Thursday, June 14, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Bob Rae bows out of Liberal Party leadership race

The interim leader of Canada's opposition Liberal Party, Bob Rae, has decided not to run for the party leadership. Mr. Rae became interim leader after the Liberal Party suffered its worst election defeat in history last year. At the time, he declared that he would not seek to be a permanent leader, but in recent weeks, he hinted that he might be a candidate. The party is seeking a strong leader who can regain the widespread public support that the party enjoyed for much of the last century. The Liberal Party will hold its leadership convention next year. Until then, Mr. Rae will continue as interim leader.


Parliament set for marathon voting session
Canadian opposition parties begin voting on Wednesday on hundreds of amendments to the Conservative Party government's huge budget bill. The voting is expected to continue all night and well into Thursday. Opposition parties vigorously object to proposed changes to 70 laws in the budget bill. They say that the bill is far too large and needed much more time for debate. Debate ended on Tuesday following a ruling by the Speaker of the House of Commons. Environmentalists and social groups are among non-government organizations that have objected to changes in the bill. The Conservative Party has a majority in the House of Commons, which virtually ensures that the bill will pass, but opposition parties hope that the governing party might falter during the marathon voting session.

Extradition looming for Canadian murder suspect

A Canadian murder suspect has come one step closer to extradition from Germany. A court in Berlin ordered Luka Magnotta to remain in custody while prosecutors prepare to ask the German government to approve his extradition. Magnotta was arrested in Berlin last week. He's accused of first-degree murder and dismemberment of a corpse in connection with the murder of Jun Lin, a Chinese student who was studying at Concordia University in Montreal. Parts of the body were sent by mail to two Canadian political parties in Ottawa. An informal memorial will be held for Mr. Jun on Thursday near Concordia University. His parents arrived from China earlier this month to bring their son's body home. On Wednesday, a teacher at a Montreal high school was suspended for showing a video of Mr. Jun's slaying to his students. The video has extremely graphic scenes of the murder and dismemberment. Quebec education officials condemned the teacher's action, saying that it showed a disturbing lack of judgment. But some students say that their classmates urged the teacher to show the video. The video has appeared on the Internet.


New report criticizing Canada's environment efforts
A new report is criticizing Canada's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The comprehensive report by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy says that measures in place will achieve only half of the government's targets by 2020. The government aims to reduce greenhouse gasses by 17 per cent below levels in 2005. The report says that significant additional measures are needed to achieve the target. The report notes the federal government rarely acts on the environment in concert with the ten provinces, whose individual environemental policies have had greater success in reducing emissions. The report will be the last by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, a government agency whose funding was eliminated in the latest federal budget.

Champion diver, Alexandre Despatie, treated for injury
The champion Canadian diver, Alexandre Despatie, has undergone surgery following an injury during practice. He suffered a ten-centimetre gash when his head hit the diving board while he performed an inward triple flip. He was practicing in Madrid in preparation for the Olympic Games in London next month. His family says that he still hopes to compete in the Games. For the time being, he remains under observation in the Spanish hospital.

Canada urged to broaden its economy

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the decline in central Canada's manufacturing base is linked tothe recent strength of the Canadian dollar. The strong dollar has led to a rise in commodity prices in Canada's resource-rich provinces like Alberta. The correlation is referred to as "Dutch Disease. "Tom Mulcair, the leader of Canada's opposition New Democratic Party, offered a similar analysis, but Alberta accused him of pitting one region of Canada against another. The OECD says Canada needs to develop non-resource aspects of its economy. The OECD says that the correlation between the rise of the dollar and the the decline in the manufacturing base is irrefutable.

Canadian scientists make advance toward Ebola virus treatment
Canadian researchers have made what they say is a highly promising step toward finding a treatment for the deadly Ebola virus. Researchers at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg have successfully saved the lives of six monkeys infected with the virus. The treatment involves a cocktail of antibodies. Senior researcher Gary Kobinger says the goal is to find a treatment that's effective three days after exposure, the usual time needed to detect Ebola symptoms. Dr. Pierre Formenty, a leading scientist in epidemic and emerging diseases at the World Health Organization, calls the treatment very hopeful. The work is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Canada critical of Russian arms sales to Syria
Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is defending Russian arms sales to Syria. On Tuesday, the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, accused Russia of providing attack helicopters for Syria's government in its fight against anti-government militants. In response, Mr. Lavrov said that Russian arms sales were not violating any international laws. He also accused the United States of supplying rebel militants with weapons to fight Syria's government. In a statement, Canada's foreign affairs minister, John Baird, condemned any sale of Russian attack helicopters for use by Syria's government. Mr. Baird urged Russia to cooperate with the international community in applying pressure on Syria to end the violence. Meanwhile, Syrian militants say that they smuggled large quantities of shells, rifles and anti-armour missiles through Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq in recent weeks. They cited arms suppliers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In Syria, state television reported that Syrian forces had cleared militants from the town of Haffeh after a week of heavy fighting. Militants say they withdrew under pressure of heavy bombardment. United Nations observers also withdrew, saying that the town was too dangerous too enter. International diplomats have begun speaking of Syria's conflict as an outright civil war.

Bombings kill 70 in Baghdad
More than 70 people were killed in bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday. In one of the bloodiest days this year, bombs targeted Shiite pilgrims as they marked the death of an important holy man centuries ago. At least 30 people were killed when four blasts hit pilgrims across the capital. One car bomb exploded outside a Shi'ite mosque. Another blast tore into groups of pilgrims as they rested along the route to a shrine. The attacks have revived fears that Iraq could slide again into sectarian war.

Amid controversy, Egypt selects new body to draft constitution

Egypt's parliament has approved a second group of 100 people charged with drafting a new constitution. Christian and liberal parliamentarians immediately objected to the list. They say that the new list, like the first, has too many Islamists. Islamists hold about two-thirds of the seats in parliament. On Tuesday, some parliamentarians walked out of parlaiment in protest, saying that the constitutional body under-represents women, intellectuals, and Christians. Liberals and Christians could again raise legal objections, further delaying introduction of a new constitution. Delays would mean that the powers of the president would not be defined when Egyptians elect a new president this weekend in a runoff vote. A member of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Mursi, is running against Ahmed Shafik, who served as prime minister in the government of deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

More than 100 detained in soccer clashes in Warsaw
At least 120 people were detained in Warsaw on Tuesday following clashes between Polish and Russian soccer fans. Eleven people were injured. Police moved in with water cannon, teargas and rubber bullets to end the violence at a stadium where the two countries' teams were playing in a Euro 2012 match. Violence erupted as thousands of Russian fans crossed the Vistula river on the way to the stadium. Groups of fans began to provoke each other with insults that led to scuffles.

Police again questioning Russian opposition leaders
On Wednesday, for a second consecutive day, police in Moscow summoned some Russian opposition leaders for questioning. Anti-graft blogger Alexei Navalny and leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov say that police are trying to scare them into halting their protests against President Vladimir Putin. On Tuesday, a Russian national holiday, tens of thousands of people staged a rally against the Russian leader in Moscow. They accused him of dictatorial tactics. Demonstrators were also angry over a new law that introduced huge fines for protesters deemed to have violated public order.

Uganda urged to improve maternal care
Social activists in Uganda are asking the Supreme Court to ensure the safety of women during childbirth. Sixteen Ugandan women die in childbirth every day. Activists want the Supreme Court to declare that women's rights are violated when they die in childbirth. Activists hope to shame the government into improving resources for maternal health care.

China perceived as world's leading economy
A global survey finds that for the first time, people are more likely to view China and not the United States as the world's leading economic power. The Pew Research Center says 41 per cent of people interviewed in 21 countries ranked China as the number-one economy. Forty per cent said that the United States was first.

Despite profit growth, Patheon showing losses
The Canadian contract drug maker, Patheon, is reporting greater losses in the second quarter, despite increases in revenue and gross profit. Losses totaled US$79.7 million or 61.6 cents a share. Revenue rose to US$181.5 million from $170 million in the same period last year. Patheon says that the loss was primarily due to previously announced impairment charges of $57.9 million and repositioning expenses of $4.9 million. There was also an after-tax impact of $4.7 million from consulting fees related to strategic initiatives. Toronto-based Patheon develops and manufactures products for the global pharmaceutical industry. Patheon operates 10 manufacturing plants, nine development centres and one clinical trial packaging operation at locations in Canada, the United States and Europe.

International trade minister boosting free trade
Canada's international trade minister says that free, open trade is the best way to create jobs and guarantee a global economic recovery. Ed Fast was speaking to delegates at the International Economic Forum of the Americas, a major economic conference taking place in Montreal. Mr. Fast warned against protectionist strategies. He spoke as Canada's government continues to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the European Union. Mr. Fast said that Canada must also improve its access to growing markets around the world, particularly in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region. But one of Canada's major labour unions, the Canadian Auto Workers union says that countries such as Japan and South Korea should fully open their markets to imports of Canadian autos as a precondition of lowering trade barriers. In the past six years, Canada has concluded free trade agreements with nine countries -- Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru, the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and Honduras.

Shareholders approve First Uranium Corporation sales
Trading in the Toronto-based company, First Uranium Corporation, was stopped on Wednesday while the company announced that shareholders had approved deals to sell its Mine Waste Solutions tailings recovery operation in South Africa and its Ezulwini gold mine. Shareholders voted in favour of the sale of Mine Waste Solutions to AngloGold Ashanti for CDN$335 million and Gold One International's offer for the Ezulwini mine for CDN$70 million. The company expects the deals will be closed by the end of the month. A key group of opponents to the sale reversed direction earlier this week and decided to support the deals.



Toronto pitcher Henderson Alvarez gave up three homers as the Washington Nationals defeated the Blue Jays 4-2 on Tuesday. Alvarez has given up 16 homers in 13 starts this season, tied for second most in the American League.


Canada played Honduras to a scoreless draw in a World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday.


Canadian Milos Raonic beat Zhang Ze of China in the second round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, on Wednesday, 6-1, 6-1.



Here is Canada's weather forecast for Thursday, June 14. British Columbia will be mainly cloudy. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 17 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: cloudy. Whitehorse, 15. Northwest Territories: variable cloudiness. Yellowknife, 15. Nunavut: mainly cloudy. Iqaluit, six. Alberta: mainly sunny. Edmonton, 18. Saskatchewan: showers. Regina, 18. Manitoba: showers. Winnipeg, 23. Ontario: sunny. Toronto: 22. Ottawa, 23. Quebec: sunny. Montreal, 22. New Brunswick: mainly cloudy. Fredericton, 25. Nova Scotia: overcast. Halifax, 21. Prince Edward Island: sunny periods. Charlottetown, 20. Newfoundland: variable cloudiness. St. John's, 12.