Monday, November 21, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 20 November 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather
Canadian

Pine beetles spreading east


Mountain pine beetles are spreading east from the Canadian province of Alberta into neighbouring Saskatchewan. Last winter, Alberta's government spent millions of dollars to destroy 170,000 trees that had been infested by the beetles. But a new generation has taken to the air, flying to forest regions near the Saskatchewan border.



East coast Canadians protest over abortion issue


In Prince Edward Island, there's renewed debate over access to abortion. P-E-I is the only Canadian province in the country where abortions are not performed.

The government will cover the cost, but women must leave the province at their own expense to undergo the procedure. On Saturday, a group demanding changes and one supporting the status quo held rallies in downtown Charlottetown.



Canadian back home after ordeal in Saudi Arabia


ACanadian imam who was arrested and beaten by authorities in Saudi Arabia is back home. Imam Usama Al-Atar of Edmonton was leading a Haj pilgrimage in the city of Medina when he was accosted by security officials and detained last month.



Gregor Robertson re-elected as Vancover mayor


Gregor Robertson was easily re-elected to serve a second term as mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia on Saturday. In his victory speech, Mr. Robertson thanked supporters who he said believed in a bright future for Vancouve.

During the campaign, critics had attacked the mayor for weak leadership in dealing with the Occupy Vancouver protests and the riot which ensued after the final Stanley Cup play-off in June.

In other B.C. municipal elections, the mayors of Victoria and Surrey also were re-elected, while the towns of Whistler and Kamloops elected their first female mayors.



Report criticizes Canada's waste water treatment plants


A new report says that one quarter of all waste water treatment plants across Canada will need to be replaced when new regulations come into effect at the end of this year. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporationhas learned that out of 282 municipalities, all but one municipality will need to replace their water treatment plant to comply with regulations.

Municipalities are worried about how they're going to pay for the new facilities.They can barely keep up with paying for maintaining the aging infrastructure already in place. Newfoundland is facing the biggest challenge.



Canadian warship to patrol Mediterranean


In a surprise announcement, Canada's defence minister, Peter MacKay, declared on Sunday that the Canadian warship, HMCS Vancouver will remain in the central Mediterranean until January, when it will be replaced by another Canadian warship that will remain until the end of 2012. HMCS Vancouver was part of NATO's mission in Libya earlier this year.

Mr. MacKay says that the warship will track and board any vessel suspected of terrorism.He also expressed concern about the latest violence in Egypt and in Syria. Mr. MacKay called the violence in Cairo 'troubling,' and a symptom of the change that continues to sweep Egypt. Mr. MacKay spoke on the final day of the Halifax International Security Forum.





International

Syrian leader vows to fight protests


 

At least two rocket-propelled grenadeshit the headquarters of Syria's governing Bath Party in Damascus on Sunday. It's the first insurgent attack on the capital since anti-government protests began eight months ago.The Free Syrian Army, a group of military defectors, claimed responsibility.

The attack came as the Arab League rejected proposed amendments to its peace plan calling for a 500 member observer mission to be sent to Syria. The League will meet again on Thursday to discuss further options.

In an interviewwith the Sunday Times, President Bashar al Assad said he is willing to fightprotesters.He blamed a minority of militants for the unrest which the UN says has left 3500 people dead. On Saturday 27 people were killed at the hands of security forces.



More violence at Cairo's Tahrir Square


 

In an escalating situation, Egyptian police clashed on Sunday with demonstrators who reoccupied Cairo's Tahrir Square. Police fired rubber bullets at the crowd, killing as many as four people and causing injury to hundreds of others.

Violence began when police tried to remove protesters who had spent the night in the square. One of the protesters, Ahmed Rasheed, says that police acted without cause, attacking demonstrators who were trying to stage a peaceful protest.

Protesters are pressing the military caretaker government to relinquish power to a civilian government. Parliamentary elections are due to be held in just over a week.



Former Libyan spy chief is captured


Libya's former intelligence chief was captured in the Libyan desert on Sunday. Abdullah al-Senussi is wanted by the International Criminal Court for his part in violently trying to suppress a popular revolt.

France sentenced him in absentia to life in prison for the bombing of a French airliner in 1989.

Senussi was the brother-in-law of the late Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi. The ICC described Libya's military intelligence as a powerful organ of repression. Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam was captured on Saturday as he tried to flee the country.

Libya's interim government insists that he will be given a fair trial in Libya. The ICC wants to try al-Islam in The Hague.



Spain gets new government


As expected, Spain's centre-right People's Partyunder its leader, Mariano Rajoy,made a strong showing in parliamentary elections on Sunday. Official partial results showed the PP with 43 per cent of the vote, enough to win an absolute majority in the 182-seat lower house.

After seven years in power, the Socialistshad 29 per cent of the vote and conceded defeat.

Voters were looking for a party capable of managing a debt-ridden country with one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe.



Turkey still wants EU membership


Turkey says it still wants to join the European Union despite the euro zone crisis. President Abdullah Gul made the comment as he prepared to leave for Britain on a three-day state visit. His talks with Prime Minister David Cameron will focus on Syria.

There has been strong resistance within Europe to Turkish membership in the EU. A member of NATO, turkey is seen as a key link between the West and Muslim nations in the Middle East and Asia. It's economy is strong with a current growth rate of over 6.5 percent.



Iran sends presidential employee to prison


 

Iran's news agency says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's press adviser has been sentenced to a year in prison for writing about Islamic dress codes. Ali Akbar Javanfekr wrote that the practice of women wearing a head-to-toe black covering known as a chador was not originally an Iranian practice but was imported.

This was considered offensive by hard-line Iranian clerics and he was charged with publishing materials contrary to Islamic norms. Mr. Javanfekr is the latest of dozens of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political backers to be targeted by hard-line opponents.

Correspondents say the attacks are part of an internal power struggle over influencing upcoming elections for parliament and for president in 2013.



More unrest in Bahrain


It's reported that security forces in Bahrain brutally attacked a funeral procession in a Shiite village on the outskirts of the Bahraini capital Manama Saturday. Al-Wefaq, the largest Shiite opposition group, said dozens of people were were wounded when security forces moved in to disperse crowds attending the burial of a 16-year-old boy killed a day earlier after he was hit by a police car.

The authorities say the boy's death was an "accident" caused when a police vehicle swerved out of control and struck him.



China closes school and offers money to parents of dead children


Chinese media say a kindergarten school that operated a bus which crashed, killing 19 children, has closed. It says a new public school will open at the same location on Monday. The nine-seat van, was carrying 62 children and two adults when it crashed head-on with a truck in northwest Gansu province on Wednesday.

Their teacher and the driver died along with the children, who were between 3 and 5 years old. All 43 surviving children were injured. Officials say the new school will have a 45-seat bus donated by an oil company. Parents of each killed child will receive $68,000 in "compensation and consolation" money.



Pope ends African tour


Pope Benedictended his three-day African trip on Sunday with an open air mass in Benin attended by some 80,000 worshippers.

On Saturday, the 84-year old pontiff unveiled a plan for the future of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa, the most rapidly growing region for the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican review said Christian faith can help address Africa's chronic wars.

It also encouraged the study of traditional African beliefs to determine what aspects are helpful to the human condition.



Sri Lankan report on rights abuses delivered to President


A Sri Lankan commission that investigated alleged abuses during the country's civil war has delivered its final report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The president has said he will present it to Parliament, which will make it a public document. The government appointed the commission last year under intense international pressure to probe possible war crimes in the final stages of the war.

Human rights groups say the commission does not meet international standards and some of its members have conflicts of interest. An earlier U.N. panel found credible allegations of serious abuses on both sides of the war, which ended in May 2009.





Sports


SPEED SKATING

Canadian Christine Nesbitt won two gold medals on Sunday at the World Cup speed skating event in Chelyabinsk, Russia. She won in the women's 1,000 metres and led her compatriots Cindy Klassen and Brittany Schussler to gold in the women's team pursuit.

TENNIS

Canadian Daniel Nestor and partner Max Mirnyi of Belarus on Sunday beat India's Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan's Asian-Ul-Haq

Qureshi, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 11-9 (match tiebreak), in the opening round of the ATP World Tour Finals tournament in London.

FOOTBALL

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger Cats, 19-3, on Sunday, to win the Eastern Conference championships and a place in the 2011 Grey Cup.

HOCKEY

After nearly a year's absence, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby will make his season debut on Monday against the New York Islanders. Crosby was recovering from concussion-like symptoms as a result of taking head shots in consecutive games in January.





Weather


Here is Canada's weather forecast for Monday, November 21 . British Columbia will have rain. The high temperature in Vancouver will be eight degrees Celsius. The Yukon: snow flurries. Whitehorse, minus 20. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, minus 17. Nunavut: mainly sunny. Iqaluit, minus 12. Alberta: increasing cloudiness. Edmonton, minus seven. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, minus seven. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, minus six. Ontario: afternoon cloudiness. Toronto: two. Ottawa, minus three. Quebec: sunny. Montreal, minus two. New Brunswick: sunny. Fredericton, one. Nova Scotia: mainly sunny. Halifax, two. Prince Edward Island: snow flurries. Charlottetown, one. Newfoundland: mainly cloudy. St. John's, six.





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