Monday, December 19, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 18 December 2011
Canadian International Sports Weather

Liberal Party leader visits suffering First Nation community

The interim leader of the Liberal Party, Bob Rae, toured a troubled First Nation community in northern Ontario on Saturday. Mr. Rae met with Chief Theresa Spence and the band council in Attawapiskat and also spoke to residents.

Mr.Rae says some people are living in conditions that are all right, but others are living in conditions that are extremely bad.

Large families remain crammed into cold, mould-stained shacks with no bathroom or running water for a second year running. Mr. Rae criticized a decision by the Conservative government to appoint a third-party to manage the community's financial affairs.

The government has said the band council must pay the fee which will run $1300 a day, but Chief Spence has rejected the idea. The government has questioned why tens of millions of dollars have gone missing from the reserve's federal funding. Ottawa also announced it was sending several dozen modular homes to the community.

Health care focus of federal-provincial finance ministers

The debate over the future of health care funding in Canada is heating up. Provincial and territorial finance ministers are meeting tonight in Victoria, British Columbia.

On Monday they'll be joined by their federal counterpart, Jim Flaherty, to discuss Ottawa's contribution to provincial health care budgets. There's speculation that the Conservative government wants to link future growth in health care transfers to the provinces to the rate of growth in the economy.

Presently, the federal government is committed to increasing health transfers at six per cent a year, until 2016. Real gross domestic product is estimated to rise at about two percent.

February decision expected on controversial pipeline

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law a spending bill containing a provision requiring him to make a decision on a controversial Canadian pipeline project in 60 days. The $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline would carry crude oil from Alberta's tarsands to refineries in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast in Texas.

Environmentalists are against the plan which would pass over an aquifer supplying drinking water to about two million people in eight U.S. states. But Republican legislators argue it would create much needed jobs and alleviateAmerican dependence on foreign oil imports.

Mr Obama had threatened to veto the project, preferring to delay a decision past the 2012 general election. The legislation was necessary toavert a shutdown of U.S. government services. It goes before the Republican-dominated House for a vote on Monday.

Another historic Nova Scotia church burns

For the third time this month, an historic church in Nova Scotia has burned down. East Lake Ainslie Presbyterian Church in Inverness was destroyed by fire on Sunday morning. The church was built in 1882. Nearby buildings were not damaged. Police say that arson is not suspected. The Victoria Presbyterian Church in Birch Grove, Nova Scotia, burned down on December 10 and the next day, fire destroyed the Roman Catholic church on the Kingsclear First Nation reserve near Fredericton.

Risk study will assess dangers to Canadian embassies

Canada is going to conduct a study of the potential threats facing its foreign embassies and missions abroad. The Foreign Affairs Department is inviting security intelligence firms to bid for the study whose budget could range from CDN$1 million to CDN$5 million. The three-month study early next year will assess threats from terrorism, instability and natural disasters in 174 countries, including 46 major cities.

The 2010 federal budget allotted CDN$450 million over seven years for the Security Abroad Strategy to bolster security at Canada's foreign embassies.


Vaclav Havel is mourned

World leaders and supporters of democracy around the world are paying tribute to Vaclav Havel. The dissident Czech playwright who led Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution in 1989 died at his country home on Sunday morning after a long illness. He was 75. On the same day, thousands of Czechs gathered to mourn him in Prague's Wencelas Square, where in past years Mr. Havel had proclaimed outrage at the repressions of the former communist regime. Following the end of the communist era, he was elected president and oversaw Czechoslovakia's peaceful breakup into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Canada added to his many tributes in 2004, bestowing on him its highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada.

In a statement, Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, said that "Mr. Havel will be remembered as one of the great statesmen of the Twentieth Century and a powerful voice for freedom and human dignity. An acclaimed playwright and activist, Havel led by peaceful example."

Demonstrations continue in Cairo

Clashes between Egyptian troops and protesters rocked central Cairo Sunday for a third consecutive day. The violence has left 10 people dead and some 500 injured.Demonstrators are demanding an immediate end to military rule.

The clashes have overshadowed the count from the second phase of Egypt's first parliamentary elections since president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February.

During Saturday's clashes,a world famous library was set ablaze and suffered extensive damages. The historic Institute of Egypt for the advancement of scientific research was founded in l798 during Napoleon Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt. The nation's Culture Minister described the fire as a " catastrophe for science".

Syria seen slipping into civil war

Armed clashes erupted in Syria Sunday, killing at least 14 civilians and six government troops in central and northern Syria, in the latest sign the nation's uprising may be deteriorating into civil war.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an army officer was among the six soldiers killed in the town of Qusair in Homs province, near the border with Lebanon. The clashes also resulted in the partial destruction of some homes.

The other deaths occurred in the Jabal al-Zawiya area and the town of Maaret al-Numan in the north. The Arab League is to discuss the crisis in Cairo on Wednesday and warns it will consider turning to the UN Security Council for action to try to stop violence against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime if Damascus continues to refuse to allow League observers into the country. The UN says 5,000 people have died in the eight month revolt.

The U.S. completes its withdrawal from Iraq

The last convoy of American troops has left Iraq. Overnight,some 500 soldiers crossed into neighbouring Kuwait.

Their withdrawal marked an end to the war that brought down the rule of Saddam Husein and claimed the lives of more than 100-thousand Iraqis and nearly 45-hundred U.S.soldiers.

The conflict lasted nearly 9 years and cost Washington close to 1-trillion dollars. At its peak, there were 175-thousand U.S. troops and 500 U.S. bases in Iraq.

Violence spreads to second Kazakh city


Protests in an oil-producing region of Kazakhstan have spread to the regional capital. Officials say that late Saturday, one person was killed and 11

wounded in a fresh clash with police in the village of Shetpe. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has declared a 20-day state of emergency in the oil city of Zhanaozen, in the same region, where 13 people were killed Friday.

The unprecedented unrest began when police tried to clear Zhanaozen's town square which had been occupied by oil workers for over six months in a dispute over better pay. Such violence is unprecedented in the former Soviet republic where President Nursultan Nazarbayev's region has kept a tight rein on public protest.

More protests over Russia's recent elections

Thousands of people took to the streets in several Russian cities on Sunday for a second weekend of protests to charge fraud in the parliamentary vote earlier this month.

About 4,000 supporters of the Communist Party rallied in Moscow,just outside the walls of the Kremlin during a snowstorm. They demanded a re-count of the vote and the government's resignation. In St. Petersburg, a rally in a central square drew about 3,000 people from various political parties and movements.

Protesters called for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to step down. Frustration has grownover the ruling United Russia party and Prime Minister Putin, who has dominated Russian politics for over a decade.

President Dmitry Medvedev has refused to hold another election,but said that an investigation would be held to look into alleged irregularities.Nationwide rallies were held in at least 60 Russian cities last weekend, including a gathering of tens of thousands in Moscow, the largest such protest since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Death toll from Filipino storm rises

The Philippine Red Cross says the death toll from a storm that caused flash floods and ravaged a wide area of the southern Philippines has risen to at least 652.

More than 800 others are still missing.Authorities say with so many unaccounted for, the death toll is expected to go higher.

Tropical storm Washi is heading toward the South China Sea, allowing the weather to clear a little and disaster-response workers to intensify the search-and-rescue effort.

200 passengers missing after ship sinks

More than 200 people are missing and feared dead after a wooden ship sank on Saturday off Indonesia`sisland of Java.

The overloaded vessel was carrying between 200 and 400 asylum seekers, mostly from Afghanistan.By Sunday,no more than33 had been rescued.

It's believed the migrants were heading for Australia.

China mine explosion leaves nine dead

A gas explosion at a mine in central China has killed nine workers. The accident happened Saturday at a privately run coal pit in Hunan

province's Sandu township. Officials say all of the dead were working underground at

the time of the explosion. An investigation is underway.

Four dead as Russian oil rig capsizes

Four workers were killed on Sunday when a Russian oil rig capsized in icy waters off Sakhalin Island. A search was on for 49 other workers who were missing. Fourteen people were rescued. The Kolskaya oil rig was being towed from the Kamchatka peninsula towards Sakhalin island when it ran into a severe storm. Portholes were smashed by ice and the rig began taking on water. President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an investigation into the disaster. Airplanes and helicopters patrolled the area on Sunday, but called their search off just after sunset.

Following medical treatment, Pakistan's president returns home

Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, is reported to be back at home after spending nearly two weeks in Dubai for medical treatment. The nature of his illness was not disclosed. One unconfirmed report said that he had suffered a small stroke. There was also speculation that he had fled the country as a result of pressure from Pakistan's military. A government official, Mansoor Wassan, says that Mr. Zardari landed in Karachi on Monday.

Israel completes prisoner exchange

Israel completed its prisoner exchange deal with Hamas on Sunday, freeing another 550 Palestinian prisoners. The main contingent of prisoners entered the West Bank city of Ramallah where thousands of well-wishers awaited them. The deal involved the exchange of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was freed in October after more than five years in captivity.



Canada's Kelsey Serwa won the gold medal in a World Cup meet in San Candido, Italy, on Sunday. It was her second ski-cross World Cup victory in as many days. Switzerland's Sanna Luedi won the silver medal while her Swiss teammate Katrin Mueller claimed the bronze. In men's competition, Canadian Dave Duncan finished fourth.


Here is Canada's weather forecast for Monday, December 19. British Columbia will be overcast. The high temperature in Vancouver will be six degrees Celsius. The Yukon: variable cloudiness. Whitehorse, minus five. Northwest Territories: clearing skies. Yellowknife, minus five. Nunavut: variable cloudiness. Iqaluit, minus 13. Alberta: increasing cloudines. Edmonton, four. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, minus four. Manitoba: cloudy periods. Winnipeg, minus five. Ontario: isolated showers. Toronto: seven. Ottawa, three. Quebec: snow. Montreal, four. New Brunswick: increasing cloudiness. Fredericton, minus five. Nova Scotia: sunny. Halifax, zero. Prince Edward Island: sunny. Charlottetown, minus one. Newfoundland: snow. St. John's, minus one.

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