Sunday, October 23, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 22 October 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather


Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has unveiled an election platform that he says focuses on growth and affordability for residents and the government. The document lays out the Saskatchewan Party's vision for the next four years, although many of the promises have already been announced in the first two weeks of the campaign. That includes what Mr. Wall says will be the costliest promise -- expanding the assured income program for disabled people and increasing benefits. Mr. Wall says, if re-elected, his Saskatchewan Party will also help new high school graduates with post-secondary tuition and set up a tax credit for first time homebuyers. Mr. Wall says the platform has been fully costed and will be achieved within a balanced budget in each year of the four-year term. The total cost of the platform is $414 million over four years.


Quebec Premier Jean Charest has announced a dramatic reversal. Mr. Charest has been under fire for refusing to give a provincial commission into corruption in the construction industry the power to subpoena witnesses. Critics said it would prevent the inquiry from painting a complete picture of alleged bid-rigging and political kickbacks in the awarding of contracts. But Friday at the Quebec Liberal Party's convention, Mr. Charest announced he had changed his mind, saying his government wants those who are guilty to be in front of the courts. The opposition Parti Quebecois challenged the government to put the measure in place immediately, rather than waiting for the commissioner of the inquiry, Justice France Charbonneau, to request the change.


Former prime minister John Turner says the Liberal Party should not be tempted to merge with the New Democrats. In an interview with the Toronto Star published Saturday, Mr. Turner disagrees with the merger idea that has been mulled over by former prime minister Jean Chretien among others. Mr. Turner says that the cultures of the two parties "will never mesh."


Canada Post isn't happy that arbitration hearings have been delayed until next year. Spokesman Jon Hamilton says action is needed now to address Canada Post's labour costs to protect the Crown Corporation's long-term viability. A judge has agreed to put arbitration proceedings on hold for three months because the Canadian Union of Postal Workers objected to the government's choice of arbitrator. CUP-W said retired judge Coulter Osborne isn't bilingual and doesn't have the necessary labour relations experience. The Federal Court of Canada is scheduled to hear arguments on the matter in January. Federal back-to-work legislation passed in June forced postal workers to accept wages that amounted to less than Canada Post's last offer. It also imposed a form of winner-take-all arbitration where the two sides will each make a final offer -- one of which will be accepted.


Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux says the British Columbia government wants to move quickly to improve services for thousands of British Columbians with developmental disabilities and their families. But social groups advocating for vulnerable people and their families say it appears the government is more concerned with healing political wounds within the ministry and the Crown agency Community Living BC than with helping people. Former social development minister Harry Bloy was recently fired from the cabinet post, as was CLBC's chief executive officer Rick Mowles. Liberal backbenchers Randy Hawes and John van Dongen are publicly criticizing the government's treatment of vulnerable people. Ms. Cadieux says she's appointed a client service team comprising high-ranking officials from her ministry and the Ministry for Children and Family Development to help address immediate needs of CLBC clients. She says she's set up a toll-free line for people to call for immediate help and an internal audit team is examining spending. Ms. Cadieux's ministry has been under fire for months over group home closures, service wait lists and calls from social advocates and the Opposition New Democrats for an independent probe of CLBC operations.


Family and friends of people who were killed by police staged a protest Saturday in Montreal. Organizers want a change in the way incidents involving an officer are investigated. Calls for an independent investigation unit have existed for years in Quebec, but, as it stands, casualties involving police are investigated by another police force. The Quebec government said in June that it was willing to reconsider the investigation process after two people were shot dead during a police arrest in Montreal. The issue of police brutality came to the forefront after an unarmed 18-year-old named Fredy Villanueva was fatally shot in 2008.


People came from across Canadato Winnipeg onFriday for the funeral service of long-time Liberal MP Reg Alcock Attendees included former prime minister Paul Martin and several members of Parliament, including interim Liberal leader Bob Rae. Mr. Martin bestowed the country's highest tribute mark Alcock's death at his memorial: the Canadian flag. Alcock died a week ago at the age of 63 of an apparent heart attack at the Winnipeg airport.


The Toronto Zoo's oldest male African lion has died. The 20-year-old lion named Rowdy was euthanized after old age caused his health to decline over the last year. In a release announcing his death, the zoo describes Rowdy as the "majestic leader" of the pride, who was "vital and active" for most of his life. His zookeepers remember him as a gentle and affectionate creature who loved the smell of cinnamon. Rowdy's two male sons, who were born in 2000, still live at the zoo.The zoo says its lion pride provides valuable data for the conservation of the species in the wild and in captivity.



The National Transitional Council will declare Sunday Liberation Day. The announcment will be made in the city of Benghazi where the revolution began. The NTC has also set a time table for a constitutional assembly following the death of Moammar Gadhafi. Interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril says parliamentary and presidential elections will be held within eight months. Mr. Jibril said he will be stepping down as the country begins a process of reconciliation. Meanwhile, military commanders in the city of Misrata said Saturday that no autopsy would be carried out on the Gadhafi's body despite concerns over how he died. Mr. Jalil said an investigation was being conducted into the circumstances ofGadhafi's killing following his capture, bloodied but still alive, during the fall of his hometown Sirte on Thursday, after several foreign governments and human rights watchdogs posed questions. But the military leadership in Misrata, whereGadhafi's body had been stored in a vegetable market freezer overnight and was again put on display for hundreds of curious onlookers on Saturday, insisted the inquiry would involve no autopsy.


NATO has decided to wrap up it's Libya mission, by the end of this month. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the seven-month mission in Libya will terminate on Oct. 31. But he said NATO would continue to act to protect Libyan civilians. Canada is part of the coalition force that carried out air strikes over Libya for the past seven months.


Activistssaid thousands of soldiers fanned out through suburbs of the capital, Damascus, on Saturday to look for opponents of President Bashar al- Assad's regime About 5,000 soldiers and police officers set up checkpoints, raided homes, and made dozens of arrests. There are also reports that five people have been killed in security operations around the country. At least 24 people were killed Friday after protesters across the country took to the streets following prayer services. The U.N. says over 3,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March. Meanwhile, Iran has issued its strongest criticism yet over the Syrian crackdown. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an interview on CNN television, said when people are being killed, it paves the way for more quarrels. He called for the bloodshed to end and for both sides to sit together and reach an understanding.




The military says 49 Kurdish rebels have been killed in offensives in southeast Turkey. In a statement posted on its website Saturday the military said the rebels were killed in fighting in Hakkari province over the past two days. Turkey launched anti-rebel offensives -- involving around 10,000 troops -- both in southeastern Turkey and across the border in Iraq on Wednesday, after 24 soldiers were killed by the rebels in the deadliest one-day toll against the military since the 1990s.


Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday disagreements about legal protection for US soldiers scuttled months of negotiations to keep US troops in Iraq beyond this year. He added that he still wants American help in training Iraqi forces to use military equipment Baghdad is buying from the US. However, he made clear that it was Iraq who refused to let the US military stay on its own terms. His comments came a day after President Barack Obama announced the full US military withdrawal by Dec. 31, saying he was sticking to his 2009 commitment to end the war in Iraq. The US had offered to keep thousands of troops in Iraq but insisted they be shielded from prosecution or lawsuits. Iraq rejected that demand.


The heir to the throne has died. Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud was King Abdullah's half-brother. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004 and is thought to have died at a New York hospital where he was undergoing medical tests. The royal court confirmed his death in a statement carried by SPA, the state news agency. He was the minister of defence and aviation. He was 85.


China on Saturday pledged "full fledged support" for next month's G-20 leaders summit in France, as the deepening eurozone crisis threatens to tip the global economy back into recession. Vice Premier Wang Qishan, China's top official on financial affairs, made the comments during a meeting with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who stopped over in Beijing following a visit to India. Current G-20 chair France is to host leaders from the world's leading economies Nov. 3-4 in Cannes. China is anxious about its investments in euro-denominated bonds and weakening demand for its exports. It has repeatedly expressed confidence in the eurozone and has vowed to buy European sovereign debt to shore up their flagging economies.


Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Saturday the floods affecting the country may take another six weeks to recede, and there were renewed fears the capital, Bangkok, may be flooded in the coming days. Floods have drenched other parts of the country since July leaving over 350 people dead and 110,000 homeless. Excessive monsoon rains have flooded a third of Thailand since late July, causing billions of dollars in damage.


Jerzy Bielecki, a Polish inmate who led his Jewish girlfriend out of Auschwitz in 1944, has died at age 90 at his home in southern Poland. In July 1944, the 23-year-old Bielecki used his relatively privileged position as a German-speaking Catholic Polish inmate of Auschwitz to orchestrate the daring rescue of his Jewish girlfriend, Cyla Cybulska, who was doomed to die. Both survived but were separated for many decades. Bielecki is to be buried in the town of Nowy Targ on Monday.




Canadian athletes had another excellent day Saturday at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Richard Weinberger took gold in the men's 10-kilometre open water swimming event. Canada also picked up two silvers. Aaron Rathy finished second in men's wakeboarding, while Crispin Duenas lost out in the men's archery final. Vincent Gagnon won bronze in men's racquetball ball. Elsewhere, Canada beat Venezuela 10-6 in the preliminary round of men's baseball. Tonya Verbeek defeated Ecuador's Lissette Alexandra Antes on points to advance to the final of the 55-kilogram division of women's freestyle wrestling. Carol Huynh defeated Ecuador's Luisa Elizabeth Valverde on points in the semi-finals of the 48-kg division of women's freestyle wrestling and Alisha Tatham led Canada with 17 points and four assists in its 59-57 loss to Colombia in preliminary play in women's basketball. On Friday, Canada won two gold medals and two silver medals. The women's squash team won gold, while the men's team settled for silver. In the pool, the synchronized swimming team won gold, with the women's four-by-100-metre medley relay adding a silver.

As of Saturday evening, Canada stood third--behind the US and Brazil--with a total 47 medals -- 15 gold, 14 silver, 18 bronze.


Saturday's result: Winnipeg defeated Montreal 26-25. On Friday, Edmonton defeated Toronto 31-14 and Calgary defeated Saskatchewan 25-13.


Gael Monfils of France defeated Canadian Milos Raonic in the semi-finals of the Stockholm Open Saturday, winning 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-3 to advance to Sunday's final against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland. Raonic advanced to the semis on Friday with a straight set (7-5, 6-4) win over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Raonic is currently ranked 29th in the world.


A second rider from the Garneau-Club Chaussures cycling team in Montreal is facing a ban for an anti-doping violation. Peruvian rider Miguel Agreda issued a statement on the Veloptimum website in which he admitted to a doping violation and will accept a suspension by the Canadian Cycling Association. The CCA declined to comment until the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Sports announces a positive test and renders a decision. Agreda said in his statement that he had tested positive and will be suspended. He did not name what substance was found or when the test was taken. He said he acted alone and that he recognized the "grief, disappointment and disgrace" he caused to his team and supporters. He apologized and urged others not to use performance-enhancing drugs. Agreda said he would have no further comment.



Vancouver is cloudy with a forecast high temperature of 12 degrees Celsius. Calgary has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 12. Regina is sunny, a high of 10. Winnipeg has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of nine. Toronto has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 15. Ottawa has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 12. Montreal is cloudy with a high of 12. Fredericton has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 15. Charlottetown has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 14. Halifax has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 15. St. John's is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of 12. Whitehorse has a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of flurries, a high of zero. Yellowknife has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of three. Iqaluit has periods of snow, a high of zero.

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