Monday, August 8, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal


A veteran of the Canadian army says New Brunswick should join Ontario and British Columbia in designating a Highway of Heroes to pay tribute to fallen soldiers. Trapper Cane says the original Highway of Heroes -- named in 2007 -- stretches from Canadian Forces Base Trenton in southern Ontario to Toronto. The idea for the original tribute arose when people started lining the roadside and overpasses as the bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan made their way home after repatriation ceremonies at the Trenton air base. In June, a new Highway of Heroes was dedicated in British Columbia after the province renamed a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway between Langley and Abbotsford. Mr. Cane, president of the Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Unit, says he would like to see a commemorative highway stretching from coast to coast. He says New Brunswick's Highway 1 and Highway 2 would be good candidates for the tribute.


The federal government has unveiled some major changes to an interpretive centre inside one of Canada's most iconic national parks. The interpretive centre inside western Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is now called the Kwisitis Visitor Centre and displays a large carved post that was unveiled by the Ucluelet First Nation. The facility also boasts new, interactive exhibits and is ready to welcome millions of visitors. In March 2010, the federal government announced it was pumping more than $3.3 million of stimulus funding into the park. The money was to help repair the interpretive centre's roof and entrance ramp and fund a new sewer and water line to the Green Point campground. According to the park's website, more than 100,000 people visit the interpretive centre at Wickaninnish Beach every year.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper left for Brazil on Sunday, his first stop on a six-day trip through Latin America. Officials say his primary goal is to help boost Canada's trade with Brazil, which has become the world's seventh-largest economy and is Canada's 10th-largest trading partner. During the 1990s and early 2000s disputes over agriculture and aerospace hampered talks on a Canada-Brazil free trade agreement. About 400 Canadian companies now operate in Brazil. Mr. Harper is also expected to discuss security in the region. The prime minister then heads to Colombia, a country that Canada signed a free-trade deal with a few years ago. That agreement comes into force days after Mr. Harper's visit. He will then travel to Costa Rica and Honduras before returning to Canada.






Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is reassuring Canadians about the state of the economy following the turmoil on the stock markets last week. Speaking Saturday, Mr. Flaherty acknowledged that Canada is not an island and may eventually be affected by the uncertainty about the US economy and Europe's debt problems. But he said Canada is well positioned to withstand what he termed the "global headwinds." Mr. Flaherty said Canada's budgetary position is among the strongest in the world and the country's financial systems remain strong.


Forest fires across northerwestern Ontario continue to blaze. Smoke is so bad that fire patrol helicopters in southern Manitoba had trouble covering their areas Saturday. There are 141 fires burning across northwestern Ontario. They have charred almost 5,900 square kilometres. Dozens of new blazes have broken out since Friday due to lightning strikes. More than 2,000 firefighters from several provinces and more than 100 aircraft are trying to quell the blazes.


A team of Japanese scientists has produced viable sperm from the stem cells of mice. The experiment could be a breakthrough toward treating infertile humans. The Kyoto University researchers say they managed to induce mice stem cells into creating sperm precursors that were transplanted into infertile male mice. The mice then produced sperm that was successfully used to fertilize eggs in vitro. A paper published last week in the Cell academic journal said the offspring were healthy and fertile. Team leader Mitinori Saitou said the scientists believe their success may help develop infertility treatments in humans. Experts outside the group say it's a first step toward infertility treatment although specific applications are still a long way off.


Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will defy government warnings and make her first overtly political trip outside of Rangoon since she was freed from house arrest last November. A spokesman said Ms. Suu Kyi will visit the Bago region, some 80 kilometres north of Rangoon Aug.14 to attend a library opening and meet members of a youth forum. In June, the military junta warned the Nobel laureate to cease all political activities, and they warned her against making any political appearances that could spark chaos and riots. She subsequently tested her freedom by visiting an ancient temple city in central Burma with her son for a few days in July. The trip was described as private, but she drew large crowds and was trailed by plain clothes police who did not intervene. The 66-year old has spent much of the last two decades in detention after her National League for Democracy won democratic elections but were prevented from taking power.


Officials continued Sundayto prepare for Typhoon Muifa, the most powerful storm in years, which is forecast to hit Shandong peninsula near Qingdao early on Monday. Beaches in the port have been shut and sandbags piled along its waterfront. More than 300,000 people were evacuated and thousands of ships called ashore. Officials said the city of Shanghai avoided a direct hit. In the Philippines, Muifa left four people dead and on the Japanese island of Okinawa 27 people were injured.


Authorities have detained seven people in the rape and slaying of two French tourists last month. The investigative judge said three men and one woman were found in Salta province with the victims' belongings. Three others were arrested later Saturday. The bodies of 29-year-old Cassandre Bouvier and 20-year-old Moumni Houria were recovered along a mountain trail on July 29, two weeks after they were last seen alive. Judicial officials did not identify the suspects, but Argentine news media reported that they include a police cadet and the daughter of a retired police officer.


Authorities say dozens of armed villagers in southern Mexico confronted a suspected crime gang in their home and a child, a woman and four men were killed in the resulting gunbattle. A statement Saturday from the public security chief for Oaxaca state said a town assembly voted to arm 90 of its members and sent them to detain the group allegedly behind cattle thefts, rapes and murders. The state security chief said the people in the house refused to surrender and opened fire first. Remote Mexican villages without a police presence sometimes engage in mob justice. But it is unusual for them to do so with weapons. The incident happened in the village of Santa Cruz Tepenixtlahuaca.


More than 40 people have beendetained in connection with rioting in north London that left 26 police officers and three other people hurt. The violence broke out Saturday night in Tottenham after a protest over the fatal shooting by police of a 29-year-old local man on Thursday. Anger boiled over as some in a crowd of at least 300 tossed gasoline bombs, looted shops and homes and ripped out automatic cash machines.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahupromised Sundayto set up a committee to address complaints about the high cost of living in Israel. Mr. Netanyahu says recent protests about rising prices show people are facing real hardship. He said his government will work on major changes to alleviate that but cautioned the government would not be able to satisfy everybody. On Saturday, an estimated 250,000 Israelis joined protest marches in communities across the country to demand better economic conditions. It was the third weekend of such protests and the largest turnout so far.


Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday Israel should cut ties with the Palestinians because they are preparing to cause "unprecedented bloodshed" next month. Mr. Lieberman did not provide evidence for his claim that Palestinians were getting ready for mass violent demonstrations after an expected symbolic UN endorsement of Palestinian independence. His spokesman says the foreign minister drew his conclusions from intelligence reports and the public statements by Palestinian officials. They contrast sharply with an internal Israeli parliamentary report released last week that did not predict a planned outbreak of violence. At the same time, defence officials fear a lone violent event could touch off more widespread clashes.


Two former lawmakers from Bahrain's Shiite opposition say they have been released from jail pending trial. Jawad Fairooz and Matar Matar told The Associated Press they were released Sunday afternoon. They were arrested in May and were being held on anti-state charges. Both are members of Wefaq, the island kingdom's largest Shiite party. They were members of parliament until they resigned with the rest of the Wefaq bloc in February following a government crackdown on Shiite-led protests. The official Bahrain News Agency confirmed that the attorney general had ordered the release of the former lawmakers and a number of other detainees, but didn't identify them by name.


Government officials said Sunday President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been discharged from a hospital in Saudi Arabia but will remain in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The officials said Mr. Saleh, who was badly burned in the June 3 attack on his compound in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, left the hospital in Riyadh on Saturday night and moved to a royal residence in the city to further recuperate.


Officials said Sunday six civilians were killed and 14 others injured by bombs planted near two homes in central Iraq. A police officer said the motive behind the attack at around 2 a.m. Sunday morning was still unknown. He said four bombs were planted near homes in the town of Iskandariyah, and that a woman and two children under 10 were among the dead. Iskandariyah is located 50 kilometres south of Baghdad. The city was once among the most violent during the height of the insurgency against the US-led coalition but has been fairly stable since mid-2007.


NATO said Sunday four of its service members had been killed by insurgents in two separate attacks. In a statement, NATO said two were killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan and another two in an attack in the south. It did not provide nationalities nor any other details. The attack came a day after the crash of a US Army helicopter that left 38 people dead, 30 of them Americans, including US special forces. Reports said they were members of the same navy seal unit that was responsible for killing Osama Bin Laden. The US is investigating whether insurgent fire brought down the helicopter in the Wardak area, west of Kabul, as claimed by the Taliban


The Arab League on Sunday expressed growing concern over developments in Syria. Speaking after an emergency meeting in Dubai, League Secretary Nabil Elaraby called on the Syrian regime to immediately halt acts of violence against anti-government protesters. On Friday, the leaders of the US, France and Germany discussed by phone the imposition of new measures against Damascus. Russia, a traditional Syrian ally, also joined the criticism. President Dmitry Medvedev said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would "face a sad fate" unless he urgently carried out reforms and reconciled with the opposition.



At least 52 people died after the Syrian army stormed the largest city in the east on Sunday. Deir al-Zour has been the scene of frequent protests against the autocratic regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Activists said scores of tanks and armoured vehicles entered several areas of the city after a heavy bombardment that began before dawn. At least 13 other people were killed in Homs province.


A Standard & Poor's official said Sunday there is a one-in-three chance that the US credit rating could be downgraded another notch if conditions erode over the next six to 24 months. The credit rating agency's managing director, John Chambers, said that if the fiscal position of the US deteriorates further, or if political gridlock tightens even more, a further downgrade is possible. Mr. Chambers also said that it would take "stabilization and eventual decline" of the federal debt as a share of the economy as well as more consensus in Washington for the US to win back a top rating. S&P downgraded the US rating Friday, from AAA to AA-plus, for the first time.


Police surrounded a tent camp of supporters of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in Kiev on Sunday. Demonstrators are protesting her arrest. So far, no clashes have been reported. The Ukraine opposition leader was arrested on Friday in a Kiev court where she is on trial for abusing her powers in signing a natural gas deal with Russia in 2009 that prosecutors claim was disadvantageous to Ukraine. The United States and European Union have condemned court cases against Ms. Tymoshenko, while Russia's foreign ministry has said the 2009 gas deal did not break any Russian or international laws.


Group of Seven finance ministers were on the phone with each other for the second straight day Sunday discussing ways to calm fears of a further freefall on global financial markets. Markets were under pressure all last week, amid worries about an American economic slowdown and the worsening debt crisis in Europe. That pressure was ramped up on Friday when Standard and Poor's downgraded the US credit rating. Investor jitters were evident Sunday on markets in the Mideast, where stocksclosed sharply lower. Meanwhile, Europe's debt crisis prompted an emergency telephone conference of officials of the European Central Bank. The focus of the conference was finding ways to save Italy from financial collapse.



Sunday's result: Toronto defeated Baltimore 7-2. On Saturday, the Orioles defeated the Jays 6-2.


Saturday's result: Calgary defeated Hamilton 32-20.


Saturday's result: Toronto and DC United drew 3-3.


Vancouver has a mix of sun and cloud with a forecast high temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. Calgary has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of afternoon showers or thunderstorms. The forecast high: 23. Regina has increasing cloud with a chance of afternoon showers, a high of 21. Winnipeg is sunny and 23. Toronto and Ottawa have a mix of sun and cloud, highs of 26. Montreal has morning cloud followed by a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 26. Fredericton has rain, a high of 20. Charlottetown and Halifax have periods of rain, highs of 19. St. John's is mainly cloudy with fog patches, a high of 13. Whitehorse has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 18. Yellowknife has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 24. Iqaluit is cloudy with a chance of evening showers, a high of seven.