Monday, June 13, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 12 June 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


Canada's governing Conservative Party has wrapped up a policy convention in Ottawa. It was the party's first major gathering since it won a majority government on May 2. Delegates voted on a number of proposals that resulted in heated debate. Among the most controversial resolutions was a move to reintroduce the crime of high treason, stripping any Canadian of their citizenship if they take arms against Canadian forces or Canadian allies. The resolution was defeated. Delegates also softened the party's stance on gay marriage. Conservatives still oppose it but are no longer calling on the government to ban it. The party also voted down a proposal to change the way that the party leader is chosen. Some delegates wanted to give bigger influence to ridings with more members. All ridings will continue to have equal voice.



A Toronto court will begin deciding Monday whether to uphold a ruling that would decriminalize prostitution. An Ontario judge last year struck down three key anti-prostitution laws. But the ruling was put on hold pending an appeal, which is to be heard this week. Superior Court Judge Susan Himel said the laws against keeping a bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails were contributing to the danger faced by prostitutes. The Federal and Ontario appealed that ruling, arguing the laws should stay on the books.


The town of Slave Lake, in northern Alberta, is making plans to rebuild after an out-of-control wildfire destroyed more than 400 homes and businesses four weeks ago. Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee says the damaged parts of town have been divided into four zones, with the reconstruction schedule depending on the extent of damage in each zone. The mayor said some places could take up to six months to restore. The town plans to bring in mobile homes as temporary housing for residents waiting to rebuild.


Canada's labour minister is urging both sides in an Air Canada labour dispute to reach a negotiated agreement as soon as possible. Lisa Raitt says the government is concerned about the potential impact of a work stoppage on Canadians and on Canada's economic recovery. The union representing some of Air Canada's 3,800 customer service and sales staff issued a 72-hour strike notice Friday, meaning job action can begin at just after midnight Tuesday morning. Negotiations continued through the weekend and both sides said they hoped to reach a deal to head off a strike. A proposal to change pension plans for new hires has been a key sticking point in the talks.


Funeral services were held Sunday for an innocent bystander who was killed last week by a stray police bullet. Thirty-six-year-old Patrick Limoges died in Montreal Tuesday. He was on his way to work in a Montreal hospital when was he was caught in a confrontation that saw police shoot and kill Mario Hamel, who was allegedly brandishing a knife. Funeral services were held Saturday in Montreal for Hamel, who was 40-years-old and homeless. The two deaths sparked outrage among many Montreal residents.


Toronto held a memorial service Sunday to remember firefighters who have died on duty or from a work-related disease. Four names were added to the Memorial Honour Roll at the annual Toronto Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service at Fire Station No. 334. The names of firefighters Bruce Arthur Catchpole and Erik Christensen along with Capt. Jon Thewlis and District Chief John James Lalonde were added to the monument. Since 1848, 222 firefighters have died in the line of duty in the city. The service included the laying of wreaths by Toronto City Councillor Gary Crawford and senior city and fire officials.


Newly released records show dozens of people who took part in a federal consultation wanted more transparency in Canada's move toward a perimeter security deal with the United States. They called for more information, open public consultations, and public debate and scrutiny. The planned perimeter arrangement would expand continental co-operation on security while allowing for the smoother flow of goods and people across the Canada-US border. In March, the government announced an online consultation, saying the feedback would help shape a coming action plan. The Canadian Press obtained copies of many of the messages -- with names stripped out to protect privacy -- under the Access to Information Act. Among the initial responses, more than three dozen people called for more discussion and openness.


Business leaders who advised the government on talks between Canada and the United States to cut greenhouse gases are unhappy with the lack of results. Interviews with participants in the so-called Clean Energy Dialogue are marked with complaints from executives about a lack of feedback from the federal government. Notes from those interviews were released to The Canadian Press, along with a consultant's report to Environment Canada, under the Access to Information Act. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the cross-border initiative with Barack Obama during the US president's trip to Ottawa two years ago.


More than 2,000 volunteers worked through the weekend cleaning up from heavy flood damage in a region east of Montreal. Volunteer crews arrived began arriving Saturday in the Richelieu Valley, where thousands of homes and businesses are damaged after more than a month of severe flooding. The cleaning blitz was the first of two weekend efforts aimed at helping victims of the floods.



The International Monetary Fund is investigating what it describes as a major breach of its computer system. IMF officials are quoted as saying the attack was recent, sophisticated, and serious but there is no reason to believe that any personal information was sought for fraud purposes. A cyber security expert has told Reuters news that the infiltration had been a targeted attack which installed software designed to give a nation state a digital insider presence at the IMF. The Washington-based agency has very sensitive information on countries that are in deep financial trouble.


Fighting between forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and rebels raged across Libya on Sunday. Casualties were reported in Zintan and the regime said it had eliminated resistance in Zawiyah, west of the capital, Tripoli. Battles were also being fought in the Berber mountains southwest of Tripoli, in nearby Yafran, and at Dafnia near Misrata, Libya's third city. Tribal fighters opposed to Kadhafi also clashed with his forces in the oasis city of Sabha -- a first since the outbreak of the uprising against him in mid-February. Government forces posted a few kilometres east of Zintan, which remains under rebel control, fired Grad and Katyusha rockets at the town. Agence France Presse reported that at least seven rebels were killed and 49 wounded in the bombardment. In Brussels, NATO said Sunday it was taking "necessary action" to protect civilians west of Tripoli because they were under threat of attacks for openly challenging the regime.



State television reported Sunday that government troops has seized the flashpoint northern town of Jisr al-Shughur. Rights activists had earlier reported heavy gunfire and explosions in the town near the Turkish border after troops backed by helicopter gunships and around 200 tanks launched a two-pronged assault early on Sunday. State television said the army now completely controls Jisr al-Shughur and that troops were pursuing "armed elements" into the woods and nearby mountains. Official media also reported that a mass grave was found in Jisr al-Shughur, containing the mutilated bodies of 10 security agents whose hands, head and feet had been cut off. UN chief Ban Ki-moon expressed concern at the mounting death toll, while the United States, France and the EU urged President Bashar al-Assad to let aid workers relieve the humanitarian crisis. France also warned Damascus that its brutal crackdown on a political revolt threatens regional stability.


The United Arab Emirates said Sunday it has recognized the Libyan rebels' political group as the sole representatives for the country. The UAE announcement came just three days after hosting an international gathering on ways to aid the rebels and their Transitional National Council based in eastern Libya. The UAE also is among the few Arab states contributing to the NATO air attacks on Muammar Gaddafi's military and other sites. The UAE joins Qatar, Italy and several others nations that have fully shifted diplomatic ties from Colonel Gadhafi's regime to the rebels. A statement by the UAE's foreign minister, Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said the Gulf nation plans to open a representative office soon in the rebel capital Benghazi.


At least 25 people have been detained in China after clashes between residents and security forces near the city of Guangzhou. Reports say the violence broke out in Xintang after a dispute between two street vendors and local security. Crowds began throwing bottles and bricks at police wheey were called in. Elsewhere, riot police are patrolling the central Chinese city of Lichuan after crowds attacked government offices. Residents were reportedly upset over corruption and land seizures by local officials.


Bahrain's state news agency says a special security court has given a one-year prison sentence to a 20-year-old woman who recited poems critical of Bahrain's rulers. Ayat al-Qurmezi is the first woman to be sentenced by the tribunal set up as part of a wide-ranging crackdown on Shiite-led protesters demanding greater rights from Bahrain's Sunni monarchy. She was convicted Sunday of charges including inciting hatred. She can appeal the sentence. Demonstrations for more freedoms broke out in February.Since them authorities have imposed far-reaching security clampdowns and detained many activists.


Jordan's kingon Sunday bowed to popular demands for reform.King Abdullah ll said future Cabinets will be formed according to an elected parliamentary majority. Jordanians have been demanding that the king lloosen his absolute grip on power, which includes appointing prime ministers and Cabinets. In a speech marking his 12th year as Jordan's ruler, Abdullah also promised further constitutional changes, but did not elaborate. In six months of pro-democracy protests, Jordanians have also demanded a new parliamentary election. They claim November's election was marred by fraud. Abdullah promised more reforms but warned that sudden change could lead to "chaos and unrest" like in other Arab countries. Meanwhile, a Jordanian Islamic leader said Sunday 300 jailed militants have begun a hunger strike to press the government for their release. Last week, Abdullah pardoned hundreds, but not hard-liners and those convicted of serious crimes, like manslaughter and rape. Police confirmed that 46 men from the ultraconservative Salafi stream of Islam -- banned in Jordan -- went on a hunger strike Saturday. Wesam Omoush insisted that the number was 300, including 100 detained for armed attacks that wounded 83 policemen in April. The rest were convicted in terror plots or links to al-Qaida. On Sunday, tens of veiled wives and children of the jailed Salafis protested outside the prime minister's office demanding freedom for the prisoners. Mr. Omoush said Sunday that the Salafis plan daily protests.


Witnesses said scores of protesters gathered in Iran's capital on Sunday on the anniversary of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed 2009 re-election. The opposition website said police wielding clubs tried to disperse protesters in one location, but there were few details. Authorities have deployed hundreds of police to the main streets of Tehran. Opposition activists based outside the country had called for a silent march on the second anniversary of the election. Claims of fraud in the vote triggered months of protests, which were met with a deadly crackdown. It was the most serious challenge to Iran's rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Also Sunday, said a jailed opposition activist, Hoda Saber, has died of heart failure after a week on a hunger strike.


Unofficial results showed showed Turkey's ruling Islamist-rooted party clinched a record landslide in parliamentary polls on Sunday. However, it appeared short of the two-thirds majority it needs to rewrite the constitution. With more than 95 percent of the vote counted, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) was leading with 50.3 percent of the vote for a third straight win. It was the party's highest electoral score since it came to power in 2002. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) was second with 25.9 percent, followed by the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) with 13.1 percent. The AKP got enough parliamentary seats to once again form the government on its own, but appeared to fall just short of the 330-seat majority in the 550-member parliament it was seeking to unilaterally amend the constitution, the legacy of a 1980 military coup. According to state television, it was set to win 325 seats.


A stumbling block has cropped up in the reconciliation between the two main Palestinian parties. Hamas has rejected the rival Fatah movement's nominee to head a transitional Palestinian government. Fatah nominated Salam Fayyad, a US-educated economist, popular with foreign donors. Anaylsts said his rejection could make foreign-backers nervous. Meanwhile, the central committee of the Fatah party led Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas voted to expel strongman Mohammed Dahlan. A committee member, speaking to Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity, said earlier the movement was expelling Mr. Dahlan over allegations of corruption and murder, and recommending his case be referred to the attorney general.



Officials on Sunday ordered the majority of residents evacuated from homes near an erupting volcano to stay in shelters and with family and friends. Meanwhile, the ash has spread across the Pacific, prompting authorities to suspend flights in Australia and New Zealand. The volcano's activity has diminished since it began erupting June 4, but authorities say it could strengthen again. And they say there is still a chance of deadly landslides containing mud and water as well as rocks and ash thrown from the crater. The ash has cleared away from major cities in the southern part of South America, allowing flights there to resume. Officials in Australia and New Zealand suspended flights Sunday as the ash spread.




Boston hosts Vancouver Monday in Game Six of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final. If a Game Seven is needed, it will be played Wednesday in Vancouver.


Jenson Button in a McLaren won the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Sunday. Red Bull racers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber took second and third place respectively. The race went just 20 minutes before a rain delay of just over two hours. Lewis Hamilton lost a chance to defend his title at the race after crashing into the wall while trying to pass McLaren teammate Jenson Button at the first corner on lap eight.


Sunday's result: Boston defeated Toronto 14-1


In Major League Soccer Saturday, Toronto and Los Angeles played to a 2-2 draw and Vancouver and Seattle tied 2-2.

In CONCACAF Gold Cup competition Saturday, Canada shut out Guadeloupe 1-0 and Panama defeated the United States 2-1.




On Monday: Vancouver has a few morning showers followed by a mix of sun and cloud. The forecast high temperature: 18 degrees Celsius. Calgary has morning sun followed by a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 21. Regina has morning cloud and possible showers and thunderstorms followed by afternoon sun, a high of 25. Winnipeg has showers and possible thunderstorms, a high of 20. Toronto is sunny with cloudy periods, a high of 20. Ottawa has cloud and afternoon showers, a high of 19. Montreal has showers, a high of 16. Fredericton has periods of rain, a high of 13. Charlottetown has cloud with a few morning showers, a high of 16. Halifax has periods of rain with possible afternoon thunderstorms, a high of 11. St. John's has cloud with a chance of morning showers, a high of 10. Whitehorse has morning sun followed by a mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon, a high of 19. Yellowknife is sunny with a cloudy periods, a high of 19. Iqaluit is cloudy with sunny periods, a high of six..

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