Monday, October 17, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 16 October 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


Public health officials are sending letters to thousands of people in the Ottawa area, warning them that they may have been exposed to HIV, or to hepatitis B or C. The officials put the risk at less than one-in-a-million, but they say people who receive the letters should get tested. As many as 6,800 people could have been infected over a 10-year period. The officials have linked the possible infections to what they call a "non-hospital facility," but they haven't identified it or revealed how people might have been exposed. They say there will be further details in the coming days.


The head of the National Panel on First Nations Education says Canada's First Nations schools are under-funded. Scott Haldane has completed a survey of aboriginal schools in BC, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces and will stop in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec by the end of November. While many issues stand out, Mr. Haldane says he most remembers the rundown conditions, school under-funding and an entire Grade 9 math class that went through four teachers in one year and every student failed. Jehan Casey, with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, says the panel is one of several initiatives aimed at improving life for Canada's First Nations. The head of BC's First Nations Education Steering Committee, Deborah Jeffrey, says report after report has called on governments to provide the same per-student funding that it does for public schools. There are 520 schools operated by First Nations on reserves across Canada and funding for many of the schools is 37 per cent lower than for public schools.


A top military expert says Canada tried to punish Russia for its 2008 invasion of Georgia by switching to India for the launch of this country's first military satellite. James Fergusson is a University of Manitoba expert on defence and security and he was commenting on a US diplomatic cable from Ottawa leaked by the Wikileaks website. The cable, dated Oct 6, 2008, said Canada was considering space launch alternatives because of Russia's invasion of Georgia two months earlier. The head of the Canadian Space Society, Kevin Shortt, reacted by saying India was able to provide a cheaper launcher for the Sapphire satellite and the decision had more to do with economics. Because of several delays, which included one of India's rockets going out of control, the military satellite now won't head into space until early 2012.



Newly released federal memos warn that Russia's illegal use of Canadian passports poses a troubling threat to the travel document's integrity. The internal Foreign Affairs records say Canada strongly deplores the exploitation of its passport by Russian agents to establish a spy ring in the United States. But it seems Moscow's Cold War-style tactics, exposed last year by US authorities, did little to chill relations with Ottawa. In fact, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Canada said Canadian officials didn't even raise the matter. Foreign Affairs spokesman Jean-Francois Lacelle declined to discuss the matter, saying only that communication with other countries is confidential. Last year, 11 people -- four of whom claimed to be Canadian -- were indicted on charges of conspiring to act as secret agents in the United States on behalf of Russian intelligence.


Don Cherry has apologized to former NHL tough guys Chris Nilan, Stu Grimson and Jim Thomson for calling them "pukes" and "turncoats." On his first "Coach's Corner" broadcast of the season, Cherry accused the three of calling for an end to fighting in hockey after making a living as NHL enforcers. But Saturday night Mr. Cherry said the three were his kind of guys and that he should not have -- in his words -- "thrown them under the bus." Mr. Cherry also said he was wrong to suggest that Mr. Nilan and Mr. Grimson linked fighting in hockey to drug use. Mr. Grimson also denies ever saying that fighting should be banned in the NHL. Mr. Cherry's apology came after the three said they were considering legal action. Mr. Nilan posted on his twitter account that he accepted the apology.


Students at some universities on the Prairies are pushing for gender-neutral washrooms. Those behind the idea say transgendered people don't feel comfortable having to choose between bathrooms for men or women. Ro Mills at the University of Winnipeg says he is transgendered and going to the washroom can be difficult or embarrassing. He says having a gender-neutral washroom would simply recognize the diversity of today's campuses. Kent Peterson, student association president at the University of Regina, says gender-neutral washrooms on campus are as simple as changing a sign. Debra Radi, executive director at the University of Winnipeg, says senior administrators want to make campus as inclusive as possible and would like to see neutral washrooms by the end of the year.


Two boys aged 10 and 13, have been arrested in Winnipeg in connection with a string of robberies. Police say the boys showed up at a convenience store and a discount store on Wednesday night. They say the older boy was armed with a can of bear spray, and that the pair stole some cash from one of the businesses. The next night, police say the older boy broke into a grocery store, took cash from the till, and then fled after using his bear spray on a clerk and her dog. The 13-year-old faces several charges, but the 10-year-old is too young to be charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.



More than 2,000 people marched Sunday in favour of a secular state that allows press freedom and other rights. The demonstration was a response to protests and violence by Islamist extremists. Tensions are high ahead of an Oct. 23 vote to elect an assembly charged with writing a new constitution. The vote follows the uprising that ousted Tunisia's autocratic leader in January and sparked the Arab Spring. Under a tight police escort, artists and intellectuals and others gathered in Tunis behind a banner that read "Give me liberty" and chanted against violence, extremism and state repression. New, ultraconservative groups of Muslims known as Salafists have attacked movie theatres and TV stations in recent days for showing material they say denigrates Islam.


Rallies were in 950 cities around the globe Saturday in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed. Tens of thousands took to the streets in Asia, Europe and North America. Italian protests turned violent in Rome, when demonstrators angered over austerity and banking practices torched cars, smashed bank windows and attacked a church. More than 70 people were injured, including demonstrators and police. At least 14 people were arrested. In New York, police said more than 80 people were arrested and two police officers suffered injuries and had to be hospitalized. In Canada, the largest demonstrations took place in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Occupy Toronto protesters planned to spend Sunday making decisions about what they call "a very large statement" they plan to make when financial markets open on Monday.


The head of the International Monetary Fund says it will draw up a list of new tools that could be used to stop struggling countries from being pushed into a full-blown financial crisis. The announcement came at Saturday's G-20 finance ministers meeting in Paris. Christine Lagarde says finance chiefs from world's leading economies asked the IMF to come up with "instruments that are more flexible, more short term, that allow countries in good economic health but in difficulty, to resist." She says G-20 leaders will consider these at their summit early next month. Some eurozone countries have been looking for the IMF to play a bigger role in preventing the currency union's debt troubles from engulfing Italy and Spain.


Sunday was World Food Day and the focus this year is on the increasing volatility of food prices around the world. Economists worry price swings for staple items represent a major threat to food security in developing countries. The aim of the day is to heighten awareness of the problem of hunger in the world. The World Bank released an estimate that rising food costs have pushed nearly 70 million people into extreme poverty.


Security forces opened fire on a funeral procession Sunday in the country's oil-rich east. A human rights group says security forces fired live bullets at a crowd estimated at 70,000 people who were taking part in the burial of human rights activist Ziad al-Obeidi. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the 42-year-old Obeidi was killed several days ago after going into hiding in August during military operations in Deir Ezzor. There was no immediate word on whether anyone died in Sunday's violence. The groups says security forces also carried out raids and arrests in the flashpoint central province of Homs and in the outskirts of Damascus, with 19 people arrested in Dmeir. Meanwhile, experts say weapons smuggling into Syria - especially from Lebanon - has flourished as the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad drags on. A Damascus-based expert with the International Crisis Group, Peter Harlin, says automatic weapons, grenades and hunting rifles are in high demand. He says those behind the trafficking are smugglers in search of quick profits rather than political parties backing protesters against the Syrian regime. Mr. Harlin adds that that contrary to Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen or Libya, Syria had few weapons circulating before the unrest began.


Arab foreign ministers met in emergency session in Cairo on Sunday to discuss whether to suspend Syria from the Arab League. Many Gulf states have pulled their ambassadors out of Syria to protest the regime's crackdown, which the United Nations says has killed more than 3,000 people. One official said the Arab League would consider other measures if suspending Syria fails to prompt the regime to stop the bloodshed.


Fighters loyal to the new interim government said Sunday they had launched a fresh assault on Bani Walid, one of the last holdouts of fighters loyal to Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. National Transitional Council forces in Bani Walid, a desert oasis town some 170 kilometres southeast of Tripoli, were driven back last week. Elsewhere, witnesses said Libyan fighters had been looting Col. Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, alongside fierce battles to drive out loyalists of the fugitive leader. Associated Press Television News reporters saw trucks carting off tractors, industrial generators and heavy machinery on the road from Sirte to nearby Misrata. Misrata was under siege by Gadhafi forces for months. In Tripoli, loyalists forces using bulldozers began tearing down the walls surrounding Col. Gadhafi's main Tripoli compound, known as Bab al-Aziziya. The compound has long been seen as the symbolic heart of Col. Gadhafi's rule. The sprawling, fortress-like compound was one of the main targets for NATO airstrikes during the months leading to Col. Gadhafi's ouster in late August. Libyan fighters overran the area after days of fierce fighting for the capital.


Security forces on Sunday fired on anti-government protesters for a second straight day, killing four people and wounding several others. The bloodshed happened in the capital, Sanaa, where tens of thousands of people marched to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. A massive protest of 300,000 Saturday resulted in 12 dead and 80 wounded. President Salah has indicated several times that he is ready to relinquish power after 33 years, but hs so far resisted stepping down. The protests against his dictatorial regime are now into their eighth month.


Israel on Sunday published the names of over 475 Palestinian prisoners who are to be released in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Reports indicate President Shimon Peres has begun the process of pardoning them. The prisoners are set to be freed on Tuesday in the first phase of the deal. A further 550 prisoners are to be released after Sgt. Shalit returns home. He was seized by Palestinian militants in 2006. For years negotiations for his release were stalled but last Tuesday a final agreement for his freedom was struck between the Islamic militant group Hamas and the Israeli government.


Egypt's top reform leader has criticized the ruling military council as having too much power but no experience governing. Mohamed ElBaradei spoke to reporters on Sunday, a week after more than 20 members of Egypt's Christian minority were killed when the military broke up their protest in Cairo with force. It was the worst bloodshed since Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February. Mr. ElBaradei also criticized Egyptian state TV for "lies" and "instigation" in the violence.


A Jordanian lawmaker says a majority of deputies in the country's parliament have signed a petition demanding the dismissal of the country's prime minister and cabinet. The document was presented to the royal palace Sunday. The demand echoes the calls of protesters who have taken to the streets in recent months urging King Abdullah II to fire Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit. He is seen as hesitant in implementing reforms that include allowing Jordanians more say in the constitutional monarchy's politics.


Local media say the international panel investigating months of anti-government protests and crackdowns in the Gulf kingdom has interviewed more than 5,000 witnesses and alleged victims over the past three months. The Bahrain Commission of Inquiry was set up in July with the consent of the country's Sunni rulers. Sunday's report says detainees, police personnel, doctors and journalists are among those interviewed by the five-member panel. Its findings will be published in a report due by Oct. 31.


Only one woman was elected Saturday to the nation's top advisory council despite a push by female candidates that followed pro-reform unrest in the Arabian peninsula nation. Voting for the 84-seat Shura Council was the first major test of public opinion in Oman since protests and clashes earlier this year calling for more jobs and a greater public voice in political affairs. The 1,300 candidates in Saturday's voting included 77 women. Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said had promised more powers for the nine-year-old council, which until now has only advised rulers. But no specific changes have been announced. No women were on the outgoing council.


Election officials say President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's narrow lead has decreased as vote counting continues. Results released late Saturday represent 80 per cent of polling stations and decreased her lead by about one per cent to 44.6 per cent. A majority is needed to avoid a runoff after Tuesday's election. Earlier Saturday, a group of opposition parties, including the second-and third-place contenders said they were pulling out of the process that they say has been tampered with. The Harvard-educated Ms. Sirleaf is Africa's first democratically elected female president. She is viewed abroad as a reformer and shared this year's Nobel Peace Prize for her role in stabilizing Liberia after a 14-year civil war.


Thousands of Iraqi Kurds protested Sunday in a disputed northern city to demand the right to raise the Kurdish region's flag over government buildings there. The protest took place in the city of Khanaqin, 140 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. Khanaqin is located in an area claimed by both Iraq's central government and the Kurds, who control three provinces in northern Iraq. The protesters say the federal government has ordered them to remove the Kurdish flags. An Iraqi government spokesman would not confirm the order but said raising the Kurdish flag in Khanaqin is against the constitution.


Authorities say at least 66 people have died in flooding and landslides provoked by six days of heavy rains in Central America. Evacuations are under way amid forecasts of more rain. Salvadoran officials say most of his country's 24 dead were buried in their homes by landslides. Residents are being evacuated from the flanks of the San Salvador volcano, where hundreds died in landslides in 1982. A state of emergency has been declared in Guatemala, where at least 23 have died, and Honduras has seen at least nine deaths and evacuated more than 1,000 people. Rains have started to ease in Nicaragua, where at least five have died.


A fight between prisoners at a jail in northern Mexico has left 20 inmates dead and 12 others injured. Officials say a dispute between two inmates escalated overnight Saturday as other prisoners got involved. State and federal police were called in to help the guards regain control at the prison in the city of Matamoros, in Tamaulipas state, near the US border. Many of the country's overcrowded prisons are rife with violence linked to Mexico's drug cartels.


Supporters say a Russian opposition activist on a hunger strike has been sent back to jail without receiving proper medical attention. Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of the Left Front movement, has been on a hunger strike for three days. He fell ill Saturday in a courtroom where he was appealing a 10-day arrest for disobeying police orders. The Left Front said in a statement on its website Sunday that supporters called an ambulance and sent him to a hospital. It says medical authorities did not examine him properly and refused to admit him. Mr. Udaltsov was detained Wednesday when he tried to lead a march to the presidential compound in Moscow following an authorized rally. He's been detained at least ten times this year.


A former Buddhist monk set himself on fire near a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in southwest China on Saturday. Norbu Dathul, 19, called out "Tibet needs freedom" and "His holiness the Dalai Lama must return" before setting himself alight in the main market of Aba. His actions was reported Sunday by the London-based Free Tibet movement, citing exiled Tibetan sources. Police extinguished the flames and took the former monk away. It's not known if he survived the self-immolation act. The latest incident -- confirmed by another rights group with contacts in the region -- brings the number of Tibetan protesters reported to have set themselves on fire to eight this year.


As many as 50,000 people were on hand Sunday to attend the dedication ceremony of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. Some began lining up before dawn. The civil rights leader's sister Christine King Farris, his son Martin Luther King III, his daughter Bernice King and US President Barack Obama spoke. Soul artist Aretha Franklin sang, and poet Nikki Giovanni read her poem "In the Spirit of Martin." The choir from Dr. King's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA sang as the memorial finally received a proper dedication on the National Mall, weeks after a hurricane blew through Washington and postponed plans for a ceremonial opening in August.




Don Cherry apologized Saturday to former NHL tough guys Chris Nilan, Stu Grimson and Jim Thomson for calling them "pukes" and "turncoats." On his first "Coach's Corner" broadcast of the season, Cherry accused the three of calling for an end to fighting in hockey after making a living as NHL enforcers. Last night on the broadcast, Cherry said the three are his kind of guys, and he shouldn't have "thrown them under the bus." Nilan posted on his twitter account that he accepted the apology...Saturday's results: Colorado defeated Montreal 6-5 in a shootout, Washington defeated Ottawa 3-2, Toronto defeated Calgary 3-2, Phoenix defeated Winnipeg 4-1 and Vancouver defeated Edmonton 4-3.


Laura Brown of Vancouver won bronze in the women's time trial cyling race Sunday at the Pan American Games in Mexico. On Saturday, Canadian athletes won a gold, a silver and two bronze medals on the opening day of the Games. Two-time Olympian Ivett Gonda of Port Moody, BC captured the women's 49-kilogram taekwondo event. Max Plaxton of Toronto won the silver in the men's mountain biking and Amanda Sin of Collingwood, ON won the bronze in women's mountain biking. In swimming, the Canadian women's four-by-100-metre freestyle relay team won the bronze.


Damon Allen is heading into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Allen, who saw Anthony Calvillo break three of his all-time CFL passing records this year, headlined the 2012 induction class announced Sunday. Also named for enshrinement are former players Milt Stegall, Jack Abendschan and Tyrone Jones (posthumously). Former CFL tailback Eric Lapointe will also be inducted as a Canadian university player while former Calgary Dinos head coach Peter Connellan and BC Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner David Braley were named as builders...On the field Sunday, Montreal defeated Hamilton 27-25. On Saturday, Edmonton defeated Winnipeg 24-10.


Saturday's results: Toronto and Philadelphia tied 1-1 and Dallas shut out Vancouver 2-0.


Toronto's Daniel Nestor and Max Mirnyi of Belarus won the men's doubles title at Shanghai Masters on Sunday, defeating Michael Llodra of France and Nestor's long-time partner, Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, 3-6, 6-1 and 12-10 in the tiebreak.






Vancouver is cloudy with a chance of showers. The forecast high temperature: 12 degrees Celsius. Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg are sunny, highs of 10. Toronto has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 13. Ottawa is cloudy, a high of 12. Montreal is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 13. Fredericton has showers, a high of 16. Charlottetown and Halifax have showers, highs of 14. St. John's has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 13. Whitehorse is cloudy, a high of one. Yellowknife is cloudy, a high of four. Iqaluit is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of three.

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