Tuesday, May 24, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 23 May 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather


Two-hundred-and-fifty evacuated residents of the northern Alberta town of Slave Lake are travelling by bus to visit the town on Monday. A fire burned about one-third of Slave Lake eight days ago. Some of those displaced have been pressing the provincial government for answers on whose homes were destroyed in the fire and whose were still standing. The government has extended the evacuation order for another week on the grounds that it would be unsafe for people to return until hot spots are extinguished and every property is inspected for gas leaks and other damage.


Flood waters southeast of Montreal are again rising and officials say they could return later Monday to the historic high reached on May 6, when the Richelieu River hit its highest level in more than a century. The river has risen by eight to 15 centimetres since Sunday and is expected to rise by another 20 centimetres by Tuesday. High winds are pushing water northward from Lake Champlain and creating waves that could cause more damage. More than 3,000 homes have already been flooded and more homes could be affected by the latest round of flooding.


A financial analysis indicates that one of Canada's largest cabinets in history is going to cost taxpayers at least $9 million a year in salaries. The report was referred to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's 39-member cabinet that was sworn in last week following the Conservative Party's victory in the May 2 federal election. The size of the cabinet was announced at a time when the Conservative government is trying to reduce the civil service budget by $4 billion this year and billions more in the coming years to balance the budget.


It appears a strike by 50,000 Canada Post workers has been averted at least until Friday. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has presented a new contract offer containing compromises. The union has not given the 72 hours notice that's needed for a walkout. The last contract expired almost four months ago.


Monday was a holiday across Canada, as most of the country celebrates Queen Victoria Day. Libraries, government offices, schools and banks were closed for the holiday. One of Toronto's major highways reopened in the morning, just in time for those driving home at the end of the long weekend. The Gardiner Expressway was closed Saturday and Sunday for repairs.



The government of Sudan says the army will remain in the disputed territory of Abyei, which its troops seized several days ago. The northern defence minister says the soldiers will stay until a different decision is made. Armed looters set fire to parts of the town of Abyei on Monday. The seizure has aroused fears that it could trigger a full-fledged war between northern and southern Sudan. The South is to become independent this summer under the terms of a 2005 peace accord that ended decades of civil war. The accord left the ownership of Abyei unresolved. The territory is rich agricultural land and contains vast oil deposits.


The European Union has imposed sanctions on Syria. The EU has added Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and some 12 other senior government figures to a list of those banned from travelling to the EU. Also included in the sanctions is an additional freeze of Syrian assets in the EU. The move is aimed at increasing pressure on Syria to end violence against protesters. Syrian security forces have used tanks, gunfire and mass arrests to end a two-month-old revolt against 40 years of rule by the Assad family. President Bashar al-Assad has ruled for 11 years.


Russia's emergencies ministry says wildfires are spreading across Siberia and the Far East. The minister reports that more than 400 wildfires covering more than 110,000 hectares of forest and peat bog have been registered in the past day. Officials are trying to avoid a repeat of last year's deadly fires which coincided with the country's worst heatwave. Greenpeace has warned that the wildfires have started earlier this year and are more dangerous.


The EU has imposed further sanctions on Belarus because of the ongoing political crackdown by the government of President Alexander Lukashenko. The measures include an assets freeze on 13 individuals, including judges who have convicted opposition politicians unfairly. The measures were decided in Brussels by EU foreign ministers. One-hundred-and-eighty Belarussian individuals are now under EU sanctions.


A violent thunderstorm has slowed search and rescue efforts in the southern U.S. state of Missouri, where a tornado has killled at least 89 people. Authorities warn the death toll could climb as emergency workers check damaged and demolished buildings and wrecked vehicles in and around the city of Joplin. There's no word yet on how many people were injured. The storm was so powerful that debris from Joplin has been found 100 kilometres away. Heavy equipment is being used in the search for victims.


China's security forces have reportedly arrested about 300 Tibetan monks from a monastery in Sichuan province. Witnesses say the monks from Aba's Kirti monastery, home to about 2,500 monks, were taken into custody on April 21 on military trucks. Tension in Aba prefecture, a heavily ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province, have risen to their highest levels since protests turned violent in March 2008. The head of the Kirti monastery, Kirti Rinpoche, told the Reuters News Agency by telephone that it was the first time that Chinese security forces had seized such a large number of monks at a time and that he had no information on their whereabouts. His account could not be independently verified as the government restricts visits by foreign reporters to Tibetan regions.



The Globe and Mail newspaper reports that Canada's oil industry is struggling to find workers to avoid a repetition of the drastic shortages of 2008. Canadian energy firms are doing everything possible to find staff as oil prices are at almost $100 a barrel and major investors from Asia, Europe and the U.S. are drawn to oilsands developments. The Canadian government has resumed granting approval for companies to fly in tradesmen from abroad. Labour recruiters are reopening skills training centres to prepare workers in countries like Mexico to come to Canada. In 2008 when the price of a barrel of oil went as high as $147 a barrel, a shortage of workers and soaring labour costs caused delays and shoddy work that has slowed recently built plants. There have been forecasts that Alberta will need tens of thousands of new workers in coming years.




In the National Hockey League, Vancouver is one win away from its first appearance in the Stanley Cup final since 1994. The Canucks outskated the Sharks 4-2 in Game 4 of the West final to grab a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Vancouver can eliminate San Jose with a victory on home ice Tuesday night.


Canada's Rebecca Marino opened her French Open main draw with a 6-3, 6-3 victory Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine. The 62nd-ranked Vancouver native was making only her second appearance at Roland Garros after losing a qualifying match a year ago.



British Columbia on Tuesday: mix sun cloud, high C17 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: mix sun cloud snow. Whitehorse 19, Yellowknife 12, Iqaluit 1. Alberta: sun north, rain south. Saskatchewan: rain. Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 17, Regina 13, Winnipeg 15. Ontario: mix sun cloud. Quebec: rain. Toronto 17, Ottawa, Montreal 19. Maritimes: rain. Newfoundland and Labrador: mix sun cloud. Fredericton 19, Halifax 14, Charlottetown 16, St. John's 11.

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