Saturday, June 23, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition du 22 June 2012
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

Senator decries decision to end RCI's shortwave service

A member of the Canadian Senate has taken aim at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for its decision to eliminate Radio Canada International’s shortwave service.

Hugh Segal, a member of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs committee and chair of its special Committee on Anti-Terrorism, said the CBC's senior managers will be called to explain the decision to a special Senate inquiry.

“This is probably the most destructive way the board of the CBC could find to manage the financial economies they have to face,” said Segal. “It is going to take the Canadian message out of the international marketplace.” Senator Segal said relegating RCI to an Internet radio station will block RCI from millions of people living under repressive regimes.

“In those parts of the world where the Internet is blocked, such as the People’s Republic of China, Iran and North Korea, there is no way for RCI’s messages of freedom and opportunity to get there,” he told the Senate. “I blame the board of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and its senior management, who cut far away from home rather than cutting here, because it was more convenient for them to do so.”

While the CBC was compelled by the Harper government to reduce its overall annual budget by 10 per cent, it chose to cut 80 per cent of Radio Canada International’s budget, eliminating dozens of full-and part-time jobs.

Along with the $10 million cut to RCI’s budget - from $12.3 million to $2.3 million - the CBC is also ending shortwave transmissions from its station at Sackville, New Brunswick, on June 26th.

RCI's multilingual shortwave service has been on the air since 1945.

Environment minister defensive
Environment Minister Peter Kent, who is attending a United Nations conference in Brazil on the environment, says Canada must stop the spread of "misinformation" on the environment by ecologists with an ideological agenda. He suggested that environmental groups and competitors in the international market for natural resources "are promoting their own interests."

Kent said this is reflected in the criticism of Canada's policies.

"Ideology plays a role certainly in the criticism," he said, adding that he has a lot of friends in some of the more strident environmental groups. "I recognize and appreciate their narrow focus on the goals that they want to achieve but in government we have to look at the broader picture and realize that jobs are very often at stake, the economy is very fragile in this economic recovery," he said.

The Harper government has been knocked by environmentalists for renouncing the targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions contained in the Kyoto accord and its record in general on the environment.

The final joint document from Rio +20 is very long - about 50 pages - and is filled with plenty of good intentions, but few commitments or timelines. Kent says it won't oblige Canada to make any changes and that's a good thing.

He says the summit reinvigorates global will to promote sustainable development, without committing countries to poorly designed "instant confections" that would interfere with other international processes.

Canada's annual inflation rate falls to two-year low
Canada's annual inflation has fallen to its lowest point in almost two years.

Statistics Canada says the rate in May was 1.2 per cent. In the previous month, the rate was two per cent. Part of the decline was due to lower gasoline prices.

There were also decreases in the cost of automobiles and women's clothing.

The trend toward lower inflation could lead the Bank of Canada to consider raising its benchmark interest rates in the short term.

The interest rate has hovered around record lows for the past few years.

Hospital births decline
In a reversal of a ten-year trend, Canadian hospitals have recorded a drop in the number of babies born across the country.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says that 371,000 infants were born in hospitals in 2010-2011 - about 5,600 or 1.5 per cent fewer than the previous year. All provinces and territories reported a drop in birth rates, except for Yukon, which had a slight increase.

The report does not include children born at home or in other settings, but is based on babies born in hospitals, which represents about 99 per cent of all births in Canada.

CIHI also found that the proportion of babies born prematurely, before 37 weeks gestation, has remained relatively stable since 2006-2007 at one in 12 births, although rates vary among provinces
and territories.

Annual caesarean-section rates for first-time mothers have remained stable over the years, with the national rate in 2010-2011 at about 18 per cent of all births.


Twenty dead after siege at Afghan hotel

After 12 hours, a bloody siege of a hotel in Afghanistan ended on Friday with at least 20 people dead, most of them civilians.

The siege began Thursday overnight when five Taliban militants stormed the hotel Spozhmai near Kabul where some 300 people were staying. Militants fired rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns at guests. The terrorists took about 50 people hostage, using them as human shields to defend themselves late into Friday morning. Afghan police and NATO forces moved in.

Government officials say that the gunbattle killed between 12 and 15 civilians, two hotel guards and a policemen along with the five terrorists. Women and children were among the wounded.

The hotel assault was a rare case in which Taliban militants held hostages. Violence across Afghanistan has surged in recent days.

Three U.S. soldiers and more than a dozen civilians were killed in successive attacks, mostly in the east. The Taliban have threatened to attack more government officials and rich Afghans.

Burma testing limits of press freedom
Media reports on ethnic violence in western Burma are testing the limits of Burma's recently introduced freedom of the press.

The recent conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine State has led to violence that killed at least 62 people.

Tens of thousands of people have fled after their homes were burned. A weekly journal called Snapshot has angered the government for publishing a photo of a girl who was raped and murdered by three Muslim men.

The government is filing criminal charges against the journal's editor, alleging that unspecified material in his journal could incite people to violence. The journal's publishing licence has already been revoked.

President Thein Sein's government has loosened some restrictions on the press as part of its recent reforms after five decades of repressive military rule. But the government continues to cast a watchful eye on the media.

Defying China, Cambodia declines to extradite foreigner
Cambodia is declining to extradite a Frenchman wanted in China for possible involvement in a sensational murder case.

Patrick Devillers was arrested in Bangkok last week at the request of Chinese authorities. Mr. Devillers had close business ties to Bo Xilai, a prominent Chinese Communist Party member who was ousted after his wife, Gu Kilai, was linked to the murder of a British man, Neil Heywood.

Cambodian officials continue to detain Mr. Devillers, but they say they need more evidence of wrongdoing before extraditing him.

China has considerable influence in Cambodia, having provided millions of dollars in aid over the past decade.

Syrian troops and rebels battle in Aleppo
Syrian opposition activists say that government troops fired machineguns at a crowd of demonstrators in Aleppo on Friday, killing at least ten people.

The alleged shooting occurred as thousands of demonstrators marched to denounce President Bashar al-Assad near central Saadallah al-Jabiri Square.

Four armoured vehicles allegedly participated in the attack. But the military says that rebels in Aleppo killed at least 25 soldiers. The reports could not be verified independently.

Meanwhle, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Syrian forces are prepared to withdraw from cities and towns at the same time as rebel militants. Mr. Lavrov spoke after talks with Syria's foreign minister. Mr. Lavrov says that Russia will urge other nations to support a Syrian withdrawal agreement.

Israel retaliating against Gaza militants
An Israeli air strike has killed a Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip in another sign of increasing violence in the region. One other Palestinian was wounded.

The air strike came after Palestinian militants fired two rockets at Israel. The rockets caused no damage or casualties.

The latest exchanges came two days after Hamas militants in Gaza agreed to hold their fire if Israel did the same.

Earlier in the week, Israel launched air attacks on Gaza after militants killed an Israeli man in a cross-border attack from Egyptian Sinai.

In the past week, nine people in Gaza were killed in Israeli air attacks.

Pakistan's parliament chooses new prime minister
Pakistan's parliament has elected a new prime minister.

Raja Pervez Ashraf was formerly water and power minister. He succeeds Yusuf Raza Gilani, who was disqualified as unfit for the post by the Supreme Court earlier this month.

The court ruled that Mr. Gilani refused to reopen corruption cases against the president, creating a new political crisis. The new prime minister is likely to come under similar pressure to root out corruption.

Pakistan will hold a national election early next year.

New Greek prime minister to undergo eye surgery
Greece's new prime minister, Antonis Samaras, will undergo eye surgery this weekend.

Mr. Samaras has a detached retina.

He was sworn in on Wednesday as Greece's fourth prime minister in eight months.

His new coalition government faces a huge financial crisis, but his election has lowered fears that Greece could be forced to leave the eurozone.

North Korea condemning large-scale U.S.-South Korean war games

U.S. and South Korean warplanes are staging their biggest live-fire military exercises since the Korean War in the early 1950s.

The war games involving some two thousand troops, fighter jets and attack helicopters are taking place south of the heavily armed border between North and South Korea. In one exerecise, a large North Korean flag was seen in the target zone, but the flag was not struck. A South Korean defence official said the flag was meant to mark enemy territory.

North Korea has warned that insults to its national symbols could provoke war. North Korea's state media have condemned joint U.S.-Korean drills as a precursor to an invasion.

On Thursday, the navies of the United States, South Korea and Japan began two-day annual search and rescue exercises near the southern South Korean island of Jeju.

Trial of Norwegian mass killer ends
The trial of the confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik ended on Friday following final arguments by the defence and the prosecution.

Breivik confessed that he killed 77 people last year in the worst mass murder in Norway's peacetime history.

In a last statement, Breivik said that his bombing and shooting rampage was necessary to defend the country's cultural purity. His statement led relatives of his victims to leave the courtroom.

The prosecution maintained that Breivik was insane and should be held in a mental institution. The defence says that he should be punished for a lethal political act.

The court will decide his fate.

General Motors increasing production in Russia
The American automaker, General Motors, is adding 1,500 workers at its St. Petersburg, Russia, assembly plant. The total number of employees will rise to four thousand.

The additional workforce is part of a plan to boost production at the plant. The expanded plant will double annual production from ninety-eight thousand vehicles to 230,000.

GM opened its St. Petersburg plant in 2008. GM is also investing to boost production at the GM-Avtovaz joint venture in Togliatti, Russia. GM plans to boost its combined annual production capacity in Russia to 350,000 vehicles.

The increase in Russian manufacturing capacity largely results from a government that offers foreign automakers an exemption on customs duty for parts when they agree to increase local production to 350,000 vehicles a year.


The S-and-P/T-S-X composite index closed up 27.23 points to 11,435.54.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 12,640.78, up 67.21 points.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 33.33 points at 2,892.42.
The Canadian dollar closed at 97.6 cents US on Friday, up 0.45 of a cent from Thursday's close.
The U.S. dollar stood at 102.46 cents Cdn, down 0.47 cents.
Pound sterling closed at C$1.5967, down 0.78 of a cent, and US$1.5584, down 0.04 of a cent.
The Euro was worth C$1.2818, down 0.93 of a cent.

Toronto leads real estate inflation
A red hot Toronto real estate market drove the Canadian Real Estate Association's home price index up 5.2 per cent in May compared with a year ago. The association said gains in Toronto amounted to 7.93 per cent, outpacing all the other regions measured by the index.

Calgary was second with a gain in May of 4.84 per cent compared with a year ago.

The index is based on prices for one- and two-storey single family homes, townhouses and apartments in several key markets across Canada. The price of two-storey single family homes was up 6.7 per cent, while one-storey single family homes were up 5.8 per cent.

Townhouses and apartments saw more modest gains of 3.3 per cent and 2.95 respectively.

Lower profits at Hydro-Quebec
Profits at the Quebec government electricity generating company, Hydro-Quebec, dropped 4.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Profits totalled CDN$1.34 billion in the first quarter.

The drop was due in part from lower electricity needs by the mining company Rio Tinto Alcan after the company locked out it semployees in Alma, Quebec.

Lower export revenues and a mild winter also led to smaller profits.


In Canadian Football League pre-season play on Thursday, The B.C. Lions remained undefeated after a 24-16 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos. The Eskimos finished 0-and-2 in the pre-season.

The National Hockely League has released its schedule for the upcoming season. On opening night, October 11, the Montreal Canadiens will host the Ottawa Senators and the Calgary Flames will entertain the Vancouver Canucks.


Saturday June 23, 2012
VANCOUVER: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers early in the morning. A few showers beginning late in the afternoon. High 17.
EDMONTON: A mix of sun and cloud. Clearing early in the evening. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 25.
CALGARY: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers late in the evening. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 20.
SASKATOON: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers late in the evening. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 20.
REGINA: Sunny. Wind becoming northeast 20 km/h early in the evening. High 25
WINNIPEG: Sunny. Wind becoming north 30 km/h late in the afternoon. High 26.
THUNDER BAY: A mix of sun and cloud. 40 percent chance of showers late in the afternoon and in the evening. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon and early in the evening. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h late in the morning. High 25.
TORONTO: Mainly sunny. High 28.
OTTAWA: Sunny. High 27.
MONTREAL: Mainly sunny. High 26.
FREDERICTON: Showers. Amount 5 mm. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. High 19.
HALIFAX: Cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers in the morning and early in the afternoon. Periods of rain beginning in the afternoon. Risk of thundershowers late in the evening. Amount 15 mm. Fog patches. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the morning. High 16.
CHARLOTTETOWN: Showers. Risk of thundershowers late in the evening. Amount 2 to 4 mm. Wind southeast 20 km/h. High 18.
ST. JOHN'S: Periods of drizzle ending in the morning then clearing. Fog retreating to the coast. Wind north 20 km/h. High 15 except 20 inland.
HAPPY VALLEY - GOOSE BAY: A mix of sun and cloud. High 27.
WHITEHORSE: Sunny. High 25.
YELLOWKNIFE: Sunny. High 24.
IQALUIT: Periods of rain ending in the morning then clearing. Wind southeast 30 km/h. High 7.

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