Sunday, January 15, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 14 January 2012
Canadian International Sports Weather

Liberals choose party president at Ottawa convention

Canada's federal Liberal party is meeting in Ottawa this weekend for a convention members hope will put them on the road back to power. Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty was one of the keynote speakers and he firmly rejected talk of a merger with the opposition New Democrats.

Three-thousand delegates are attending the convention.They will vote on a new party president. The winner will be announced Sunday. The perceived front-runners are former member of parliament Sheila Copps, and Mike Crawley, the former head of the party's Ontario wing.

The Liberals were reduced to a third-party status in the May 2 federal election with less than 20 per cent of the popular vote and only 34 seats.

Accused war criminal leaves Quebec hospital, faces deportation

An accused Rwandan war criminal was released from hospital in Quebec on Saturday, bringing him one step closer to deportation. Leon Mugesera has fought deportation from Canada for some 15 years, arguing that he faced an unfair legal system in Rwanda and---until Rwanda repealed it---the death penalty. He is accused of fostering genocide in his native Rwanda in 1994. His final legal appeals were rejected and he was scheduled to be returned to Rwanda on Thursday. But at the last moment, he was overcome by a sudden, mysterious illness and taken to hospital in Quebec City.

Upon his release from hospital, immigration officials took him into custody and transferred him to an immigration holding facility in Laval, near Montreal. His lawyers still plan to make another appeal on Monday at the Montreal courthouse.

U.S. Senator pushes Keystone XL pipeline

A U.S. Senator, John Hoeven, is pushing the Keystone XL pipeline project to carry oil from the Alberta tarsands to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. Speaking during the Republican party's weekly radio and Internet address, Mr. Hoeven said the $7-billion pipeline expansion will reduce U.S. dependence on oil from the Middle East and keep down the cost of fuel for Americans.

President Barack Obama faces a Feb. 21 deadline to decide whether the pipeline is in the national interest. He'd wanted to delay a decision until after the 2012 elections, saying that would allow for more time to study the environmental ramifications of the proposal.

The Republican party has been pressuring him on the issue, saying it's a question of whether he wants to create jobs and import energy from a close friend and ally, or lose jobs and see Canadian oil go to Asia.

Lethbridge memorial service held for three slain victims

A memorial service washeld in Lethbridge, Alberta, on Saturday afternoon for three people murdered last month. The crime made Canada-wide headlines. Two of the victims, Tanner Craswell and Mitch MacLean, were talented baseball players from Prince Edward Island. They were killed alongside Tabitha Stepple in a slaying by her jealous ex-boyfriend, Derek Jensen. He then killed himself. The lone survivor of the attack, Shayna Conway, is recovering from injuries. Ms. Conway attended the Lethbridge memorial.

Environmentalists oppose drilling well in Cape Breton

About 200 people staged a demonstration in Halifax on Saturday to urge the government of Nova Scotia to disallow the drilling of a test well in the Lake Ainslie region of Cape Breton. Petroworth Resources was given the right to drill a 1,200 metre well in the region, about 80 kilometres west of Sydney. Environmentalists say that the government should delay introducing the oil and gas industry in the province until its activity is thoroughly examined.


Three dead as Italian luxury liner runs aground

A search was underway on Saturday for missing passengers from an Italian cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany the night before. At least three people were killed---two French passengers and a Peruvian crewman. Some 40 others were missing. About 70 people were injured, two of them seriously. The ship, Costa Concordia, was carrying about 3,200 passengers, mostly French, German, British and Italian,and one thousand crew.

TwelveCanadians were on board. All were confirmed safe.

The 290-metre-long ship Costa Concordia apparently sailed too close to the shore of the island of Giglio, hit a sandbar, and tumbled on to its side. Passengers reported a severe lurch and then a shudder as the ship listed. Panic ensued as passengers were directed to lifeboats amid confusion. Once on shore, passengers were billeted in local hotels before being transported to Rome.

Police have detained the ship's captain for questioning. He could possibly be charged with manslaughter and abandoning his ship.

On Saturday morning, the ship was lying virtually flat with its starboard side submerged. A large gash was seen clearly on its upturned hull. The Costa Concordia was sailing across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia.

Fifty dead in suicide attack against Shia pilgrims in Iraq


At least 50 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on Shia pilgrims in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. 91 others were injured.

The attack was aimed at pilgrims marking the festival of Arbain, one of the main holy days of the Shia calendar.

Reports say security was extremely tight amid fears of insurgent attacks during the festival. Scores of people have been killed in attacks on pilgrims in the last few weeks.

Qatar leader calls for military intervention in Syria

The ruler of the Gulf state of Qatar says Arab countries should send troops into Syria to stop government forces killing civilians there. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani made the comment on the U.S. CBS Television network.

It marked the first time an Arab leader has publicly called for military intervention in Syria. The UN says over 5,000 civilians have been killed since anti-government protests erupted in Syria in March. Qatar was the first Arab country to join the Nato-led operation in Libya, which led to the downfall of Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.

In other developments, General Mustafa Ahmad al-Sheikh, the most senior military commander to defect from the Syrian army is taking charge of the rebel army's operations. Mr.Sheikh, 54, was in charge of security in northern Syria before defecting to Turkey 12-days ago.



Ma Ying-jeou returned to power in Taiwan election

Taiwan's ruling Nationalist party claimed a re-election victory for President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday. With about 99 per cent of the vote counted, the official Central Election Commission said President Ma Ying-jeou had garnered 51.6 per cent of the total against 45.6 per cent for Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

A third candidate, James Soong, a former senior official in the Nationalist Party, had 2.8 per cent. Mr.Ma's Nationalist Party also retains control of the 113-seat legislature, though with a reduced majority.

Some 18-million Taiwanese were eligible to vote. The results will see the island strengthening its economic ties to China while reducing the chances of new regional tensions.

During Mr. Ma's first term in office, regular direct flights and shipping links have been established with China and a landmark trade deal has been signed that cuts tariffs on hundreds of Taiwanese exports to the mainland. The U.S. and European Union have welcomed Mr. Ma's re-election.



El-Baradei pulls out of Egyptian presidential race

Egyptian reform leader, Mohamed El-Baradei says he's pulling out of the country's presidential race. In a statement issued Saturday, he says he's doing so to protest against the military's failure to put the country on the path to democracy.

The Nobel laureate has been seen as a driving force behind the movement that forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Tunisians celebrate anniversary of revolution

Tunisians on Saturday marked the first anniversary of the uprising that started the Arab Spring. Thousands of people flooded the centre of the capital, Tunis, at the same spot where demonstrators massed a year earlier. The protests eventually forced Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to give up power and flee the country. Outside the Saudi Arabian embassy, several dozen relatives of people killed by security forces before the revolution demanded that Ben Ali and his wife be extradited from Saudi Arabia, where they have found refuge.

Labour talks aim to end Nigeria strike

Nigerian labour unions met with President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday evening but failedt o resolve disagreements that led to a nationwide labour strike that has shut down the economy for a week. The dispute centres around the government's removal of fuel subsidies. The move caused a dramatic rise in the cost of gasoline.

There are fears that unhappy workers in the country's vital oil industry could stop production. The strikes are costing Africa's second-biggest economy about US$600 million a day.

Strike action was lifted during the talks at the presidential palace. Labour leaders said that they would seek further solutions before taking any actions to shut down the oil industry.

France defends economy after credit downgrade

France has defended its economic policies following the decision by ratings agency Standard and Poor's to downgrade its credit rating. Prime Minister Francois Fillion says the government will push ahead with reforms and debt reduction.

He said if France was in the firing line, it was primarily because of its exposure to the debt crisis in the eurozone. The downgrade stripping France of its top AAA rating to AA+ was announced on Friday.

Eight other European nations were also downgraded. Germany's rating was not affected and today Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe still has a long road ahead to restore investor confidence.

Debris from wayward Russian satellite to hit Earth Sunday

The Canadian Space Agency says it's too early to predict where debris from a wayward Russian satellite will land after entering Earth's atmosphere on Sunday.

The spacecraft Phobos-Grunt has been losing altitude rapidly in recent days and will soon be pulled into the top of the atmosphere where it will be destroyed.

Russian officials estimate about 200-kilograms could survive the fiery re-entry. It's estimated that there's a 75-per-cent chance it will splash harmlessly into an ocean.

Police arrest Russian opposition party leader.

Russian police have arrested a well-known opposition party leader at a protest rally in Moscow. Sergei Mitrokhin is the leader of the Yabloko Party. Yabloko had organized the demonstration of about 350 people to protest against parliamentary polls last month that they claim were fraudulent. Mr. Mitrokhin had pushed back police metal barriers and police arrested him after he refused to replace the barriers. He faces a possible sentence of 15 days in jail. In recent weeks, Moscow has seen many public demonstrations to oppose Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's plans to seek a third term as president. Yabloko's founder, Grigory Yavlinsky, hopes to challenge Mr. Putin in the presidential polls in March. Mr. Yavlinsky has called for Mr. Mitrokin's immediate release.




Canadian Mikael Kingsbury won the dual moguls event on Saturday at the Canada Post Grand Prix World Cup event at Ski Mont Gabriel, Quebec. Jeremy Cotta of the United Sates was second and Andrey Volkov of Russia was third. In the women's race, American Hannah Kearney took first place ahead of Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe and Ekaterina Stolyarova of Russia.


Canadian Peter Polansky was knocked out in the third round of qualifying for the Australian Open on Saturday, falling 6-4, 6-2 to Danai Udomchoke of Thailand. His loss leaves only one Canadian in the Open's men's draw, Milos Raonic, seeded 23. In the women's draw, Canadians Rebecca Marino, Stephanie Dubois and Aleksandra Wozniak all earned direct entry.

Paul Stastny scored the tiebeaking goal to help the Colorado Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars, 2-1, on Saturday.


Canadian Alex Gough finished fourth in a World Cup event in Oberhof, Germany, on Saturday. Germany won all three medals. Natalie Geisenberger was first, Tatjana Huefner was second and Anke Wischnewski was third.


Canadian Lyndon Rush and brakeman Jesse Lumsden won a silver medal in a two-man World Cup bobsled meet in Koenigssee, Germany on Saturday. They missed gold by just three-tenths of a second. Beat Hefti and brakeman Thomas Lamparter of Switzerland won the gold to take the lead in the overall World Cup standings. Manuel Machata of Germany was third with brakeman Andreas Bredau.


Canada's women's water polo team won a bronze medal at the Pan Pacific championships in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday, beating the world's second-ranked team, China, 10-6. Krystina Alogbo and Marina Radu scored three goals apiece and Joelle Bekhazi added two goals, while sisters Monika and Carmen Eggens had one each.


Canada Weather

Here is Canada's weather forecast for Sunday, January 15. British Columbia will have snow flurries. The high temperature in Vancouver will be three degrees Celsius. The Yukon: sunny. Whitehorse, minus 24. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, minus 29. Nunavut: mainly sunny. Iqaluit, minus 22. Alberta: overcast. Edmonton, minus 15. Saskatchewan: light snow. Regina, minus four. Manitoba: light snow. Winnipeg, zero. Ontario: sunny. Toronto: minus eight. Ottawa, minus 14. Quebec: mainly sunny. Montreal, minus 15. New Brunswick: mainly sunny. Fredericton, minus 15. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, minus ten. Prince Edward Island: snow flurries. Charlottetown, minus nine. Newfoundland: sunny. St. John's, minus three.

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