Wednesday, June 13, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

U.S. business group supports Canada's bid on Trans-Pacific Partnership
Canada's bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership got a boost Tuesday from an American business leader. Speaking to the international economic forum in Montreal, Thomas Donohue, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that his group strongly favours Canada's participation, adding that the United States and Canada could help boost the world economy and promote global stability. The U.S. and eight other nations - Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei - are currently hammering out a free-trade agreement. Canada, Japan and Mexico have spent months attempting to convince the White House to grant them admission to the talks.





House of Commons preparing for marathon voting on budget bill
Members of Canada's parliament were preparing for a marathon voting session on Wednesday. Opposition parties have proposed more than 800 amendments to the Conservative Party government's budget bill, C-38. Voting on the amendments could take 24 hours. On Monday, the Speaker of the House of Commons shortened the voting by reducing the number of amendments eligible for voting. Initially, more than one thousand amendments were proposed. Opposition parties strongly object to some of the changes that the government is proposing to laws on immigration and other key social issues.





In sign of voter discontent, Quebec Liberal Party loses long-time stronghold


The governing Liberal Party in Quebec lost one of its most secure ridings in a byelection on Monday, but managed to retain another riding. The loss was another sign of faltering support for the policies of Premier Jean Charest. The Parti Quebecois candidate, Roland Richer, narrowly won in Argenteuil in the Laurention region. It was the first time that the Liberal Party lost in the riding in 46 years. Liberal Party support was apparently weakened because a new party, the Coalition Avenir Quebec, was on the ballot. But the Liberal Party retained the Montreal riding of Lafontaine, where the Liberal Party president, Marc Tanguay, was parachuted in at the last minute after the sitting Liberal Party member of the National Assembly, Tony Tomassi, was fired in disgrace from the Quebec cabinet. Tomassi faces six criminal charges, including fraud and accepting an illegal benefit. Prime Minister Charest's popularity is the lowest of any premier in Canada as a result of scandals and the ongoing dispute with students over proposed rises in college tuition fees. Students plan to stage another mass demonstration on Tuesday for the 50th consecutive night.



Second person dies from Toronto shooting rampage
A second person has died as a result of a shooting rampage in downtown Toronto early this month. The 22-year-old victim died of his injuries in hospital on Monday. One other man died at the scene of the shooting. Six other people were wounded. One of them who suffered serious injuries was released on Monday from hospital. The shooting occurred at the Eaton Centre, a major shopping mall. The alleged shooter, Christopher Husbands, is charged with one count of first-degree murder, and six counts of attempted murder. Additional charges could be added. The shooting is believed to be gang-related.



Family of Chinese murder victim gives thanks to Montrealers
The family of a Chinese student murdered in Montreal has issued a statement of thanks to the public. The victim, Jun Lin, was killed and dismembered last month and parts of his body were mailed in separate packages to two political party headquarters in Ottawa. A suspect in the murder, Luka Rocco Magnotta, was arrested in Germany, where he awaits extradition to Canada. In its statement, the victim's family gives thanks for the expressions of condolences from Canadians and from Montreal's Concordia University, where Jun Lin was studying. The victim's father and mother flew from China to Montreal to arrange for the return of their son's body to China.






Fighting persists in Syria - Russians rebuff Canada's entreaties
Fighting continues in Syria, where an ineffective ceasefire was brokered exactly two months ago. Violence is reported by activists in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, where Syria troops fired mortar bombs at an anti-government demonstration, killing at least 10 protesters. Meanwhile, a week-long siege continues in the town of Haffeh, near Syria's coastal mountains. United Nations monitors refused on Tuesday to enter the town because of the danger. The international mediator, Kofi Annan hopes to convene a meeting of an international contact group on Syria soon, but no date or venue have been set. The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Tuesday that the situation in Syria is deteriorating, making it impossible to respond to all humanitarian needs at once. The ICRC is the only international agency to deploy aid workers in Syria. Meanwhile,Canada is pushing Russia to do more to end the killing. International Trade Minister Ed Fast raised the issue of Syria as he led a five-day junket to Russia last week with nearly 30 Canadian companies in tow. Officials say Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is also planning a telephone call to his counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, following his meeting last week with Russia's ambassador to Canada. But like those from the U.S., Canada's entreaties are being rebuffed by the Russians. They say Assad and his family control virtually every aspect of the Syrian government, and if they leave, chaos would ensue.









Children abused in Syrian conflict - U.N.
The U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, says Syrian government forces and allied militia have killed, maimed, tortured and detained children as young as 9 years old. Moreover, she said the United Nations had also received credible allegations that the armed opposition, including the Free Syrian Army, had also used children during the 15-month conflict. She said that at the command level of the Free Syrian Army there was a policy against the recruitment of children, but this was happening in the field and senior officials needed to take more steps to prevent it. As for the forces of the Assad regime, Coomaraswamy said the Syrian government in a letter had denied the allegations and questioned the sources of the claims. But, she said: "We have seen children, they have described to my technical team of being beaten, of being scarred ... and whipped with electrical cables. Cases of sexual torture were also recorded against these children."

Mass anti-Putin rally in Moscow
Opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin staged a mass demonstration in Moscow on Tuesday. Tens of thousands accused Mr. Putin of dictatorial rule. Police tried to thwart the protest by summoning some of its key organizers for questioning just an hour before the march. The demonstration unfolded peacefully. The march was held on Russia Day, a national holiday that honours June 12, 1990, when Russian lawmakers decided that Russian laws should take priority over Soviet Union laws. The Soviet Union collapsed a year later. Last month, police cracked down violently on a similar protest.



Uncertainty surrounding Spain bailout
Uncertainty continues over the effectiveness of a massive eurozone bailout for Spain. Spanish banks could receive as much as 125 billion dollars to prevent them from failing as a result of massive debts. But there are signs that Spain's economic future remains shaky. On Tuesday, Spain's lending rates rose for the second day, while the yield on Spain's bonds rose close to seven per cent, the level that forced three other eurozone members, Greece, Ireland and Portugal, to ask for further bailout funds. Spain is awaiting the results of two independent audits of the country's banking industry before it will say how much bailout money it will need.



China refuses entry to Norway's former prime minister
China is refusing to allow Norway's former prime minister to enter the country. Kjell Magne Bondevik was supposed to act as a moderator of the World Council of Churches meeting this week in Nanjing. But his visa application was rejected. The rejection is the latest sign of China's displeasure over the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese democracy advocate, Liu Xiaobo. Mr. Liu is serving an 11-year prison sentence in China for his activism. Mr. Bondevik is the only one of the 30 delegates to be denied a visa for the World Council of Churches meeting. The Nanjing meeting is the first in China for the Geneva-based organization.



Bangladesh rejecting Burmese Muslim refugees
Bangladesh is trying to deal with an influx of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in neighbouring Burma. A boat carrying about one thousand Muslim refugees was refused entry to Bangladesh on Tuesday. Some 500 other refugees were turned back earlier this week. Bangladesh border officials are on heightened alert for illegal migrants. Recent violence between Burma's Buddhists and minority Muslims in Rakhine state has killed at least 12 people. Hundreds of homes have been burned in the last few days. Bangladesh's Foreign Ministry says the two countries are maintaining close contacts to ensure that developments in Burma's Rakhine state do not spill across the border.





Azerbaijan grants criminal immunity to present and past leaders


Azerbaijan's parliament has overwhelmingly granted lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution to President Ilham Aliyev and his wife. The immunity extends to all former presidents and includes any crimes committed while in office. His opponents accuse Mr. Aliyev and his family of using power to amass personal wealth. Two previous presidents have died, including Mr. Aliyev's father. The former Soviet republic's first head of state, Ayaz Mutalibov, lives in Moscow. He faces criminal charges in Azerbaijan. Under the new law, he could return home without risk of prosecution.



Thirty-two-year Australian murder mystery is solved
After 32 years, the mystery surrounding the death of an infant in Australia has been solved. Azaria Chamberlain disappeared from a tent in a camping ground near Uluru, a famous tourist attraction. Her body was never found. An inquest recommended that the parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, stand trial for Azaria's death. Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Michael Chamberlain was convicted of being an accessory and given a suspended sentence. Lindy Chamberlain spent three years in prison until she was cleared. The parents always maintained that their baby was abducted by a dingo. On Tuesday, a coroner found that a dingo was indeed responsible for killing Azaria Chamberlain.



Tokyo judged world's most expensive city
The latest list of the world's most expensive cities has Tokyo at the head of the list. Last year, Angola's capital, Luanda, was first, but the strength of Japan's currency pushed Tokyo to the top again. Half of the top ten most expensive cities are in Asia. A weaker euro caused most European cities to fall in the rankings. Among Canadians cities, the most expensive place is Toronto at 61st. Vancouver was 63rd and Montreal was 87th. The annual list is compiled by the research group, Mercer, which examines various factors contributing to the cost of living.






Markets
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 95.51 points to 11,497.3

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 162.57 points to 12,573.8

The Nasdaq composite index was 33.34 points higher at 2,843.07 and the S&P 500 index gained 15.25 points to 1,324.18.



The Canadian dollar closed at 97.40 cents US on Tuesday, up 0.43 of a cent from Monday's close.

The U.S. dollar stood at 102.67 cents Cdn, down 0.45 of a cent.

Pound sterling closed at C$1.5990, up 0.21 of a cent, and US$1.5574, up 0.88 of a cent.

The Euro was worth C$1.2842, down 0.29 of a cent.



Positive growth outlook
The Royal Bank is anticipating a strong rebound for our economy this year. Its latest outlook predicts the economy will bounce back to record 3.1 per cent growth during the current quarter, which ends this month. RBC looks for the economy to record a 2.6 per cent gain overall for both 2012 and 2013. The bank's economists believe policy-makers will meet the challenge of averting disaster in Europe, allowing Canada to skirt any blowback from the global crisis.



Positive jobs outlook
A new survey of Canadian employers suggests businesses expect the hiring climate this summer to be relatively positive but the weakest in more than two years. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey finds that 23 per cent of employers surveyed plan to increase their payrolls during the July-September quarter. Five per cent anticipate cutbacks. About 70 per cent expected to maintain their current staffing levels, while two per cent say they are unsure of their hiring intentions for the upcoming quarter. Employers in Western Canada reported the most favourable outlook.



Bombardier
The Canadian aircraft manufacturer, Bombardier, has won its largest order in its history. The deal could involve as many as 275 Challenger business jets worth seven-point-three billion dollars. Firm orders total just over two-and-a-half billion dollars. The buyer is NetJets, an American private jet company owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the main company of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.



Viterra
Canadian agribusiness Viterra, which is on the verge of being acquired by a Swiss commodities giant, says its profit rose to 67 million dollars in the second quarter. That is more than double what it had the same time last year. Earnings came in at 18 cents a share, beating analyst forecasts by six cents. The report comes as Swiss commodities trading giant Glencore International prepares to complete its acquisition of the grain handler and farm supplier. Viterra shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the 6.1-billion-dollar takeover offer but the deal still requires certain approvals in Canada and abroad.






SPORTS
HOCKEY

The Los Angeles Kings are the 2012 Stanley Cup champions. They beat the New Jersey Devils on Monday, 6-1, to win the final series in six games. Goalie Jonathan Quick of the Kings won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff Most Valuable Player.



BASEBALL

Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer in the Washington Nationals 6-3 win over Toronto on Monday.








Wednesday, June 13, 2012
VANCOUVER: Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud in the morning. Windy near the water in the morning and afternoon. High 16.

EDMONTON: Periods of rain. Risk of a thunderstorm in the morning and afternoon. Amount 5 mm. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 18.

CALGARY: Cloudy. A few showers beginning in the morning. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the morning and in the afternoon. Amount 10 to 15 mm. Wind north 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light in the evening. High 14.

SASKATOON: Increasing cloudiness. Showers beginning near noon. Risk of a thunderstorm in the evening. Amount 5 mm. High 25.

REGINA: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers in the afternoon. Clearing in the evening. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon. Wind becoming south 30 km/h near noon then light in the afternoon. High 22.

WINNIPEG: A mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm in the afternoon and early in the evening. Wind south 30 km/h. High 25.

TORONTO: Sunny. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light in the afternoon. High 22

OTTAWA: Sunny. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light in the afternoon. High 20.

MONTREAL: Clearing in the morning. Wind west 20 km/h becoming light near noon. High 22.

FREDERICTON: Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness in the morning with 40 percent chance of showers in the evening. High 22.

HALIFAX: A mix of sun and cloud. 40 percent chance of drizzle early in the morning. Fog patches dissipating in the morning and developing late in the evening. High 18 except 13 along the coast.

CHARLOTTETOWN: Sunny. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light in the evening. High 20.

ST. JOHN'S: Mainly sunny. Fog retreating to the coast in the morning. High 20.

HAPPY VALLEY - GOOSE BAY: Mainly sunny. Wind southwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 27.

WHITEHORSE: A mix of sun and cloud. Becoming cloudy late in the morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h early in the afternoon. High 14.

YELLOWKNIFE: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers early in the morning. High 17.

IQALUIT: Showers ending in the morning then mainly cloudy. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h in the evening. High 7.