Sunday, May 8, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 7 May 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


Canadian soldiers will stay as long asnecessary to help residents in Quebec battle the worst flooding the province has suffered in decades. Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis has toured flooded areas along the Richelieu river south of Montreal. He says he was impressed by how fast the 650 soldiers were building sandbag dikes and evacuating people to dry ground. About three thousand homes have been flooded in the Monteregie region. Inwestern Canada, hundreds of people in Manitoba's second-largest city, Brandon, are on evacuation notice after the Assiniboine River began rising higher than expected. Government officials had the flood forecast wrong because of a faulty gauge.The Assiniboine may rise at leasthalf a metre higher in Brandon. City officials in Brandon say it will take at least a week to build the dikes high enough.


A Canadian woman who'd been missing since setting out on a road trip to Las Vegas seven weeks ago, has been found alive. Fifty-six-year-old Rita Chretien of British Columbia was found sitting in her van by hunters in a wilderness area in northeastern Nevada. She told them that three days after the van became stuck in the mud, her husbandleft to seek help but never returned. She survived 49 days in the wilderness by eating only snow and a few snacks she'd packed for the trip. Mrs. Chretien was taken to hospital and is said to be in fair condition.Policeare searching for Albert Chretien.



A special prosecutor in British Columbia is recommending that perjury charges be filed against four members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The four answered a call at Vancouver International Airport four years ago involving a man from Poland, Robert Dziekanski, who had just arrived in Canada. Mr. Dziekanski did not speak English and wandered the airport looking for his relative. When he became angry, the officers fired a stun gun Taser at him several times. He died on the spot. The prosecutor accuses the officers of misleading an inquiry into the death. The decision whether to indict the officers rests with the provincial Attorney-General's office.


Canada has sunk to 21st place on a list that ranks the level of press freedom in 178 countries. The list compiled by Reporters Without Borders lowered Canada's ranking because of a ruling by the Supreme Court last year that forced the National Post newspaper to reveal the source of leaked documents from a Canadian bank. The Court ruled on a clause that the federal parliament introduced in 2004. The clause obliges journalists to hand over documents and name their sources if police consider that the information is needed for their investigation. On the same press freedom list, Syria ranks near the bottom at 173. A Canadian journalist working for Al Jazeera, Dorothy Parvaz, was arrested in Syria last week and remains in custody.


One of the surprise winners in Canada's federal election last Monday has finally broken her silence. New Democratic Party candidate Ruth Ellen Brosseau won in a French-speaking riding in Quebec even though she cannot speak French, has never visited the riding and failed even to campaign. She gained notoriety when she spent part of the electoral campaign on holiday in Las Vegas. After her surprise win, she virtually disappeared. In an interview with the newspaper, Le Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivieres, Ms. Brosseau expressed her eagerness to visit the riding and to serve her constituents. She added that she is trying to improve her French. For the first time, the NDP is forming the official opposition in Parliament, having won 102 seats,largely in Quebec. But some voters are criticizing the NDP for putting forward young candidates with little or no experience in politics. One new NDP parliamentarian is just 19 years old. Prime Minister Stephen Harper led his Conservative Party to a majority after leading two minority governments.


Former prime minister Jean Chretien is reported to be urging federal Liberals across the country to back Bob Rae as interim leader of the Liberals after the party's historic defeat in Monday's federal election. The Liberals elected only candidates.Party leader Michael Ignatieff lost his seat. Sources say Mr. Chretien has been phoning defeated and re-elected MPs to promote the idea of Mr. Rae being interim leader for two years while the party regroups. Mr. Rae is a former New Democratic premier of Ontario and some Liberal MPs are said to perceive the push to make him party leader as the first step toward a possible merger with the New Democrats


The lawyer for a Canadian potato farmer who has been detained in Lebanon says his client is being improperly held on an international criminal warrant at the request of the Algerian government. Henk Tepper of New Brunswick travelled to Lebanon on a mission to expand the province's export markets. He was taken into custody by Lebanese customs officials upon entering Beirut on March 23. His attorney says Mr. Tepper is being kept in a cell with nearly 30 other detainees in deplorable conditions in Beirut and has received no assistance from the Canadian government. Algeria alleges that the farmer attempted to import potatoes into Algeria that were dangerous for human consumption.



Northern Ireland's coalition has increased the number of its members in the government assembly following a final vote count in the recent election. The final tally gives the coalition of pro-British and pro-Irish parties 67 of the 108 seats, three more than previously. The coalition's victory is considered a boost for the peace process and a rebuff to militant Irish nationalists.


The U.S. government on Saturday revealed videos of Osama bin Laden that were recovered from the compound in Pakistan where he was killed by U.S. commandos on Monday. The videos show the al-Qaeda leader watching television and carrying out rehearsals for taped speeches. On such occasions, he dyed and trimmed his beard for the cameras, shooting and reshooting his remarks until the timing and lighting were right. The videos were offered as further proof of bin Laden's death.



A human rights activist says at least three Syrian women have been shot dead near a seaside city where soldiers and tanks had deployed early today to try to quell anti-government protests. Saturday's shooting occurred southeast of Baniyas, a center for anti-government protests. Correspondents say communications with the city appear to have been cut. On Friday, at least 21 people were reportedly killed in Homs, Hama and other cities in what protesters had vowed would be a "day of defiance". The US has warned Damascus to end its brutal crackdown on protesters. The Obama administration warned Friday that it would take "additional measures" if President Bashar al-Assad did not take steps to end the bloodshed. More than 500 people are thought to have been killed in the uprising since mid-March.


The People's Action Party was returned to power on Saturday in a hotly contested general election. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was among the winners. State television announced that the PAP had secured 81 of 87 seats in parliament. The opposition Workers' Party won six seats, the highest number in its history. Foreign Minister George Yeo was among the PAP's losers. Singapore has been governed by the PAP since independence in 1965. Groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say the government restricts political freedoms and clamps down on dissent.


Officials say rescue teams have found no survivors from the crash of an Indonesian passenger aircraft into the sea with up to 27 people on board. Officials say the plane went down off the coast of West Papua. Weather conditions were poor at the time. Indonesia relies heavily on air transport and has one of Asia's worst air safety records.


Mexican officials say gunmen in the northern city of Monterrey fired on a military convoy with a grenade launcher and hit a bus carrying employees of a U.S.-owned assembly plant, wounding a soldier and five civilians on Friday. The attack on the outskirts of the city came on the same day the government sent hundreds of soldiers and federal police to the state of Monterray, a drug and violence plagued northern region of Mexico. The army says the gunmen work for the Zeta cartel. As the attackers fled in several vehicles, soldiers pursued and killed one suspect and captured two others, including a woman who was wounded in the gunfight.


Polls opened early Saturday in Ecuador where residents are voting on a number of constitutional reforms , including a bullfighting and gambling ban and measures that critics have slammed as an attempt to clamp down on free press. The proposals are supported by leftisit President Rafael Correa, in office since 2007. He has been pushing efforts to rein in what he has calls the "mediocre and corrupt" media structure in the South American nation. Pre-vote surveys anticipate a referendum victory for Correa.


A weekend summit of Southeast Asian leaders focusing on economic integration took a dramatic turn Saturday when Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen criticized his Thai counterpart over a bloody border dispute. Hun Sen took the floor of the opening session of the two-day summit in Jakarta and accused Thailand of attacking its neighbour in a contested border area near an 11th-century temple which has left more than a dozen people killed and forced narly 100,000 villagers to flee their homes. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told reporters after the encounter that the two sides later had a frank discussion. They agreed to allow Indonesia's president to mediate in the dispute, so it doesn't become a problem affecting the ASEAN agenda. The border spat was ot on the formal agenda of the two-day summit which had been called to discuss ASEAN plans to create a closely integrated regional economic zone by 2015.


Belarus has given three Russian rights activists* who were observing trials of opposition activists 24 hours to leave the country. The women were working in a group called the Committee on International Control over the Situation with Human Rights in Belarus. It is made up of activists from non-governmental organisations from Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe member countries, including the Moscow Helsinki Group. Belarus described the three women as "undesirables". They were observing the trials of opposition activists charged with fomenting riots after last Decembers disputed presidential polls. Two other Russian activists from the committee were detained on Wednesday as they prepared to hold a news conference on rights abuses and were also ordered to leave Belarus. The Russian foreign ministry expressed regret over the Belarus decision and said the government must prevent such incidents happening again, since Russian citizens are free to travel to Belarus.


Officials at a Japanese power company plan a news conference today to respond to a government request that it suspend all three reactors at a coastal nuclear plant. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said yesterday that he'd asked Chubu Electric Power Company to halt its three reactors at Hamaoka nuclear power plant until new safety measures were put in place. Experts said the chances of a powerful quake hitting the area were high. Though not legally binding, the request is a virtual order. A powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11th left 25 thousand people dead or missing .and caused a crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant which continues to release radiation into the atmosphere. The Hamaoka nuclear plant just off the Pacific coast in central Japan is the only one so far where the government has asked that operations be halted.


U.S. reports say a U.S. drone attack in Yemen this week targeted but failed to kill one of al-Qaeda's most influential figures. The US-born radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Yemeni officials say two brothers believed to be mid-ranking al-Qaeda officials died in a drone strike on Thursday.The attack came just days after al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by US special forces. The Pentagon has refused to comment on the reports that Anwar al-Awlaki was specifically targeted in Yemen. The reported attempt to kill Mr Awlaki is believed to be the first known US military strike within Yemen since May 2010, when missiles mistakenly killed one of Mr Saleh's envoys.


Fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban militants continues in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.The violence broke out after militants launched a series of attacks against the provincial governor's office, the Afghan spy agency and a police station. Reports say the militants staged at least six suicide attacks. More than 23 people have been injured, including three policemen. US helicopter gunships are reported to have been involved in the clashes. They come hours after the Taliban vowed to avenge al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's death. Kandahar province is a former Taliban stronghold now held by Canadian, international and Afghan security forces.




At the world hockey championships in Kosice, Slovakia, Canada defeated Norway on Saturday, 3-2.


Shahier Razik defeated Shawn DeLierre, 11-6, 11-9, 11-0, on Saturday to win his fifth men's national squash title in six years. Andrew McDougall defeated David Phillips to finish third. In the women's final, Miranda Ranieri defeated Stephanie Edmison, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4, for her second straight title. Samantha Cornett finished third.



Canadian sisters Carol-Ann Ware and Pamela Ware won their first international title on Saturday in the women's synchronized platform competition at the USA Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Americans Anna James and Mary Beth Dunnichay took silver. Christin Steuer and Nora Subschinski of Germany were third.



Here is Canada's weather on Sunday, May 8. British Columbia will have clearing skies. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 14 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: increasing cloudiness. Whitehorse, 12. Northwest Territories: cloudy. Yellowknife, ten. Nunavut: snow flurries. Iqaluit, zero. Alberta: sunny periods. Edmonton, 14. Saskatchewan: overcast. Regina, 18. Manitoba: increasing cloudiness. Winnipeg, 22. Ontario: mainly sunny. Toronto: 16. Ottawa, 15. Quebec: sunny periods. Montreal, 16. New Brunswick: sunny periods. Fredericton, 15. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, 15. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, 14. Newfoundland: mainly cloudy. St. John's, seven.

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