Monday, September 19, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 18 September 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


The race for the leadership of Alberta's Progressive Conservatives will go to a second ballot. None of the six candidates won an outright majority in the first ballot. Gary Mar, former cabinet minister and Alberta's envoy to Washington, won the most votes at 41 percent. Former Justice Minister Alison Redford came in second and former Deputy Premier Doug Horner was third. All three will take part in the second ballot. The winner will replace Ed Stelmach as party leader and premier. He announced last January that he would not be seeking reelection. The Conservatives have been in power in Alberta since l971.


Canada's national airline, Air Canada, is going over a new contract proposal from the union representing its 68-hundred flight attendants. The offer was tabled during negotiations Saturday. The flight attendants have set a strike deadline of midnight Wednesday to back their demands over improved salaries and pensions. Hanging over the heads of the two sides is believed to be a government threat to quickly order an end to a strike that could threaten the country's weakened economic recovery. Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has invited both sides to a meeting if they can't hammer out a deal this weekend.


The Toronto International Film Festival has wound up after eleven days. "Where Do We Go Now?", a drama, set in war-torn Lebanon, was chosen as the festival's favourite by moviegoers. The people's choice award has typically been regarded as a bellweather for Oscar acclaim. Last year's pick "The King's Speech," went on to take the Academy Award for best picture. The winner of the best Canadian feature prize, which includes a $30-thousand cheque, is Philippe Falardeau's "Monsieur Lazhar."


Some 200 environmental activists gathered in Vancouver on the weekend to mark the 40th anniversary of Greenpeace. It was in Vancouver in 1971 that the now global environmental organization was founded. Originally called the Don't Make a Wave Committee, Greenpeace, named after a chartered ship, emerged from Vancouver's peace movement and anti-nuclear protests of the early '70s to become a global organization with a 2010 budget of more than $300 million. The anniversary was marked in Vancouver with workshops on civil disobedience and statements aimed at what it sees as Canada's relaxation of environmental standards.


Former students of Canada's residential schools are being reminded that Monday (September 19th) is the last day to apply for compensation from the Canadian government. They are eligible for up to $10-thousand each. The students, mostly native Canadians, were forcibly removed from their families over many decades and enrolled in schools administered by the church and funded by the Canadian government. The last residential school in Canada was closed in 1996. Many of the former students were subjected to physical and sexual abuse. The 2007 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, which provides for their financial compensation, is the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history


No apologies from Canada's top military commander. Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, speaking on CTV television Sunday, said he saw no reason to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of personal flights on government aircraft. Access-to-information documents reveal Gen. Natynczyk spent more than $1 million since 2008 flying on those jets. In the interview, he said if he hadn't used them, the aircraft would have otherwise flown around empty, because the pilots and crew need to remain proficient. In effect, he said, the costs of the flights were prepaid


Despite warnings from senior bureaucrats, the Harper government in Ottawa went ahead and imposed travel visas on Mexican travellers in 2009. The deputy ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade warned that imposing the visa requirement would overload Canada's diplomatic capacity, leading to serious operational issues at the Canadian embassy in Mexico City. The note, a copy of which was obtained by the Canadian Press, arrived on Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's desk days before the government announced the new visa requirement for travellers from Mexico and the Czech Republic. It was aimed at curbing bogus refugee claims from the two countries. Both then retaliated, by imposing a visa requirement on Canadian diplomats, and the Czech Republic recalled its ambassador.


With a comfortable Conservative Party majority in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to travel more than he has in the past to promote Canada abroad. His first trip is to New York, this coming week, for the start of the new UN session and talks on Libya and the global economy. He'll also be going to Australia shortly for meetings of the Commonwealth. Then, in November, he'll be in France for the G-20, and in Hawaii for APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation). A return trip to China is also on the fall travel agenda. But before he heads off on any of those ventures, Mr. Harper will welcome British Prime Minister David Cameron to Ottawa this week. Mr. Cameron will address the Canadian Parliament on Thursday.


Canada's Parliament resumes on Monday with a heavy legislative agenda. It will be the first session since the death of the leader of the opposition, Jack Layton, of the New Democratic Party. This is also the first session in which the Conservatives, under Stephen Harper, will be governing with a majority of the seats in the House of Commons, and that means that bills that couldn't get passed before will be seeing the light of day once again. First on the agenda will be the human smuggling bill. It would make it easier to reject refugee claims of people arriving in coordinated operations, such as chartered ships. The omnibus crime bill, covering numerous law and order issues, will also be brought back. Another development to watch for is an agreement with the US on trade and perimeter security. And finally, there could be an extension of the Canadian military mission in Libya. The current one expires on September 27th.



Rebel soldiers have surrounded the town of Sirte, one of Moammar Gadhaf's last strongholds. However, they have met with strong resistance by loyalist forces, with 30 rebels killed in the past day. The National Transitional Council is still confident of victory and has issued a warning for army personnel still loyal to Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. They say they have one last chance to switch sides or they will be charged with treason. Meantime, troops loyal to Gadhafi have launched fresh attacks around the town of Bani Walid.Loyalists are holding strategic high ground and are firing mortars and using snipers to target rebel forces at the northern gate of the town.


Senior American and European envoys are trying to find a formula to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to stalled peace negotiations without antagonizing either side or creating new turmoil. Officials are racing to avert a looming showdown over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations this week. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will apply to the U.N. Security Council for full U.N. membership of a Palestinian state. He says full U.N.status is a legitimate right for the Palestinian people. The United States, Israel and Canada have all voiced their disapproval. But many other nations, as many as 120, say that they would support such a resolution.


A group of Russian lawmakers are in Damascus in a bid to broker an end to an anti-government crackdown that has seen more than 2600 people killed since March. Russia has continued to support the Syrian regime despite its crackdown on those who are calling for democratic reforms. News agencies say the delegation aims to meet Syrian President Bashar al Assad as well as opposition figures. But no details of the meetings have been released. Mikhail Margelov, a special representative of the Russian president, had said the delegation would seek to "clarify the facts, to see firsthand what is really happening." The Russians arrived Saturday, one day after security forces in Syria shot dead at least 22 people in operations across the country. Russia has continued to support the Syrian regime despite its crackdown on protests that the United Nations estimates to have killed around 2,600 people.


The United Nations has appealed for $365 million to help millions of Pakistanis affected by floods caused by heavy monsoon rains.U.N. officials say the money would be used to help over 5.4 million people in the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan over the next six months. Flooding has killed 248 people in Pakistan and damaged or destroyed some 665,000 homes in recent weeks. They began early last month, but heavy rains have compounded them recently and hampered relief efforts.


Hundreds of villagers in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang have been taking to the streets to protest against pollution they say comes from a solar panel factory. Reports say over 500 people from Haining city gathered Thursday in front of the factory, demanding an explanation for the alleged pollution. Some of them stormed the compound and overturned vehicles. On Friday, demonstrators damaged four police vehicles. Local residents contacted by phone said villagers have protested every night since Thursday. Video footage posted on the website of the city government's information office showed that the factory's windows had been smashed and that dozens of police officers were deployed to the site. There's no word on arrests or injuries.


U.S. President Barack Obama is about to announce a new tax on millionaires. It is known as the Buffett Tax -- named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett -- who said earlier this year that he and other rich Americans don't pay enough tax. President Obama will unveil his proposal Monday, while making recommendations on how to reduce the U.S. deficit. The new tax will have to pass through the Republican-controlled Congress which analysts say makes it likely to fail.


Former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky predicts that any hope for reform will be extinguished and Russia's brightest people will emigrate in droves if Vladimir Putin wins the 2012 presidential election. In an interview from jail with Reuters news agency Mr. Khodorkovsky said he will never forgive his enemies, but seeks no revenge. The founder of Russia's top oil producer, YUKOS, was detained in October 2003 and charged with tax evasion. The 47 year old, once the country's richest man, is now Russia's most well-known prisoner. His treatment has been held up by opponents of the Kremlin as evidence that the Russian justice system is readily manipulated by those in power, particularly Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.


Troops have opened fire on anti-government protesters in the Yemeni capital, killing at least 26 and wounding dozens. Witnesses say more than 100,000 protesters massed Sunday around the state television building and government offices. They say security forces opened fire, along with snipers shooting from nearby rooftops. Medical officials say many of the dead and wounded have bullet wounds in the face, chest and head. It was the first significant attack in weeks on Yemenis in Sanaa, who have been protesting daily for over seven months for the removal of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.


A strong earthquake shook northeastern India and Nepal Sunday, killing at least 12 people and damaging buildings. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 and was felt across northeast India including the capital New Delhi. In Kathmandu, 270 kilometres west of the epicentre, traffic came to a standstill as hotels and bars were evacuated. Hundreds of anxious tourists and residents waited for news in car parks and on the streets as heavy monsoon rain poured down. In parliament, lawmakers leapt to their feet and ran out of the chamber shouting when the quake hit during an evening debate on the budget. Television channels reported that hospitals were treating people injured by falling masonry or as they tried to escape swaying buildings. The Nepalese home ministry said that several police teams had been deployed for rescue and relief operations.



Trailing by a converted try, Canada faltered late in the match as France pulled away for a 46-19 victory at the Rugby World Cup. Canada were down 25-19 in the second half with the French struggling to handle the pressure, but conceded three late tries. Canada may have fatigued late in the game after a four-day turnaround between its last match.


Vasek Pospisil has carried Canada's Davis Cup team into the elite World Group. Pospisil finished the weekend undefeated after a straight sets victory over Israel's Amir Weintraub in the deciding match of the World Group playoff tie. The win moves Canada into the 16-country elite tier in 2012 for the first time since 2004.


Winnipeg 25, Montreal 23


Toronto 3 N.Y. Yankees 0


Monday, September 19th

Vancouver, partly cloudy. High 18. Partly cloudy in Edmonton and Calgary, with highs of 13 and 15. Showers in Saskatoon and Regina, with highs of 17 and 15. Showers and 23 in Winnipeg. Rainy and 21 in Toronto and Ottawa. Montreal and Fredericton, partly cloudy and 17. Rain in Halifax and Charlottetown. Highs 13 and 15. Mainly sunny and 17 in St. John's. Mainly sunny and 11 in Whitehorse. Partly cloudy and 14 in Yellowknife. Partly cloudy and 4 in Iqaluit.

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