Monday, March 21, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 20 March 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


KANDAHAR: The families of ten Canadian soldiers killed on duty in Afghanistan paid tribute to their loved ones at Kandahar Airfield on Sunday. Parents, spouses and siblings of those killed placed wreaths at the foot of the monument dedicated to dead Canadians. The ceremony could be the last of its kind before Canada's military mission ends this year. Canada has 2,800 soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The mission will revert from a military assignment to a training mission.


VANCOUVER: A Canadian disaster relief team is going to Japan for the second time in a week. The rapid-response medical team based in British Columbia first arrived in Japan soon after the earthquake and tsunami struck. But the team found that it was unprepared to cope with the radiation in Myagi prefecture seeping from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. But the team has since had training in coping with radiation, and will carry personal dosimeters to measure radiation. The team will try to get food, water and medical aid to people in northern areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The six-person unit will first find a good place to set up an operations base. Once the base is in place, a ten-person medical team will join the group. Some of the medics speak Japanese.


OTTAWA: A Canadian military analyst predicts coalition forces will be able to knock out Moammar Gadhafi's air defences within just two or three days. Michel Drapeau, a retired military Colonel, says Libya's 1970's era Russian warplanes have no chance against the coalition's far newer and far more advanced aircraft. Mr. Drapeau adds, however, that the coalition aerial mission is still not without risk.



Some delays are reported at polling stations in Haiti, where a presidential run-off election is underway. Many polling stations in Port au Prince had still not opened a few hours after voting officially began. But voting was proceeding peacefully. Two widely contrasting candidates are in the running. Seventy-year-old Mirlande Manigat was once married to the country's president, while Michel Martelly is a singer musician. They led the polls after the first round of voting in November. One of Mr. Martelly's best-known supporters, hip-hop star Wyclef Jean, was shot in the hand on Saturday, and treated in hospital. It's unclear why he was shot. A former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, returned to Haiti this week after seven years in exile. He's still widely popular, and could influence the vote.


A spokesman for Libya's military announced on Sunday that an immediate ceasefire had been ordered. The announcement came on the second day of a coordinated allied attack on Libyan defence sites. British and French jet fighters began attacking Colonel Moammar Gaddafi's ground forces on Saturday. More than 100 American missiles targeted his anti-aircraft gun emplacements. In a televised speech, Colonel Gaddafi called the attacks an act of terrorism, claiming that civilians were killed. The Arab League also expressed its concern that the allied attack was surpassing the mandate approved this week by the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council approved creating a no-fly zone around Libya, but the Arab League fears that the allies are aiming to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi and bring about a change of government. An earlier ceasefire announced by Libya proved false.


Repair crews in Japan have managed to bring two of the six overheated reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant under control. The reactors are leaking small amounts of radiation. Failing to cool them could lead to an explosion, which could spread radiation over a wide region. Low levels of radiation have been found in milk and spinach in northeastern Japan around the vicinity of the Fukushima plant. On Sunday, Japan's government advised village in Fukushima prefecture to avoid drinking tap water because of radioactive iodine. Nine days after the massive earthquake and tsunami struck the region, rescuers found two people alive amid the rubble. The disasters killed more than eight thousand people. Another twelve thousand people are missing.


Thousands of exiled Tibetans in 13 countries have voted for a new political leader who it is hoped will carry forward their struggle for democratic change in China. The vote to replace the Dalai Lama as head of the exiled-Tibetan parliament was held Sunday, 10-days after the 75 year old Bhuddist leader announced his desire to retire. He said he wants to hand political power to an elected leader who could continue the fight after his death. Analysts say while the Dalai Lama will remain the Tibetans' spiritual leader, the decision to relinquish political power before his death will make it harder for China to try to argue that his authority has passed to a reincarnated successor of Beijing's choosing. China rules Tibet and considers the Dalai Lama a separatist bent on fomenting unrest in his homeland, which he fled in 1959.


A massive crowd gathered in Yemen's capital Sunday for the funeral of political activists who were among more than 50 protesters killed by snipers during a demonstration in Sanaa on Friday. The ceremony took place near Sanaa University, the center of recent demonstrations calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The President denies his troops were responsible for the massacre. Some of Yemen's most important religious leaders have joined the call for his resignation. And the government's human rights minister has also quit. Mr. Saleh says he will continue in his post until the current term expires in 2013.


Outnumbered by anti-riot police, dozens of Saudi men and women protested outside Riyadh's Interior Ministry, Sunday, demanding the release of thousands of detainees held without trial for years. Witnesses say a number of protesters were arrested after trying to push their way into the building. It was the third protest this month by families and activists demanding information on the fate of people held without trial for years on security and terrorism charges. Saudi authorities ban demonstrations and appear increasingly determined to prevent the spread of unrest inspired by uprisings across the Arab world.


In Syria, security forces fired tear gas at mourners, attending the funeral of two anti-government protesters who were killed on Friday.Thousands gathered in the southern city of Deraa, and began chanting slogans. At least one mourner was arrested by secret police. Syria's hardline President, Bashar al-Assad, tolerates no dissent. Friday's demonstration was called to demand political freedom and an end to corruption in Syria.


Egyptians have approved changes in the constitution following a referendum. Final results were announced on Sunday. The changes mean that free and fair elections will be scheduled in six months. Opponents fear that a quick election could provide a boost for the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood and members of the former ruling party. The Brotherhood had campaigned heavily in favour of changes.


Police in Hong Kong have launched a murder inquiry into the death of a 64 year old British woman. The body of Janet Gilson of Essex was found at her niece's home on Lamma Island. She'd reportedly suffered head injuries before her death. She'd been in Hong Kong for only several weeks. Police say a 29-year-old man is undergoing questioning in connection with her death.


The American Ambassador to Mexico has announced that he is resigning his post. Carlos Pascual is at the center of a dispute over leaked U.S. diplomatic cables in which he'd stated his doubt about Mexico's ability to tackle drug gangs. Mexican President Felipe Calderon accused Mr Pascual of "ignorance" and said the cables released by Wikileaks in December had harmed relations with Washington. He'd also requested that the diplomat be removed from his post. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Mr. Pascual decided to step down due to his pesonal desire to ensure the strong relationship between the U.S. and Mexico and to avoid distracting important issues of bilateral concern. Mr Pascual, a Cuban-American expert in failed states, is a career diplomat.




Canadian freestyle skier Jennifer Heil won a silver medal in the dual moguls event at the final World Cup of the season on Sunday in Myrkdalen-Voss, Norway. Hannah Kearney of the United States won the gold. Guilbaut Colas of France defeated Canadian Mikael Kingsbury in the men's final. Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau won the bronze.



Here is Canada's weather on Monday, March 21. British Columbia will be overcast. The high temperature in Vancouver will be nine degrees Celsius. The Yukon: sunny. Whitehorse, zero. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, minus nine. Nunavut: sunny. Iqaluit, minus 28. Alberta: overcast. Edmonton, minus two. Saskatchewan: snow. Regina, zero. Manitoba: overcast. Winnipeg, three. Ontario: sunny periods. Toronto: 12. Ottawa, one. Quebec: heavy snow. Montreal, one. New Brunswick: sunny. Fredericton, five. Nova Scotia: sunny. Halifax, four. Prince Edward Island: sunny. Charlottetown, three. Newfoundland: sunny periods. St. John's, minus three.

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