Wednesday, April 27, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


The government of Saskatchewan has approved a $1.2-billion project to retrofit one of the province's "dirty" coal mines to pump its emissions underground. SaskPower's Boundary Dam power station near Estevan in the southeast will be one of the world's first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage facilities in the world. Construction is to begin immediately and the facility will start operating in 2012. It will produce 110 megawatts of power, about three per cent of the utility's yearly production. The province is the country's largest emitter per capita because of its reliance on burning coal for energy.


A second court martial started in the east coast Canadian city of Halifax NS, Tuesday for a former corporal in Canada's military reserve, Matt Wilcox. He's charged in the 2007 shooting death of a fellow Canadian corporal at the Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan. In 2009, Wilcox was acquitted of manslaughter but convicted of criminal negligence causing death and negligent performance of military duty. However, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada set aside the verdict and ordered a new trial. During the first court martial, the prosecution put forward the theory that Wilcox and Megeney were playing a game of quick draw in their tent when Wilcox's loaded pistol accidentally fired. The defence, though, insisted that Wilcox perceived a threat in the tent and shot instinctively.


Newly leaked U.S. government documents reveal that a former Montreal resident is a current resident at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, as a terrorism suspect. The secret documents released on the WikiLeaks website concern Mohamed Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian. According to the documents, Mr. Slahi, an electrical engineer, came to Montreal from Germany in 1999 and became the imam at a mosque. He is said to have met the "Millenium bomber" Ahmed Ressam and been aware of his plot to blow up Los Angeles airport. Mr. Slahi left Canada after federal intelligence agents and police began questioning him about his relations with Ressam. The documents also say he recruited three of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers. Mr. Slahi has sought unsuccessfully to obtain through the Canadian court system documents from interviews which Canadian police carried out with him in 2000. He claims they will bear out his claim that he has been tortured at Guantanamo.


New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton campaigned on Tuesday in Quebec, where there has been a surge of NDP support. Some polls have shown the party ahead of the Bloc Québécois. Mr. Layton complained the current electoral system means that the NDP doesn't get the number of seats in the House of Commons that would deserve according to its percentage of the vote, adding that 60 per cent of the voters choose a party that doesn't form the government. He says it's a system that can't last forever. Meanwhile, the NDP has launched new television ads that encourage Canadians to view Mr. Layton as prime minister, a rarity for the party.


Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says his party "base" is back and that its return is due to his cross-country tours and town-hall events. Some analysts have estimated that as many as one million Liberal voters stayed at home during the last election in 2008. The Liberal leader says he's confident that those Liberals who skipped the vote last time will turn out to support him. Some polls have suggested the Liberals are trailing not only the Conservatives but also the NDP.


Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Asbestos, QC, on Tuesday to defend the fading asbestos industry. Mr. Harper supports the revival of the single remaining asbestos mine in the province in Thetford Mines. Mr. Harper says his government will continue to allow the export of chrysotile, also known as white asbestos, adding that Canada is one of several countries that export it. His government has come under fierce criticism at home and abroad for supporting the export of a known carcinogen. Use of the product is severely restricted in Canada. Its defenders say asbestos is safe if used properly. The Canadian taxpayer supports the Chrysotile Institute, a lobby that promotes the use of asbestos worldwide and tries to soften laws restricting its use.


On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukrainek, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has called for new world rules for safety at nuclear power plants. Mr. Medvedev made the call in remarks at Chernobyl as he stood by the side of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. Mr. Medvedev said that what happened 25 years ago at Chernobyl and what is happening now in Japan at Fukushima makes new rules necessary for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Russian leader also says he has sent proposals for new rules to world leaders that would ensure the necessary development of nuclear energy while preventing catastrophic accidents. Mr. Medvedev says as well that the Chernobyl disaster had taught government that they must tell the whole truth to their peoples. The Soviet government waited several days before divulging the full extent of the catastrophe.


Japanese officials say the reconstruction of towns and cities in the northeast devastated by a deadly earthquake and tsunami last month could take at least 10 years. The disaster killed at least 13,000 people, forced about 130,000 into shelters and is estimated to have caused $300 billion worth of damage. Last week, Japan's cabinet approved almost $50 billion of spending for post-earthquake rebuilding. Japan has created a 20-kilometre exclusion zone around the plant, which continues to leak radiation.


Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she discussed human rights, the situation in North Korea and trade issues with China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao. She also said that Australia's relationship with China is in good shape. She pointed to concerns over China's treatment of ethnic minorities, human rights activists and the question of religious freedom. She said that Mr. Wen responded that China has not retreated from its responsibilities on human rights. In 2009, ties between both countries were strained when China jailed four employees of the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto for stealing commercial secrets and taking bribes. China buys more than one-quarter of Australian exports.


NATO says its forces in Afghanistan have killed a senior al-Qaeda leader in an airstrike in Kunar province near the Pakistan border. Abu Hafs al-Najdi was killed 12 days ago in Dangam district. He was al-Qaeda's operations chief for Kunar and was responsible for establishing insurgent camps and training sites throughout the mountain province. News of his death came a day after nearly 500 insurgents tunnelled their way out of a high-security jail in Kandahar.


Syria's southern town of Deraa came under more gunfire from troops Tuesday. Monday at least 25 people were killed in shelling and shooting there, 100 kilometres south of Damascus. Deraa is one of the main cities of protests against Syrian President Bashar Assad. The current military operation there comes less than a week after Mr. Assad signed a decree to abolish nearly fifty years of emergency rule in a bid to pacify protesters demanding political reform and the fall of the regime. As many as 390 people have been killed in security crackdowns since the fighting began.


Rebels in the western Libyan city of Misrata report that forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Ghadaffi are bombing the port in an attempt to cutoff its lifeline to the world. The insurgents have expelled their adversaries from the city centre but Misrata remains surrounded on three sides. The rebels say Ghadaffi's forces are firing Russian-made missiles at the port and that three fighters were killed on Tuesday.


TSX:13,908. Dollar: US$1.05. euro: $1.38. Oil: $112.06, - .22.


High-technology firm Héroux-Devtek has joined the aerospace industry's production shift to low-cost countries by announcing it will set up shop in Mexico. The Quebec-based company's first facilities outside Canada and the U.S. will be built at the Queretaro Aerospace Park, 220 kilometres north of Mexico City. Such companies as Bombardier Aerospace Inc., General Electric and Safran Group are already established there. The first phase of the project will cost $20 million and comprise 4,200 square metres. By the end of 2012, the plant will be producing products for Bombardier and two other customers. The catalyst for Héroux-Devtek's decision was a $175-milliion contract which the company won from Bombardier in February. Héroux-Devtek CEO Gilles Labbé says Canadian work shifted to Mexico will be replaced with other contracts and that the company doesn't plan to reduce its Canadian workforce.



The National Hockey League has announced that goaltender Ray Emery of the Anaheim Ducks, forwards Daymond Langkow of the Calgary Flames and Ian Laperriere of the Philadelphia Flyers are the finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance. The winner of the award, given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, will be announced June 22 at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.


British Columbia on Wednesday: rain, high C10 Vancouver. Yukon,, Nunavut: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Whitehorse 9, Yellowknife 7, Iqaluit -10. Alberta: rain north, sun south, Saskatchewan, Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 15, Regina 20, Winnipeg 17. Ontario, Quebec: rain. Toronto 20, Ottawa 22, Montreal 21. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton, Charlottetown 7, Halifax 12, St. John's 2.