Sunday, May 15, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 14 May 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


Crews in the western province of Manitoba have breached a dike along the swollen Assiniboine River, starting a deliberate flood that will send water over a vast area where more than 150 homes are located. The move is intended to relieve pressure on the river and save hundreds of homes downstream. Officials say the water will likely spread only three kilometres in the first 24 hours, and take more than a week to cover the entire area of 225 square kilometres. Premier Greg Selinger has said the decision to cut a hole in the dike was not an easy one and says the government is setting up a special compensation fund for home owners and businesses affected by the disaster. In Quebec, there is also severe flooding, the worst in over a century. In St. Jean sur Richelieu, south of Montreal, some 800 people were forced from their homes. Although some have been allowed to return after water levels receded, there is concern of renewed flooding because of heavy rains that are forecast to fall all weekend.


A group of Canadian financial institutions has made a bid to buy the Toronto Stock Exchange. The Maple Group Acquisition Corporation is a consortium that includes four banks, TD bank, CIBC, National and Bank of Nova Scotia, along with some of Canada's biggest pension funds. They consider the TSX to be a valuable Canadian asset that should remain in Canadian hands. The TSX has announced a multibillion-dollar deal to merge with the London Stock Exchange. Critics of the merger say that Canada's biggest stock exchange would fall under foreign domination. Ontario's finance minister, Dwight Duncan, says that he's delighted that a Canadian-bid has emerged to challenge the merge.


Two right-of-centre political factions in Quebec met on Saturday to discuss the possibility of coordinating their efforts. The Action democratique du Quebec holds four seats in the province's legislature. ADQ could join forces with the Coalition for Quebec's Future, a conservative group headed by former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister Francois Legault. The Coalition is considered a political group rather than a party. The two groups met in Trois Rivieres. Some ADQ members feel that the political right must unite to beat the governing Liberal Party and the Parti Quebecois in the next election. After several years in office, the Liberal Party's leader, Premier Jean Charest, is at historic lows in opinion polls.


Canada's governor general bestowed performing arts awards in Ottawa on Friday. One recipient of the lifetime achievement award was Canadian actor William Shatner, best-known for his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek. In accepting the award, Mr. Shatner joked that he has never actually been in space. The Governor General's Performing Arts Awards recognize the lifetime achievements of Canadians who have contributed significantly to Canada's cultural life. Among five others receiving the award this year are composer Howard Shore, who composed the music for the Lord of the Rings films.


The Canadian actor, Niels Schneider, on Saturday received the Chopard Trophy for emerging talent at the Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Schneider was presented the award by American actor Robert De Niro, who is serving as president of the nine-member Festival jury. Mr. Schneider is 23. He played a major role last year in the Quebec film, Heartbeats, directed by Xavier Dolan. The prize for emerging female actor was awarded to the French-Spanish actress, Astrid Berges-Frisbey. The Chopard Trophy was introduced ten years ago. Previous winners include French actresses Marion Cotillard and Audrey Tautou, and Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.


An investigation is underway into the mysterious death of a Canadian professional hockey player. Derek Boogaard was found dead on Friday in his apartment in Minneapolis in the U.S. State of Minnesota. He was 28 and had played for the New York Rangers. His large size made him one of the most feared players in the National Hockey League. A homicide unit is part of the investigating team, but it could be several weeks before details are known.



U.S. Army engineers opened a floodgate along the swollen Mississippi River in Louisiana on Saturday that allowed water to flood thousands of surrounding homes and crops but prevented flooding of New Orleans and the state capital, Baton Rouge. The floodgate was at the Morganza Spillway, 72 kilometres northwest of Baton Rouge. Weeks of heavy rains and runoff from winter snows caused the Mississippi River to rise to near-record heights. The swollen river has flooded large parts of Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. It's expected that the floodwaters will need another few weeks to reach the Gulf of Mexico, but thousands of square kilometres could remain under water for several weeks more. Much of the inundated area is valuable cropland.


Haitian pop star Michel Martelly was sworn in on Saturday as president of the poorest nation in the Americas. The 50-year-old former carnival singer campaigned on pledges to bring peace, to hasten earthquake relieft efforts, to develop the impoverished countryside and to build a modern army. Among those attending the swearing-in ceremony in Port-au-Prince was Canada's former governor general, Michaelle Jean, who was born in Haiti. Former US President Bill Clinton, who co-chairs the Haitian Reconstruction Commission, was also in attendance.


Gunmen opened fire on protesters in Yemen's southern city of Taiz on Saturday. Witnesses said at least seven people were wounded. Demonstrations have been taking place across Yemen for months in efforts to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh in an uprising inspired by movements that toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. A plan negotiated by neighbouring Gulf states for Mr.Saleh to step down fell through last month when Saleh refused to sign.


Pakistan's parliament has called for a review of the country's relationship with the U.S. over the American commando raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. Legislators want an independent investigation of the operation. They've also unanimously passed a resolution urging a ban on NATO transit convoys to AFghanistan unless the US ends drone attacks. The special session of parliament followed Friday's double suicide bombing that killed 89 people in north-western Pakistan and injured 140 others..The Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack - this year's deadliest on the security forces - to avenge Bin Laden's death. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is urging Pakistan to stand united with its Western allies to tackle Taliban extremists, following Friday'ssuicide bombings in the northeast.


U.S. President Barack Obama is directing his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production. In his weekly radio address, Mr. Obama announced that he will open drilling in three areas, Alaska, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico which has been closed since a massive BP oil spill last Spring. However, the president says he won't allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Mr.Obama says the measures make good sense and will help reduce consumption of imported oil in the long term. But he acknowledged anew that they won't provide any immediate relief from soaring gasoline prices. The Republican-controlled House has passed three bills that would expand and speed up offshore oil and gas drilling.


Police say gunmen have abducted two European contract workers in Nigeria's northwest where such kidnappings are rare. The Italian and Briton had been working for a construction company in the state capital of Birnin-Kebbi when they were seized Thursday night. So fare there's no ransom demand. Kidnappings are unusual in Nigeria's northwest -- far removed from the country's southern delta where oil worker abductions had been frequent until recently. However, Birnin-Kebbi is 265 kilometres from the capital of neighbouring Niger, where two French hostages were kidnapped in January.


One of President Alexander Lukashenko's main political opponents was sentenced in Belarus on Saturday to five years in jail. Andrei Sannikov, a former deputy foreign minister and co-founder of the Charter 97 rights group, was found guilty of organising mass disturbances, a charge he had denied. The charge is linked to an anti-government rally last December. The 57 year old Sannikov was one of seven presidential candidates detained on December 19 during a mass rally in the capital Minsk against Lukashenko's re-election day for a fourth term in power.


NATO says it cannot confirm that it killed civilians with an airstrike in the eastern Libyan oil town of Brega. But it says it regrets "any loss of life by innocent civilians" whenever it occurs. The Libyan government is accusing the alliance of killing 11 Muslim clerics who it said were among many who had gathered in Brega to pray for peace. NATO adds that the building it hit had been "clearly identified as a command and control centre." NATO took over command of the campaign from the U.S.on March 31. It is carrying out a U.N. mandate to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. On Friday,the US has stopped short of recognising Libya's National Transitional Council as the country's legitimate government. On Friday, a senior member of the rebel council visited the White House, seeking international support. Mahmoud Jibril, deputy leader of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council held talks with senior officials, including National Security Adviser Tom Donilon. Mr. Donilon told Mr Jibril that the US viewed the council as "a legitimate and credible interlocutor of the Libyan people". Earlier this week senior Obama administration officials indicated that recognising the N-T-C would be premature. France, Italy and Qatar have stated their support for the Council as the true government in Libya.


Syrian security forces have reportedly shot dead three people and wounded several others in a town* in the Homs region which borders Lebanon. Elsewhere activists say at least five people were killed Friday, despite an order from President Bashar al-Assad for security forces not to open fire on protesters. Mr. Assad's directive came with an offer of dialogue to anti-government protestors who are pushing for his departure. Earlier Saturday, Syrian officials said troops and tanks were being pulled out of the cities of Baniyas and Deraa after operations to quell demonstrations. Two months of deadly protests have left over 500 people dead in Syra.


The European Union challenged Chinese state subsidies for the first time on Saturday, increasing duties on imports of glossy paper from China. The E.U. accuses China's government of offering subsidies to Chinese companies that make their products cheaper to sell. The E.U. imports only a small amount of glossy paper, but the new duties are considered a sign of a trend to increase duties on other Chinese products. Last year, European trade chief Karel De Gucht accused China of subsidizing nearly all Chinese exports. But E.U. firms have been reluctant to call openly for higher duties out of fear of retaliation against their operations in China. China might challenge the E.U.'s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties at the World Trade Organization. Earlier this year, the WTO ruled that the United States broke international trade laws when it applied duties to certain Chinese goods.




The Toronto Blue Jays defeated Minnesota on Friday, 2-0.



Here is Canada's weather on Sunday, May 15. British Columbia will have rain. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 13 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: sunny. Whitehorse, 15. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, 20. Nunavut: snow flurries. Iqaluit, minus four. Alberta: sunny. Edmonton, 20. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, 21. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, 20. Ontario: rain. Toronto: 11. Ottawa, 11. Quebec: showers. Montreal, 11. New Brunswick: rain. Fredericton, ten. Nova Scotia: drizzle. Halifax, ten. Prince Edward Island: rain. Charlottetown, ten. Newfoundland: showers. St. John's, 12.

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