Sunday, October 16, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 15 October 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


The Occupy Wall Street protests came to Canada on Saturday. Thousands of people were on the streets across the country. However the crowds failed to match the Manhattan model. The largest crowd was in downtown Toronto where journalists estimated it to be as many as 3,000 people. Hundreds also protested in Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa and Vancouver with a wide range of demands, from jobs to a fairer distribution of wealth, greater corporate accountability, "the truth behind "9/11," a Palestinian state and animal rights. At Confederation Park in Ottawa, the mood was festive as some 300 people waved placards: "The world has enough for everyone's needs, but not everyone's greed" and "Money talks too much." While protesters were readying for a long haul in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, participants noted that people in in Ottawa "have jobs or school classes to attend," so the demonstration would likely end at nightfall.


Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Central Bank Governor Mark Carney and other top finance officials from Group of 20 ended two days of talks in Paris Saturday.Officials saidthey were ready to ensure that the International Monetary Fund has the resources it needs to help stabilize the world economy and there was a hint that they may be open to a bigger role for the fund in the eurozone debt crisis. However, there was still resistance to boosting the IMF's funding from several countries -- including Canada and the United States. Mr. Flaherty reiterated that the G-20 should keep up pressure on the 17 eurozone nations to solve the crisis rather than focusing on the IMF. The G-20 meeting came amid continuing fears about the EU's debt-related problems spreading. France's finance minister, Francois Baroin, said a summit of European Union leaders later this month will agree on "decisive" measures to tackle the debt crisis. He also said central banks "would continue to supply banks with liquidity".


A disarmament group, Project Plowshares, says Canada's new position on an international arms trade treaty could help derail the entire process. The proposed United Nations treaty would regulate the import, export and transfer of all conventional weapons. The goal of the treaty is to reduce the flow of weapons to conflict zones by setting international standards for the trade of all conventional weapons. However, Canada has now joined Italy and Japan in a call for hunting and sporting weapons to be excluded. Project Plowshares blames Canada's gun lobby for Ottawa's change of stance. Supporters of the change say they want to make sure Canada's domestic firearms laws are respected. Others say the treaty would have no implications for Canada's gun owners because Canada already has tough rules for the import and the export of weapons.


The federal government is urging Canadians in Syria to get out of the country by commercial means while they still can. The U.N. says some 3,000 protesters have been killed by security forces since demonstrations against Syria's government began in March. Canada's Foreign Affairs Department has also issued an advisory against all travel to the country due to its unpredictable security situation


Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he is deeply concerned over the prison sentence given to a Ukrainian opposition leader. Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister of Ukraine and a driving force behind the country's 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution, was sentenced to seven years in prison this week on charges of abuse of power over a gas deal she signed with Russia in 2009. Mr. Harper said her trial did not reflect accepted norms of due process or fairness. Mr. Harper has also sent a letter to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych saying the trial appeared to be politically motivated. He made his comments during a speech Friday to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress where he received the Shevchenko medal, the organization's highest award. Earlier this week, Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird said the government was troubled by the prison sentence. The European Union and Amnesty International also condemned the ruling. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, said the 2009 deal conformed with Russian and Ukrainian law.


The Royal Canadian Legion says the federal government isn't taking into account the number of current soldiers who will need the services of Veterans Affairs. Federal documents reveal the department plans to cut more than $226 million from its budget in the next two years. The Conservative Party government cites the dwindling number of Second World War veterans is the reason for the planned cuts but adds that individual benefits to Canadian military veterans will continue without change or interruption


Canada's highest court has acquitted a woman of murdering her husband five years ago. The Supreme Court of Canada cited serious police misconduct. The court ruled that the rights of Armande Cote from the province of Quebec were violated when she was arrested in 2006. The Court noted that police entered her house and searched it without a warrant, arrested her without charge, prevented her from speaking with a lawyer and coerced her into a confession. After Ms. Cote called the 9-1-1, her husband was taken to hospital with multiple injuries, including a bullet in the head.


Canada's most generous prize for young artists has been awarded to Daniel Young and Christian Giroux. The Ontario-based pair has received this year's $50,000 Sobey Award for contemporary art. One of their submissions was a film featuring diverse lighting fixtures from the Home Depot hardware chain. Another used bits of IKEA furniture twisted into playful forms.



Demonstrators around the world on Saturday expressed their frustration over corporate greed, austerity measures and the growing gap between the rich and poor. A protest movement that began in New York City as the Occupy Wall Street Movement has now spread to Asia, Europe and other cities in North America, including 15 in Canada. Protesters in Rome smashed shop windows and torched a car as violence broke out during a demonstration in the Italian capital. Black smoke billowed into the air in downtown Rome as a small group of violent protesters broke away from the main demonstration Saturday. Elsewhere in Europe, some 5,000 people took to the streets in Frankfurt to protest in front of the European Central Bank. Hundreds marched through the Bosnian city of Sarajevo carrying pictures of Che Guevara and old communist flags that read "Death to capitalism, freedom to the people." Hundreds of people also joined peaceful protests in Sydney, Tokyo, Manila, Hong Kong and Seoul.


Finance chiefs of the Group of 20 nations ended two days of talks in Paris Saturday, saying they will ensure the International Monetary Fund has the resources it needs to help stabilize the world economy. That was a hint that they may be open to a bigger role for the fund in the eurozone debt crisis. However, there was still resistance to boosting the IMF's funding from several countries -- including Canada and the United States. Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty reiterated the G-20 should keep up pressure on the 17 eurozone nations to solve the crisis rather than focusing on the IMF. The G-20 meeting came amid continuing fears about the EU's debt-related problems spreading. France's finance minister, Francois Baroin, said a summit of European Union leaders later this month will agree on "decisive" measures to tackle the debt crisis. He also said central banks "would continue to supply banks with liquidity".


Security forces killed five people on Saturday as the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime entered its eighth month. In Damascus, a young man was killed as security forces opened fire on a funeral procession for a child who was among 12 people who died during anti-regime demonstrations on Friday. Another of the dead was an activist for the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who was assassinated while in hiding in a besieged eastern city. The uprising against President al-Assad's regime began in mid-March and according to the UN has claimed over 3,000 lives.


Fighters fanned out in Tripoli to search for armed supporters of fugitive leader Moammar Gadhafi a day after a gun battle rocked the capital. Dozens of men combed apartment buildings for suspects in the Abu Salim neighbourhood, which is home to the notorious prison of the same name. A day earlier, a gun battle broke out in the area when a group tried to raise the green flag that symbolizes the ousted regime. Revolutionary authorities increased checkpoints around the city. But Saturday's sweep of Abu Salim was mainly conducted by a militia that has broken with the main Tripoli military council.


President Shimon Peres on Saturday began the process of formally pardoning hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who are to be released in exchange for an Israeli soldier held by Gaza militants for five years. A spokeswoman Mr. Peres says he received the prisoners' files earlier Saturday and has 48 hours to sign the pardons. The exchange will likely happen Tuesday. Under the deal, 1,027 Palestinians will released in two stages in return for Sgt. Gilad Schalit, who was captured by Hamas-backed militants in a 2006 cross-border raid. The list of prisoners included in the deal is to be publicly released, and in a mostly symbolic gesture, the public will be able to raise appeals. Among those to be freed are Palestinians who planned suicide bombings.



Officials said Saturday a senior member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been killed in an air strike. Ibrahim al-Banna was the head of al-Qaeda's media department. A Yemeni official said al-Banna was one of the most dangerous militants on the country's wanted list. The strike killed at least six other militants. Following the air strike, militants retaliated by blowing up a gas pipeline that runs from Yemen's Marib province to the Arabian sea. Elsewhere in Yemen, security forces killed at least seven people during an anti-government demonstration in the capital, Sanaa, on Saturday. The protesters were calling for the immediate resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.


Opposition parties said Saturday they were pulling out of a recent presidential vote that they called "flawed." They said they won't accept the results. A statement from eight opposition parties, including those of the second- and third-place candidates, said the electoral commission manipulated vote-counting in favour of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The latest results give the president 45.4 per cent of the vote, which falls short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff. The Harvard-educated Sirleaf is viewed abroad as a reformer and was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize for her role in stabilizing Liberia after a 14-year civil war.


Afghan police said Saturday militants had attacked the gate of an American military base in eastern Afghanistan. The police said that three gunmen and one militant driving a vehicle packed with explosives assaulted the gate of the base in Rakha district before dawn Saturday. One of the attackers launched a rocket-propelled grenade that hit a security tower. A police official said all four attackers were killed and two security guards were wounded. He did not have information about the nationalities of the guards or any casualties inside the base. NATO spokesmen did not have any immediate details on the attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message. Meanwhile, Estonia's military said an Estonian soldier was killed and three were wounded during an ambush in southern Afghanistan. The three wounded soldiers were in stable condition. The death brought the number of Estonian soldiers killed in Afghanistan to nine. The Baltic country has some 160 soldiers in the NATO-led force in Afghanistan.


Authorities feared aftershocks could further damage one of the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant's fuel pools and cause spent fuel rods to melt and spew radiation within hours. The Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization says its simulation showed some 1,500 mostly used fuel rods at the plant's No. 4 reactor building could start breaking in two hours if aftershocks further damaged the pool and caused cooling water to escape. The fuel rods could start melting within eight hours, the organization said in a paper dated June and released late Friday. The March quake and tsunami triggered meltdowns at the plant's reactors. Explosions also damaged buildings, including Unit 4. Its operator has since reinforced Unit 4's spent fuel pool to increase quake resistance.


Cuba's tiny dissident community is mourning the loss of one of its most prominent leaders. Family members, government opponents and diplomats passed through the home of Laura Pollan on Saturday to pay their respects to the late founder of the Ladies in White dissident group. The US Interests Section sent a floral wreath. Pollan founded the Ladies in White in 2003 to press for the release of their imprisoned husbands. Bertha Soler, who helped Pollan found the group, says her loss is particularly hard, but the group will continue its weekly protest marches. Pollan's body was cremated before dawn Saturday.


Tens of thousands of Bhutanese crammed into a stadium in the capital, Thimphu, for a reception celebrating the wedding of their beloved king to their new queen. King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck married Jetsun Pema in a Buddhist ceremony Thursday in the Himalayan mountain kingdom. Their wedding was celebrated with a huge reception Saturday where the couple shared their first public kiss. Traditional dancers performed for them. Children put on a taekwondo demonstration and the prime minister and lawmakers danced with the king on the sports field. The couple spent hours walking through the stands to shake hands and talk to their subjects. Then thousands of people poured onto the field and formed concentric circles for a traditional final dance.




Canada won its first two medalsat the2011 Pan American Games in Mexico on Saturday. Victoria's Max Plaxtonwon silver in men's mountain biking while Amanda Sin of Collingwood, ON finished third among the women. Canada finished the 2007 Games with 137 medals(39 gold, 43 silver, 55 bronze) behind the United States and Brazil. Mountain biking was one of 11 medal events on the first official day of competition at the Games. The track and field competition doesn't start until the second week. Opening ceremonies were held Friday in sunshine after heavy rain from Hurricane Jova battered Guadalajara earlier in the day. Canada was led into the ceremony by women's soccer captain Christine Sinclair. She was followed by about 175 Canadian athletes who are part of a delegation of 500 competing at the games. The Pan Am Games are a direct Olympic qualifier for 12 sports for next summers Games in London.


Noel Prefontaine kicked a field goal with 11 seconds left as Toronto held off the Calgary 31-29 Friday at Rogers Centre. The Argos needed the last-second score after blowing a 28-9 lead at the half. Stamps quarterback Henry Burris was pulled in the second quarter after being intercepted twice and throwing for only 64 yards. The loss spoiled Calgary's chance to take lone possession of first place in the West Division.


There's a new development in the ongoing negotiations between the City of Edmonton and the owner of the Oilers to replace the team's aging home. Team owner Daryl Katz has withdrawn a key demand for a non-compete clause with the current operator of Rexall Place. In return Edmonton agreed to a new ticket tax at Rexall. Both sides are trying to get a deal done before an Oct. 31 deadline.


Toronto's Daniel Nestor and Belarus partner Max Mirnyiwill be seeking their third title of the year Sunday in Shanghaifollowing a straight sets victory over Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India on Saturday.Nestor and Mirnyi won the French Open earlier this year.



Vancouver is cloudy with a chance of showers. The forecast high temperature: 14 degrees Celsius. It's sunny across the prairies. Highs: 13 in Calgary, 16 in Regina, 15 in Winnipeg. Central Canada is sunny. Highs: 26 in Toronto, 27 in Ottawa, 25 in Montreal. Fredericton is sunny, a high of 25. Charlottetown, Halifax and St. John's have a mix of sun and cloud. Highs: 22 in Charlottetown, 23 in Halifax, 11 in St. John's. Whitehorse is cloudy with a chance of flurries, a high of five. Yellowknife is cloudy, a high of four. Iqaluit is cloudy with a chance of flurries, a high of two.

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