Tuesday, June 12, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Pipeline company continues Alberta oil spill cleanup

A Canadian pipeline company says that it has managed to contain most of the oil spilled from its pipeline in Alberta. About three thousand litres of oil entered the Red Deer River in Alberta last week from a pipeline owned by Plains Midstream Canada. The company says that the oil is safely contained in one reservoir. The company is working to preserve the river's water quality and minimize the impact to wildlife.

The choice is not between austerity and prosperity - Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told an Montreal audience that economic prosperity can co-exist with fiscal discipline. Speaking at an international economic forum, the Conservative Party leader said what the world needs is a practical approach that combines budgetary discipline and other growth measures. It's a message the prime minister says he intends to take as Canada's position at the upcoming G20 summit in Mexico. Mr. Harper alsoapplauded European efforts on the weekend to shore up Spain's banking system, saying he was encouraged by the agreement. He says it demonstrates that Europeans are able to undertake measures among themselves. Canada and the United States are among the countries that have refused to provide funding to help Europeans get past their financial challenges. Earlier in the day, the Governor of Canada's central bank told the same audience that Europe is taking important steps to resolve weaknesses in its banking system. Mark Carney referred specifically to the weekend decision to prop up the Spanish banking system, saying it will help reinforce the monetary union.

Opposition parties to continue contesting Canadian budget bill

Opposition members of Canada's Parliament are being allowed more time to contest the Conservative Party government's massive budget bill. More than 800 amendments have been introduced by the opposition Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and Green Party. They are strongly against proposed changes to some laws. The Conservative Party accused the opposition of using stalling tactics to prevent passage of the bill. But in his ruling on Monday, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, decided to allow most of the amendments to the bill. He will, however, restrict the number of votes.


Convicted terrorist appeals life sentence
The Supreme Court of Canada has begun hearing an appeal of a life sentence handed to Momin Khawaja. The former Ottawa software developer is the first man convicted under Canada's anti-terror law, which was enacted two months after the 9-11 al-Qaida attacks on the United States. Khawaja was convicted in 2008 of training at a remote camp in Pakistan, providing cash to a group of British extremists and offences related to building a remote-control detonator. He was originally sentenced to 10 1/2 years in prison, but the Ontario Court of Appeal imposed the stiffer sentence when he appealed his case. Khawaja's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, urged the Supreme Court to overturn that sentence and re-establish the original penalty.

Cops shocked in prostitution case
In a case that has shocked even veteran police investigators, two 15-year-old girls in Ottawa have been charged with human trafficking. Police allege that on three separate occasions, the girls lured three female victims, ranging from 13 to 17 years of age, to a city residence for social reasons. From there, the victims were driven to other locations for the purposes of prostitution. The accused girls face multiple charges, including human trafficking and abduction. Ottawa police said they have never seen anything like it before. There was no indication pimps or men played any role. Police are still looking for a third female suspect they say is age 17.

Skimming careers curtailed
Two men have been sentenced in a court in New York City to 3 and 9 years in prison after being found guilty of stealing $285-thousand by skimming debit and credit card information at automatic banking machines. 31-year-old Nikolai Ivanov, a Bulgarian-Canadian, and 29-year-old Dimitar Stamatov, a Bulgarian with Canadian landed immigrant status - had managed to install the skimming devices at several machines in Manhattan, in a number of other U.S. states, and at various locales in Canada as well.

Canadian dance pioneer dies
Rachel Browne, founder of Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers, died in her sleep on Saturday in Ottawa. She was 77. Considered a pioneer of modern dance and choreography in Canada, Browne founded Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers in 1964, after performing for 7 years with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Rachel Browne's honours include the Order of Canada, the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Creativity in Dance, the Canada Council Jacqueline Lemieux Prize, and the Manitoba Arts Council Great-West Life Lifetime Achievement Award.

Grand Prix succeeds in Montreal despite student protests

Thirty-four people were detained by Montreal police on Sunday during the course of the latest student protests against higher college tuition fees. For the 48th consecutive day, demonstrators marched through the downtown streets. They vandalized a police cruiser, a bank and a government building. They were objecting to tactics used by police earlier in the day to prevent demonstrations at the local site of the Canadian Grand Prix auto race. Police prevented anyone without an event ticket from leaving the subway station near the auto race site. On Monday, riot police stood on guard against student protesters outside the Montreal convention centre where thousands of foreign delegates were attending the International Economic Forum of the Americas. Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney were scheduled on Monday to address the conference. Quebec's government has been unable to resolve its dispute with the students despite a number of meetings.


New policy means less paperwork for military veterans' claims
Canada's government is going to make certain reimbursement claims easier for military veterans. Bureaucratic paperwork will be simplified so that veterans can be reimbursed more quickly for expenses incurred to travel to medical appointments. The Veterans Affairs Department processes about 5,500 health-related travel claims each month, with an average reimbursement of $274. Veterans will no longer need to submit travel receipts. Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney says that the change will reduce paperwork for about 18,000 veterans. The announcement is the government's latest move to simplify veterans' claims procedures.

Foreign military intervention possible in Mali

African leaders are making an appeal for military intervention in Mali. Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou says that Islamist militants are making Mali an international security threat. He says that the West African bloc called ECOWAS will ask for a mandate for military intervention from the United Nations Security Council. ECOWAS will seek logistical support from the United States and France. France was formerly Mali's colonial ruler. Mr. Issoufou spoke after meeting with France's president, Francois Hollande in Paris. Mr. Hollande expressed support for military action but insisted that African nations had to take the initiative in leading any military operation. Mali collapsed into chaos after soldiers toppled the president in March, leaving a power vacuum that enabled Tuareg rebels in the north to take control of nearly two-thirds of the country.

Israel begins crackdown on illegal migrants
Israel is preparing to deport more than four thousand illegal migrants. Predawn raids were undertaken in several towns on Monday. About fifty people mainly from South Sudan were detained. Israeli authorities say that it's the first step in dealing with tens of thousands of Africans who entered Israel illegally across the border from Egypt in recent years. A landmark court decision last week cleared the way for the expulsion of people who come from nations that have friendly relations with Israel, mostly from the newly established state of South Sudan.

Syrian violence unabated
As violence spikes and both sides ignore a ceasefire, the man who brokered that ceasefire, Kofi Annan, says he is "gravely concerned". According to videos posted online, fireballs of orange flame and black rubble exploded in the air as waves of shells pounded residential buildings in Homs on Monday. Sausan Ghosheh, a spokeswoman for U.N. observers in Syria, said there were reports that women and children were trapped inside Homs. There also were reports of fierce clashes in northern Idlib province. Activists reported more than 50 people killed across the country, but the death toll and the online videos were impossible to independently verify.

Russian police search opposition leaders' homes
Russian police are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to stop anti-government dissenters. Police searched the homes of opposition party leaders in Moscow on Monday, one day before a massive rally planned to oppose President Vladimir Putin. Among the homes searched were those of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov. Computer drives and disks were seized. Police have also told several opposition leaders to appear for questioning on Tuesday, effectively stopping them from attending the mass rally. On Friday, Mr. Putin signed a law that dramatically increases fines for participants in unathorized public demonstrations.

France's Socialist Party makes strong election showing
Unofficial results in France's parliamentary election on Sunday show that President Francois Hollande could win a majority. Mr. Hollande's Socialist Party bloc appeared to be close to securing the 289 seats needed for an outright majority in the National Assembly. A coalition with the Green Party would ensure a majority. Runoffs will be held next Sunday among the leading parties in constituencies where no one scored 50 per cent. With a majority, Mr. Hollande would be in a strong position to influence the course of the eurozone's strategy in handling its debt crisis. Socialists won the Senate in 2011 and won the presidency in May after 17 years on the outside.

Police requested to prevent racism at European soccer championships
European soccer officials have asked Polish and Ukrainian cities hosting the European championships to send police to help prevent any further racist abuse. The request also calls for offenders to be prosecuted. The move comes after some fans directed racist chants at a black player on the Netherlands team during a practice session open to the public in Krakow, Poland. Soccer officials describe the case as an isolated incident. There was also a case of some fans making Nazi salutes during a championship soccer event last week in Ukraine.

Deadly landslide in Afghanistan
A landslide in Afghanistan has buried more than 20 homes, raising fears that scores of people were killed. Rescuers initially recovered two bodies from the rubble. Many others are thought to be buried. The landslide occurred on Monday morning in the Burka district of the Hindu Kush region following two moderate earthquakes. Tremors were also felt in the Afghan capital, Kabul, about 40 kilometres away.

European airlines facing tough year
European airlines are facing major losses this year. The International Air Transport Association predicts that airlines in Europe will lose just over one billion dollars, almost double its previous forecast. Profit margins will be extremely small due to the high cost of fuel. The most immediate risk is the possibility of a recession as a result of Europe's debt crisis. More airlines in Europe might follow Hungary's Malev into bankruptcy if the European financial crisis worsens. The group called for governments to avoid tax and regulatory changes that might hamper industry growth. The group also called for a resolution of an international dispute over Europe's charges for airline carbon emissions that went into effect this year. Airlines are required to buy permits to emit carbon. China, the United States, India, Russia and others oppose the charges. China and India have prohibited their airlines from co-operating. The air transport body predicts that U.S. and Asian airlines should make a profit. The group represents 240 airlines that carry 84 per cent of passengers and cargo worldwide. The group's forecast covers the whole industry.


S&P/TSX Composite Index -- 11,401.78, down 98.85 points

TSX Venture Exchange -- 1,276.71, down 16.22 points

TSX 60 -- 648.45, down 5.22 points

Dow -- 12,411.23, down 142.97 points

S&P 500 -- 1,308.93, down 16.73 points

Nasdaq -- 2,809.73, down 48.69 points

The Canadian dollar closed at 96.97 cents US on Monday, down 0.4 of a cent from Friday's close.

The U.S. dollar stood at 103.12 cents Cdn, up 0.42 of a cent.

Pound sterling closed at C$1.5969, up 0.84 of a cent, and US$1.5486, up 0.19 of a cent.

The Euro was worth C$1.2871, down 0.27 of a cent.

Flight training company CAE said Monday it has won military agreements worth more than $110 million including a one-year service contract renewal for the Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-18 fighter aircraft. The contracts also include a deal to provide a suite of fixed-wing, advanced jet trainer aircraft simulators and training devices to meet the future aircrew training requirements of an unnamed customer. The contracts come less than a month after the Montreal company announced it was embarking on the largest cut to its workforce in nearly three years by trimming 300 jobs to help it cope with the impact of military budget cuts in debt-laden Europe. The cuts amount to about four per cent of its global workforce of 8,000 despite growing revenues and profits. About half of CAE's workforce is located in Canada, including about 3,600 in Montreal and 200 in locations elsewhere in the province.

OMERS acquiring Lifeways
The investment arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System pension plan is acquiring Lifeways, a leading British provider of care to the disabled. OMERS Private Equity is reported to be paying about 329 million dollars. Lifeways is a leading provider of supported-living services for adults with learning disability, including those with autism and brain injuries, allowing them to live more independently.


The Canadian Grand Prix was captured by Lewis Hamilton driving for McLaren on Sunday. It was his third Montreal victory. Romain Grosjean in a Lotus was second and Sergio Perez in a Sauber was third.


The Vancouver Whitecaps's Darren Mattocks scored twice to lift the Whitecaps past the Houston Dynamo 3-1 on Sunday.


The Toronto Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves, 12-4, on Sunday. Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus each homered and drove in three runs for Toronto. The Blue Jays set a season high with 18 hits as they ended a three-game losing streak.

Tuesday June 12, 2012
VANCOUVER: Periods of rain. Temperature steady near 14.

EDMONTON: Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness late in the afternoon with 60 percent chance of showers in the evening. Risk of a thunderstorm early in the evening. High 25.

CALGARY: Sunny. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 24.

SASKATOON: Cloudy with 70 percent chance of showers. Low 12. High 14.

REGINA: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers in the evening. Wind becoming southwest 30 km/h early in the evening then light in the evening. High 25.

WINNIPEG: Mainly sunny. Wind becoming south 20 km/h late in the afternoon. High 18.

TORONTO: Showers ending near noon then cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. Clearing early in the evening. Risk of a thunderstorm in the morning. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h near noon then northwest 30 in the evening. High 23.

OTTAWA: Showers ending early in the evening then cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm in the morning and afternoon and evening. Wind becoming south 30 km/h late in the morning. Temperature steady near 20

MONTREAL: Cloudy. Showers beginning in the afternoon. Risk of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 26.

FREDERICTON: Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon. Wind becoming south 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 26.

HALIFAX: A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. High 20 except 12 along parts of the coast.

CHARLOTTETOWN: Mainly sunny. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 22.

ST. JOHN'S: Mainly sunny. Fog retreating to the coast in the morning. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the morning. High 18 except 12 along parts of the coast.

HAPPY VALLEY - GOOSE BAY: Mainly sunny. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 30.

WHITEHORSE: Increasing cloudiness. 30 percent chance of showers late in the afternoon and in the evening. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light in the evening. High 11.

YELLOWKNIFE: Sunny. Wind becoming east 20 km/h early in the evening. High 16.

IQALUIT: Cloudy. Rain at times heavy beginning in the morning. Amount 10 mm. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the morning then increasing to 40 gusting to 60 late in the evening. High plus 5.