Sunday, August 21, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 20 August 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


Analysts say investors continue to trade emotionally and that explains the latest rollercoaster on the Toronto stock market. After losing 400 points on Thursday, the TSX closed down 179 points on Friday but was in positive territory at several points. Andrew Pyle of Scotia MacLeod says the latest push into panic mode came from a gloomy US manufacturing survey. He says traders are trying to sort out whether the survey is a reflection of simply a lack of confidence -- or something more substantial. Mr. Pyle adds that Friday's up and down session suggests not everyone believes a recession is imminent. The Canadian dollar lost two-100ths of a cent to close 101.15 cents as US as traders digested comments from Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney. They appeared before a Parliamentary committee Friday. Mr. Flaherty insisted that Canada's economy is still among the strongest in the world. Mr. Carney said that while the US is facing its weakest recovery since the Depression, it is not headed toward another recession.


Alberta's oilsands are the focus of protests this weekend in Washington, DC. Organizers are staging sit-ins at the White House to try to convince the Obama administration to kill TransCanada Corporation's $7-billion Keystone pipeline proposal. The US is currently considering whether to approve the pipeline that would run 34-hundred kilometres from Alberta to a Gulf Coast refinery in Texas. Organizers say some 1500 people have signed up to participate in the protests and are prepared to be arrested.


Canada's federal government has outlined proposed regulations for coal-fired electricity generation. Environment Minister Peter Kent says the rules will include a performance standard for new coal-fired plants and older units that have reached the end of their life. The standard will be based on emissions levels from high-efficiency natural gas generation. Mr. Kent says the proposals, combined with other measures, should cut greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by 31 megatonnes by 2020. A draft is to be published in the Canada Gazette on Aug. 27 for a 60-day public consultation period. Mr. Kent says the regulations are scheduled to come into effect July 1, 2015.



A federal inquiry into the collapse of British Columbia's Fraser River salmon fishery will begin hearings on Monday. Among other subjects, the inquiry will look into salmon farming and the science of fish diseases. Commission staff are aware the upcoming testimony will likely be controversial and have warned participants that seating will be limited. On Wednesday, the inquiry will hear from Fisheries and Oceans scientist Kristi Miller, whose published work suggests some sort of virus may be killing the fish before they reach the spawning grounds. Critics have said the federal department has kept her muzzled and not allowed her to discuss her work publicly, though the department disputes that. Later, the inquiry will begin hearing testimony about fish farms and their impact on wild fish. Meanwhile, Canadian food inspectors will be checking to see if salmon returning to British Columbia waters have been contaminated by radiation from Japan's failed nuclear reactors. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it doesn't expect to find any problems because milk and other foods imported from Japan haven't shown problems. But it says it is doing the testing as a "prudent" measure and says the results will be posted on its website. Japan's reactors were affected by a devastating earthquake and tsunami which hit the northeast coast in March.


Experts say Health Canada's decision to ban drug imports from a US-based manufacturer is the latest sign of trouble in the medical supply chain. Doctors and pharmacists say there's a need for new systems to protect the welfare of patients. Health Canada warned last week of a potential supply shortage of drugs used to treat conditions ranging from cancer to infectious diseases. The agency said it has stopped importing most drugs manufactured by Ohio-based Ben Venue Laboratories. It cited sub-standard manufacturing practices. Jeff Morrison of the Canadian Pharmacists Association says drug shortages have dogged Canada's health-care system for months. He says there are several factors, including poor quality ingredients from developing countries and rising global demand for medical treatments. The head of medical oncology and hematology at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital, Dr. Malcolm Moore, says Canada needs a monitoring system to warn when supplies are running out. He says it wouldn't solve shortages, but it would shine a light on when and where they're happening.


Canada is getting its first new law school in 30 years. About 65 students are expected to take part in the inaugural class at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. Classes will allow students to focus on First Nations, environmental and sports law. The university says the law school will make sure students meet the same requirements demanded of their Canadian peers.


Support staff at Ontario's 24 colleges will be in a legal position to walk off the job on Sept. 1. More than 8,000 workers, represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, have been in contract talks since June. Despite the looming deadline, the union says there have been no meaningful talks. A Union spokesman says students should be aware that the start of the school year could be in jeopardy. Both sides are scheduled to return to the bargaining table on Tuesday in hopes that a collective agreement can be reached before the strike deadline. The union wants more full-time jobs for its members.


A former freelance journalist from Alberta who was held captive in Somalia for more than 15 months has returned from another trip to the region. Amanda Lindhout says she helped deliver food aid to people suffering from the severe famine. The Red Deer native says their first convoy was able to feed more than 14,000 people for two weeks. Ms. Lindhout says the famine in Somalia has killed more than 30,000 children under age five in the last two months alone. In the fall of 2008, Ms. Lindhout, along with an Australian photographer and their Somali translator were kidnapped by gunmen in Somalia while travelling to a refugee camp. Ms. Lindhout said she endured both physical abuse and mental torment during her 460 days in captivity. But just months after being freed she established the Global Enrichment Foundation to help provided education, health and economic opportunities to the people of war-torn Somalia.


A funeral was held Saturday in Blairmore, Alta. for Rick Rypien. The body of the Winnipeg Jets forward was found in his home in nearby Coleman last week. Police said his death was not suspicious. Rypien grew up in the scenic Crowsnest Pass, played much of his early hockey there and considered the area his home. The 27-year-old, who struggled with depression, had signed with the Jets this off-season after six years with the Vancouver Canucks.



Egypt withdrew its ambassador from Israel on Saturday, saying that the killing of five Egyptian security personnel while Israeli forces pursued gunmen across the border was a breach of its 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state. Israel responded by saying it regretted the deaths, which followed attacks inside Israel that killed eight people on Thursday. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said he had ordered a joint inquiry to be held along with the Egyptian army. He said his forces had been pursuing militants who had carried out attacks against Israeli civilians. Israel also say it hopes the Egyptian envoy, who had not yet left, would remain in Tel Aviv. The crisis is the most serious in Israeli-Egyptian ties since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in February. In Cairo, angry crowds protested outside the Israeli Embassy.


Libyan rebels appear to be in full control of the strategic western city of Zawiya, pushing Moammar Gadhafi's troops back on the road east to Tripoli. An Associated Press reporter on Saturday visited positions held by Colonel Gadhafi's troops over the past week -- all of which are now under rebel control. Very distant shelling could be heard to the east of the city. The victory in Zawiya is an important boost for the rebels as they try to advance on Tripoli, 50 kilometres to the east. The regime appears to be increasingly isolated, and is scrambling to marshal all the forces available to it to hold back rebels at the western front.


Tunisia's official TAP news agency says members of the country's security forces clashed with unidentified groups of armed men overnight in a southern desert region near the Libyan and Algerian borders. The report said the clashes, which began late Friday and lasted through early Saturday, resulted in casualties. It was not immediately clear how many victims there were, nor whether they were injured or killed. Tunisian territory has come under fire from neighbouring Libya, where rebels are struggling to oust leader Moammar Gadhafi. Thousands of Libyan civilians have streamed into Tunisia over the past months, seeking refuge from the fighting.


Scottish officials say they were right to release a Libyan man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing because he was dying of cancer, even though he is still alive two years later. Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of murdering 270 people by blowing up a Pan Am plane in December 1988. He was freed on Aug. 20, 2009, after prison doctors said he had prostate cancer and likely had only three months to live. Last month he appeared at a televised rally in Tripoli alongside Moammar Gadhafi. In a statement, a spokesman for Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the decision "was taken on the basis of Scots law" and was not influenced by economic, political or diplomatic factors. He said that "we stand by it, and al-Megrahi is dying of terminal prostate cancer."


Activists say tanks moved into the central Syrian city of Homs on Saturday, a day after 34 anti-regime protesters were killed by government forces. The death toll rose again Saturday when two more people were killed in Rastan, a town between Homs and Hama, as security forces opened fire to disperse a demonstration. Meanwhile, opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad opened two days of talks in Istanbul to launch a "national council" to co-ordinate the fight against his regime.


Al-Qaida in Iraq says it will carry out "100 attacks" across the country, starting in the middle of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to exact revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden. The terror group's statement was released on militant websites late Friday. It says the attacks will avenge bin Laden, who was killed by US forces in Pakistan in May, and other slain senior al-Qaida leaders. Monday marked the middle of Ramadan. On that day, a wave of crushing attacks swept across Iraq -- from the northern city of Mosul to the southern Shiite heartland. At least 70 people died in suicide bombings, roadside bombs and shootings in what was Iraq's deadliest day this year. Al-Qaida did not explicitly claim responsibility for those attacks in Friday's statement.


Turkish warplanes backed by heavy artillery struck Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq overnight Friday, in a third consecutive night of raids. The Turkish air strikes are the first against rebels in the mountains of northern Iraq in more than a year. The come after nine Turkish soldiers were killed and another 14 injured in a guerrilla attack close to the border on Wednesday. Turkey's general staff said fighter planes had hit 20 rebel targets and all planes had returned safely. The operation marks a big escalation of the 27-year-old conflict after the collapse of efforts to find a negotiated settlement with the separatists . Rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, are designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The group has so far denied taking any casualties in the latest clashes.


Two Americans held in Iran for more than two years have been convicted as spies and sentenced to eight years in prison. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested in July 2009 near Iran's border with Iraq, along with a third American, Sarah Shourd. She was freed on $500,000 bail in September 2010 and returned home. The Americans who are in their late 20s and early 30s, said they were hiking in the mountains of northern Iraq and, if they crossed the unmarked border into Iran, it was by mistake. Bauer and Fattal have 20 days to appeal the sentence. The affair has compounded tensions between Tehran and Washington. Diplomatic relations between the two nations were severed after the storming of the US Embassy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.


A government official said Saturday suspected militants ambushed a Pakistani security convoy in a tribal region along the Afghan border, killing two soldiers and wounding eight. The official said the attackers shot at the troops in the Aka Khel area of Khyber tribal region, which has witnessed Taliban activity in recent years. It was not immediately clear if there were any militant casualties. The Pakistani army has carried out targeted operations against militant groups in Khyber, but the insurgents often regroup. On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in Jamrud area of the tribal region, killing 48 worshippers.


The Indian army in Kashmir says a gunbattle has killed 11 suspected rebels and one soldier along the military Line of Control separating Indian and Pakistani territory. An army spokesman said the fighting erupted when the suspected militants crossed Saturday from the Pakistan-controlled portion of the disputed territory into the Indian-run sector of Gurez. He said six of the suspected rebels' bodies were recovered, but five were lost after falling into a river during the fighting. There was no way to independently confirm the report of the incident. No Kashmiri rebel groups fighting Indian rule have issued any statements. The gunbattle was the year's biggest.


A bus crash in southern Afghanistan Saturday claimed the lives of at least 35 people and left 24 others injured. Officials in Kandahar province said the bus was apparently speeding along the main road linking Kandahar city to the capital, Kabul, when the driver lost control.


Survivors of the massacre of 69 people at a youth camp on a Norwegian island revisited the scene of the killings on Saturday. An estimated 1,000 survivors and relatives went to Utoya island accompanied by police and medical staff. Anders Breivik has admitted killing 77 people July 22. He first detonated a truck bomb outside government offices in Oslo and then went on a shooting rampage on the island, some 40 kilometres away. Mr. Breivik denies criminal guilt because he believes the massacre was necessary to save Norway and Europe from Muslim immigration


Journalists staged a protest on Saturday over claims of heavy-handed security during Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the former British territory. A group of about 300 journalists and photographers led by the Hong Kong Journalists Association marched from the government offices to the police headquarters in central Hong Kong. They said the measures -- including restricting the movement of journalists during Mr. Li's three-day visit -- curtailed their freedom to report. Responding to the media protest, police said they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of political dignitaries based on a "risk assessment."


Anna Hazare, the Indian activist on a hunger strike against corruption says he is adamant in his demand that the nation's coffers be protected. Mr. Hazare on Saturday entered the fifth day of a fast that he began in jail after his arrest for planning a protest without police approval. He was released within hours but refused to leave the jailhouse until police eventually granted permission for a 15-day public fast. Hundreds surrounded Mr. Hazare on Saturday as he sat on a concrete stage in front of a photograph of Indian freedom fighter Mohandas K. Gandhi. The 73-year-old Hazare says the government's draft legislation creating an anti-graft watchdog is not strong enough and should cover the judiciary and prime minister's office as well as other offices.


Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she was pleased with her first meeting with the military-dominated country's new president. Friday's meeting between the Nobel laureate and Thein Sein marked Ms. Suu Kyi's highest contact with the new government since her release from house arrest last November. The government's invitation had generated optimism that the nominally civilian government is willing to hold a dialogue with the opposition. Since her release from years of house arrest this Spring, Ms. Suu Kyi had repeatedly called for talks. Her National League for Democracy Party won democratic elections in l990, but the junta prevent it from taking power. On Saturday, Burmese state newspapers said Ms. Suu Kyi and Thein Sein held "frank and friendly discussions" to "find ways and means of co-operation.



Israel and the Palestinians battled each other for a third day on Saturday. An Israeli man killed and two children hurt, as well as three Palestinians. As the fighting continued, world powers warned that there is a "risk of escalation" and called for calm. The Israeli man was killed and seven others wounded, four of them seriously, by Grad rockets from the Gaza Strip that struck the southern Israeli city of Beersheva, the capital of Negev. The armed wing of Hamas said it fired four Grad rockets Saturday at the Israeli town of Ofakim, where officials earlier reported two children had been lightly wounded. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to stop Israel's attacks on Gaza. The Israeli military said more than 50 rockets or mortar rounds have been fired on Israel since midnight on Friday. Activists in Gaza claimed 23 rockets struck Israel.




Friday night's game: Oakland shut out Toronto 2-0. Canadian Rich Harden beat the Jays for the second time this month. The Victoria native matched his career-high with 11 strikeouts, while not allowing a hit until the fifth inning. Harden was winless in his first eighth decision against the Jays until an Aug. 9 matchup at Rogers Centre. Brett Cecil was the losing pitcher in both games. The A's scored both their runs in the first inning on Josh Willingham's two-run homer.


Friday night's game: BC defeated Edmonton 36-1. The Eskimos began the season on five-game winning streak and have now lost three straight.

Arland Bruce had pair of touchdown receptions for the Lions, who have won two of three since opening the season with five straight losses.

In other CFL news, Saskatchewan fired head coach Greg Marshall and offensive co-ordinator Doug Berry on Friday. The Riders have a 1-7 record this season. Ken Miller will take over as the head coach. Miller was the Riders' head coach for the past three seasons before stepping down folllowing the 2010 season to concentrate on his duties as vice-president of football operations.


Canadians Laurence Vincent-Lapointe and and Mallorie Nicholson won gold Saturday in the C-1 500-metre final at the world canoe and kayak championships in Szeged, Hungary. It was Canada's second gold at the world championships after Adam van Koeverden's victory in the men's K-1 1000 on Friday.



Vancouver has a mix of sun and cloud with a forecast high temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. Sunny across the prairies. Highs: 28 in Calgary and Regina, 29 in Winnipeg. Toronto has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of showers, a high of 25. Ottawa is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 23. Montreal has showers, a high of 22. Fredericton is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 22. Charlottetown has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 25. Halifax has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 22. St. John's has showers, a high of 18. Whitehorse is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 16. Yellowknife has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 20. Iqaluit is windy with a mix of sun and cloud, a high of five.

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