Wednesday, June 20, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Canada to join Trans-Pacific talks - PM optimistic about Europe
Canada has been granted a seat at a table that Prime Minister Harper has been coveting. After a private meeting in Mexico with President Obama, Mr. Harper announced that Canada has been asked to join negotiations for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. Canada becomes the 11th country to get involved. Mexico was invited in Monday. With Canada and Mexico entering the talks, the countries involved represent 658 million people and a gross domestic product of $20.5 trillion. Many believe the deal will have more economic strength than the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Canadian government is also pursuing trade deals with China and India, following official visits in 2011 and 2012, and has launched similar negotiations with Japan.



The two-day summit in the Baja California peninsula closed Tuesday with leaders of the world's 20 most important economies urging their European counterparts to break the vicious circle of debt-burdened banks and cash-strapped countries. "Euro area members of the G20 will take all necessary policy measures to safeguard the integrity and stability of the area, improve the functioning of financial markets and break the feedback loop between sovereigns and banks," according to a draft communique that has been making the rounds at the summit. The prime minister told reporters he feels European leaders will take action. "I am convinced that European leaders fully understand what needs to be done," he said. "The issue is now acting quickly and dramatically to actually take those steps." Harper has been vocal in urging the Europeans to move swiftly to contain their debt crisis once and for all. The prime minister's calls for action rankled some Europeans, who did not appreciate a lecture from Harper on how to balance their chequebooks.



Rio + 20 - Canada lukewarm
After months of efforts, environmental officials at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil have delivered a 283-point "vision" for leaders and politicians to ratify later this week. The plan would commit countries to fight climate change with "urgent and ambitious action", increase their aid for developing countries, and work out a global set of long-term sustainable development goals to alleviate poverty and prevent global warming. But critics say the draft is weak on timelines and firm commitments, and lacks heft when it comes to overseeing the state of the world's oceans. They blame Canada, in part, for arguing against a new agreement that would better protect the biodiversity of the high seas, where no country has any firm control. A spokesman for Canada's Environment Minister, Peter Kent, says Canada is already part of an ad hoc process to protect the high seas, and creating another agreement would duplicate efforts.





International development - room for improvement
The Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says a decade's worth of progress by Canada in providing increasing amounts of international aid could be reversed by its recent budget cut to overseas development. The Conservative government cut $380 million, or 7.5 per cent, from Canada's $5.3-billion annual aid budget. The OECD report urges Canada to adopt a plan to boost aid from its current 0.31 per cent of GDP to 0.7 per cent. And it says that while Canada has done good things in Haiti and Afghanistan, it has not set out a clear vision for how it does overseas development.





Federal budget passes Commons, but faces new challenge
A new battle is looming in connection with Canada's latest federal budget. The budget was formally passed on Monday in the House of Commons. During a marathon voting session last week, the Conservative Party government used its majority in parliament to reject hundreds of amendments that opposition parties had proposed in an effort to stop the budget's passage. The budget makes deep cuts in many government departments and federally funded programs. In a new assault on the budget, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, says that 64 federal departments and agencies are breaking the law for failing to provide basic information about billions of dollars in budget cuts. He says that the details are needed to inform parliamentarians. But the government says that Mr. Page was given all the information on the budget cuts that he needs. The budget bill is expected to easily pass in the Senate and become law by the end of the week.



Magnotta pleads not-guilty
A Canadian man accused of killing and dismembering a Chinese student appeared in court in Montreal on Tuesday. Luka Magnotta was extradited on Monday from Berlin, where he was arrested earlier this month. He arrived in Montreal under police escort aboard a military plane. He has been charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in connection with the death and dismemberment of Jun Lin, a student at Montreal's Concordia University. Parts of the victim's body were sent in separate packages to two political party headquarters in Ottawa and to a school in Vancouver. Magnotta, a 29-year-old self-described porn actor and prostitute, pleaded not-guilty to all the charges. His case has been put over until Thursday.



Hackers held
Police in the province of Quebec have arrested six people suspected of engineering cyber attacks on government websites last month. In an act of opposition to the province's new law that restricts street demonstrations, self-described members of Anonymous hacked into a variety of websites, including the province's education and public-safety departments, as well as that of the governing Liberal party. Police will not say if their suspects are connected to that group. Those arrested, including three minors, are expected to face a variety of charges, including mischief, conspiracy, and unlawful use of a computer.





Cigarette package health warnings increase in size


New Canadian laws governing warnings on cigarette packages went into effect on Tuesday. Labels covering 75 per cent of packages must show dramatic messages that warn of the health risks of smoking. Statistics Canada says that in 2011, almost six million people, or one in five Canadians aged 12 and older, smoked occasionally or daily. In 2001, about one in four Canadians smoked.



More Americans visiting Canada
Canada saw a slight rise in the number of foreign visitors in April. Statistics Canada says that foreigners made two-point-one million trips, an increase of eight-tenths of one per cent over the month of March. The increase is a result of more visits by Americans. Travel from overseas countries declined by just over four per cent from a four-year high in March. Canadians in April made slightly fewer trips to the neighbouring United States---just under five-and-a-half million trips. In the same month, Canadians made almost eight hundred thousand trips overseas, an increase of eight-tenths of one per cent over March.



Costly Canadian destinations
Two Canadian cities are in the top three most expensive North American destinations for expatriates. The new Mercer cost of living survey places Toronto at No. 61 and Vancouver at No. 63 among 214 world cities assessed. Only New York at No. 33 is more expensive in North America. On a global basis, the three most expensive destinations are Tokyo, Luanda, Angola and Osaka, Japan. The least expensive city is Karachi, Pakistan. The survey measures the comparative costs of over 200 items, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.








Mubarak 'clinically dead'

Former Egyptian presdient Hosni Mubarak has been declared "clinically dead", according to the state news agency MENA. It said doctors used a defibrillator on him several times, after he was trasferred to hospital from prison. MENA initially said the efforts were not successful. But one unnamed official said Mubarak was put on life support. He had no further details on his condition. An interior ministry spokesman said Mubarak was moved from prison to a military hospital Tuesday after he suffered a stroke and his condition rapidly worsened. Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison on June 2 for failing to stop the killing of protesters in last year's uprising that led to his ouster.


Mounting toll in Northern Nigeria
The radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram, is being blamed for the deaths of as many as 34 people in the northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu. A spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross said Tuesday that 20 of the dead were civilians. The sect claimed responsibility for three church attacks in Kaduna state on Sunday. A relief agency official said at least 70 people died in those attacks and in reprisal killings.







Life sentence for Rwandan genocidaire


A former Rwandan military officer was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison after being found guilty of genocide and murder. 48-year-old Ildephonse Nizeyimana had ordered troops to kill several people in his position as captain of a military training school. The Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda also convicted Nizeyimana of authorising the killing of Rwanda's former Tutsi queen, Rosalie Gicanda, towards the end of April 1994



Bus passengers drown in Haiti
As many as 40 people - perhaps more - are feared drowned after a bus overturned while trying to cross a rain-swollen river in Haiti. The accident occurred Monday near the town of Pestel on Haiti's southern peninsula. Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, the director of Haiti's office of civil protection, says the driver apparently ignored warnings not to try to cross the river. Local Civil Protection officials have recovered the bodies of 40 people and are still searching the area. The statement said nine people were either rescued from the submerged bus or managed to swim to safety.







Tension rising as Israel and Palestinians trade attacks
Tension is rising again in Israel after the second deadly Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip in two days. Two Palestinians were killed on Tuesday. A day earlier, four Palestinians died in an initial attack. The militant Palestinian group, Hamas, retaliated on Tuesday with its first cross-border rocket barrages in more than a year. About 14 rockets were launched. No casualties were reported. Until the latest barrage, Hamas had held its fire under an unofficial truce. Israel says that its forces targeted a terrorist bomb squad. On Monday, militants fired on Israelis building a barrier in the Sinai desert near Egypt, killing one worker. Soldiers shot dead two of the attackers.



Pakistan's prime minister ruled ineligible for office
In an unprecedented ruling, Pakistan's Supreme Court has declared that Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is ineligible for office. He is the first serving prime minister in Pakistan's history to be convicted by a court. Two months ago, Mr. Gilani was found guilty of contempt of court after he refused to re-open cases of corruption against Pakistan's president. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry says that the court disqualified Mr. Gilani because he failed to file an appeal. Mr. Chaudry's campaigns against government corruption and abuses by Pakistan's military have made him a major force in the country' But a senior aide to Mr. Gilani disputed the court's ruling, saying that only parliament has the power to dismiss the prime minister. The decision is unlikely to lead to the fall of the Pakistan People's Party, which governs with coalition partners. Using its majority, the coalition could elect a new prime minister.



Frenchman arrested in connection with China political scandal
Police in Cambodia have arrested a Frenchman in connection with a major political scandal in China. Patrick Henri Devillers is an architect who had close business ties to the family of Bo Xilai. Mr. Bo was an influential Chinese politician who lost his high-ranking Communist Party post earlier this year after his wife, Gu Kailai, was accused of murdering a British man, Neil Heywood. Neither Mr. Bo nor his wife have been seen in public since March. Mr. Deviller's name was linked with Ms. Gu in business ventures in Europe. There are allegations that Mr. Heywood was murdered after he demanded too large a cut when Ms. Gu requested his help in transferring money overseas. In a recent interview with Le Monde newspaper, Mr. Devillers denied laundering any money. France's government is awaiting an official response from China about why Mr. Devillers was arrested. It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Devillers would be extradited to China. Cambodia cooperated with China in past extraditions. In 2009, Cambodia deported 20 Chinese Uighurs who had sought asylum from the United Nations in Phnom Penh.



Striking Spanish miners clash with police


Violence has broken out during a labour strike by miners in northern Spain. Police fired rubber bullets at hundreds of miners who had attacked with homemade rockets and shot stones from slingshots after police tried to remove barricades. There are no reports of serious injuries. Miners also cut off a highway and railway leading to the mining town of Cirena. Miners are worried that the government's wide-ranging austerity plan will devastate the mining industry. About one Spanish adult in four is unemployed.

 






Markets
The S&P/TSX composite index rose 187.23 points to end at 11,788.36.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average increased 101.41 points to 12,843.23. The Nasdaq composite index rose 32.57 points to 2,927.90 and the S&P 500 index was up 13.10 points at 1,357.88.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.56 of a cent to 98.21 cents US.



Bombardier forecasting fewer global airplane sales
The giant Canadian aerospace company, Bombardier, is more pessimistic about long-term future sales of small- and medium-sized commercial aircraft. The world's third-largest aircraft manufacturer expects that over the next 20 years, deliveries in the 20- to 149-seat category will fall by 2.3 per cent to 12,800 planes for sales worth US$630 billion. The number represents 300 fewer units than initially forecast. Bombardier blames smaller global domestic growth. The latest market forecast includes an 18 per cent increase to 2012 fuel costs, the largest cost for airlines. The company says that China will be the world's second-largest market with 2,200 deliveries through 2031, surpassed only by the United States, which will lead with 4,730 expected deliveries. Europe and Russia will trail with 2,240 units.



After almost 40 years, a new potash mine in Saskatchewan
A German company is breaking ground for the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in almost 40 years. The K+S group has held a ground-breaking ceremony at its Legacy mine project near Bethune, about 60 kilometres northwest of Regina. During peak construction, the CDN$3.25-billion project is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs. The mine will eventually employ 300 people. Production is expected to begin in 2015. Saskatchewan has the world's largest deposits of potash, a

mineral mainly used in fertilizer.






SPORTS
BASEBALL

The Milwaukee Brewers beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, 7-6. Toronto's Jose Bautista's three-run homer in the top of the seventh tied the game 6-6. But Aramis Ramirez hit a homer for the winning run.



DIVING

Canadian diver Alexandre Despatie has returned to Canada after injuring his head in a training accident last week in Spain. Despatie was preparing for a Grand Prix event when he struck his head on the diving board. He still hopes to participate in the Olympic Games in London in August.



BOXING

Champion Canadian boxer Mary Spencer's has been awarded a wild-card entry for the London Olympic Games. Spencer waited several weeks to learn her fate after failing to clinch a spot at the women's world championships last month in China. She is Canada's highest-ranked female boxer.








Wednesday June 20, 2012
VANCOUVER: A mix of sun and cloud. Clearing near noon. High 19 except 23 inland.

EDMONTON: Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers in the morning and afternoon. Clearing in the evening. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon. Wind becoming north 20 km/h early in the evening. High 19.

CALGARY: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming west 20 km/h early in the evening. High 17

SASKATOON: Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers in the morning and afternoon then a mix of sun and cloud. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 18

REGINA: Mainly cloudy. 70 percent chance of showers in the morning. 30 percent chance of showers in the evening. Risk of a thunderstorm in the evening. Wind becoming north 20 km/h in the morning. High 18.

WINNIPEG: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers in the morning and early in the afternoon. High 18.

THUNDER BAY: Showers or a few thunderstorms ending in the morning then cloudy. 70 percent chance of showers late in the afternoon and in the evening. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon and in the evening. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming west 20 late in the afternoon. High 23 except 19 near Lake Superior.

TORONTO:`Sunny. Wind becoming west 30 km/h in the evening. High 34.

OTTAWA: A mix of sun and cloud. 40 percent chance of showers in the afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. High 34.

MONTREAL: Mainly sunny. High 31.

FREDERICTON: A few showers ending in the morning then clearing. High 28.

HALIFAX: A mix of sun and cloud. 40 percent chance of showers early in the morning. Clearing in the evening. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming northwest 20 early in the evening. High 25 except 21 along parts of the coast.

CHARLOTTETOWN: A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers in the morning and early in the afternoon. Clearing in the evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming north 20 early in the afternoon. High 22.

ST. JOHN'S: Mainly sunny. Fog retreating to the coast in the morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 18 except 13 along parts of the coast.

HAPPY VALLEY - GOOSE BAY: Sunny. Increasing cloudiness in the afternoon with 40 percent chance of showers late in the afternoon and in the evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late in the afternoon. High 27.

WHITEHORSE: Mainly cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm in the afternoon and evening. High 20.

YELLOWKNIFE: Sunny. Wind becoming west 20 km/h early in the evening. High 23.

IQALUIT: Cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers in the morning. Clearing late in the evening. Wind northwest 30 km/h. High 10.