Sunday, September 4, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 3 September 2011
Canadian International Financial Sports Weather
Canadian

CAW CHIEF WANTS NDP-GRIT MERGER

The head of Canada's biggest private sector union is supporting a call for the official opposition New Democratic Party to merge with the Liberal Party. Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza says the merger is the only way to defeat the governing Conservative Party. Mr. Lewenza says the "writing has been on the wall" for the Liberals and NDP since 2003 when the Canadian Alliance and Conservative parties merged to unite the right. And he warns if the NDP and Liberals don't merge to unite the centre-left, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will continue to use their differences to divide and conquer them. NDP MP Pat Martin is pushing for a merger. He says he'll run for the NDP leadership if no other candidate comes forward to press for more co-operation between the two parties.



JUDGE ORDERS ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL EXTRADITED

A judge in Calgary has ordered an accused Guatemalan war criminal be extradited to the United States to face immigration charges. Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa is also wanted in Guatemala for his alleged involvement in a 1982 attack on a village in which 222 men, women and children were massacred. Justice Neil Wittmann says there's evidence Mr. Sosa participated in the killings with a sledgehammer, a firearm and a grenade. The US Justice Department says Mr. Sosa commanded a military unit that attacked the village. The villagers had apparently been accused of supporting a rebel faction. US authorities say infants and small children were killed first and that women and young girls were raped before being murdered. The US Justice Department is accusing Mr. Sosa of lying to immigration authorities about his past when he applied for US citizenship. Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has the final say on whether Mr. Sosa will be handed over to the Americans.



PRIVACY ADVOCATES CONCERNED ABOUT USE OF CAMERAS

Privacy advocates are concerned over the possibility that Vancouver might use more surveillance cameras during events that draw large crowds. Two reports into June's Stanley Cup riot say real-time video can help emergency officials plan their response, and make it easier for police to identify suspects. But Rob Holmes of the BC Civil Liberties Association says he's concerned because temporary cameras often become permanent. He also says there are cases in which cameras installed for security have been used for other purposes. One of the reports that recommends greater use of surveillance cameras is the independent review into how police handled the riots. The other is a report by Vancouver city officials that will be presented to council next week. The June 15 riot saw massive crowds torch cars, smash windows and loot stores after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins.



PIPELINE PROTEST WINDS DOWN

Two weeks of protests in front of the White House against a planned Canadian pipeline were in the 14th and final day on Saturday, as US Parks Police arrested more protesters. The protesters oppose a pipeline extension by TransCanada Pipelines to pump crude oil from Alberta to refineries in Texas. Among the arrested were Canadian political activist Naomi Klein and native activist Gitz Deranger of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. Bill Erasmus, the chief of the Dene First Nation in the Northwest Territories, also was on hand, although he wasn't arrested. He says the oilsands are having a terrible effect on the Slave River, which flows from northern Alberta north into the Great Slave Lake, NWT. He says water levels in the river and lake are dropping because of the enormous mass of water used upstream in Alberta to extract the bitumen containing the oil. Mr. Erasmus says his people can no longer eat the fish or drink the water. Canadian supporters of the project say it would create thousands of jobs and alleviate US reliance on oil from the Middle East. Opponents say Keystone XL is an environmental threat because of the greenhouse gases produced by oilsands extraction and would worsen US reliance on hydrocarbons.



ARCTIC INTERNET INADEQUATE

Canada has taken a number of initiatives to reaffirm its sovereignty in its Arctic region, including conducting military exercises and commissioning new icebreakers. But a recent study says Arctic development will be delayed so long as communications networks are not improved. The report concludes that Internet links in the North are slow, expensive and prone to crash under heavy demand, and are already causing problems for business and government. It adds unreliable communications can increase public risk if there's a disaster. The government-commissioned report recommends that Canada follow the lead of the US and Australia and invest in improved networks in its Arctic region.



HEART RESEARCHER FUDGES DATA

A prominent researcher with the Montreal Heart Institute has been stripped of his lab, privileges and status following an investigation into scientific misconduct. It revealed that two studies on heartbeat irregularities, submitted by Dr. Zhiguo Wang for publication, in 2007 and 2008, used illustrations that had been manipulated to support the data. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded one of the studies retracted earlier this year. The other was funded by the Canadian Diabetes Association. CIHR said it has frozen Wang's funding. Based on the Montreal Heart Institute findings, the Canadian Diabetes Association said Dr. Wang is no longer eligible for their grants.



WORLD BANK PROBE LEADS TO CANADIAN ENGINEERING FIRM

Alleged corruption over a bridge project in Bangladesh has led Canadian police to the Toronto offices of SNC Lavalin, a Montreal-based global engineering company. The RCMP confirmed it raided the company's offices there. The World Bank is investigating allegations of corruption in the bidding processes for the Padma Bridge Project. It signed a deal in April to lend $1.2 billion to Bangladesh to build the bridge over the river Padma, but it says the money has not been disbursed. A spokesman for SNC Lavalin said the firm was not aware of any reason for an investigation, but that it was fully co-operating with the police investigation. She added that the firm has a zero tolerance policy toward any kind of unethical behaviour.





International

LIBYA

Leaders of Libya's transitional government are telling rebel troops in the capital, Tripoli, to start putting their weapons down. Other rebels are gathering on the outskirts of the city of Misrata preparing for what is expected to be the final battle for Libya. Meanwhile, Libyan security agency documents seen by the Associated Press news agency indicate intimate co-operation between Moammar Gadhafi's ousted regime and British and American intelligence. While the documents provide new details, reports of such co-operation have surfaced before. Libyan Muslim extremists have tried to kill Colonel Gadhafi, and have held senior al-Qaida positions. Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, commander of the anti-Gadhafi force that now controls Tripoli, is the former leader of an Islamic group who says he was tortured by CIA agents at a secret prison, then sent to Libya. Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, which found the documents in a Libyan security agency building, says they indicate American officials were sometimes present during interrogations -- something the United States has denied.



SYRIA

Activists say security forces cracking down on a growing uprising have killed two people after storming a northern village. They said troops raided a village near the town of Maaret al-Numan in the northern province of Idlib Saturday. The Local Co-ordination Committees activist network and the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two people died when troops conducting the raids opened fire. The security raid is part of operations to crush almost six months of demonstrations against the country's authoritarian leadership. The UN estimates some 2,200 Syrians have been killed since March. Syria has banned foreign journalists and restricted local coverage, making it difficult to independently confirm events on the ground.



BAHRAIN

A rights group in Bahrain says more detainees are joining a hunger strike to protest ongoing trials from the crackdown on demonstrations for greater rights by the Gulf nation's Shiite majority. A statement Saturday by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights says the hunger strike now includes nearly 20 doctors who are jailed and face anti-state charges linked to the protests against Bahrain's ruling Sunni dynasty. The trials are scheduled to resume on Wednesday. The Centre says at least two other prominent activists, Abdul Jalil al-Singace and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, have also begun hunger strikes in solidarity. The activists were sentenced to life in prison in June. Bahrain protests began in February inspired by other Arab uprisings.



AFGHANISTAN

NATO forces say they have killed a former Guantanamo detainee who was a "key affiliate of the al-Qaida network" in an overnight raid in eastern Afghanistan. NATO says Sabar Lal Melma organized attacks in eastern Kunar province and helped fund insurgent operations. NATO says he was in contact with senior al-Qaida members in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Troops surrounded Melma's house in Jalalabad city on Friday night. A NATO spokesman says Melma came out of the building holding an AK-47 assault rifle and was killed. Several other people were detained. A guard at Melma's house named Mohammad Gul says Melma was released from Guantanamo about four years ago.



PAKISTAN

The Pakistani Taliban say they are holding around 30 Pakistani boys who were abducted in Afghanistan three days ago. The group's spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, says the boys were kidnapped because they belong to a tribe opposed to the militants. He says the Taliban will decide the boys' fate. Pakistani officials have said the boys, who are between 12 and 15 years old, were seized Thursday in Afghanistan's Kunar province after crossing over from their villages in the Bajur border region. They were allegedly lured by a man who invited them to play in a river. Mr. Ahsan didn't say where the boys were seized but he claims they are over 20 years of age. Militants often target people from tribes who oppose or do not support them.



SUDAN

Media reports say rebels fighting Sudanese troops in the ethnically divided border state of South Kordofan killed 17 civilians, some of them children. Members of the northern branch of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), which fought with the southern former rebels during their devastating 22-year war with Khartoum and have battled the Sudanese army in South Kordofan since early June, were not immediately available for comment. The reports said the most deadly fighting took place in Murung, where 16 people were killed and 11 wounded. The reports said the attacks as a rejection of the ceasefire declared by President Omar al-Bashir last month, and quoted the state governor Ahmed Harun denouncing the conduct of the SPLA, whom he accused of targeting unarmed citizens.



CHINA

Tens of thousands of Internet users in China have gone online to question reports in the country's state-run media that an anti-corruption official, found dead with 11 stab marks to his body, had taken his own life. The body of Xie Yexin, who worked as an anti-corruption official in the central Chinese province of Hubei, was discovered in his office earlier this week next to a knife . The vast majority of those online questioning the version of his death were sceptical about the suicide verdict put forward by Chinese police. Xie's family has also rejected the official version of events. China has the world's largest online population, with 485 million Internet users, and last month the Internet giant Sina said its weibo, by far the country's biggest microblogging site, had surpassed 200 million users. The growing influence of weibos, which are harder to control than the country's state-run media, appears to have worried Chinese authorities. Last week they urged those using weibos to stop the spread of false and harmful information.



CHINA

Chinese censors have removed an essay by dissident artist Ai Weiwei from the latest issue of the US-based Newsweek magazine in which he criticises the country's government and justice system. The article had been removed from copies of the Sept. 5 issue seen on newsstands in Beijing. It was Ai's first report for a foreign publication since he was released from detention earlier this year. In the essay, the 54-year-old Ai said his ordeal in police custody made him realise he was only a number in an anonymous system where basic rights are denied. In addition, he said the worst thing about Beijing is that you can never trust the judicial system. The Newsweek essay follows a series of anti-government comments posted by Ai on Twitter, where he criticized the treatment of colleagues and fellow dissidents. It was an apparent violation of the terms of his bail. Ai was barred from giving interviews or leaving Beijing after he was released on bail in June following his detention. He faces charges of tax evasion. But rights groups say he was detained as part of a wider crackdown on government critics amid official concern that unrest in the Arab world would spread to China.



BURMA/MYANMAR

Amnesty International says Europe's "wait and see" approach to army-dominated Myanmar--also known as Burma--is "irresponsible." The human rights watchdog is urging the EU to back an inquiry into crimes against humanity in the country. Amnesty says the Myanmar government "has continued to violate human rights on a massive scale," four years after the brutal suppression of a monk-led protest, known as the Saffron Revolution. Amnesty says reports from ethnic minority areas suggest 50,000 people may be internally displaced by conflict, while abuses have continued under a new regime, which came to power after controversial November elections.



ISRAEL

Israelis have not given up their protests against rising prices. Tens of thousands are gathering in the country's three largest cities for what protesters predict will be the largest of months of demonstrations against the rising cost of living. Saturday night's demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa mark the climax of a summer-long grass-roots protest movement. The protests have ballooned from a few tents in Tel Aviv to a nationwide phenomenon.



CHILE

There are likely no survivors in the crash of a Chilean air force plane on Friday. Rescuers and fishermen found four bodies and aircraft wreckage Saturday after the plane with 21 people aboard lost contact off the remote Juan Fernandez islands. The CASA 212 military plane tried twice to land before it went missing. Among the passengers were five TVN national television staff members, including well-known presenter Felipe Camiroaga, who were planning to film a report about reconstruction on the islands after last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.





Financial

MARKETS

Toronto's main stock index ended the week lower on Friday after grim U.S. jobs numbers revived recession fears, but rallying gold miners helped cushion the fall. The TSX was off 98 points. The Dow was down 253. The Nasdaq was off 65. The Canadian dollar ended the week at 101.49 US, off 0.91. North American markets will be closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday. Some highlights next week are U.S. non-manufacturing ISM data on Tuesday, the Bank of Canada interest rate announcement on Wednesday and Canadian monthly employment figures on Friday.





Sports

SPORTS

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Saturday: New York Yankees 6 Toronto Blue Jays 4

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Friday's result: British Columbia defeated Toronto 29-16.

TRACK AND FIELD

Canadian Diane Roy won the gold medal Saturday in the 800-metre wheelchair event at the World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea. On Friday, Canadian Dylan Armstrong won the silver medal in the shot put, finishing second to David Strole of Germany.

Usain Bolt's patience paid off at the world track and field championships. The Jamaican star won gold with the fourth-fastest 200 metres in history. His time of 19.40 seconds in the 200 was only .21 seconds off his own world-record mark. Bolt was disqualified by a false start in the 100 last Sunday.

WATER POLO

Canada fell behind early and couldn't recover Saturday, losing 7-6 to Puerto Rico in the 13th place game at the men's world junior water polo championships. Puerto Rico led 3-1 after the first quarter, 5-2 at the half and 6-3 after three before the Canadians mounted a rally in the fourth. Canada finished 3-4 at the tournament, going 1-3 in the round robin before entering Saturday's match with two consecutive consolation playoff round wins.

PROFESSIONAL TENNIS

Canada's Vasek Pospisil was defeated in the second round of the US Open in Flushing Meadow, NY on Friday, losing in four sets to the 25th seed, Feliciano Lopez of Spain. In men's doubles, Canadian Daniel Nestor and his partner, Max Mirnyi of Belarus, the second seeds, lost their second-round match to the British team of Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins in straight sets.

INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL

Greivis Vasquez scored 29 points as Venezuela downed Canada 103-98 Saturday at the FIBA Olympic Americas qualifying tournament. Hector Romero added 28 points for Venezuela (2-2), which moves into the quarter-final round out of Group A along with Canada (2-2). Jermaine Anderson led the way for the Canadians with 28 points, while Denham Brown added 19 points and six rebounds. Carl English had 18 points for Canada and Joel Anthony chipped in with nine points and nine boards. The top-two finishers at the tournament earn automatic berths to the 2012 London Games. Canada is looking to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games.

OLYMPICS

Six cities from Europe, Asia and the Middle East are competing to host the 2020 Olympics. Rome; Madrid; Tokyo; Istanbul; Doha, Qatar; and Baku, Azerbaijan submitted bids to the IOC by Friday's deadline. The 2016 Summer Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro.





Weather

SUNDAY'S FORECASTS

Vancouver is sunny with a forecast high temperature of 23 degrees Celsius. Sunny across the prairies. Highs: 24 in Calgary, 20 in Regina, 17 in Winnipeg. Toronto has showers, a high of 25. Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton and Charlottetown are cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs: 28 in Ottawa, 29 in Montreal, 26 in Fredericton, 24 in Charlottetown. Halifax has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 23. St. John's has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of showers, a high of 21. Whitehorse is cloudy, a high of 13. Yellowknife is cloudy, a high of 18. Iqaluit has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of flurries, a high of 10.





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