Monday, May 23, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


There's concern in the province of Quebec that high winds forecast for today could further impact residents in the flood-ravaged area along the Richelieu River south of Montreal. And, Premier Jean Charest is once again asking for more troops and he has also invited Defence Minister Peter McKay to visit the area. At one time more than 800 members of the Armed Forces were helping residents put down sandbags. But the number has been cut back of late. Yesterday Mr. Charest visited the affected area and met with the mayors of a number of small towns. The Premier says he may increase the amount of money given to flood victims. That total is currently capped at 150 thousand dollars.



Seven thousand residents of Slave Lake, Alberta, have been told it will be another week before they'll be allowed to return home. Last Sunday, they fled to escape a raging wildfire that destroyed a third of the town, 250 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. The blaze, which covers 45 square kilometres, remains out of control. The evacuees have started moving from emergency shelters to interim accommodations, including hotel rooms.There are still dozens of of other wildfires burning in the northern regions of the province.


Roman Catholic Jesuits are celebrating the 400th anniversary of their arrival in Canada. The order will re-enact the historic landing of French Jesuits at Port-Royal, Nova Scotia later today. The Jesuits are known for their educational and cultural pursuits as well as missionary work. The Roman Catholic order was a key contributor to the exploration and mapping of land and rivers throughout North America when Europeans arrived on the continent.


Canada Postwas due on Sunday to receive a new contract offerfrom the fifty-thousand-member Canadian Union of Postal Workers. Both sides are trying to reach a tentative deal to avert a threatened strike or lockout, which could start on Thursday. The last contract ran out almost four months ago. The major issues are money, benefits, working conditions, and staffing levels


The latest international effort to persuade Yemen's president to relinquish power has failed. Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected yet another proposal made by the Gulf Cooperation Council, a bloc of neighbouring Persian Gulf states. As a result, theblochas withdrawnfrom its efforts to end Yemen's political crisis. Public demonstrations have failed to persuade the president to resign now rather later. More than 170 protesters have been killed. Earlier in the day, an armed crowd of Mr. Saleh's supporters prevented European, Arab and American ambassadors from leaving an embassy building in Sanaa. After a few hours, army helicopters transported the diplomats to the presidential palace.


Three explosions went off at a naval aviation base in Pakistan on Sunday in what police said was a terrorist attack. Senior police official Tahir Naveed said that attackers infilitrated the Mehran naval aviation base and exchanged gunfire with base personnel. At least four people were killed. Al Qaeda-linked Taliban militants have vowed to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces earlier this month. Militants have carried out several attacks since his death.


Several bombings across Iraq on Sunday killed at least 15 people and injured 74 others. At least 11 Iraqi troops were killed when a bomber blew up his car among soldiers investigating another car bomb outside a checkpoint on a main street in Taji, 20 kilometres north of Baghdad. Two U.S. troops were killed during operations in central Iraq. Four roadside bombs and a parked car bomb targeted an Iraqi Federal Police base in Amil District in southwestern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding 15 others,including three policemen. Iraqi forces will take over full control of security at the end of this year when U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Iraq.


Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist Party suffered heavy losses in municipal and regional elections on Sunday. With almost all municipal ballots counted, the Socialists had only about 28 per cent of the total vote. The Popular Party led with 37 per cent. The Socialists seemed poised to lose Barcelona, where they have governed since since the first city elections in 1979. Many Spaniards were unhappy with the government's economic cutbacks and with the high unemployment rate. Large public demonstrations expressed their unhappiness. More than 34 million people were eligible to vote for 8,116 mayors, 68,400 town councillors and 824 members of regional parliaments.


An erupting volcano in Iceland led to the closure of that country's main international airport this morning. Officials say a cloud of ash 20-kilometres high is drifting west toward Greenland. Thirteen months ago, ash from another Icelandic volcano headed east toward Europe, closing many air routes and stranding about 10million passengers.


Police in Valparaiso, Chile have clashed with demonstrators protesting against government policies. A protest march was timed to coincide with President Sebastian Pinera's annual state of the nation address last night. Demonstrators held up signs opposing the government's environmental, education and labour policies. Many said they had come to protest against a hydro-electric dam project in southern Chile, which they say will destroy 6,000 hectares of forest. The march was called by the main trade union movement, the CUT. Union officials are calling on President Pinera to fulfil campaign promises.



Britain is backing French finance minister Christine Lagarde to be the next head of the International Monetary Fund. Ms Lagarde, consiered a strong advocate for countries tackling high budget deficits and living within their means, is the front-runner to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He quit last week after he was accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid in New York. However, some IMF members have stated a preference for a leader from an emerging nation rather than another European chief. The IMF, which provides billions in loans to stabilize the world economy, plans to choice its new chief executive by the end of June.


Four Taliban suicide bombers killed five members of the Afghan security forces during a siege in a police building in Afghanistan's volatile east. The insurgents were holed up inside the compound in Khost for several hours before Afghan troops stormed the building. Since the Taliban announced the start of their long-awaited spring offensive, violence has spiked across Afghanistan with attacks against supposedly secure targets. On Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a high-security military hospital in Kabul, killing six medical students eating lunch in the dining hall.


In Bahrain, an emergency appeals court has upheld death sentences for two men found guilty of killing police officers during recent unrest. Two other men who were among the four initially sentenced to death on April 28 had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. Human rights activists say the punishments are designed to prevent more protests in the Gulf Arab state. In March, Bahrain's rulers imposed emergency law and called in troops from neighbouring Gulf states to quell the protests, which were seen as a grave threat to the island kingdom's Sunni rulers. Hundreds of people, mainly Shi'ites, have been arrested and dozens put on trial since the crackdown began. Others have been fired from government jobs. A state of emergency is due to be lifted on June 1.



U.S. President Barack Obama says he would authorize a new incursion into Pakistan if the United States found another leading militant there. Speaking during an interview with the BBC, the president said his administration is very respectful of Pakistani sovereignty. But he said the U.S. cannot allow allow active plans to come to fruition without taking some action. The killing of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden by US forces in a Pakistani garrison town on May 2 strained ties between the two allies.


The Cannes film festival awarded its highest prize, the Palme d'Or, on Sunday to The Tree of Life, a film by American director Terence Malick. The best director prize was awarded to the Danish director, Nicolas Winding Refn, for his movie, Drive, starring Canadian actor Ryan Gosling. The best actress award went to American actress Kirsten Dunst for her role in Melancholia, directed by Lars Von Trier, whose comments about Nazis and Hitler led festival organizers to ask him to leave Cannes. The best actor award went to French actor, Jean Dujardin, in the movie, The Artist.



The Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, on Sunday, to take a three games to one lead in their Stanley Cup Western Conference final. Sami Salo scored twice and Ryan Kesler added a goal for the Canucks.


The Houston Astros beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, 3-2 in an interleague match.


Canada's Rebecca Marino opened her French Open main draw with a 6-3, 6-3 victory on Sunday over Kateryna Bondarenko of the

Ukraine. Marino next faces Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.


Canada's men's rugby sevens team lost to Russia and England at the London Sevens in Twickenham on Sunday. Canada lost to Russia in the Bowl quarter-final, 15-12, and to England 22-14 in the Shield semifinal.


Jeff Zywicki scored seven goals as Canada beat Slovakia, 27-1, to open the world indoor lacrosse tournament on Sunday in Prague.


Here is Canada's weather on Monday, May 23. British Columbia will have sunny periods. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 16 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: overcast. Whitehorse, 14. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, 11. Nunavut: variable cloudiness. Iqaluit, minus one. Alberta: rain. Edmonton, 12. Saskatchewan: overcast. Regina, 16. Manitoba: mainly sunny. Winnipeg, 14. Ontario: a few showers. Toronto: 22. Ottawa, 22. Quebec: sunny periods. Montreal, 23. New Brunswick: showers. Fredericton, 14. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, 11. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, 14. Newfoundland: sunny. St. John's, eight.