least a few of the latest victims had tattoos of the Santa Muerte cult popular among drug traffickers. Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene says the dead will be hard to identify because of the lack of heads, hands and feet, which have not been found.








WestJet in new partnership


WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it has added South Korea's largest airline as its newest code-share partner. The agreement will allow Korean Air customers to seamlessly transfer onto more than 70 WestJet-operated flights. Tickets are currently available for flights beginning May 31. Korean Air will market and distribute WestJet flights by placing its code on North American flights. Airlines like WestJet use these sorts of partnerships to draw more traffic into their network and boost revenues. WestJet already has code-share agreements with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Japan Airlines and KLM.





Markets
The Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday: 11,6487 - 206. Canadian dollar: US.99. Euro: $1.28. Oil: $94.41 - $1.72.






Sports
HOCKEY

Dale Hunter is finished as coach of the Washington Capitals after less than one full season, telling the team he wants to return to his family in Canada. He told general manager George McPhee of the decision Monday, two days after the Capitals were eliminated from the playoffs by the Rangers in Game 7. Hunter was hired in November to replace the fired Bruce Boudreau and went 30-23-7 during the remainder of the regular season to help the Capitals squeeze into the playoffs.

SKIING

Paralympic medallist Karolina Wisniewska has announced her retirement from ski racing. The Calgary native won eight Paralympic medals -- four silver and four bronze -- during her 17-year career on the Para-Alpine team. She retired in 2004 because of a concussion, but returned to the team in 2007 to prepare for the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler, BC. Wisniewska, who has cerebral palsy and competes in standing ski, won bronze medals in slalom and super combined in Whistler.






Weather
British Columbia on Tuesday: mix sun cloud, high C19 Vancouver. Yukon, Nunavut: snow. Northwest Territories: mix sun cloud. Whitehorse 4, Yellowknife 11, Iqaluit 0. Alberta, Saskatchewan: mix sun cloud. Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 25, Regina 23, Winnipeg 22. Ontario: rain north, sun south. Quebec: rain. Toronto 24, Ottawa 27, Montreal 22. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 17, Halifax, Charlottetown 20, St. John's 16.