Sunday, December 4, 2011

RCI Cyberjournal

First Nations band split over controversial pipeline


A split is reported among the Gitxsan First Nations of northern British Columbia inthe tribe'srelation to theproposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. On Saturday, some Gitxsan chiefs expressed their support for the 1,200-kilometre pipeline project in a deal that they estimated would be worth at least CDN$7 million.

The CDN$5.5 billion pipeline will run from Edmonton, Alberta to a new marine outlet in Kitimat, British Columbia. It will not cross Gitxsan land, but it will cross streams that feed a lake where the Gitxsan fish.

However, a group claiming to represent other chiefs publicly denounced the deal, saying that they were not consulted. Environmentalists have expressed concern about the pollution risks that the pipeline creates.

A federal review panel will hold public hearings into the project early next year.

 

Harper meets Obama in Washington next week


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is going to Washington next week for a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.The Dec. 7 meeting could be an opportunity for the two leaders to wrap up a border security agreement they first announced last February.

The deal is expected to address security threats, ease cross border trade and law enforcement and improve critical infrastructure and cyber-security. Mr.Harper last saw his American counterpart in Hawaii at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Nov. 13.

Prime Minister supports defence minister


Members of the federal Opposition parties in the Canadian Parliament continue to criticize Defence Minister Peter MacKay over his use of a military helicopter to fly from a Newfoundland fishing camp in 2010. New Democrats and Liberals are demanding an apology, but the government is fending off the attacks by saying it has slashed the use of government aircraft by cabinet ministers.

Mr. MacKay says he used the helicopter as part of a search-and-rescue exercise, but defence department emails suggest the pickup was explicitly set up to retrieve the minister under the "guise" of a training operation. The prime minister says the minister's actions were appropriate because he was called back to work from a vacation.

Union strife predicted for Canada in 2012


A private research firm, theConference Board of Canada,predicts that2012 could be a year of increased work stoppages in the public sector. The Conference Board says several large public-sector unions at the provincial and local level, as well as the Canada Revenue Agency, will be at the bargaining table next year.

The negotiations coincide efforts by the federal and provincial government to reduce their budget deficits. The Conference Board notes as well that unions are feeling frustration because they accepted wage restraints at the outset of the recession.

The Conference Board cited the city of Toronto the mayor which was elected in 2010 on a platform of reducing the city's longstanding deficits. The researchers say it's seems unlikely that forthcoming bargaining with municipal workers can be resolved without a strike.

Government accepts recommendations on small aircraft


The Canadian government is accepting a Transportation Safety Board recommendation in a bid to reduce small plane crashes. It calls for small aircraft to be required to install terrain warning syserms.The board recommendations go back to 1995 after a crash in Sandy Lake, Ontario left seven people dead.

Many in the aviation industry say the changes will save lives. But critics say it's a move by the Conservative government to wipe out the private aviation industry.

New measures planned to ensure fish health


Government scientists in British Columbia plan to introduce new measures to monitor the health of fish in provincial waters. Their decision came after tests were undertaken to see whether Pacific salmon were suffering from a virus. In October, tests found infectious salmon anaemia in two sockeye smolts in northern British Columbia. The latest tests found no traces of any virus.

Shell oil leaves Syria while Canadian Suncor remains


The oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, is stopping its activity in Syria out of respect for the latest international sanctions imposed against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. His security forces are thought to have killed at least four thousand anti-government protesters in the past several months. On Saturday, at least 23 people were reported killed. Shell's move comes after the European Union put three Syrian state-owned oil companies on its blacklist. But a Canadian oil company, Suncor, will continue to operate in Syria. Canada's foreign affairs minister, John Baird, says that Suncor is entitled to stay under United Nations regulations because it provides a vital service to civilians.


Violence intensifies in Syria


At least 23 people were reported killed in Syria on Saturday as violence intensified in the eighth month of revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 15 of the deaths happened in pre-dawn clashes between soldiers, policemen, anti-government defectors and civilians in the northern city of Idlib.

Opposition groups say rebel forces are increasing their attacks on security forces loyal to the Assad government. Activist groups say 4600 people have lost their lives since the unrest broke out in March. This week the United Nations said Syria has entered a period of civil war, and it called on the international community to protect Syrian civilians.

Egypt to reveal election results on Wednesday


The results of Egypt's national election will be announced on Wednesday, three days later than initially expected. The state-owned al-Ahram newspaper quoted Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri as saying that the delay was due to difficulties in appointing a new interior minister.

Partial results from the vote earlier this week showed that Islamist parties, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, would collectively win a majority of the votes cast. More liberal parties whose supporters largely figured in public demonstrations that ultimately forced President Hosni Mubarek from power this year appeared to be faltering in the vote.

Power struggle in Yemen after Saleh steps down


Reports say seven people have been killed by Yemeni troops in clashes with anti-government militias and tribal fighters in the country's second city, Taez. Since the violence broke out Thursday, at least 30 deaths have been recorded.

Taez has been a focus of unrest during months of protests against President Abdullah Saleh who formally stepped down last month after over 30 years in power. Political observers say the latest fighting threatens a power-transfer agreement signed by the veteran president.

Iran tries to ease diplomatic crisis with West


Iran is calling on the West to avoid a deepening diplomatic crisis following the storming of the British embassy in Tehran by hardline Iranian protestors this week. A government spokesman says the incident is an issue between Tehran and London alone.

Britain closed its embassy after Tuesday's incursion by protestors and expelled all Iranian diplomats from London. The fallout for Tehran spread when several other countries recalled their envoys, including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

The embassy attack came after Britain, the U.S. and Canada announced further sanctions against Iran over a U.N. nuclear watchdog report which stated Tehran is attempting to build a nuclear weapon.

Washington urges Israel to end its regional isolation


The United States is urging Israel to end its isolation in the Middle East. In a speech in Washington Friday, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said the Israel should "mend fences" with Turkey, Egypt and other regional nations in order to reduce the growing isolation of the Jewish state.

Mr. Panetta said that Israel is not entirely to blame for the situation and referred to what he called an "international campaign" to isolate it. Mr Panetta also called on Israel to restart peace talks with the Palestinians. He stressed that Washington remains committed to Israel's security and added that it would not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, which is a major concern of Israel.

Burma to allow peaceful protests


Burmese President Thein Sein has signed a law allowing peaceful demonstrations for the first time. The new law requires people to seek approval at least five days in advance. All protests were previously banned.

Burma's nominally civilian government has enacted a number of reforms since the military junta handed over power earlier this year. On Friday, the government reached a truce with a leading armed ethnic group, the Shan State Army South.

Western nations have made peace talks with the country's armed ethnic grups a key demand for lifting sanctions. The latest move towards reform came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended a three-day visit to Burma during which she met political and military leaders as well as pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel laureate told Mrs. Clinton that Burma could get on "the road to democracy" but more needs to be done, including the freeing of political prisoners.

NATO loses three troops in eastern Afghanistan


NATO says a roadside bombing has killed three troops with the U.S.-led coalition in eastern Afghanistan. The coalition says the service members were killed on Saturday, but disclosed no other details. So far this year, 519 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan, including at least 389 Americans.

U.N. climate official hopeful on Durban talks


The top U.N. climate official says she is confident that industrial countries will renew pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions after their current commitments expire next year. Christiana Figueres comments Saturday came at the halfway mark of a 192-party conference. She said that negotiations are focused on how the next period of commitments will be shaped, who will participate and under what rules.

A key issue is extending the Kyoto Protocol reduction targets for undustrialized nations. The protocol's future has been in doubt because rich countries such as Canada and the U.S. want China and India and other developing states to also accept binding emissions targets.

India could delay major trade reform


A high-ranking Indian government official says that India's government will suspend its plans to allow foreign companies to invest in the country's retail sector. Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal state, says that she was informed of the decision by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. The minister said later that an official announcement will be made in parliament.

In 2009, the government announced that it would allow Wal-Mart and other foreign retail giants to enter India's retail industry, a sector worth about U$470 billion. Foreign multinationals have lobbied for years to sell directly to Indians.

But the government's plan angered shopkeepers, trade unions, influential state leaders and lawmakers from opposition parties and from within Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's coalition.

Amid accusations, Cain ends bid for U.S. presidential nomination


The millionaire American businessman, Herman Cain, on Saturday suspended his bid to be the Republican Party's U.S. presidential nominee. Mr. Cain's announcement came after several women alleged that he had sexually harassed them in incidents that stretched back more than a decade.

Mr. Cain had led in opinion polls when he first entered the nomination race, but his popularity fell dramatically after allegations surfaced. He said that he could no longer submit his family to what he called hurtful news reports.

Latin American summit ends


The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States ended its two-day summit in Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday with harsh words for U.S. sanctions against Cuba. The host president, Hugo Chavez, and other left-wing leaders like Raul Castro of Cuba, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador complained that the rival Organization of American States tries too hard to please the United States.

But the new 33-member group was generally reserved in its rhetoric, preferring to issue official declarations about the need to fight terrorism, nuclear arms and illegal drugs. Next year, the CELAC meeting is set for Santiago, Chile.

HORSE JUMPING

Riding a new mount, Canadian Olympic equestrian Eric Lamaze finished second in the Paris Gucci masters on Friday, his first competition since his champion horse, Hickstead,died during a competition last month.

SPEED SKATING

Canada's Christine Nesbitt won the gold medal in the 1,500 metre race at a long-track speed skating World Cup in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, on Saturday. Ireen Wust of the Netherlands was second and Russia's Yekaterina Shikhova was third.

JUDO

Canadian Amy Cotton finished fifth at a World Cup meet in Suwon, South Korea, on Saturday. Cotton one of the two bronze

medals in a match that was decided in overtime, falling to South Korea's Gyeong-Mi Jeong.

RUGBY

Canada's women's team has won the first IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup. Canada beat England, 26-7, on Saturday in Dubai to move Canada to the top of the world women's sevens rankings.

SKIING

American Lindsey Vonn won the downhill race on Saturday at the Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup in Alberta. Marie Marchand-Arvier of France was second while Elisabeth Goergl of Austria. In men's World Cup competition at Beaver Creek, Colorado, on Saturday, Canadian Robbie Dixon finished fourth in the super-G. Sandro Viletta of Switzerland won for his first World Cup victory.

HOCKEY

The Montreal Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings, 2-1, on Saturday to end their four-game losing streak. Carey Price made 26 saves for Montreal and Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn scored.

Here is Canada's weather forecast for Sunday, December 4. British Columbia will be mainly sunny. The high temperature in Vancouver will be six degrees Celsius. The Yukon: variable cloudiness. Whitehorse, six. Northwest Territories: overcast. Yellowknife, minus eight. Nunavut: snow flurries. Iqaluit, minus seven. Alberta: sunny. Edmonton, minus six. Saskatchewan: light snow. Regina, minus 12. Manitoba: mainly cloudy. Winnipeg, minus 12. Ontario: few showers. Toronto: ten. Ottawa, nine. Quebec: sunny periods. Montreal, eight. New Brunswick: mainly sunny. Fredericton, six. Nova Scotia: sunny. Halifax, six. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, five. Newfoundland: mainly sunny. St. John's, zero.