Monday, December 5, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 4 December 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather
Canadian

New Democratic Party holds first leadership debate


Nine men and women took part on Sunday in the first of six debates in the campaign to become the next leader of Canada's main opposition New Democratic Party. The NDP has been under an interim leader since long-time leader Jack Layton died of cancer earlier this year.

Those participating were Brian Topp, former party president, Montreal member of parliament Thomas Mulcair, Ottawa MP Paul Dewar, Toronto MP Peggy Nash, B.C. MP Nathan Cullen, Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm, Quebec MP Romeo Saganash, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton and Nova Scotia pharmacist Martin Singh.

The first half of the two-hour debate was conducted in English, the second half in French.



Truth and Reconciliation Commission needs more money


Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission says it needs a bigger budget. The group has five years and 60-million-dollars to collect stories of abuse in church-run, government-funded residential schools that thousands of native children were forced to attend for decades beginning in the l950s.

The chair of the Commission -- Justice Murray Sinclair -- is warning the federal government that collecting documents and gathering statements from victims is costing more than anticipated. A statement from the Aboriginal Affairs department says if the Commission needs more money, it must go through the appropriate channels as a federal department.

Former students who experienced physical or sexual abuse at the schools have less than 10 months left to apply for possible compensation.



First Nation dissent over pipeline bid


A controversial proposal to build an oil pipeline from Alberta's oildsands to the coast of British Columbia is creating dissent within a First Nation. A group within the Gitxsan band has denounced a deal forged by their chiefs with the Alberta-based energy company Enbridge.

The project would carry heavy crude known as bitumen from Alberta's oil sands to a tanker port at Kitimat for shipments to Asia. The Gitxsan chiefs announced on Friday they'd accepted an equity stake in the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

But the dissenting group says it was wrong to cut a deal before knowing what the impact on the environment will be. Last week,a report by a coalition of Canadian and U.S. environmental groups said the pipeline poses an unacceptable risk to British Columbia's mountain rivers and pristine coastline and that further study is needed.



Bomb threat diverts jetliner


A Canadian jetliner made an emergency landing on Saturday after a passenger allegedly threatened to explode a bomb. The WestJet flight was headed to Toronto from Vancouver when it landed instead in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Police evacuated the plane and arrested a 27-year-old Portuguese man. A bomb squad searched the plane and pronounced it safe.

Police say that the detained man has a history of mental health problems. Some doubt was raised about whether the man actually spoke about a bomb in Portuguese or whether he was misinterpreted. Police say that he will likely be released without charge after a medical examination and allowed to fly to Portugal with his father.

Some passengers on the flight arrived in Toronto early on Sunday morning and the others were expected to arrive shortly thereafter.



Foreign Affairs department records deficit


Unexpected events abroad have led Canada's Foreign Affairs department to record its first budget deficit in five years. The department says that in the past year, natural disasters like earthquakes, explosions and mudslides created a deficit of CDN$5.2 million. The budget for consular services is provided by sales of Canadian passports, but costs have risen faster than revenues.

The Foreign Affairs department last had a deficit five years ago when large numbers of Canadians had to be transported out of Lebanon during a regional conflict.





International

Italy introduces severe austerity measures


Italy's new government has quickly taken steps to cut government spending in the face of a looming national debt. Immediate cuts will be made in the budgets of government departments and measures will be made to stop tax evasion. As a sign of goodwill, Prime Minister Mario Monti said that he would forego his salary entirely. He says that the moves should reawaken the economy.

Italy has huge debts. As one of the largest economies in the Eurozone, Italy's shaky position added to the threats facing the stability of the Euro.



Syria under new Arab League deadline


The Arab League has given Syria until Sunday to respond to its proposal to send observers to the country as part of a plan to end the political violence there. Qatar's prime minister warned at an Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Doha that failure to reach an agreement may lead to U.N. involvement in the Syrian crisis.

Unrest has continued with 23 people reported killed across Syria yesterday. The UN said this week that Syria has entered a period of civil war, and that more than 4,000 people have been killed since mid-March. The UN is calling on the international community to protect Syrian civilians.



NATO reacts to Iran's claim to have shot down unmanned U.S. spy plane


 

Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency says the country's armed forces have shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane that violated Iranian airspace along its eastern border. A NATO statement says operators lost control of a surveillance drone over Afghanistan late last week.

And it may be the same one Iran says it shot down earlier Sunday.

Iran is locked in a dispute with the U.S. and its allies over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at the development of nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.



U.S. said to be following orders to leave key military base in Pakistan


 

 

Pakistan media reports that the United States has began to evacuate an air base in Pakistan on orders from Islamabad to quit the base before December 11. The move is in retaliation for the Nov. 26 NATO strike on two Pakistani army check points near the Afghan border which left 24 Pakistani troops dead. The base is located some 320 km southwest of Balochistan 's capital city Quetta.

The U.S. has been using it since 2001 for military operations in Afghanistan and drone strikes in Pakistan's northwest tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Pakistan has also closed two border checkpoints for NATO supplies entering Afghanistan from Pakistan and is boycotting a key conference on Afghan security which opens in Bonn on Monday. On Sunday President Hamid Karzai appealed to delegates who will attend the talks to support his nation with financial and military aid after troops withdraw at the end of 2014.

 

 



Thousands evacuate German city before WWII-era bomb defused


Tens of thousands of residents in the German city of Koblenzwere forced to leavetheir homes Sunday, as experts prepared to defuse a massive World War II-era bomb discovered in the Rhine river.

The British 1.8 ton bomb could cause massive damage if it exploded. It was found last week along with a smaller U.S. bomb after the Rhine's water level fell due to lack of rain. Both bombs are to be defused later today.



Social media sites condemn speech by China's state tv boss 


 

Thousands of Chinese internet users have criticized a speech by the new state TV boss. Hu Zhanfan, appointed to the top post at China Central Television last month, said that journalists who defined themselves as "professionals" rather than "propaganda workers" were making a "fundamental mistake about identity".

His speech was published by Xinhua last May but appeared only to have caught the attention of web users on Sunday after the remarks were posted on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.

Tens of thousands of bloggers flooded social networking sites to condemn Mr. Hu's criticism of journalists and bemoan the lack of independent media in China.



Croatians choose new government


Exit polls in Croatia show that voters have chosen a new government to replace the HDZ party that has governed the country for 16 of the past 20 years. The opposition bloc known as Kukuriku is predicted to have won 83 seats in the 151-seat parliament. Voters apparently punished the HDZ for recent corruption scandals and greater unemployment.



Bomb blast near British embassy in Bahrain


A bomb exploded Sunday near the British embassy in Bahrain. The Bahrain Interior Ministry said the blast in the capital Manama caused no casualties nor damage to the embassy. British officials are in contact with the Ministry but have not speculated on the cause of the incident.



Putin's party loses ground in key vote


Unofficial exit polls following Russia's parliamentary elections on Sunday show reduced support for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party. With 15 per cent of the vote counted, United Russia had about 46 per cent support, a significant drop from the 64 per cent support that the party received in 2007. The Communist Party was running second at about 20 per cent.

Mr. Putin was hoping for a strong showing as he prepares to run in the presidential elections in March.

Opposition parties are accusing the government of election irregularities. Only seven parties were allowed to field candidates for parliament. Vocal opposition groups were denied registration and barred from campaigning. Two independentmedia outlets, Golos and Ekho Moskvy, charge that they were shut down to prevent them from commenting on the election.



Egyptian Islamist parties make strong electoral showing


Islamist parties in Egypt have made a strong showing in the country's first elections since the fall of President Hosni Mubarek earlier this year. Islamist parties won 65 per cent of all votes cast for parties in the first round of parliamentary polls last week. The moderate Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood won 36 per cent, followed by the hardline Salafist Al-Nur party with 24 per cent and the moderate Al-Wasat with four per cent. The main secular liberal coalition won only about 13 per cent. Liberal Egyptians fear that the Salafist party will work to impose fundamental Sharia law, segregation of the sexes, and other restrictions.





Sports


SPEED SKATING

Canada's Christine Nesbitt won a gold medal in the 1000-metre race at the World Cup long-track speedskating event in Heerenveen, Netherlands on Sunday. She remains unbeaten in the distance this season after wins in Chelyabinsk, Russia, and Astana, Kazakhstan. Nesbitt also won a gold in the women's pursuit race with team-mates Cindy Klassen and Brittany Schussler. At the men's short track speed skating World Cup event in Nagoya, Japan, on Sunday, Canadian Jean Olivier Lachenaie won the gold medal in the 500 metres and Canadian Charles Hamelin won the gold in the 1000 metres, while his compatriot, Michael Gilday, won the bronze.

SKIING

American Lindsey Vonn won the super-G race on Sunday at the Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup. Anna Fenninger of Austria was second and Julia Mancuso of the United States was third.

CURLING

Jennifer Jones defeated Chelsea Carey 9-4 to win the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling in Cranbrook, B.C., on Sunday. Jones secured a berth at the 2013 Olympic curling trials in Winnipeg with the victory.

CYCLING

Canadian Zach Bell and Tara Whitten won silver medals on Sunday at a World Cup event in Cali, Colombia. Whitten is the two-time defending world champion.





Weather


Here is Canada's weather forecast for Monday, December 5. British Columbia will be sunny. The high temperature in Vancouver will be five degrees Celsius. The Yukon: heavy snow. Whitehorse, five. Northwest Territories: overcast. Yellowknife, one. Nunavut: snow flurries. Iqaluit, minus nine. Alberta: variable cloudiness. Edmonton, five. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, minus ten. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, minus 14. Ontario: rain. Toronto: seven. Ottawa, six. Quebec: rain. Montreal, seven. New Brunswick: overcast. Fredericton, nine. Nova Scotia: sunny periods. Halifax, ten. Prince Edward Island: mainly cloudy. Charlottetown, ten. Newfoundland: mainly sunny. St. John's, six.





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