Monday, August 15, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


The Ontario government is drawing down the number of out-of-province firefighters dealing with forest fires in the northern part of the province. About 200 firefighters returned to their homes in British Columbia and parts of eastern Canada over the weekend. The province also cancelled the planned arrival of 60 personnel who were supposed to arrive from Quebec and Nova Scotia. The roughly 250 firefighters who went home were replaced by 98 new ones from British Columbia, which has sent more than 850 people to help fight the blazes. More than 850 fires have scorched about 575,000 hectares of land in the province this year, roughly the equivalent of more than 200,000 football fields. That's more than last year when about the same number of fires burned 14,000 hectares.


The Governing Conservative Party is telling an Ottawa woman to stop using the party logo in her campaign to end Canadian exports of asbestos. Michaela Keyserlingk, whose husband died in 2009 of asbestos-related cancer, runs an online banner saying Canada is the only western country still exporting the mineral. A top Tory has emailed Ms. Keyserlinkgk telling her to stop using the logo and warning that a failure to do so may result in further action.


Toronto hosted a massive family reunion this weekend for over 1,200 Canadians of Chinese descent named Wong. Officials say they have gathered from across Canada, the United States and as far away as Hong Kong. Canadians named Wong come together every few years in meetings that date back to the 1950. But the Toronto convention is thought to be their largest gathering yet. There are more than 60 million Wongs around the world, with the first arriving in Canada in 1858 to work as servants or to build the cross-Canada railway system. The Canadian Heraldic Authority, on behalf of Governor General David Johnston, was to present the Wong Association of Ontario with a family crest, an official Canadian symbol marking contributions made by Wongs over the past 150 years.


The RCMP are investigating the death of a skydiver in New Brunswick. Police say the man's body was found Saturday afternoon in a field off Highway 115 in Notre-Dame. Police say the 34-year-old man, who was from Notre-Dame, had been skydiving with a group of people. Investigators say it is unknown whether a problem with the man's parachute led to his death. An autopsy will be performed. The man's name has not yet been released.


A 27-year-old man is still alive after a 30-foot fall down the Niagara Gorge in Niagara Falls, Ont. early Sunday morning. The man had to be extricated from the gorge by fire officials and was sent to hospital with a broken leg and head trauma. Police say he is going to be charged under the Niagara Parks Act of Ontario. Police say he fell because he was trying to get a better look at the Niagara River.


Most Rev. Austin-Emile Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Halifax, has died at the age of 89. Burke died Friday in a Halifax nursing home where he spent the last years of his life. Born in Sluice Point, Yarmouth County, in 1922, Burke was ordained to the priesthood in 1950 and retired in 1998. Pope Paul VI named Burke the Bishop of Yarmouth in 1968. In 1991, Pope John Paul II appointed Burke Archbishop of Halifax. His installation was celebrated at St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica. A funeral mass is planned for Tuesday in Halifax.


It was a bad beach day for four Quebec residents who were arrested twice Friday by police in Ontario. Police found four people smoking marijuana near the lake in Wasaga Beach and charged them with possession of a controlled substance. The people then decided to head home to Quebec but were again stopped, this time for speeding. Police say they were going 104 kilometres an hour in a 50 kilometre an hour zone and charged the driver with stunting. The Quebec residents are supposed to appear in a Collingwood court at a future date.


Witnesses say rebel fighters are in control of the centre of the town of Zawiyah, about 50 kilometres west of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The rebels said Tripoli is their next target. The rebel attack on Zawiyah, on Libya's Mediterranean coast, is the most dramatic advance into Moammar Gaddafi-controlled territory since the uprising against his rule began six months ago. Zawiyah lies on the main highway between Tripoli and the border with Tunisia, so the rebel advance effectively cuts Tripoli off from its supply lifeline. The city could also be starved of the fuel produced by the oil refinery in Zawiyah. The government in Tripoli on Saturday denied rebels were in control, saying it successfully repelled a small attack.


Activist groups say Syrian security forces have killed at least 19 people in an intense land and sea assault on a key coastal city. The activists say most of the deaths occurred in the al-Ramel and Skantouri neighbourhoods of Latakia. The death death toll was confirmed by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the activist network the Local Coordination Committees. Syrian gunboats firing heavy machine-guns pounded impoverished districts of Latakia Sunday in a renewed assault on the Mediterranean city. The operations are part of a brutal government crackdown on several Syrian cities meant to root out protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.


Only about half of potential voters in Tunisia have registered to cast their ballot in October polls, the first since the January ouster of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Just over 3.7 million of an estimated seven million potential voters had added their names to the roll. The provisional figure, which does not include an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 Tunisians of voting age abroad, represented about 52 percent of potential voters still in the country. The voting commission will release official figures on Tuesday. Registration opened on July 11 and was supposed to close on August 2, but was prolonged due to a slow turnout. The Oct. 23 election will be for a constituent assembly charged with drawing up a new constitution to replace that of the former dictatorial regime.


Lawyers say a prominent Egyptian activist has been charged with slandering and inciting violence against the country's ruling generals through social networking sites. Lawyer Ali Atef said Asmaa Mahfouz was released Sunday on $3,400 bail after over four hours of interrogation. He called her case "a warning" to other activists against criticizing the military. Mr. Atef says the military prosecutor used Ms. Mahfouz's writing on Facebook and Twitter as evidence, along with a call to a private TV station in which she accused the country's rulers of planning an attack on protesters. She is accused of inciting violence by criticizing the slow procedure of trials, and warning that people may take justice into their own hands.


A military official says 17 al-Qaida-linked militants and three army soldiers have been killed in fighting in southern Yemen. The official says the clashes took place in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province. The city is a bastion of radical Islamist groups and among several southern towns overrun by militants during months of ongoing political turmoil in Yemen.


Six suicide bombers and insurgent gunmen have killed 19 people in a co-ordinated attack on a governor's compound in the central province of Parwan. Police say they killed three suicide bombers and two others died when they detonated their explosives. The Afghan Interior Ministry says 14 of the dead were civilian Afghan government employees and five were police officers. At least 37 people were injured in the attack, which has been claimed by the Taliban.


The Palestinian Authority plans to present its application for international recognition of statehood to the United Nations next month. President Mahmoud Abbas will submit the application when he is in New York for the 66th General Assembly, which is due to open on Sept. 20. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki says his group can't wait any longer for independence to be achieved through the stalled peace talks with Israel. The US is expected to veto any bid by the UN Security Council to approve the application.


For a fourth straight weekend, tens of thousands of people marched in Israel to protest the country's high cost of living. Initially, the protests were aimed at high housing prices. But they've since expanded to include anger about the price of food, gasoline, and education. Last week the government responded to the protests, saying a panel would be formed to examine the best way to go about economic reform in the Jewish state.


The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has welcomed Italy's new austerity measures and said they are "crucial" for the entire eurozone. Mr. Van Rompuy issued a statement after speaking to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. On Friday, Italy announced a $64- billion plan aimed at balancing its budget by 2013 by cutting public spending and raising taxes. It marks Italy's second austerity budget in as many months. Meanwhile, Italy's largest union is threatening a general strike against what it describes as the inequity of the austerity measures.


US Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachman has won the Iowa Straw Poll. It's a vote held to see which Republican candidates have significant support at this early stage in the race to pick a candidate for the 2012 presidential race. Congressman Ron Paul came in a close second in the Straw Poll while former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty came in a distant third. Mr. Pawlenty withdrew from the race on Sunday. One of Ms. Bachman's main opponents, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, didn't run in the poll.


A Chinese news agency says the country's first aircraft carrier has ended its initial sea trials. China News Service says the former Soviet carrier completed the five-day trials and returned to the northeastern port of Dalian on Sunday. Vessels had been barred from entering a small section of the sea off Dalian until the manouevres were completed Sunday evening. The low-key trials were carried out amid concerns among China's neighbours over its growing military strength and increasingly assertive claims to disputed territory. China says the carrier is intended for research and training. The government spent the better part of a decade refurbishing the vessel after it was towed from Ukraine in 1998, minus its engines, weaponry and navigation systems.


Russia is hoping to revive nuclear talks between Iran and the world's biggest economic and military powers this week. Presidential Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev is due to meet his Iranian counterpart and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran on Monday. They will discuss the possibility of a resumption of talks. Russia has proposed a step-by-step approach under which Iran could address questions about its nuclear program and be rewarded with a gradual easing of sanctions imposed by countries that fear Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge it denies.


Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says it is too early to comment on signs of a thawing in her relationship with the government. She made the comments after she ventured 80 kilometres outside Rangoon Sunday, to open a library in a town close to the city of Bago. Thousands of people lined the streets as her three car convoy, followed by vehicles carrying reporters and supporters, drove through the streets. In her speech at the library, Ms. Suu Kyi told them Burma can only be developped when everybody works together. Sunday's event was her first overtly political trip since her release from house arrest last year. She was followed by plain clothes agents. They did not intervene. On Friday, the Nobel laureate held talks for just under an hour with Burma's labour minister, Aung Kyi. They issued a joint statement later saying they wanted to cooperate to bring stability and economic development to the country. Ms. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Party won l990 elections, but were not allowed to take power.



Serena Williams of the United States won the Rogers Cup women's tennis title Sunday in Toronto with a 6-4, 6-2 win over 10th seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia. It was Williams's first Canadian championship since winning in 2001.The Rogers Cup was just Williams's fourth tournament since being sidelined for 49 weeks, first with a foot injury and then blood clots in her lungs. The former top-ranked Williams, a 13-time Grand Slam champion, was unseeded in the tournament and is ranked just 80th in the world as she continues her comeback. She is projected to rise to No. 31 in next week's rankings. In Montreal, top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeated the sixth-seed, Mardy Fish of the United States, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 to win the men's title. Djokovic, who holds the current Australian and Wimbledon titles, has lost just once in 2011--to Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals. In doubles, Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia and Michael Llodra of France, the fourth seeds, captured the men's title Sunday, beating the top seeds, Mike and Bob Bryan of the US, 6-4, 6-7, 10-5 in the final. Zimonjic and Llodra defeated the second-seeded team of Daniel Nestor of Toronto and Max Mirnyi of Belarus in the semi-finals Saturday.


Edwin Encarnacion's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th rallied the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Sunday, giving Toronto took the rubber match in the three-game series. Toronto tied the game in the ninth inning on a run-scoring double by Brett Lawrie. Fernando Rodney (2-5) walked Yunel Escobar to lead off the bottom of the 10th. Jose Bautista walked with one out and left-hander Hisanori Takahashi came in to face Adam Lind, who popped out to bring up Encarnacion. Jon Rauch (5-3) got the win.


The Winnipeg Blue Bombers continued their amazing turnaround on Saturday. The Bombers, who were 4-14 a year ago, own the CFL's best record at 6-1, following a 30-17 victory at British Columbia on Saturday. Winnipeg scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second-half, and led 30-10 by the end of the third quarter. The Lions hurt themselves with five turnovers, while falling to 1-6...The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were the last team to score in a see-saw 37-32 win over the Toronto Argonauts. The Ticats rolled up 399 yards in offence, and the defence came up big late in the game, when linebacker Renauld Williams tipped a ball meant for receiver Mike Bradwell with the Argos trying to convert a third-down-and-five. Hamilton is 4-3, while the Argos lost their sixth in a row and sink to 1-6....The Saskatchewan Roughriders, last year's Grey Cup finalists, remain winless at home this season following a 45-35 loss to Calgary Friday night. Calgary's Keon Raymond intercepted a pass in his own end zone and returned it 117 yards for a touchdown. It was the fourth longest return in CFL history. Henry Burris threw three touchdown passes for Calgary. The Roughriders fell to 1-6 while Calgary moved to 5-2.


Vancouver has a mix of sun and cloud with a forecast high temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. Calgary is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 18. Regina is sunny with a high of 27. Winnipeg is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 25. Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal have a mix of sun and cloud, highs of 27 in Toronto and Montreal, 26 in Ottawa. Fredericton has showers, a high of 22. Charlottetown is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 22. Halifax has showers, a high of 18. St. John's is cloudy, a high of 23. Whitehorse is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 11. Yellowknife is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 18. Iqaluit has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 12.