Saturday, May 14, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


The Canadian general commanding NATO's campaign against Libya says the alliance has appealed to Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi to stop using human shields. Gen. Charles Bouchard says the appeal has had some success. He says that an increasing number of Libyan soldiers are refusing to take hostages against NATO air strikes and are laying down their weapons, despite fear of punishment. Claims have been put forward that Mr. Ghaddafi has ordered that women and children be forced into strategic buildings that could become air targets.


Residents of southern Manitoba were told by officials on Friday that a dike southeast of Portage la Prairie along the flooded Assiniboine River will be cut at dawn on Saturday. The flooding will affect 150 properties. The intentional flooding is aimed at preventing an uncontrolled flood that would affected hundreds more residents of the area. The Assiniboine is at record high levels in western and central Manitoba. Thirteen-hundred residents have already been forced out of their homes in Brandon.


Canadian Member of Parliament Marc Garneau has offered his services to serve as interim leader of the federal Liberal Party. The former astronaut is the first member of the Liberal caucus to suggest he'd like to take over the rebuilding process. Michael Ignatieff resigned as leader following the election which saw him lose his own Toronto-area riding. The Liberal Party won only 34 seats, its worst result ever. The Liberals also lost the status of official opposition to the New Democratic Party.


The four federal police officers who killed a would-be Polish immigrant with a stun gun at Vancouver airport in 2007 will be charged with perjury. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers stand accused of lying in testimony given at a public hearing into the death of Robert Dziekanski. They testified that he was violent and refused to co-operate, but a bystander's video of the incident showed the claim to be false. The attorney general of British Columbia says the four officers won't be charged with anything related to Mr. Dziekanski's death because there is little likelihood they would be convicted. The Mounties will first appear in court on June 29.


Two Supreme Court of Canada justices have announced their retirement. Sixty-year-old Louise Charron and 72-year-old Ian Binnie say they'll leave the court in August. Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin says she hopes Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make the selection of new justices a priority.


Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi says he's in a place where NATO cannot reach and kill him. In an audio recording broadcast on state television, he referred to NATO as "the cowardly crusaders." On Thursday, NATO warplanes bombed his compound in Tripoli. Earlier Friday, the foreign minister of Italy, Franco Frattini, said Ghaddafi has likely left Tripoli and is probably wounded. Mr. Frattini says he received his information from the bishop of Tripoli. There was no independent confirmation of the claim, which the Libyan government called nonsense. NATO continues to bomb Libya. Libyan state television reports that NATO bombed the eastern city of Brega on Friday, killing 16 civilians. In Washington, rebel representatives were to meet senior White House officials to seek funds and diplomatic recognition.


At least 80 people were killed Friday in an attack by two suicide bombers at a paramilitary training centre in northwestern Pakistan. Police say nearly all of the victims were military recruits. The Pakistani Taliban is claiming responsibility for the blasts in the town of Charsadda . Bin Laden's followers have vowed revenge for his killing on May 2 by American elite forces.


Greenpeace warns that Russia again faces the threat of catastrophic wildfires because the authorities are reacting too slowly. The environmental lobby says fires in forests and peat bogs have begun even earlier in the year than last year. The group says forest fires are already raging in Siberia, the Urals and the Far East. Last year, a record heat wave combined with drought caused wildfires in central Russia to spread out of control, killing dozens and destroying thousands of houses.


Mexico has launched a campaign to counter its image as a dangerous country. It's concerned about the negative impact on its tourist industry as U.S. travel alerts warn Americans of violence in Mexico. Mexico is spending millions of dollars on print media and billboard ads in U.S. cities showing its ancient pyramids and sunny beaches to persuade Americans not to cancel their visits. Thousands of American tourists have been scared away by the drug war in parts of Mexico. Officials say the drug violence is occurring far from the most popular resorts such as Cancun, Huatulco, Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.


Vote results in Ecuador indicate that President Rafael Correa is heading for a referendum victory. Mr. Correa had already declared victory after the vote last Saturday, when when a ballot count gave him a clear lead in the referendum on ten reforms. The reforms will give him more power over the judiciary and media. A preliminary count by the National Electoral Council indicated two key questions were facing rejection by voters and slim support for the others. But by Thursday, official counting showed all the reforms being endorsed. Mr. Correa says the reforms are needed to get rid of corrupt and inefficient judges and let police fight crime better. Opposition leaders say the reforms will give the president more power.


China seems to have ruled out talks with the new head of Tibet's government-in-exile. Beijing does not recognize the government that is based in India, and until recently was headed by the Dalai Lama. It has held talks with the Tibetan spiritual leader and his representatives in the past but little progress has been made on Tibet's demands for increased autonomy. Now, the Dalai Lama has turned over political power to the elected head of the government, Lobsang Sangay. Mr. Sangay said this week he was ready to negotiate with China anytime, anywhere. But a top official for Tibetan affairs says China will only have contact with the Dalai Lama's associates in their capacity as his personal representatives.


An environmentalist says the recent series of oil pipeline spills strengthens the argument against construction of an oil pipeline that would convey crude oil from Alberta to the U.S. state of Texas. Susan Casey-Lefkowitz is international program director of The Natural Resources Defence Council, one of many U.S. groups that oppose TransCanada Pipeline's proposed Keystone XL expansion. TransCanada wants to extend an existing pipeline from Oklahoma to Port Arthur, TX. Mrs. Casey-Lefkowitz says she was troubled to hear of a 500-barrel oil spill on a stretch of the Keystone line in North Dakota last weekend. She says the line came into service less than a year ago, which proves that newer pipelines aren't necessarily safe. There have been recent spills from older pipelines in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Mrs. Casey-Lefkowitz says she hopes such incidents will weigh into the U.S. state department's decision on whether to approve Keystone XL.


TSX on Friday: 13,377 - 12.. Dollar: US$1.03. euro: $1.36. Oil: $99.43 + .46.



The president of Hockey Canada says two

years without a medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation Championship is

"totally unacceptable."

Bob Nicholson believes his organization needs to start looking at

ways to avoid a similar fate next year.

Canada was knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-finals

for the second straight year with a 2-1 loss to Russia on Thursday.

Nicholson thinks GM Dave Nonis assembled a good enough team to

win here, but faulted a few young players for declining invitations

to the tournament for reasons that were a "little lame."


British Columbia on Saturday: rain, high C15 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse 7, Yellowknife 16, Iqaluit -3. Prairies: sun. Edmonton 20, Regina 16, Winnipeg 17. Ontario, Quebec: rain. Toronto 17, Ottawa, Montreal 21. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 15, Halifax 12, Charlottetown 11, St. John's 4.