Sunday, June 26, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

COMMONS DEBATE OVER CANADA POST DRAGS ON


Canadian parliamentarians continued their debate over Canada Post on Saturday for a third day without a break. Opposition parties are trying to stall a motion by the majority Conservative Party government to introduce back-to-work legislation. The legislation would force Canada Post to end its lockout of some 48-thousand postal workers. The lockout stopped all Canadian mail ten days ago. The workers are seeking a new contract with better wages. Canada Post and its locked-out workers sat down together but Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton says that nothing was achieved.

CANADIAN SOLDIER DIES IN AFGHANISTAN


A Canadian soldier died in Afghanistan on Saturday in a non-combat related incident. The soldier was found at a forward operating base in Kandahar city. His name was initially withheld at the request of his family. The death is under investigation. The death brings the number of Canadian troops who've died as a result of the Afghan mission to 157. Canada's 2,800 combat troops are scheduled to withdraw from Aghanistan next month after serving nearly a decade with the Allied force. Some Canadians will remain to act as trainors for Afghan troops.

TOWN OF SLAVE LAKE HIT BY FLOODING


Heavy rain has flooded highways on the outskirts of the northern Alberta community of Slave Lake. Emergency crews have been called in to drain storm sewers. A number of homes and the town hall have been damaged. The flooding comes a month after devastating wildfires ripped through the town, destroying hundreds of homes.

MORE FLOODING IN QUEBEC


High winds and heavy rain have caused serious flooding in Quebec's Gatineau region. About 180 millimetres of rain fell in the past few days, filling home basements, washing out roads, and causing sewers to overflow. Residents in about 600 homes were ordered to evacuate on Saturday, but the order was later lifted. Flooding in the past two months caused major problems along Quebec's Richelieu River.

RALLY URGES INQUIRY INTO POLICE VIOLENCE


On the first anniversary of the riots related to the 2010 Group of Summit in Toronto, demonstrators gathered at the Ontario legislature to call for a public inquiry into police actions at the summit. They also called for the resignation of Toronto police chief Bill Blair. Scores of people were injured last year when police moved to stop violent protesters who burned cars and attacked police during the summit. More than 1,100 people were arrested or detained. Most were summarily released. But among those detained were many innocent bystanders. Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan called for Chief Blair to identify officers who beat citizen protesters.

BOLLYWOOD AWARDS DRAW FANS IN TORONTO


Canadian fans of India's Bollywood movies gathered in large numbers in Toronto on Saturday for the third and final day of the International India Film Awards. It's the first time that the IIFA festival is taking place in North America. Many of Bollywood's biggest stars are attending. More than 800 guests from India have flown to Toronto for the IFFA event.

CANADIAN SENATOR REJECTS ALLEGATIONS


A Canadian senator, Mac Harb, is rejecting allegations that he's in a breach of ethics in connection with a bribery scandal. The Globe & Mail newspaper reports that police are investigating Mr. Harb for criminal breach of trust. The case involves Niko Resources, a Calgary-based oil and gas company that recently admitted that in 2005, it gave bribes to a government official in Bangladesh, where the company operates. On Friday, Niko Resources agreed to pay nearly CDN$9.5 million as a penalty. According to the newspaper report, Mr. Harb used his special government passport to travel to Bangladesh to lobby the local government on behalf of Niko. Niko says that the senator was paid CDN$65,000. Mr. Harb says that he disclosed his work with Niko to the Senate Ethics Officer, explaining that he did not use his position as a senator for personal gain or for Niko's benefit. The Conflict of Interest Code for Senators states that senators "may not use their position to influence a decision of another person in order to further their own private interests, or those of their family members, or to improperly further another person's or entity's private interests." Using public office for personal gain is also prohibited under the Criminal Code. A member of parliament for the opposition New Democratic Party, Charlie Angus, says that the allegations are proof that the senate needs major reform. Mr. Harb was appointed to the Senate in 2003.

CENTRAL BANK CUTS MORE JOBS


The Bank of Canada has cut another 55 jobs, this time in corporate administration. That brings the total number of jobs lost this month to 88. Previous cuts were in information technology. The central bank says about a quarter of the 88 cuts came through retirements, elimination of vacancies and normal attrition. They're part of the Conservtive government's efforts to slash spending by four billion dollars a year to rein in the deficit.


AFGHAN


In Afghanistan,a suicide bomber killed more than 30 people in an attack outside a hospital in the remote Azra region of Logar province, southeast of Kabul today. The United Nations said most of the victims were in the hospital's maternity ward and included women and children. Initial estimates of the death toll ranged between 20 and 60. Dozens of people were injured. The Taliban denied they carried out the attack.

LIBYA


Three powerful explosions struck the easter sector of the Libyan capital Tripoli on Saturday. It's not immediately know if the blasts were the result of an attack by NATO, which has been targetting military installations in the district. Earlier Saturday Moammar Gadhafi's regime accused NATO of killing 15 people in strikes on civilian sites in the eastern city of Brega. A NATO spokesman said the alliance "did target buildings in an abandoned area of Brega, but they were legitmate military targets that were hit. Meanwhile, 17 of Libya's top football players, including national goalkeeper Jum Gtat, say they have defected to rebels battling to oust Gadhafi.

PERU


At least five activists opposed to mining in southeastern Peru were killed on Friday.The victims were part of a group of some 1,000 mostly local Aymara Indian farmers who tried to storm the international airport in Juliaca. At least 32 protestors were wounded in the clashes with riot police who moved in to disperse them. The protests broke out weeks ago. Activists have been demanding the revocation of a silver mining concession granted to Canada-based Bear Creek Mining Corporation. Activists claimed the project would pollute the water and leave few local benefits.

CHILE


Ash from Chile's Puyehue volcano is again disrupting regional air travel. At least two dozen flights out of Uruguay were cancelled on Saturday along with a dozen incoming flights. Meanwhile, flights to and from the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, gradually resumed a normal schedule after being grounded by the volcanic ash on Friday. But the airport in the Argentine resort town of Bariloche some 100 kilometres from the volcano is closed until July 1. The Neuquen airport in the Patagonia region is also closed. The volcano rumbled to life early this month for the first time since 1960. Winds spread the ash across much of southern Argentina.

CHINA


Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has met in Budapest with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. He offered his country's support for Europe and its common currency amid the on-going eurozone's debt crisis. Mr.Wen said China is a long-term investor in the European sovereign debt market and has purchased euro-denominated bonds in the past years. He said China is also willing to purchase bonds issued by Hungary, which does not yet use the euro, and offered Hungary a loan of $1.4 Billion. The two countries also signed a dozen agreements expanding their business and cultural ties. Mr. Wen's five day European tour will take him to Britain later today and Germany on Sunday.

UKRAINE


Ukraine's former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, was ordered on Saturday to stand trial on a charge of abuse of power. The charge carries a jail term of at least seven years. Judge Rodion Kyriyev rejected her argument that the charges were initiated by President Viktor Yanukovich for political motives. The charges relate to a gas deal with Russia in 2009, when she was in power. Miss Tymoshenko will appear in court in Kiev on Wednesday.

RUSSIA


 

A billionaire oligarch has won the leadership of a Russian pro-reform party. Delegates elected Mikhail Prokhorov unopposed as the new leader of the Pravoe Delo party at an extraordinary congress in Moscow. Just two delegates voted against his candidacy, with 107 in favour. In a speech to the congress, Mr.Prokhorov set the goal of taking the party into parliament in December polls and challenging the dominance of Vladimir Putin's ruling faction United Russia. His election marks the first time a top businessman has entered politics since the arrest in 2003 of oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky's supporters have long claimed that he was punished for daring to finance opposition to strongman Putin whose party domiantes the State Duma lower house and is largely untroubled by three weak opposition parties.

ISRAEL


 

The International Committee of the Red Cross is demanding that the Palestinian militant group Hamas provide proof that captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is still alive. The then 19 year old soldier was seized by Hamas militants in a cross border raid five years ago today. The Red Cross says his family has a right, under international law, to be in contact with their son. On Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for Shalit's immediate release. He said the UN will continue to support efforts to secure his release, which would also entail the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners. Negotiations, mediated by both Egypt and Germany, failed to result in freedom for the Israeli soldier.

SYRIA


Hundreds of Syrians, some with gunshot wounds, have crossed into neighbouring Lebanon in search of a refuge from the growing violence in their homeland. A Lebanese security official said most of them came shortly after Syrian security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters Friday. Syrian activists said 20 people were killed yesterday, including two children, during demonstrations held in Damasacus, Homs and other cities across the country. On Saturday, Syrian tanks rolled into the northern village of Al-Najia on the border with Turkey. The army's sweep through protest centres in the northwest has sent nearly 12,000 Syrians fleeing to safety in neighbouring Turkey. More than 1300 Syrians are believed to have died at the hands of security forces since protests against Bashar al Assad's autocratic rule broke out several months ago.

UNITED STATES


Same-sex marriages will become legal in the U.S. State of New York in 30 days. State senators voted 33-29 on Fridayto approve marriage equality legislation.Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced the measure andsigned it into law. It's seen as a key victory for gay rights ahead of the U.S. 2012 presidential and congressional elections. New York is the sixth and most populousU.S. state to allowsame-sex marriages.

IRAN


Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan have agreed to jointly fight against militancy. Leaders of the three countries are attending a counter-terrorism summit in Tehran this weekend. Their announcement follows a decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to 33,000 of some 99,000 American forces from Afghanistan by the end of next summer.


SPORTS


TENNIS

Canadian Daniel Nestor and his doubles partner, Max Mirnyi of Belarus, were eliminated at Wimbledon in the second round on Saturday, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (9), 6-3, by the newly formed team of South African Kevin Anderson and Julien Knowle of Austria.

RUGBY

Captain Pat Riordan is at the top of Canada's 50-man list for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this fall. Head coach Kieran Crowley and his coaching staff will whittle down the squad to a final 30 in early July.

ROWING

Canadians Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen won the men's pair event on Saturday on the opening day of competition at the Holland Beker Regatta in Amsterdam. In the men's four category, the Canadian lightweight four crew of Morgan Jarvis, Mike Lewis, Tim Myers and John Sasi also won. The Canadian women's eight was second in its final behind the Dutch.

TRACK AND FIELD

Dylan Armstrong won the men's shot put at the Canadian track and field championship on Saturday, surpassing his own Canadian record with a put of 22.21 metres. Timothy Nedow was second and Andrew Smith was third. The world record of 23.12 metres was set by American Randy Barnes in 1990.


CANADA WEATHER


Here is Canada's weather on Sunday, June 26. British Columbia will be mainly sunny. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 20 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: variable cloudiness. Whitehorse, 24. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, 15. Nunavut: cloudy periods. Iqaluit, 12. Alberta: variable cloudiness. Edmonton, 21. Saskatchewan: variable cloudiness. Regina, 22. Manitoba: variable cloudiness. Winnipeg, 23. Ontario: sunny periods. Toronto: 23. Ottawa, 24. Quebec: mainly cloudy. Montreal, 22. New Brunswick: showers. Fredericton, 21. Nova Scotia: fog. Halifax, 18. Prince Edward Island: cloudy. Charlottetown, 19. Newfoundland: showers. St. John's, 12.