Sunday, March 20, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

CANADIAN ON DEATH ROW LOSING HOPE


CALGARY: The only Canadian on death row in the United States, Ronald Smith, had his hopes dashed on Friday when Montana declined to repeal the death penalty for the second time. A bill to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life in prison made it through the state Senate but failed to pass the Montana House judiciary committee. Smith is from Red Deer, Alberta. He was convicted in Montana in 1983 for shooting to death two cousins, Harvey Madman Jr. and Thomas Running Rabbit. In the last 25 years, his execution date has been set five times. Each time, the order was overturned.

CANADIANS MARCH IN SUPPORT OF LIBYAN REBELS


TORONTO: A large public demonstration in support of Libyan rebels was held on Saturday in Canada's largest city, Toronto. About 400 people gathered in a downtown area of the city, waving banners and flags, including those of France, where world leaders gathered on Saturday to plan a coordinated attack on Moammar Gaddafi's forces.

CANADIAN JET FIGHTERS READY FOR LIBYAN ACTION


PARIS: Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Saturday committed Canadian jet fighters to participate in what he called extensive aerial operations over Libya. Speaking in Paris after a meeting of world leaders hosted by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr. Harper said that the parameters of the allied action in Libya are clear and wide-ranging. But no ground action is planned. Canada has sent six jet fighters to Italy to prepare for the mission. The Canadian planes are expected to be ready for action within 48 hours. The Canadian frigate HMCS Charlottetown is also participating in the Libyan mission. The ship is sailing off Libya's coast.

CANADA RAISES NUMBER OF RADIATION MONITORING STATIONS ALONG PACIFIC COAST TO 15


VANCOUVER: Health Canada is setting up nine more radiation monitoring stations along the Pacific coast of British Columbia, raising the total to 15. The stations are watching out for radiation drifting across the Pacific from the Fukushima power plant in Japan. Although the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says there's no risk from that radiation, Health Canada says the extra monitoring stations will help reassure Canadians. On Friday, the Commission called for safety checks of Canadian nuclear power plants. The order was sent to all agencies and companies dealing with nuclear power in Canada. The Commission wants all plants to have a contingency plan ready in case of floods or other natural disasters. Canada has seven nuclear plants generating about 15 per cent of the country's electricity. Safety reports must be submitted within two weeks.

CANADIANS LEAVE DISASTER-STRICKEN NORTHEAST JAPANESE COAST BY BUS


TOKYO: Canadians are leaving the region of Japan's disabled Fukushima nuclear power plant aboard buses chartered by the Canadian government. The first bus picked up 17 Canadians in Sendai, and took them 300-kilometres south to the Canadian embassy in Tokyo. A second bus is due to leave Sendai for Tokyo today. About 185 Canadians are registered in the Sendai area.

AIR CANADA REACHES TENTATIVE LABOUR DEAL


Air Canada has reached a tentative contract with its three thousand pilots. Details of the deal have not been released. Air Canada, the nation's largest airline, is in the process of negotiating with unions representing more than twenty-two thousand workers. Talks with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 6,500 Air Canada flight attendants, are due to start early next month.


INDIA


A fire in a refugee camp in northeastern India has killed at least 21 people, mostly women and children. About 100 people suffered burns. The fire started in a local kitchen, then spread quickly through the huts of bamboo. The camp was one of six in the district of Kanchanpur, about 170 kilometres from the state capital of Tripura, Agartala. The camps has over 14,000 refugees. They fled from ethnic violence in the neighbouring state of Mizoram in 1997.

SENEGAL


Senegal's opposition leaders say that the government has arrested 15 people and falsely accused them of trying to stage a coup. Justice Minister Cheikh Tidiane Sy says that the suspects targeted various sites in Dakar, including the busy Sandaga Market. But Luc Sarr, special adviser of the opposition Alliance for the Republic, says that the arrests were carried out to intimidate others to avoid public demonstrations. On Saturday, a sit-in at Dakar's Place de l'Independance drew between 1,000 and 2,000 demonstrators. Popular frustration has been mounting because of daily power cuts and rising costs. Many people also oppose President Abdoulaye Wade's attempt to run for a third term next year.

LIBYA


A coalition called Operation Odyssey Dawn began launching air and missile attacks on Libyan forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi on Saturday. A French jet fighter destroyed a number of tanks and armoured vehicles to begin the operation. American and British warships then fired 110 cruise missiles at 20 targets. The United States, France, Britain, Canada and Italy are involved in the attack, which aims to create a no-fly zone around Libya following approval by the United Nations Security Council earlier in the week. The coalition insists that no ground forces will be involved. Some 25 coalition ships are in the Caribbean, including three U.S. submarines armed with Tomahawk missiles. Canada has sent six jet fighters and a frigate.

JAPAN


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TOKYO: Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency said on Saturday that progress was being made in stabilizing damaged reactor cores at the Fukushima nuclear plant, but warned that a grave threat still remained. Technicians managed to bring power back to water pumps in two of the six reactors, but it remained to be seen whether the pumps would work properly. Meanwhile, radiation leaking from the plants was found in milk and spinach in the region around the plants. The radiation level was extremely low, but the products were withdrawn from shelves as a precaution. About 257,000 households in the north still have no electricity and at least one million lack running water. As of Saturday, it was confirmed that the earthquake and tsunami last week killed 7,653 people and left 11,746 missing in northeast Japan.

EGYPT


Egyptians cast ballots on Saturday in their first free vote in decades. They voted onconstitutional amendments was arrangedby the ruling military. The referendum is the first major test of Egypt's transition to democracy after last month's populist uprising which ended 30 years of autocratic rule by Hosni Mubarak. If the amendments pass, then a national election will be held in six months.

YEMEN


 

Police in Yemen continue to attack protestors. Today they stormed a camp in the southern part of the country, firing live rounds and tear gas. At least 13 people died. On Friday, security forces in the capital, Sanaa, killed at least 46 people and injured hundreds of others. President Ali Abdullah Saleh has declared a state of emergency and bolstered troop strengths in Sanaa after Friday's unrest. He also denied his forces were behind the deaths. The U.S. and France have condemned the violence, urging the president to allow peaceful protests. The escalation in tension follows a month of anti-government violence in Yemen.

 

IVORY COAST


The United Nations says the shelling of a market place by security forces in Ivory Coast may be a crime against humanity. At least 25 people died in the attack in Abdijan on Thursday. Allies of disputed President Laurent Gbagbo have denied U.N. claims they fired the shells. The shells landed in a district which is under control of militias who back his rival, Alassane Ouattara. Mr. Ouattara is widely recognized as the winner of last November's presidential election. But mr. Gbagbo has refused to relinquish power. The U.N. says over 400 people have lost their lives in post-election violence.

BRAZIL


US President Barack Obama is in Brazil, the first stop on a five-day trip to Latin America that will take him to Chile and El Salvador. Mr. Obama wants to set up markets for U.S. exports as well as to extend Washington's influence in the region. Today he'll meet newly-elected President, Dilma Rousseff, then attend a round of meetings with Brazilian business executives. The trip comes as China has surpassed the U.S. as Brazil's top trading partner and in the wake of recent discoveries of vast oil reserves off the Brazilian coast. In the last two years of his presidency, Miss Rousseff's predecesor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, angered Washington by attempting his own personal diplomacy with Iran and refusing to condemn Tehran's human rights abuses. Miss Rousseff has signalled she'll ease back from that approach.

HAITI


Ousted former Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide is back in Haiti - as the country prepares to vote in a crucial presidential run-off vote Sunday. The former leftist leader was forced to flee Haiti in 2004 amid a rebellion. He's said he won't seek an active role in politics. But correspondents say he retains considerable support across Haiti and is seen by some there as a potent symbol of democracy. The US has said it is deeply concerned that his return could destabilise the country.

SYRIA


A prominent Syrian rights activist says police have sealed a southern city where security forces killed five protesters. Mazen Darwish says people are being allowed out of Daraa but they cannot come in. He cited residents who did not want their names published for fear of reprisals. Funerals were planned Saturday in Daraa after Syrian security forces launched a harsh crackdown Friday on protesters calling for political freedoms. Accounts from activists and social media say at least five people died in the gravest unrest in years in one of the most repressive states in the Middle East.

ISRAEL


Israeli police say Hamas militants in Gaza have launched the heaviest shelling in more than two years on Israeli border communities. Two Israeli civilians were slightly injured in the bombardment of over 50 mortar shells of Israeli border towns. Israel's military retaliated, killing a Hamas fighter and injuring two others. Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, says he will file a complaint at the U.N. after what he described as the unusually large barrage of rockets fired at Israeli soil. It was the heaviest Palestinian shelling since fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas in 2008.


SPORTS


DIVING

Canadians Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito captured silver medals on Saturday in the women's 10-metre synchro at a Fina World Series diving event in Moscow. Canadian Jennifer Abel won a bronze on women's individual three-metre competition. Her compatriot Emilie Heymans was fourth. China's Ruolin Chen and Hao Wang won the synchro competition and Australia's Melissa Wu and Alexandra Croak finished third.

 

SKIING

Canadian Michael Janyk was fifth in the men's slalom at a World Cup meet in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Saturday. Italy's Guiliano Razzoli won the event.

 

SKI CROSS

Canadian Christopher Delbosco was first and his compatriot, Conradign Netzer was second in the men's event on Saturday in Myrkdalen-Voss, Norway. Tomas Kraus of the Czech Republic was third. Delbosco finished second over all in the final World Cup standings behind Andreas Matt of Austria. In the women's event, Canadian Kelsey Serwa finished second behind Anna Holmlund of Sweden. Holmlund ended the season as the winner of the overall World Cup title, with Serwa third.

HOCKEY

In the National Hockey League on Friday, the New York Rangers beat Montreal, 6-3.

 

BASKETBALL

In the National Basketball Association on Friday, Toronto defeated Washington, 116-107.


WEATHER


Here is Canada's weather on Sunday, March 20. British Columbia will be mainly sunny. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 11 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: sunny. Whitehorse, two. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, minus 14. Nunavut: mainly sunny. Iqaluit, minus 25. Alberta: overcast. Edmonton, minus one. Saskatchewan: snow. Regina, zero. Manitoba: overcast. Winnipeg, five. Ontario: increasing cloudiness. Toronto: five. Ottawa, six. Quebec: sunny. Montreal, five. New Brunswick: sunny. Fredericton, four. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, zero. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, minus three. Newfoundland: snow flurries. St. John's, minus three.