Monday, July 25, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 24 July 2011
Canadian International Sports


Canadian police have arrested a second man on a government list of suspected war criminals believed to be hiding in this country. A police officer in suburban Toronto, Ontario recognised 42-year-old Arshad Muhammad in a store and alerted the Canada Border Services agency. Mr. Muhammad, whose refugee claim was rejected in 2001, is now in detention, awaiting deportation. Authorities sayhe has ties to an Islamic organization that was involved in terrorist attacks in his native Pakistan. His arrest follows the capture Friday in Alberta of 44-year-old Cristobal Gonzalez-Ramirez who allegedly belonged to a special army unit in Honduras that is accused of war-crimes in that country. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says Canadian authorities have received dozens of tips since a list of 30 suspected war criminals was posted on a government website last week. The move has sparked criticism about the suspects being denied the presumption of innocence; but the minister says the people on the list have no right to be in Canada in the first placeand should be expelled.


The government of Ontario says hundreds of people forced to flee the forest fires in the northwestern part of the province could be able to go home soon. Nearly 3,600 people have beentaken out of their communities since the evacuations began over a month ago. Three First Nations communities have been fully evacuated while six others have been partially evacuated. Meantime, the firefighters battling more than 115 forest fires in the province are finally getting some relief thanks to improved weather conditions. Temperatures are lower and it's either cloudy or raining in the affected region.


A new study from the federal agency Environment Canada has found that chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are being released from melting snow and sea ice in the Arctic. The so-called "Dirty Dozen" chemicals, including toxic DDT, are extremely resistant molecules that take decades to break-down in the environment. They also accumulate in the food-chain, leading to fertility problems in higher life-forms. The study, published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, was led by Jianmin Ma of Environment Canada in Toronto. It found that a wide range of POPs from insecticides and pesticides which were banned ten years ago, have been "remobilised into the Arctic atmosphere over the past two decades as a result of climate change". The study warns that Arctic warming risks increasing environmental and human exposure to the toxic chemicals. It also notes that because warming has hit the Arctic twice or three times as hard as other parts of the planet, it could be a precursor to POP releases from other stores, like the soil and deep ocean.


A major international conference on the effect of mercury in the environment has drawn hundreds of scientists to Canada's Atlantic province of Nova Scotia. More than 800 researchers from 48 countries are in Halifax to review the latest scientific advances on the subject. Coal-burning power-plants are a major source of mercury pollution. Prolonged exposure to airborne mercury is considered a serious health threat for humans and wildlife because it accumulates in the food chain.



Emergency negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Washington Sunday failed to resolve the U.S. debt crisis. The two sides were unable to agree on deep cuts in government spending, putting in question an extension of the country's borrowing limit. The top Republican in Congress, House Speaker John Boehner, said he was working on a two-part plan to raise the debt limit, which is needed by August 2nd to avoid a catastrophic default. President Barack Obama and the Democrats are insisting on a plan that raises the borrowing limit enough to keep the issue off the agenda until after next year's presidential election.


Norway is to observe a minute of silence at noon Monday to honour the 93 victims of Friday's mass murders in the capital, Oslo, and at a youth camp on the nearby island of Utoya. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Norway's royal family will gather at the University of Oslo for the tribute. Neighbouring Sweden will also hold a minute's silence in solidarity with Norway and both nations will fly their flags at half staff. Sunday was a national day of mourning in Norway. The country's King and Queen attended a memorial service held in Oslo Cathedral which was overflowing with mourners. At least 86 people were killed in the shooting rampage on the island of Utoya and 7 others in a huge explosion outside government buildings in Oslo a few hours earlier. But, the death toll from Friday'sattacks is expected to rise. There are still people missing at both scenes. The lawyer for the man charged in the attacks says 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik admits the killings were cruel, but feels they were necessary. He says he wanted to spark an anti-Muslim revolution in Norwegian society. Behring Breivik makes his first court appearance on Monday.


More warnings Sunday about the escalating humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa: After visiting a famine ravaged part of Somalia, the foreign minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, said the famine will be five times worse by Chrismas if the international community doesn't increase its food aid. The head of the U.N's World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, says new funding is critical as the WFP fights a three-pronged catastrophe of drought, conflict and high food prices. Starving Somalis have been walking for days in hopes of reaching refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. On Friday, Canada announced another CAD$50 Million to help famine relief efforts in East Africa. The government is also matching any funds contributed by individual Canadians to charities working in the region. The Conservative government has already contributed $70 million this year to the effort.


Authorities in Mexico have staged a massive crackdown on human trafficking and sexual exploitation. More than 1,000 people were arrested and 20 underaged girls were rescued in the two-day operation in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez. Human rights groups have long tried to raise awareness about the disappearances of young women in Mexico. They say 59 women and girls disappeared last year in Ciudad Juarez along with 48 others in the state of Chihuahua. Violent turf wars for control of the drug trade and human trafficking in Mexico have left more than 41,000 people dead since President Felipe Calderon ordered a military crackdown on the country's organized crime gangs in late 2006.


ANew York-based rights group is reporting new protests in China's Inner Mongolia region. The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre says dozens of ethnic Mongolian herders from the north were injured in clashes last week with Chinese hired by a local Han Chinese businessman who had tried to seize their grazing land. The rights group says the businessman had hired more than 200 Chinese to kill dozens of livestock with their heavy vehicles and bulldozers and to beat up local Mongolian herders who resisted the occupation of their land. Inner Mongolia was rocked by protests in May over the death of an ethnic Mongolian herder who was hit by a truck after taking part in protests against pollution caused by a coal mine.


Syrian troops have stormed a village in the northwestern part of the country and made sweeping arrests in the region as part of the ongoing campaign to crush growing dissent against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Human rights activists say 1600 people have been killed since the campaign to oust President al-Assad began in mid-March. The government blames the uprising on terrorists and foreign extremists.


Sudan is moving to distinguish itself from the newly created nation of South Sudan. Sudan's currency is being changed to eliminate images and symbols associated with South Sudan which declared independence earlier this month after more than 50-years of intermittent civil war. South Sudan introduced its own currency last week.


China has ordered an urgent overhaul of rail safety, after 43 people were killed in the worst accident ever to hit the country's high-speed train network. Rescuers worked through the night, digging through the tangled train wreckage close to Wenzhou in Zhejiang province. It's reported they found a toddler who had survived the disaster which happened Saturday when a highspeed train collided with another train that was stalled on the tracks. At least 200 people were injured in the crash, which sent two carriages plummeting over a railway bridge. China has been spending billions on constructing high-speed rail lines which would be the world's largest at more than 8,000 kilometres.



U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says it's "unthinkable" that there would be a time when the U.S. couldn't pay its bills. He says he's confident of a deal to raise the government's borrowing limit before an August 2 default deadline. Negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders have reached a crisis point with disputes over spending cuts and additional tax revenue. But President Barack Obama and Republican Congressional leader John Boehner are still talking. Mr. Geithner says the U.S. has a top credit rating and that despite all the rhetoric, there are signs that both sides are coming closer to an agreement. The U.S. must raise its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling if it is to borrow beyond August 2 and be able to pay its bills.



Former Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York Sunday; along with former Toronto general manager Pat Gillick. Alomar is the first player to enter the Hall wearing a Blue Jays cap.


A member of the Canadian diving team is awake and alert and recovering in hospital after being hit by a car in a Shanghai, China. Kevin Greyson of Winnipeg as crossing the street to catch a bus to the site of the world aquatic championships Saturday night when he was struck. Greyson and partner Eric Sehn of Edmonton finished eighth in the 10-metre synchro event last Sunday.


Sean O'Hair beat Kris Blanks in a playoff Sunday to win the RBC Canadian Open at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver. O'Hair shot a 2-under 68 in the final round, while Blanks was 1 under on the day at the US$5.2-million tournament. Canadian Adam Hadwin finished tied for fourth at 2 under after shooting a 2-over 72.

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