Sunday, October 30, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 29 October 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather

Commonwealth leaders continue to spar over human rights

Commonwealth leaders, including Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, talked through the day at their summit in Australia Saturday but failed to find a way to deal with urgent human rights reforms. The reforms are said to be critical to the 54-member Commonwealth's survival because of rule-of-law abuses in many Commonwealth countries. The Perth Summit had been billed as a last-chance opportunity to revive the relevance of the 80-year-old international grouping before it heads to troubled Sri Lanka for its 2013 leaders' conference. Mr. Harper has said if if the human rights issues are not dealt with in Sri Lanka, Canada will boycott that meeting. Mr. Harper, who had expected a final communiqué to be completed by Saturday night, scrubbed plans for an early departure because key details remain on the table for Sunday's closing session. A report that officially remains under wraps but has been widely leaked, asserts that possibly terminal rot has set into the Commonwealth due to its silence about abuses, including forced marriages, laws against homosexuality and political repression.

Afghanistan claims the life of another Canadian soldier

The war in Afghanistan has claimed the life of another Canadian soldier. The soldier was among the dead after a Taliban suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into an armoured NATO bus that was travelling between bases in Kabul on Saturday. A total of 13 NATO personnel were killed -- five soldiers and eight civilian employees. It was the first Canadian death in Afghanistan since the military ended its combat mission earlier this year. Some 920 Canadian military personnel are still in the country training Afghan forces. The military has informed the soldier's family but hasn't released the soldier's identity. The attack along a busy thoroughfare in the Afghan capital also killed four Afghans, and counts among the deadliest attacks on coalition troops in more than two months. A total of 158 Canadian Forces personnel have now been killed in Afghanistan since Canada joined the NATO mission in early 2002.

MacKay accesses Libyan mission

Defence Minister Peter MacKay says Canada's mission in Libya cost less than expected. The minister said that as of two weeks ago, the cost was about $50 million. The minister said initial projections last June, based in part on the cost of the first three months of the mission, were about $60 million. Mr. MacKay said the mission was successful by anyone's standards. The NATO mission of which Canada was a part ends Oct. 31, although Canada has pledged to help Libya as it rebuilds after 42 years under deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was shot and killed last week.

RCMP releases report on involvement with native residential schools

The RCMP hasreleased its first complete assessment of its involvement in native residential schools. Deputy Commisioner Steve Graham presented the report o the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Halifax on Saturday. It covers a period of more than 100 years. It says RCMP officers usually weren't aware of the need to investigate abuse in the native residential school system because aboriginal families were reluctant to tell them what was occurring behind closed doors. The 457-page report says the police acted on behalf of the federal government to track down children who had run away from the schools and to tell parents they had to send their children to the schools. The government-funded, church-run residential schools operated from the 1870s until the final closure of a school outside Regina in 1996. About 150,000 aboriginal children attended residential schools. A majority of those who attended the schools were sexually or physically abused during their stay. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has a five-year mandate to document the history of residential schools, inspire reconciliation and produce a report by 2014.

Ottawa plans to crack down on marriages of convenience

The federal government is planning to get tough with people who are in marriages of convenience to gain Canadian citizenship. According to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the new rules will be introduced later this year and will include a conditional period to ensure marriages are real. He said the Conservative government wants to put a stop to what he described as the "revolving door of marriage fraud" in which someone will gain citizenship through marriage, get a divorce and then sponsor another individual for citizenship. He added that under the new regulations, spouses who have already sponsored a partner are expected to be prohibited from sponsoring a new spouse for five years.

US agents ease searches at Canadian border

US border agents have quietly stopped routinely searching buses, trains and airports for illegal immigrants at transportation hubs along the Canadian border. Current and former US Border Patrol agents say field offices around the country began receiving the order last month. The Obama administration had said it would allow many illegal immigrants to remain in the US and will focus on deporting those who have committed crimes. The routine bus, train and airport checks typically involved agents questioning people who appeared suspicious. Immigrant rights groups have long criticized the tactic, saying it amounted to racial profiling and violated travellers' civil liberties. US officials countered that it was an effective way to catch unlawful immigrants, including smugglers and possible terrorists.

Toronto demonstrators out to support Syrian opposition

Organizers were expecting about 1000 people to march through downtown Toronto late Saturday afternoon in support of the opposition in Syria. The protesters planned to release 3,000 ballons--one balloon for each civilian the UN has been killed in the Syrian protests. Some people were expected to cover their faces because of fears for their families in Syria.The march was part of a series of protests around the world. In SyriaSaturday, government troopscarried out raids and activists say at least three peoplewere killed. The raidscame one day after one of the most violent days since the protests began. Activists say at least 40 people were killed on Friday. Earlier Saturday in Toronto, Occupy Toronto staged a rally in the downtown core.

Job prospects dim for rest of 2011: Conference Board

Job hunting will likely remain difficult for Canadians for the rest of the year. The Conference Board of Canada says employment opportunities turned sour in September, following the global market turmoil that began in August. A board survey conducted in September found job prospects improving in only three of 26 metropolitan areas -- St. John's, NL, Saint John, NB, and the St. Catharines, ON.

Shot Canadian worker in Haiti is recovering

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda says the government is working with consular officials to help the family of a Canadian aid worker shot in Haiti. Reports say retired lawyer Francklin Guerrier was wounded and another man killed Friday, while they were driving in the capital Port-au-Prince. Officials say Mr. Guerrier's injuries are not life-threatening.



Qantas Airways grounded all of its aircraft around the world Saturday due to ongoing strikes by its workers. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told a news conference in Sydney the Australian carrier's entire fleet of 108 aircraft will remain grounded indefinitely until unions representing pilots, mechanics and other ground staff reach an agreement with the airline over pay and conditions. Flights already in the air when the announcement was made were to continue to their destinations.


A Canadian soldier was among 13 NATO troops killed in a suicide attack on a convoy in Kabul on Saturday. A suicide bomber rammed a van into an armoured personnel carrier travelling in a NATO convoy as it was passing the American University. The death is the first since Canadian combat operations in Kandahar ended earlier this year and the new training mission involving 920 soldiers began. The Taliban has claimed responsibility. Canada has now lost 158 Canadian Forces personnel since it first went to Afghanistan as part of the NATO force in early 2002.


Tankspounded an old district in the city of Homs on Saturday and three people were killed. The attack came a day after one of the deadliest days in the seven-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Activists and residents said Syrian forces shot dead 40 civilians when they fired on demonstrators calling for international protection from Mr. Assad's crackdown. One activist group said fierce fighting broke out in Homs on Friday night between dozens of army deserters and forces loyal to Mr. Assad. The group said 17 soldiers were killed when the defectors attacked two security posts in the city. The UN estimates the regime crackdown has killed 3,000 people since March.



Israeli aircraft struck at Palestinian militants on Saturday, killing five and wounding 11 others. Militants responded with a volley of rockets that injured several Israeli civilians, Exchanges of fire are common between the Palestinian-controlled Gaza strip and southern Israel, but this is the worst one in months. An Israeli military spokesman said the militants from the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza were hit as they were preparing to launch more rockets at Israel. The group said one of its field commanders was killed and vowed revenge in a text message sent to reporters.


Authorities in Bangkok are shoring up the city's defences against rising floodwaters. Swelling coastal tides have already swamped the city's outskirts and much of the surrounding countryside. So far, most of Bangkok's defences are holding. Roads were jammed Friday as residents used a five-day holiday to leave the city. Officials have warned high tides due on Saturday, combined with the flow of run-off water from inundated central plains, could cause wider flooding. Heavy monsoon rains have been causing flooding in Thailand since July. More than 370 people have been killed and swathes of the country affected.


Commonwealth leaders meeting in Australia have failed to reach an agreement on urgent human rights reforms some say are critical to the organization's survival. Canadian Prime Minister Harper and the other leaders are looking at a report that bluntly states the future of the Commonwealth is in peril if it can't credibly address human rights, democratic and rule-of-law abuses by some of its member states. Mr. Harper scrubbed plans for an early departure from the summit because key details remain on the table for Sunday's closing session.


Thousands of gay rights supporters marched through Taiwan's capital on Saturday, calling for increased tolerance and the enactment of anti-discrimination legislation. The event was the ninth annual gay rights parade in Taipei, which has one of Asia's most vibrant gay communities. The parade attracted participants from around the globe. Parade organizers called for legislation to wipe out deep-rooted gay discrimination in Asian cultures.


The exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, has pointed to what he called China's "ruthless policy" as prompting the recent deaths of Tibetan monks who set themselves on fire in protest and he called on Beijing Saturday to change its approach to ruling over the Himalayan region. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate spoke during a trip to Japan to visit victims of this year's devastating tsunami. At least nine Tibetans in their late teens and 20s have self-immolated since March in protest of Chinese rule. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of encouraging the immolations. The Dalai Lama fled the Himalayan region in 1959 amid an abortive anti-Beijing uprising and is reviled by China's communist government.


Sports Roundup

Pan American Games

Canadian paddlers had a terrific day Saturday at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Richard Dalton won the C1 200-metre canoe race and kayakers Ryan Cochrane and Hugues Fournel also won gold in the men's K2 200-metre. Dalton's victory earned Canada a spot in the men's C1 200-metre event at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In the canoe-kayak competition on Friday, Steven Jorens and Richard Dober won gold in the K2 1000 final, Emile Fournel won silver in the women's K1 500 final and Philippe Duchesneau won bronze in the K1 1000 final. In artistic gymnastics, Kristina Vaculik won silver in the women's balance beam final, Mikaela Gerber won silver in the women's floor final, and Hugh Smith won the bronze in the men's vault. In boxing, Mary Spencer won silver in the 75kg. In fencing, Canada won the silver in the men's foil final. In women's water polo, Canada lost to the US 27-26 in a penalty shootout and won the silver. In judo, Nicolas Tritton won bronze in the men's 73kg, Stephanie Tremblay won bronze in the women's 63kg and Joliane Melancon won bronze in the women's 57kg. In diving, Kevin Geyson and Eric Sehn won bronze in the 10m synchronized final, and in women's field hockey, Canada lost to Chile 3-0 and placed fourth.

2010 Olympics

A report by a consulting firm suggests the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics resulted in major economic benefits to British Columbia. The firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, says that from 2003 to the end of last year, the games generated at $2.3 billion in real gross domestic product to the province. The report also says the Games generated more than 45,000 jobs. The report says that almost 650,000 visitors arrived in BC during the two-week period of the Games in Feb. 2010.

National Hockey League

Friday's results: Calgary defeated St. Louis 3-1 and Colorado defeated Edmonton 3-1.

Canadian Fooball League

Friday's result: Toronto defeated Winnipeg 27-22.

Major League Baseball

St. Louis defeated Texas 6-2 Friday to win the seventh-and-deciding game of the 2011 World Series. It was the Cardinals' 11th World Series title.


Sunday's forecasts

Vancouver has periods of rain with a forecast high temperature of 11 degrees Celsius. Calgary has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 12. Regina is sunny, a high of eight. Winnipeg is cloudy, a high of six. Toronto has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of 11. Ottawa is sunny, a high of eight. Montreal is sunny, a high of 11. Fredericton has periods of snow or rain, a high of five. Charlottetown has periods of rain, a high of six. Halifax and St. John's have rain or snow, highs of four. Whitehorse is cloudy with a chance of flurries, a high of one. Yellowknife is cloudy with a chance of showers, a high of six. Iqaluit has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of minus-seven.

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