Sunday, February 27, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 26 February 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather

OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he's told his officials to prepare sanctions against Moammar Gadhafi's regime. Mr. Harper says Mr. Gadhafi's actions are "appalling and absolutely unacceptable" and the Libyan leader must be held accountable. Mr. Harper says Canada is prepared to impose sanctions both in concert with its international allies, or by itself if necessary. The US has already imposed sanctions against Libya and is freezing any assets that Mr. Gadhafi or members of his family or government have in the United States.

OTTAWA: Canada has suspended its diplomatic presence in Libya. A military plane carried six consular officials as well as 18 other Canadians out of the country overnight Friday. The C-17 was also carrying British and Australian citizens to Malta. Officials said there are now less than 100 Canadians in Libya hoping to leave. A Canadian government plane remains on standby for them, but officials are working with other countries to co-ordinate other means of evacuation.

OTTAWA: Canada's opposition parties are ridiculing the government's handling of the situation in Libya. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff suggests Prime Minister Harper's threat of sanctions is an empty one because it's the UN Security Council that wields the big stick. He also says the Harper government has failed miserably in its efforts to get Canadians out of Libya. New Democrat MP Paul Dewar also called Ottawa's evacuation plans a "botched effort."

TORONTO: Hundreds of people demonstrated in downtown Toronto Saturday to show their support for protesters in Libya. Organizers said the international community is not putting enough pressure on the Gadhafi regime.

VANCOUVER: Members of the provincial Liberal Party in the province of British Columbia were votingSatruday for a new leader. The four candidates started their campaigns to replace Premier Gordon Campbell almost four months ago. About 90,000 party membersvoted by phone or Internet using a preferential ballot. However, therewere some technical problems. Thousands of party membersdid notreceive a personal ID number, which needed to cast a ballot. Those memberswere told to call a special help line, whichwas often met with a busy signal. The four candidates -- George Abbott, Kevin Falcon, Mike de Jong and Christy Clark -- are all former provincial cabinet ministers.

OTTAWA: Canada's broadcast regulator has dropped a controversial proposal that would have given radio and TV stations more leeway to broadcast false and misleading news. The chairman of the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, Konrad von Finckenstein, says he's glad the committee dropped it in the face of fierce opposition from the public. The proposal sparked concerns the CRTC was about to allow the kind of venomous political debate that's common on American airwaves. Liberal MP Andrew Kania, co-chair of the parliamentary committee, said the committee never told the CRTC to adopt the proposal. Mr. Kania said it merely asked the CRTC whether the ban on false news violated free speech guarantees in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

WINNIPEG: The provincial government in the prairie province of Manitoba is filing a complaint about a judge who made sexist comments while sentencing a convicted rapist last week. Justice Robert Dewar suggested what the woman was wearing and her flirtatious behaviour were partly to blame for the attack. Kenneth Rhodes was given a two-year conditional penalty that allows him to remain free in the community. The Crown wanted at least three years behind bars, citing numerous case precedents which suggest that is the starting point for a major sexual assault. The Canadian Judicial Council says it will review the case as well

VANCOUVER: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia have opened a criminal investigation into the polygamous community of Bountiful. The force is investigating allegations of cross-border trafficking of of underage girls--some as young as 12 years old. Lawyers for BC's attorney-general say nine girls from the community were transported to the United States to be married.

OTTAWA: Inuit leaders from Canada, the US, Greenland and Russia have wrapped up a two-day meeting in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. The leaders said they were all in favour of supporting resource development in the North, but they failed to come to an agreement over the controversial issue of off-shore oil and gas in the Arctic.


Fighting between protesters and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi continued Saturday in Tripoli for the 11th straight day. Residents in the Libyan capital said Mr. Gadhafi was arming civilian supporters to set up checkpoints and quash dissent. The popular uprising throughout the country is posing the biggest challenge Mr. Gadhafi has faced in his 42-year rule. He has maintained control in the capital by using violence on protesters, though rebels have seized control of about half of Libya's coastline. It's estimated that hundreds of people have died in the violence. Pro-Gadhafi forces opened fire Friday on demonstrations after Muslims prayers, and Mr. Gadhafi told supporters he would "open the arms depot so all Libyans and tribes become armed."

The UN Security Council met Saturday consider sanctions against Moammar Gadhafi's regime to try to end its bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters. France, Britain, Germany and the US circulated a draft resolution that would impose an arms embargo on Mr. Gadhafi's government and an asset freeze and travel ban on Mr. Gadhafi's family and regime leaders. It also would refer the crackdown to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible crimes against humanity. The US has already imposed sanctions against Libya and is freezing any assets that Mr. Gadhafi or members of his family or government have in the United States.

Pressure on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign intensified on Saturday when the leaders of two of Yemen's most important tribes abandoned him and joined the anti-regime movement. The news came as an official denied reports that police killed four people on Friday in an assault on an anti-government protest in Aden. The official blamed a southern secessionist group for the attack. Security forces also arrested many demonstrators as the protests continued through the night. At least 19 people have died in almost daily clashes between police and anti-regime protesters since Feb. 16.

The ruling military council apologised on Saturday after military police beat protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday. But activists called for fresh protests to denounce violence by the authorities. A security official and witnesses said that shortly after midnight, military police surrounded protesters, beating them with batons and using tasers to disperse the crowd of several hundred that had gathered to push for reforms. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said that "what happened late Friday was the result of unintentional confrontations between the military police and the youth of the revolution." It stressed that it "did not and will not issue orders to attack the youth, and all measures will be taken to ensure this will not happen again." But activists launched a Facebook call for fresh protests on Saturday to denounce the army's use of force. Meanwhile, thirteen former Egyptian police officers were sentenced on Friday to five years in prison for setting fire to an interior ministry building in central Cairo.

An Egyptian panel charged with amending the country's constitution has recommended presidential term limits -- a significant change from the current open-ended presidency. The eight-member panel suggested limiting a president to two consecutive four-year terms. It also said Saturday the election process -- previously heavily controlled and rigged -- should be overseen by the judiciary. Both changes were key opposition demands. The panel was appointed by Egypt's Armed Forces Supreme Council on Feb. 15 to suggest constitutional amendments that would pave the way for democratic elections later this year. The military council has been running Egypt's affairs since a popular uprising forced longtime President Hosni Mubarak to resign Feb. 11.

The websites of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have posted calls for new protests on Tuesday to demand their release from reported house arrest. The call was issued by the Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope--an umbrella group backing the two leaders who steadfastly oppose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. It said the protests would be held in key squares and streets of Tehran and provincial cities. The group, which called previous protests on Feb. 14 and Feb. 20, said that more demonstrations would be held on March 15 if Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi remained under house arrest beyond March 1. The Feb. 14 protests were deadly with two people killed when clashes erupted between demonstrators and security forces. The Feb. 20 protests in Tehran were quelled by a massive deployment of police. The two protests were first to be held since February last year and infuriated the authorities who accused Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi of treason and put them under "complete" house arrest, according to opposition websites.

Hundreds of demonstrators protested Saturday inthe capital, Algiers, to demand the ouster of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. But police were out in far larger numbers to counter the protesters. The protest on central Martyrs Square came two days after the government ended a 19-year state of emergency born of Algeria's bloody Islamic insurgency. The move is aimed to ease tensions after weeks of anti-government strikes and protests. Saturday's demonstration, led by a political opposition party, was far smaller than protests that have brought down autocrats in fellow North African countries of Tunisia or Egypt. Algeria's Interior Minister said protest marches in the capital of Algiers are still banned.

The Interior Ministry says three people were killed in clashes Saturday between demonstrators and security forces in Tunisia's capital. The deaths were announced after Tunisian soldiers confronted dozens of youths who broke shop windows in central Tunis. Police at the scene during the confrontation said that the youths were loyalists of deposed president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Tunisia's crime rates have soared since a popular uprising toppled Mr. Ben Ali on Jan. 14.

Palestinian officials say Jewish settlers torched a car and tried to set fire to a house in a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank on Saturday. The pre-dawn attack occurred in the village of Burin, just south of the city of Nablus. The Israeli army said its Civil Administration branch had received a complaint and would investigate. Settlers could not be reached for comment on the Jewish Sabbath.

Bahrain's king reshuffled his cabinet Saturday, under pressure as an exiled opposition leader returned to a hero's welcome and thousands of people protested in Manama to demand the Sunni rulers stand down. The move came on the 13th day of protests calling for reforms in the country, as opposition leader Hassan Mashaima returned home from self-imposed exile in Britain. Mr. Mashaima, who on Saturday night was greeted by thousands of cheering protesters and fireworks lighting the sky over Pearl Square, the epicentre of anti-regime demonstrations, called for unity in a speech.

The death toll rose Saturday to 145 from the massive 6.3 earthquake that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand last Tuesday. Police suggest the toll will continue to rise because more than 200 people are still missing. Engineers say one-third of the mostly brick buildings in central Christchurch were severely damaged, and must be demolished.

A roadside bomb killed nine civilians including women and children when it struck the vehicle they were travelling in in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday. Officials blamed the attack on "enemies of Afghanistan," a term often used to refer to Taliban militants who have waged a bloody insurgency against Afghan and foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Supporters of a Pakistani police commando charged with murdering a high-profile liberal governor held a rally Saturday as the court resumed taking statements in the case. At a previous hearing on Jan. 4, Malik Mumtaz Qadri was charged with terrorism and the murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer. The killing of Mr. Taseer, a reformist, was the most high-profile political assassination in Pakistan since former prime minister Benazir Bhutto died in a gun and suicide attack in Dec. 2007. More than 250 demonstrators rallied outside the court, located inside the Adiyala prison in the garrison town of Rawalpindi.

Hundreds of Kashmiri separatists held a one-day hunger strike on Saturday to demand that government soldiers be punished for the deaths of 112 people during anti-India protests last summer. Families of some of those killed also joined the protest, called by the pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. Protesters also demanded the release of hundreds of people who have been held without trial for years in the Indian-administered portion of Kashmir. A variety of groups, included armed insurgents, have been demanding independence for Indian-held Kashmir or its merger with neighbouring Pakistan. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the conflict.

Gunmen in Iraq attacked the country's largest oil refinery on Saturday, killing one guard and detonating bombs that sparked a fire and forced the facility to shut down. Officials said the assailants broke into the Beiji refinery around in the pre-dawn hours, attacked the guards and planted bombs. One guard was killed and another wounded. The refinery processes about 150,000 barrels of oil per day. Beiji is about 250 kilometres north of Baghdad.

Exit polls suggest that Ireland's ruling party suffered a crushing defeat in elections on Friday. Thevote came amid public anger over the economic crisis and an EU-IMF bailout. Fianna Fail, the party of Prime Minister Brian Cowen, which has ruled Ireland for 21 of the last 24 years, slumped to just 15.1 percent of theexiti polls. It was the party'sworst-ever general election result. The main opposition Fine Gael party is set to lead the new government, taking 36.1 percent of the vote, although this is not enough to win the majority of parliamentary seats needed to govern alone. Official results are expected this week.

Social networking site LinkedIn is once again accessible in China, after apparently being blocked by authorities following online calls for Middle East-style protests across the country. The unidentified organizers of the protests have urged citizens to rally Sunday in cities across China. Last weekend, an initial attempt to organize protests attracted only a handful of active participants, though it unnerved the Chinese government. Beijing has responded by increasing Internet filtering, stepping up police presence and detaining dissidents. LinkedIn could not be opened in China for a few days this week but was working again Saturday. The American company has said it was monitoring the situation.

Three relatives of a murdered Mexican rights activist were found dead Friday, 18 days after they were abducted in northern Mexico. The two brothers and a sister-in-law of Josefina Reyes were abducted by armed men on Feb. 7 in the Valle de Juarez area, near the US border. A written message from their alleged killers was left with the bodies, which were found near the notoriously violent city of Ciudad Juarez. Officials did not reveal its contents. Ms. Reyes, who was killed on Jan. 3, 2010, had organized protests against drug violence and alleged rights violations by the military. Another of her brothers, Raul Reyes, was also killed in Aug., 2010. The two brothers found dead Friday had sought justice for their siblings' killers. Amnesty International on Friday urged authorities to provide protection to the family. More than 3,100 violent deaths were registered in Ciudad Juarez in 2010 alone, in a region at the heart of Mexico's brutal drug violence.

Cuba's Roman Catholic church announced Saturday that arrangements have been made for the release of a political prisoner who had refused exile in Spain. Diosdado Gonzalez, 48, was one of six dissidents left from a group of 75 imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown by Cuba's communist regime. Separately, the church said another eight Cuban prisoners would be released soon and head into exile in Spain. The eight are prisoners convicted of activities deemed a danger to the state, but are not considered political prisoners insofar as they were not activists with a political group opposing the government.

The clown who had to prove he could read and write before taking his seat in Brazil's Congress will be a member of commission overseeing education and culture. Party of the Republic chief Lincoln Portela says that Francisco Silva "has a lot to contribute to Brazil's culture." Mr. Silva is known as Tiririca, which means "grumpy" in Portuguese. He won more votes than any other candidate in Brazil's October elections. But critics suggested he was illiterate and a judge ordered him to take a test in court to prove he was literate. The judge afterward ruled that Tiririca could read and write well enough to act as a congressman.


OTTAWA: The Canadian dollar is at its highest value in more than three years -- 102.18 cents US. Traders say it's mainly because the price of oil has stabilized after a week of volatility caused by the crisis in Libya. Oil gained 60 cents Friday to end the week at $97.88 US a barrel. Saudi Arabia, OPEC's biggest producer, says it's prepared to boost production to make up for any shortfall caused by the Libyan crisis.

OTTAWA: The Canadian government's fiscal position continues to improve. The federal finance department says the budget deficit for December was $1.4 billion, less than one-half of the figure for December 2009. The government had forecast a $45-billion deficit for the fiscal year, but at the present rate the final figure will be closer to $36 billion.

OTTAWA: Canada's budget watchdog says the federal government hasn't provided enough information to Parliament to allow MPs to assess the cost of three major items of expenditure. Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has issued a report on the cost of the planned purchase of F-35 jet fighters, corporate tax cuts and bills to crack down on crime. The report says the government has provided some information but is still wilthholding some estimates that would enable legislators to assess how much the jet fighter and the tough-on-crime bills will cost. Mr. Page also predicts that the corporate tax cuts will cost $16 billion more over five years than the government has forecast.


Olympic champion Alexandre Bilodeau won gold as Canada took four medals in a freestyle skiing World Cup on Saturday in Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic. Bilodeau edged teammate Mikael Kingsbury in the final men's dual moguls race. Jeremy Cota of the United States was third. In the women's race, Canadian Jennifer Heil won silver ahead of teammate Chloe Dufour-Lapointe. American Hannah Kearney took the gold.

Canadian Mellisa Hollingsworth won the bronze medal at the skeleton world championships on Saturday in Konigssee, Germany. Hollingsworth joined two German athletes on the podium. Marion Thees captured the world championship title while Anja Huber took the silver. Two other Canadian women also finished in the top-10. Amy Gough finished seventh while Calgary's Darla Deschamps placed eighth. The men wrapped up their four-run race on Friday. Olympic gold medallist Jon Montgomery led the way for Canada with an 11th-place finish.

Friday's results: Buffalo defeated Ottawa 4-2, San Jose defeated Calgary 4-3 in a shootout and St. Louis shut out Edmonton 5-0.

Friday's result: Phoenix defeated Toronto 110-92.

Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones will lead her team into the final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts for a fourth straight year. Jones's Team Canada rink fast-tracked to Sunday's final with a 10-9 extra-end victory over Saskatchewan's Amber Holland in the one-versus-two playoff on Friday. Jones will be looking to tie the record of four straight Canadian women's titles set by Halifax's Colleen Jones, who had a lock on the tournament from 2001 to 2004. Saskatchewan was to play again Saturday in the semifinals against against Ontario's Rachel Homan, a 13-5 winnerover Nova Scotia's Heather Smith-Daceyin Saturday's playoff.

It appears the Saskatchewan Roughriders won't be playing their home games indoors anytime soon. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says there won't be a last-minute plea from his government looking for domed stadium funding from Ottawa. The province says it needs a decision by the end of the month because a land agreement for the proposed site is about to lapse. In other CFL news, Jim Barker has been recognized for turning around the Toronto Argonauts, and been named the CFL's coach of the year. The Argos were 9-9 last season after winning a combined seven games over the previous two years.


Vancouver has periods of rain or snow with a forecast high temperature of four degrees Celsius. Calgary is cloudy with a high of minus-eight. Regina is cloudy with a chance of flurries, a high of minus-10. Winnipeg has clearing skies, a high of minus-six. Toronto is cloudy with sunny periods with a chance of morning flurries and rain beginning late in the day, a high of four. Ottawa has periods of morning snow with a chance of afternoon flurries, a high of zero. Montreal has morning snow followed by a mix of sun and cloud, a high of minus-four. Fredericton has increasing cloud, a high of minus-nine. Charlottetown is sunny with cloudy periods, a high of minus-nine. Halifax has increasing cloud, a chance of afternoon flurries, a high of minus-four. St. John's has a mix of sun and cloud, a chance of flurries and local blowing snow, a high of minus-five. Whitehorse is cloudy, a high of minus-23. Yellowknife is sunny and minus-23. Iqaluit is sunny and minus-26.

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