Sunday, July 24, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


Officials in Canada's central province of Ontario are investigating allegations that families have been split up in the evacuations of First Nations communities threatened by forest fires. Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy says parents have been separated from their children during evacuations. Ontario's deputy community safety minister Ian Davidson says the province has done its best to keep families and communities together since evacuations started, but is looking into Chief Beardy's allegations. The separation of families is a particularly sensitive issue for Canada's First Nations. For decades, thousands of native children were torn from their families and taken to church-run, government-funded residential schools to be assimilated into white society. Instead they were subjected to unspeakable physical, sexual and emotional abuse. More than 100 fires currently burning in the northwestern part of Ontario have destroyed forests covering an area roughly the size of Prince Edward Island. Some 36 hundred people have been forced from their homes and there's no word on when they might be allowed to return. Two-thousand firefighters are battling the blazes, including 500 from out of province. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has not declared a state of emergency, saying it's not needed for the time being. But he isn't ruling out the possibility in the future.


Concerns are mounting in Western Canada about a proposed pipeline that would carry oilsands crude from Alberta to the British Columbia coast and then shipped to Asia. An article in the prestigious publication National Geographic raises the possibility of a major oil spill if a supertanker were to run aground. The article points to the sinking of the British Columbia ferry "Queen of the North" in the same area in 2006. The Calgary-based company Enbridge which is behind the pipeline proposal complains that the article doesn't tell both sides of the story.


A Quebec immigration lawyer is criticising Ottawa for postingthe photographs of 30 suspected war criminals online. The photographs are displayed on a government website along with the last known places of residence of each of the 30 people. Lawyer Dan Bohbot saidthemoveundermines the idea that people in Canada are presumed innocent until proven guilty. On Friday, one of the people on the list of alleged war criminals was arrested in Alberta after authorities received tips from four people. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says 44-year-old Cristobal Gonzalez-Ramirez belonged to a special army unit in Honduras where the alleged war crimes took place.


One of China's most wanted fugitives arrived in Beijing Saturday, after being deported from Canada. Lai Changxing -- who had been fighting to stay in Canada for the past 12 years -- was immediately arrested by the authorities. China wanted him extradited on charges he ran a multi-billion dollar smuggling opertion and bribed government officials in operations carried out in the southeastern city Xiamen in the l990s. Lai claimed that he could be tortured or even killed in prison if he was sent back to China. But Canada's federal court dismissed his concerns, saying the government had been assured by China that he would not be executed or hurt in prison. However, rights groups have expressed concern over whether Lai will be given a fair trial.


Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister says the country is forging closer ties with Burma, also known as Myanmar. But, John Baird says the strategic engagement focuses exclusively on human rights and will not involve Ottawa lifting its economic sanctions against the Asian nation. Mr Baird, who met with his Burmese counterpart, Wunna Maung Lwin, during the Asian security conference in Bali, Indonesia, also announced the two countries would exchange ambassadors.


The United Nations Security Council issued a presidential statement Saturday, condeming "in the strongest terms" Friday's twin attacks in Norway, and offered condolences to the victims of what it termed "these heinous acts." Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he was "shocked and intensely saddened" by the attacks in the capital, Oslo, and at a youth camp on an island in a nearby lake. The prime minister said Canadians' thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the witnesses and all those affected by the tragedy. At least 92 people were killed and authorities say the death toll could rise further still. Eighty-five of the victims were on the island and were killed when a gunman started shooting indiscriminately. The rampage at the youth camp went on for an hour and a half and came just a few hours after a massive bomb blew up outside government buildings in central Oslo. Seven people were killed in the explosion. Police have arrested 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian national described as a right-wing, Christian fundamentalist with anti-Muslim views.


Grammy-award winning British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse has died. Police say the 27-year-old Winehouse, who struggled with substance abuse throughout her brief career, was found dead at her home in northern London's Camden Square. There's no immediate word on the cause of death. Amy Winehouse, whose break-out single "Rehab" shot to the top of the charts in 2006, had just come out of drug rehabilitation treatment in May. Then last month the singer was forced to cancel a European tour after a disastrous concert in Belgrade. Amy Winehouse won four Grammy awards in 2008, including awards for best new artist and best album. She'd been unable to attend the Los Angeles awards' ceremony due to legal problems.


U-S President Barack Obama discussed his country's debt crisis in an hour-long emergency meeting with congressional leaders at the White House Saturday. In a written statement issued afterwards, his spokesman said the President wouldn't agree to a short-term extention of the nation's debt limit because of the damage it could do. The statement said Mr. Obama warned that a temporary extention could cost the U.S. its triple-A credit rating which in turn would raise interest rates for American consumers. A Republican official says lawmakers are working on a plan to cut spending by US$3 trillion to US$4 trillion over 10 years; and are are hoping to come up with a plan before Sunday evening when financial markets open in Asia.


The head of the United Nations' World Food Program says the famine in Somalia will soon spread as militants continue to block humanitarian aid shipments. Josette Sheeran says the al Shabaab militants' interference is preventing the W-F-P from reaching 60 per cent of the 3.7 million starving Somalis. After visiting the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya on Friday, Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, Bev Oda, announced that Canada is pledging another CAD$50 Million to help famile 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. The Dadaab facility the biggest refugee camp in the world with nearly 400-thousand people crowded into a space intended for 91-thousand. And the misery is intensifying, with 15-thousand more refugees arriving every week hoping to escape the drought in neighbouring Somalia.


Chinese authorities say at least 32 people were killed and 100others injuredafter a high-speed train was hit by another train in eastern China. Two of the carriages were knocked off a bridge in the disaster in Wenzhou, near Shuangyu town. Four cars on the second train also derailed.The first train was travelling from the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou when the accident happened. One of the trains reportedly came to a halt after being struck by lightningand was then hit by the second train.


Syria says a train carrying 485 passengers derailed on Saturday and its driver was killed. Officials blame "saboteur groups" who they say dismantled a section of the railway. The incident occurred near the central city of Homs, which has witnessed a military crackdown on demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad. Two explosions were heard overnight from inside the Syrian Army War College in Homs. The sound of heavy gunfire was also heard and ambulances were seen heading to the compound. Rights activists say 1600 people have lost their lives since the campaign to force President Bashar al-Assad to step down began last Winter.


Clashes in Cairo Saturday left dozens of people wounded. Thousands of protesters on a march to the Egyptian Defence Ministry were confronted by thugs throwing stones and firebombs at them. The protesters fought back with stones torn up from pavements. Military police used Tasers, batons and tear gas to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the Defence Ministry. The Egyptian Health Ministry reports at least 143 people were wounded in the violence.


FIFA has banned former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam from football for life after he was found guilty of attempted bribery. FIFA's ethics committee made the decision on Saturday after a two-day hearing. Mr. Bin Hammam was accused of trying to buy votes ahead of the June election to lead FIFA.After the 62-year-old Qatari withdrew from the race, Sepp Blatter was re-elected unopposed.


Canada defeated the United States 4-3 at the World Cup of Softball Saturday in Oklahoma City. Kaleigh Rafter of Guelph, Ont.ario, hit a home run and drove in three runs; while Pitcher Jenna Caira of Toronto gave up two runs on four hits in five innings of work to pick up the win for Canada.

Here is Canada's weather on Sunday, July 24. British Columbia will be sunny. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 24 degrees Celsius. In Yukon: a chance of showers. Whitehorse, 20. Northwest Territories: mainly sunny. Yellowknife, 22. Nunavut: possible showers. Iqaluit, 15. Alberta: sunny. Edmonton, 23. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, 25. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, 25. Ontario: mainly sunny. Toronto: 28. Ottawa, 27. Quebec: sunny. Montreal, 27. New Brunswick: a mix of sun and cloud. Fredericton, 24. Nova Scotia: sunny. Halifax, 22. Prince Edward Island: clearing. Charlottetown, 18. Newfoundland: showers. St. John's, 18.