Sunday, April 24, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


MISSISSAUGA: As the final week of campaigning begins for Canada's federal election on May 2, three federal party leaders were seeking votes in the greater Toronto area. Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared in Mississauga, where he faced questions about a controversial endorsement of his Conservative Party. The endorsement came from a Sikh man linked to the terrorist bombing of an Air India jetliner in 1982 in which 331 people on board, mostly Canadians, were killed. The man, Ripudaman Singh Malik, was acquitted of charges related to the case, but he's known to support other accused Air India conspirators. The Conservative Party is also facing controversy over its candidate in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. The candidate is a supporter of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, which Canada considers a terrorist group. The Liberal Party leader, Michael Ignatieff, was also in Mississauga, was well as in Halifax and Prince Edward Island. The New Democratic Party leader, Jack Layton, began his day in Toronto and then traveled to Montreal, where his party is showing surprisingly strong support. Gilles Duceppe of the sovereignist Bloc Quebecois was campaigning in Quebec, the only province where his party fields candidates.


FORT QU'APPELLE: The risk of floods in communities across Manitoba and Saskatchewan could force many people to forego attending Easter church services on Sunday. Many parishioners might spend the day making and lifting sandbags to create dikes. In Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, people have been dealing with the rising water in the Qu'Appelle River Valley over the past week. Ron Cox, mayor of the resort village of B-Say-Tah, a few kilometres away from Fort Qu'Appelle, missed the Good Friday service because he was tired from lifting sand bags. The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority says levels on the Qu'Appelle River are still rising. In Manitoba, almost 1,000 people have been evacuated as a precaution. High water levels have rendered roads to their homes dangerous.


TORONTO: Television chef and cookbook author Ken Kostick died on Friday at age 58. The cause was acute pancreatitis. He and Mary Jo Eustace hosted the long-running television show, "What's for Dinner with Ken and Mary Jo." The two also hosted, "He Said, She Said with Ken and Mary Jo," on the W Network.


Yemen's ruling party has accepted a plan to transfer powers that includes the resignation of President Ali Abdllulah Saleh. The plan put forward by Gulf Arab countries stipulates that President Saleh will step down one month after an agreement is signed by opposition forces. Although Yemen's opposition coalition welcomed the plan, it is refusing to accept the formation of a national unity government. The coaltion also refuses to grant Mr. Saleh and his family immunity from prosecution. The president has faced mass public protests for his resignation.


Violence continues against pro-democracy protesters in Syria. Security forces killed at least 12 people on Saturday during funerals for victims killed in demonstrations earlier this week. Two Syrian parliamentarians have resigned to protest the government-sponsored violence. President Bashar al-Assad has promised to withdraw emergency laws in place for some 30 years, but his security forces continue to wield strong powers. The number of people killed since pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria one month ago has surpassed 300. U.S. President Barack Obama has accused the Syrian government of using outrageous forces. Russia and the European Union have also condemned the violence.


There are conflicting reports on whether the Libyan government will pull out of the rebel-held city of Misrata. Earlier today, Libya's government warned that tribes loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi might take over the fight against the rebels in the western city. Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said the Libyan army was being withdrawn and suggested that the tribes would not show the same level of restraint over civilian casualties. But a rebel military spokesman in Benghazi said Gaddafi is "playing games" and will not allow his forces to leave Misrata. Human rights groups say more than 1,000 people have died there. NATO warplanes struck the capital, Tripoli, early Saturday. the government said three people died in the attack. And the U.S. military has confirmed the first strike by an unmanned drone aircraft in Libya on Saturday. Drones can hit military targets more easily in urban areas, minimizing the risk of civilian casualties.


At least 300,000 people are expected to gather at the Vatican on Sunday for Easter. On Saturday evening, Pope Benedict presided at an Easter eve service in St. Peter's Basilica. After delivering a sermon about divine creation, he received six adult converts to Roman Catholicism from various countries. On Sunday, he will deliver his traditional Urbi et Orbi address in St. Peter's Square. Next week, the late Pope John Paul II will be declared blessed, the last step before sainthood. His beatification is expected to be one of the biggest events in Rome since the late pope died in 2005. The year 2011 is one of the rare years in which the Orthodox Christian church marks Easter on the same weekend as Western churches.


Police in Acapulco are seeking a motive in the brutal slaying of five women at a local beauty salon. Three bodies with their throats cut were found inside the salon early on Saturday morning. One victim was a 14-year-old girl. Two other bodies were found nearby on the street. The famous resort town has seen increasing violence in recent years connected to the illegal drug trade. The United States has warned Americans to avoid visiting the town centre.


The Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, has promised an additional $8.4 million for victims of floods and landslides caused by this year's rainy season. At least 85 people died in the flooding. Forecasters say the worst of this year's rainy season has yet to come. A new study by the Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute shows that as much as 9 percent of Colombia's land could be underwater by the end of the season, which began in February. Forecasters say the worst of this year's rainy season has yet to come. Earlier this week, Mr. Santos said he may withdraw a request to add $3.16 billion to this year's national budget to help the 2 million victims of the 2010 rainy season.


More than 1,000 people marched in Hong Kong on Saturday to demand the release of detained artist Ai Weiwei. There was a brief standoff between police and demonstrators during the two-hour march, when officers told the protesters to divert to a shorter route than they had planned. Police later relented and there was no violence. Mr. Ai, a prominent artist and harsh critic of China's Communist Party leaders was detained in early April for unspecified economic crimes. Mr. Ai, whose whereabouts remain unknown, was listed Friday among Time magazine's count of the world's "100 most influential people". China has warned the international community not to interfere in the case which has sparked global condemnation.


Chinese police have raided a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in western China, killing two people. The International Campaign for Tibet says two elderly men were killed trying to prevent police arresting monks at the Kirti monastery in Sichuan province. More than 300 monks were detained in the raid which took place Thursday night. Tension has been high since a monk set himself on fire last month in an apparent anti-government protest. Foreigners have been prevented from travelling to the region.


Chinese authorities in Shanghai have offered concessions to truck drivers who staged a labour strike earlier this week. The drivers were protesting against rising fuel costs and port fees. Hundreds of drivers picketed the world's busiest container port. The Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority has proposed abolishing or reducing various fees incurred by drivers. But a dispute remains over container freight charges, which the drivers want to abolish. The situation appeared calm on Saturday. It was unclear whether the strike had ended altogether. The strike could encourage truckers at other Chinese ports to make similiar demands.


Fresh fighting along the Thai and Cambodian border has left at last one Thai soldier dead. The violence brings to 10 the number of troops killed on both sides in the last two days. Troops exchanged artillery and gunfire in forests around Ta Krabey temple, which both sides claim. The area is about 200 kilometres west of the disputed 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, the scene of deadly clashes in February. Thousands of civilians have been evacuated from the area.


Israeli police says tens of thousands of Orthodox Christian worshippers are crowding into Christianity's most sacred shrine for Easter Week's holy fire ceremony. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is revered as the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Pilgrims from around the world are gathering Saturday for the ritual, when clergy present candles said to be lit from a divine flame. The flame is passed from pilgrim to pilgrim who clutch their own candles. Security is tight and at least 10 firefighters are surrounding the church in case of emergency. There is no fire exit in the medieval church.


A controversial U.S. pastor has been released from jail in Dearborn, Michigan. Terry Jones was detained for his own safety after a court ordered him to stay away from the city's largest mosque, where he'd planned to hold a protest on Friday. His burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, at his Florida church last month inflamed anti-Western sentiment in Afghanistan and led to more than a dozen deaths.



Canadian Daniel and his partner Max Mirnyi of Belarus lost to Mexican Santiago Gonzalez and American Scott Lipsky, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open on Saturday. Nestor was hoping for his third championship victory at the competition.


Canada beat Finland, 4-1, at the women's world hockey championship. Finnish goalie Noora Raty made an outstanding 74 saves in defeat. Canada advanced to the gold-medal game on Monday. In the men's under-18 world championships, Canada lost to the United States on Saturday, 5-4, in overtime. Canada rallied with two goals in the final two minutes of regulation, but Tyler Biggs scored the winner for the Americans just over four minutes into O-T. Canada will play Russia for the bronze medal on Sunday.



Tampa Bay beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, 6-4.


Here is Canada's weather on Sunday, April 24. British Columbia will have showers. The high temperature in Vancouver will be nine degrees Celsius. The Yukon: increasing cloudiness. Whitehorse, eight. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, minus nine. Nunavut: increasing cloudiness. Iqaluit, minus 11. Alberta: sunny. Edmonton, 14. Saskatchewan: mainly sunny. Regina, 17. Manitoba: variable cloudines. Winnipeg, 15. Ontario: afternoon cloudiness. Toronto: 15. Ottawa, 15. Quebec: sunny periods. Montreal, 12. New Brunswick: mainly cloudy. Fredericton, 13. Nova Scotia: showers. Halifax, 13. Prince Edward Island: showers. Charlottetown, 13. Newfoundland: rain. St. John's, 16.