Monday, March 14, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


VANCOUVER: Health Canada says that there is no health risk on the West Coast as a result of the radiation that leaked from nuclear reactors in Japan. Canada has been monitoring Japanese efforts to prevent a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. All three reactors are threatening to overheat, which could release radiation. The United States on Sunday also declared that there was no danger from the radiation on its west coast. Canada is warning citizens to avoid travel within 20 kilometres of the Fukushima facility, as well as any non-essential travel in areas of Japan hit by the tsunami.


A Canadian who lived in Japan for more than 40 years was among those killed as a result of the earthquake and tsunami on Friday. Andre Lachapelle was a 76-year-old missionary from Quebec working for the Society of Foreign Missions. He was in the city of Sendai, the region that was worst hit by the disasters. He suffered a heart attack as he tried to drive home.


NIAGARA FALLS: Canada's government wants to know citizens' ideas for improving cross-border trade and security with the United States. Last month, a border plan was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama. The plan is considered vital for Canada's economy. Cross-border trade supports one in three Canadian jobs as well as eight million American jobs. Anything that stifles cross-border trade could have bad consequences for the Canadian economy. Canadians can express their ideas online through the website Ideas will be accepted until March 21.


HALIFAX: Chief Norman Bernard, a First Nations leader in Nova Scotia, says that police should release information about the death of a Mikmaq man in 2008. The victim, John Simon, was shot by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. An investigation by Halifax Regional Police determined that the shooting was in self-defence. But Chief Bernard says that the victim's family and the Wagmatcook First Nation should have the same privilege as police in examining an RCMP Public Complaints Commission report.


OTTAWA: Some young Canadians have launched an effort to encourage people to vote. Their on-line site,, wants to trigger more political participation in Canada, where about half of all eligible voters declined to vote in the 2008 federal election. The movement is hoping for the success of, a U.S.advocacy group that led five million Americans to vote for Barack Obama in the presidential election in 2008.


OTTAWA: The opposition New Democratic Party leader, Jack Layton, is largely expecting a federal election in the Spring, mainly because he thinks that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is giving no signs to the contrary. Mr. Layton's party will prepare for an election campaign unless the next federal budget to be released on March 22 holds an item of significance. Mr. Layton says that the retirement of two veteran cabinet ministers is another sign that an election is imminent. On Saturday, Treasury Board President Stockwell Day and Transport Minister Chuck Strahl announced that they will not seek re-election.


Three Conservative members of the federal parliament have announced they are leaving politics at the end of the current mandate. Two are well-known cabinet ministers in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government.They are Transport Minister Chuck Strahl, who previously served as Minister of Indian Affairs and Minister of Agriculture. and Treasury Board president Stockwell Day. A third Conservative MP, John Cummins, also announced he won't run again. All three are from west coast British Columbia. Their annoucements were prompted by the possibility of a federal election this Spring.


Public demonstrations in Bahrain intensified on Sunday, as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who tryied to occupy Manama's banking centre. About 350 activists sealed the Financial Harbour business complex with road blocks and a human chain. Around 200 people were hurt, mainly from the tear gas. But three people were listed in critical condition. One had severe head injuries. Fourteen policemen were reported injured. Protesters wanted Crown Prince Salman to step down. They have refused to negotiate until the government resigns and dissidents are released from jail.


Another nuclear plant in Japan is threatening to explode. The cooling system has partially stopped working at the Tokai number two plant. On Saturday, the Fukushima nuclear plant exploded after attempts to cool the reactor with seawater failed. Some radiation escaped, but nuclear officials say that the amount is not significant. Both nuclear plants were damaged by the tsunami that followed the huge earthquake on Friday. More than 200,000 people have been evacuated from the areas around the nuclear plants. Meanwhile on Sunday, a volcano erupted in southern Japan after being quiet for a few weeks. The volcano is on Kiushu island, about 1,500 kilometres from the earthquake's epicentre. Along with expressing concern for the safety of their citizens in Japan, many countries have offered aid to the Japanese relief effort.


The Arab League is supporting the creation of a no-fly zone around Libya. The Arab League says that Colonel Moammar Gaddafi's regime has lost legitimacy. Earlier this week, NATO declined to take a firm stand on creating a no-fly zone, saying that the task required more study. Both NATO and the Arab League say that a no-fly zone would need the approval of the United Nations. Colonel Gaddafi's government immediately denounced the Arab League resolution, saying that it was "an unacceptable departure" from the League's charter. Colonel Gaddafi's forces have mounted fierce attacks against rebel fighters in the past few days. On Sunday, rebels were forced to retreat from the coastal town of Brega. One rebel commander vowed that his men would defend what he called the vital next town of Ajdabiya. The attacks have raised speculation that the rebels might be forced to end their attempt to oust Colonel Gaddafi and his regime.


Supporters of the main opposition leader in Ivory Coast are calling the most recent attacks on his supporters, "blind murder." Alassane Ouattara's supporters spoke on Sunday after he returned from a trip to Ethiopia to his headquarters in a hotel in Abidjan. One day earlier, troops loyal to his rival Laurent Gbagbo, attacked Mr. Ouattara's supporters with tanks and helicopters. At least ten people were killed. Both Mr. Ouattara and Mr. Gbagbo claim to have won Ivory Coast's presidential election last year. The two sides have been in a tense standoff marked by incidents of deadly violence.


Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Stuttgart, Germany, on Saturday to against the government's plans to extend the life of its nuclear reactors. They formed a human chain extending 45 kilometres between Stuttgart and a nuclear plan in the town of Neckarwestheim. The protest was planned before the current nuclear crisis in Japan. And organizers stressed that the events there had proven that atomic power is an uncontrollable and risky technology.


More than 200 Saudis gathered outside the Interior Ministry in the Saudi capital Sunday,to demand the release of detainees who they say have been imprisoned for years without trial. Saudi authorities ban demonstrations and are increasingly determined to prevent the unrest in the rest of the Middle East from spreading to the oil-rich Kingdom. However police allowed the rare sit-in outside the ministry without intervening.


Israel has approved the construction of hundreds of homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. The announcement comes one day after five members of a family in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank were killed by a Palestinian. The government says construction will take place in settlements that Israel expects to retain control of in any possible peace agreement with the Palestinians. Meanwhile Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has described the move as wrong and unacceptable and one that will only create problems. U.S.-led peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinains ground to a halt earlier this year.


Authorities in Tunisia have ordered a curfew in a central mining town following deadly clashes between police and protesters. The official news agency says the measure was imposed on Metlaoui, where clashes two days earlier left two people dead and 20 injured. The military dispersed protesters and made arrests in lingering unrest Saturday, the latest sign of Tunisia's struggle for restore stability after a revolution that deposed an autocratic leader and sparked uprisings in the Arab world.


An American aid worker has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the state in Cuba. Allan Gross was detained in December 2009, accused of setting up illegal internet connections in Cuba under a program funded by the U.S. government. The Obama administration has warned the Communist authorities that there can be no further easing of relations between the two countries until he is released. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Gross was employed by the U.S. Agency for International Development and was involved in a program aimed at promoting democracy in Cuba. His work involved distributing communications equipment to Jewish communities in Havana. The Cuban government considers such activity subversive.


U.S. oil giant Chevron has launched a legal appeal against a $9.5 Billion fine by an Ecuador court for polluting much of the country's Amazon region. Chevron accuses lawyers and supporters of the indigenous groups who brought the case of "corrupting" the trial. The oil firm Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, was accused of dumping billions of gallons of toxic materials into unlined pits and rivers. Local people said the company had destroyed their livelihood. They claimed that crops were damaged, farm animals killed and also said that the rate of cancer among the local population had increased because of the pollution.


NATO says two of its service members have been killed in weekend attacks in AFghanistan. The international military coalition says both died Saturday --one in an insurgent attack in the east and another in a bomb attack in the south. NATO did not provide further details or identify the nationalities of the dead. Thirteen NATO service members have been killed so far this month.




Canadian Kelsey Serwa won the silver medal in a women's ski cross World Cup meet in Branas, Sweden, on Sunday. Sweden's Anna Holmlund won the gold, and Norway's Marte Hoeie Gjefsen was third. In the men's meet, Canadian Christopher Del Bosco won the silver medal Sunday which was won by overall leader Andreas Matt of Austria. Switzerland's Conradign Netzer took third.



Canadians Christine Nesbitt, Brittany Schussler and Cindy Klassen won gold in the women's team pursuit at the world single-distance speed skating championships in Inzell, Germany, on Sunday. The Dutch team was second, with the German trio taking bronze. Canada's men's team of Denny Morrison, Lukas Makowsky, and Mathieu Giroux won the silver medal bethind the United States. The Netherlands was third.



At the world junior curling championship on Sunday, Scotland's Eve Muirhead captured a record fourth title in Perth, Australia, defeating Canada's Trish Paulsen 10-3 in the women's final. Canadian Braeden Moskowy lost 10-2 in eight ends to Norway in the men's bronze medal contest. Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador defeated Kevin Martin of Alberta, 10-5, in eight ends to win the bronze medal on Sunday at the Tim Hortons Brier in London, Ontario.




In the NBA on Sunday, Charlottedefeated theToronto Raptors, 95-90.



In the National Hockey League on Saturday, Vancouver edged Calgary 4-3, Toronto edged Buffalo 4-3, and, Montreal defeated Pittsburgh 3-0.


Here is Canada's weather on Monday, March 14. British Columbia will have rain showers. The high temperature in Vancouver will be ten degrees Celsius. The Yukon: snow flurries. Whitehorse, minus nine. Northwest Territories: mainly sunny. Yellowknife, minus 17. Nunavut: sunny. Iqaluit, minus 26. Alberta: sunny periods. Edmonton, six. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, three. Manitoba: overcast. Winnipeg, three. Ontario: sunny. Toronto: four. Ottawa, three. Quebec: cloudy periods. Montreal, minus one. New Brunswick: variable cloudiness. Fredericton, one. Nova Scotia: overcast. Halifax, minus one. Prince Edward Island: snow flurries. Charlottetown, minus three. Newfoundland: heavy snow. St. John's, one.