Monday, August 22, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 21 August 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


Twelve people are dead following the crash of an airliner in the Canadian Arctic on Saturday. The RCMP say the Boeing 737 operated by First Air Charter from Yellowknife went down as it was trying to land at Resolute Bay in Nunavut. There were 15 people on board, including four crew.Two of the three survivors -- a seven-year-old girl and a 48-year-old man -- were transported by emergency aircraft to Ottawa General Hospital. The third survivor, a 23-year-old woman, remains in a hospital in the territorial capital of Iqaluit. The RCMP say all three are in stable condition, but would not comment on the nature of their injuries. Emergency crews at the site have found the black box flight recorders. First Air says it is fully co-operating with the Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation. The company says field teams, including counsellors, have been deployed to provide support in Resolute.


At least 65 environmentalist protesters were arrested in Washington DC Saturday on the first day of a planned two-week protest over a proposed oil pipeline that would run from tar sands in Canada's prairie province of Alberta to an oil refinery on the Gulf Coast in the US state of Texas. The proposed $7-billion dollar pipeline would run a total of 3,400 kilometres, much of it through the American heartland. Protesters outside the White House want President Barack Obama to deny a permit for the pipeline. They say the oil from the tar sands is dirty and is the world's biggest emitter of carbon. Opponents fear a leak in the pipeline could cause an environmental disaster. TransCanada says its pipeline would provide jobs and a much-sought energy source for the US. The US State Department is expected to release its final environmental assessment of the project within days, and Mr. Obama will then have 90 days to say "yes" or "no" to the project. Over the next two weeks, as many as 2,000 people are expected to participate in the daily protests at the White House.


Canada's federal government has put out a tender for the best plan to build a silent snowmobile for the military. The vehicle would perhaps be the most unconventional tool in the arsenal of a Conservative Party government that is promising to beef up Canada's military might in the North. The nature of these future clandestine assignments is unclear from the federal tendering document. The snowmobile would likely be a hybrid gas and electric machine. It's not clear exactly what the military would use stealth snowmobiles for.


British Columbians should know this week whether their fellow citizens have decided to keep the harmonized sales tax or dump it. Elections BC is sticking to its earlier prediction that the vote count will be made public on or about Thursday. A Yes vote means BC will dump the 12-per-cent tax, while a No vote ensures the controversial value-added tax stays and could be reduced to 10 per cent within three years. About the only thing the Liberal government and opponents to the HST agree on is that the vote is too close to call. But despite the perceived closeness of the vote, the Liberals and business groups supporting the HST aren't willing to admit they have a so-called Plan B ready in case voters dump the tax. Officially, the closest the government comes to addressing an HST Plan B is earlier public documents forecasting a $2.5 billion deficit.


Somali-Canadian rapper K'naan has returned to his native land to help his countrymen as they struggle with a devastating famine. K'naan made a brief visit Sunday to the capital, Mogadishu. He says he returned for the first time in decades to learn how he can help Somalis. The UN says more than 3.2 million Somalis need food aid. The UN says 29,000 Somali children under age 5 have died. K'naan was mobbed by famine refugees who tried to shake his hand or hug him as he toured Mogadishu's Banadir Hospital. He did not perform his hit song "Wavin' Flag," which tells of the difficulties he faced growing up in the lawless, impoverished Horn of Africa nation. A revised version of that song was used for a Coca-Cola campaign when South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup.



The Hamas announcement of a ceasefire came after rockets from Gaza--apparently targeting Israel--landed across the border in Egypt early Sunday. In Cairo, Egyptian protesters demonstrated at the Israeli embassy as world leaders called for calm. Tensions between Israel and Egypt have surged since the deaths on Thursday of five Egyptian police officers. They were killed as Israeli troops pursued militants responsible for deadly attacks by Palestinian militants who staged a series of bloody shooting attacks in the Negev desert, killing eight Israelis and prompting a wave of bloody tit-for-tat exchanges. Egyptian state media reported Saturday that the government had decided to recall its envoy to Tel Aviv and later said a senior Israeli envoy was summoned by the foreign minister to receive a protest note. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the Jewish state "regrets" the deaths of the soldiers, without saying who carried out the killings, and would probe the killings and share the results with the Egyptian authorities. The Egyptian armed forces command on Sunday said it "rejects any interference" in the security of the Sinai peninsula, after Israel's deadly pursuit of Palestinian assailants.


NATO says the situation in Libya is changing quickly and it's becoming more difficult to identify and engage targets for airstrikes as the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi gains momentum. Libyan rebels said Sunday they were closing in on Colonel Gadhafi's main stronghold of Tripoli and a 600-strong unit is within 30 kilometres of the capital. NATO spokesman Col. Roland Lavoie says he can't confirm that because the situation on the ground had become so fluid in recent days that it's difficult to track all developments. He says much of the fighting now is concentrated in towns and villages, complicating the identification of targets. He says "there is no longer a traditional front line as we had in other phases of the conflict."


Germany is urging Moammar Gadhafi to step down quickly as rebels advance on Libya's capital, Tripoli. Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with ZDF television broadcast Sunday that it would be "good if he would give up as quickly as possible" to avoid further bloodshed. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "We hope this is the turning point; we hope that the last days of this unjust regime have begun." He told reporters that "every day earlier that Col. Gadhafi leaves the country is a good day for Libya and the Libyan people." Germany has not participated in NATO airstrikes in Libya but recognized the rebels' National Transitional Council in June as Libya's legitimate representative.



Libyan rebel officials in Dubai said Sunday they have already started efforts to stabilize the country before the possible fall of Moammar Gadhafi's regime. The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member, is among the Arab states that have strongly backed the rebellion against Col. Gadhafi and could provide critical assistance if the Libyan leader is ousted. Members of the rebel "stabilization team" are showing confidence as their forces press closer to the capital Tripoli. Team chairman Ahmed Jehani says a transition period is already under way. He called Sunday "day one" for efforts to prepare the country for a post-Gadhafi era.


President Bashar al-Assad appeared Sunday in an interview on state-run TV. He said his security forces are making gains against the five-month-old uprising and said his government is in no danger of falling. It was his fourth public appearance since the revolt against his family's 40-year rule erupted in mid-March. He repeated plans to introduce reforms to Syria, one of the most authoritarian states in the Middle East. He said a committee to study reforms would need at lest six months to work. He said the situation in Syria "may seem dangerous ... but in fact we are able to deal with it." Earlier Sunday, a United Nations team arrived in Syria. The group has been told it may visit wherever it chooses, but there is scepticism that will be true. Syrian forces reportedly fired into a residential area in Homs overnight. Activists and human rights groups say an estimated 2,000 people have died since mid-March.


A Kurdish news agency said Sunday Turkish air raids on suspected Kurdish rebels targets in northern Iraq have killed six civilians. The Firat news agency, which is close to the rebels, said Sunday a car carrying villagers fleeing the Turkish raids was hit during the Turkish offensive. It said the dead include two children and two women. Turkish warplanes have been striking at suspected rebel positions across the border in Iraq since Wednesday. Turkey's latest offensive follows stepped-up attacks by the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, that have killed 40 soldiers since July.


Tribal and security officials say suicide bombers have killed 11 anti-al-Qaida tribesmen in the country's south. The officials say Sunday's attacks took place in Abyan province, where al-Qaida-linked militants have been taking advantage of Yemen's political turmoil to capture and control territory in the south. The officials say in the first attack a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a checkpoint manned by anti-al-Qaida tribesmen, killing eight and wounding 20. They say a suicide bomber carried out the second attack, blowing himself up in the middle of a gathering of tribesmen. Three men were killed in the second attack.


Election officials say nine parliamentarians will be removed from their posts because of election fraud allegations. Election commission chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi says the decision comes after the election commission reviewed court findings that 62 parliamentarians should be expelled because of fraud that skewed the results. Mr. Manawi said Sunday two of those who will lose their seats are from Herat province. The others represent Paktika, Badakhshan, Baghland, Samangan, Helmand and Zabul. The Afghan parliament has been in limbo for months because of the electoral fraud charges.


A new poll shows that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's public approval rating has fallen to the lowest level since he took office last year. The survey by Kyodo News agency released Sunday found that 15.8 per cent of respondents approve of the embattled leader's Cabinet, down from about 17 per cent a month earlier. Demands are increasing for Mr. Kan to step down because of his handling of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis. He has said he will quit after two key bills are approved in parliament, which is likely this month. Almost two-thirds of the 1,016 respondents in the nationwide poll said most important goal is the recovery of disaster-ravaged northeastern Japan.


A memorial service was held in Oslo Sunday for the 77 people killed in last month's twin massacres. The service was attended by the victims' families as well as those who survived the bombing and shooting rampage by Anders Breivik. The perpetrator admits he carried out the massacre but denies criminal guilt, saying it was necessary to save Norway and Europe from Muslim immigration. The memorial service marked the end of an official one-month period of mourning in Norway.


Pope Benedict has celebrated the final mass of the world youth day festival in Spain on Sunday. The mass was said at an airbase outside Madrid. Hundreds of thousands of people attended, despite a downpour that disrupted the pontiff's homily. On Saturday, he celebrated mass with some 4,000 priests in training at Madrid's main cathedral and at a later event held a prayer vigil attending by about one-million young people. Protests were staged against the cost of the festival and by gay men and lesbians who oppose the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriages.


A police official said Sunday 23 passengers were killed after their minibus lost control, hit the barrier of a bridge and rolled over rocks in central Kenya. The official said the driver of the minibus may have fallen asleep before the crash late Saturday. The crash happened about 140 kilometres east of the capital, Nairobi. The spokesman said 15 passengers travelling to the town of Makueni were seriously injured and were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The passengers were travelling together after negotiating dowry before a wedding. Road crashes are common in Kenya and are often blamed on reckless driving and the poor state of the roads.


Police in China have launched an investigation into the suspected abduction of about 100 Vietnamese women sold as brides to Chinese men. State media said the women had been living in remote villages in the central province of Hunan. Families of some of the women say that after they went missing, husbands received phone calls ordering them to pay ransoms or their wives would be sold again. The report did not say when the women disappeared. The widening gender gap in China has fuelled bride trafficking and prostitution in the world's most populous country.



Vietnamese police rounded up dozens of people at an anti-China rally in the center of Hanoi on Sunday. It was the 11th consecutive weekend of protests against Chinese actions in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese government says Chinese vessels have deliberately interfered with oil exploration activities in disputed waters off its shores. The unexpected crackdown came days after Hanoi People's Committee called a halt to the protests, warning that the government would apply "necessary measures" against those who failed to comply. The government suggested that opposing forces within and outside the country have been inciting and guiding the demonstrations.


More than 2,000 corpses have been found buried in several unmarked graves in Indian-ruled Kashmir. A report by India's human rights commission said they are believed to be victims of the divided region's separatist revolt. The graves were found in dozens of villages near the Line of Control, the military line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Nearly 50,000 people have been killed in mainly Muslim Kashmir since a revolt against New Delhi's rule began in 1989.


Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in India's West Bengal state after heavy rains overwhelmed rivers and flooded 15 districts. The state government says at least 11 people have died since Friday from flood-related causes, including drowning and injury from collapsed homes. A total of 47 people have died in such accidents since the monsoon season began weeks ago in the eastern Indian state. The government said in a statement Saturday that rivers were still flowing at extremely dangerous levels. More than 67,000 people are being sheltered in 413 relief camps. Vast swaths of farmland have been inundated.


An iconic elephant polo match has been cancelled in Jaipur after Indian animal rights activists objected that the sport was cruel to the animals. The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the cancellation of Sunday's match "a victory for the elephants." A judge said protests prompted beer giant Carlsberg India to yank its sponsorship of the Polo Cup in the northern state of Rajasthan. Officials also noted the elephants were not properly registered as performing animals. Elephants are protected in India, where there are more than two dozen sanctuaries for them, but activists say polo-playing elephants are trained through harsh means including being poked with metal rods and hooks.


More than 20 rockets from Gaza hit Israel on Sunday and the Israeli air force hit targets across the Palestinian territory while trying to head off a diplomatic crisis with Egypt. Violence in and around Gaza entered its fourth day, with rockets hitting southern Israel a day after a Grad rocket killed an Israeli man and injured 18 in the southern desert city of Beersheva, which is home to 194,000 people. An official of the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza said later on Sunday that Palestinian factions had reached an "informal" accord on a halt to rocket attacks. The Israeli air force carried out four raids on Sunday after a quiet night with no air strikes. The first hit Beit Lahiya, seriously wounding a 12-year-old boy, while a second struck a Hamas security training ground north of Gaza City, injuring seven people. Two more raids in central and southern Gaza did not cause any casualties or damage in what were the first strikes since Saturday afternoon.




Saturday's result: Oakland defeated Toronto 5-1. Gio Gonzalez pitched stellar innings and combined with Andrew Bailey on a four-hitter in Oakland win. Rookie Henderson Alvarez took the loss despite a solid effort, allowing two runs on seven hits over six innings. The Blue Jays were without two of their biggest bats in the lineup -- Jose Bautista was a late scratch with tightness in his neck, and Adam Lind left after the second inning after taking a pitch just above his wrist.


Saturday's result: Portland defeated Vancouver 2-1. The Timbers beat their Cascadia Cup rival Whitecaps in the first match this season between the MLS expansion teams. Vancouver avoided its second straight shutout when Camilo scored his eighth goal of the season in the 88th minute.

It was the latest showdown in the rivalry between the Whitecaps, Timbers and the Seattle Sounders, which came about in 2004 when all three Pacific Northwest teams competed in the United Soccer League's First Division.


Canada is one win away from a gold medal in men's basketball at the World University Games in China. The Canadians never trailed en route to beating Lithuania 83-68 in Sunday's semifinals. Canada's last appearance in the gold-medal game was in 1997.


Some NHL notables were among the 1,000 people who gathered in Blairmore, Alta. Saturday for the funeral of Rick Rypien. The pallbearers included Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa, a teammate during Rypien's six years with the Canucks. The mourners also included Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and Craig Heisinger, assistant general manager of the Winnipeg Jets. Heisinger said "the demon that's depression" beat Rypien, who was preparing to play the upcoming season with the Jets. The 27-year old Rypien had battled depression for years. His body was found early last week in his home in Coleman, Alta. Police said the death wasn't suspicious. Gillis said the Canucks did what they could to help Rypien, but each time he made progress, something would go wrong.



Vancouver is cloudy with periods of morning rain and a forecast high temperature of 18 degrees Celsius. Sunny across the prairies. Highs: 29 in Calgary, 33 in Regina, 32 in Winnipeg. Toronto has morning sun followed by a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 23. Ottawa has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, a high of 22. Montreal has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of showers, a high of 22. Fredericton is cloudy with showers and periods of afternoon rain, a high of 20. Charlottetown has a mix of sun and cloud with evening showers, a high of 24. Halifax is cloudy with morning drizzle, afternoon showers and evening thunderstorms. The forecast high: 22. St. John's is mainly cloudy with a chance of afternoon showers, a high of 20. Whitehorse is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 15. Yellowknife is mainly sunny, a high of 20. Iqaluit is cloudy with a chance of showers and a high of six.

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