Monday, January 16, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 15 January 2012
Canadian International Sports Weather

Liberal Party chooses new president


The federal opposition Liberal Party has named Mike Crawley, the former head of the party's Ontario wing, as its new president. About three thousand delegates voted for Mr. Crawley over formermember of parliamentSheila Copps and two other candidates.

Attheir three-day convention in Ottawa, the Liberals also rejected a proposal calling for Canadians to consider cutting Canada's ties to the monarchy. But they supported a call for legalization and regulation of marijuana. It was also decided to change the way the party chooses a leader. Delegates agreed that voting will be open to anyone willing to register as a "supporter" -- and not just fee-paying, card-carrying party members.

The Liberals were reduced tothird-party status for the first time in the May 2 federal election with less than 20 per cent of the popular vote.


Canadian diplomats going to Burma

A delegation of Candian officials will travel to Burma this week for talks with the country's rulers. A government source says the diplomatic mission includes officials from Ottawa and the Canadian International Development Agency.

That could indicate the Conservative government is considering whether to launch new aid initiatives to show encouragement for continued reforms in the Asian state. Last year Canada exchanged ambassadors with Burma for the first time since 2005, but maintained sanctions against the country over its human rights policies.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has welcomed the recent release of over 650 political prisoners in Burma and the announcement of a ceasefire with ethnic Karen rebels. But he says the government must release all political prisoners.

Canada's leadership role of Arctic Council pondered

Canada is being urged to prepare now to lead the agenda at the Arctic Council when it takes over for a two-year term as head of the organization next year. The group brings together northern aboriginals and the eight nations that ring the North Pole.

Former Yukon premier Tony Penikett will head a major conference in Toronto this week on what the country should aim for when it takes over the group in April 2013. He says Canada can play a leadership role in a way that not only advances the public interest in Canada but also Canada's standing in the world.

Once largely confined to research and advice, the council is playing a larger role and passed its first binding treaty last year on Arctic search and rescue. Further agreements, including one on developing energy resources, are under discussion.


More bodies found in stricken cruise ship

The Italian Coast Guard says its divers have found two more bodies aboard the stricken Costa Concordia cruise ship. The discovery brings to five the number of known dead after the luxury ship ran aground with some 4,200 people aboard on Friday night.

Three survivors were found on the cruise ship Saturday and officials say the number of people unaccounted for has now fallen to ten. Twelve Canadians were onboard and managed to safely escape the ship.

The ship's captain has been detained. Prosecutors say he left the ship before evacuation was complete. A First officer is also being held. Italian police are investigating why the accident happened in calm conditions.





Syria grants general amnesty

Syria's state news agency says President Bashar al-Assad is granting a general amnesty for crimes committed during the uprising against his rule. The amnesty applies to those who shame the image of Syria, who turn in unlicensed weapons and military defectors who turn themselves in before the end of the month.

The UN says more than 14,000 people are in detention in Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Mr Assad to end the violence which has claimed over 5,000 people since the rebellion began in March.

Pakistani bomb targets Shia pilgrims

At least 16 people were killed and 20 others wounded when a remote controlled bomb exploded as a Shia religious procession passed by in central Pakistan Sunday.

Police initially thought the blast in the city of Khanpur had been caused by an electrical fault, but later confirmed it was a bomb. The attack targeted Shias marking the festival of Arbain, one of the main holy days of the Shia calendar.

There have been a number of attacks targeting the minority Shia community, carried out by Sunni militants.

China strikes oil deal in Saudi Arabia

China has criticized sanctions imposed by the U.S. on a Chinese firm for selling refined petroleum products to Iran. The foreign ministry said imposing unilateral sanctions on Zhuhai Zhenrong based on American law is unreasonable.

The Chinese firm is one of three international companies the U.S. says it is punishing for dealing with Iran.The U.S. and its western allies accuse Iran of trying to build a nuclear bomb, a charge it denies. As concern grows that tighter international sanctions on Iran's oil industry may affect China's energy imports, Premier Wen Jiabao is leading a delegation to Arab oil-producing nations.

On Saturday the premier was in Saudi Arabia, China's biggest source of imported oil where a deal was finalized between the Saudi oil giant Aramco and China's Sinopec to build a refirnery in the Red Sea city of Yanbu that will handle some 400,000 barrels of oil daily. China's booming economy has become dependent on foreign oil, with 11 percent of imports coming from Iran.



Leader of Pakistani Taliban reported killed in U.S. drone strike

Radio communications indicate a U.S. drone strike may have killed the head of the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani intelligence officials say they intercepted militant radio communications in which Taliban militants discussed whether their chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed on Jan. 12 in the North Waziristan tribal area.

Some militants confirmed Mehsud was dead, and one criticized others for talking about the issue over the radio. A Pakistani Taliban spokesman -Asimullah Mehsud - denied the group's leader was killed and said he was not in the area where the drone strike occurred.

Russian Mars probe plummets into Pacific Ocean

Russian media reported on Sunday that an unsuccessful Russian probe to Mars had plummeted to Earth in the Pacific Ocean. There was concern that pieces of the 14-tonne spacecraft might strike populated areas. The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said that the site might have been anywhere over a broad swathe of the globe, from as far north as London to the southern part of Argentina.

Gunmen in Iraq kill six police officers

Gunmen who killed six police officers held Iraqi security forces in a three-hour standoff on Sunday. The gunmen initially detonated a car bomb, then forced their way into a government compound in Ramadi, where their comrades were detained. Security forces eventually killed five gunmen. Thirteen police officers were wounded. The attackers were suspected of being Sunni insurgents who atttack Shiite-dominated security forces. The violence was the worst since U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from Iraq last month.

Kazakhstan's president wins election victory

President Nursultan Nazarbayev appeared on Sunday to win a major victory in national elections. With over 80 per cent of the vote counted, his Nur Otan party had won 81 per cent of the votes, according to unofficial exit polls. Two other parties, the Ak Zhol party and the Communist Party gained a small foothold in parliament with about seven per cent of the vote each.

The anti-government opposition has alleged that the elections were marred by flagrant violations. The election saw unprecedented concerns over security. In December, 16 people were killed in clashes between striking oil workers and security forces on the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan has also been shaken by unrest blamed on Islamist militants, a development virtually unknown in this country, whose population is mainly Muslim but whose government remains secular.

The first official results are expected on Monday.

Nigeria labour talks hope to end nationwide strike

Nigeria's labour leaders re-opened talks with President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday in the hope of ending a week-old strike and mass protests. Talks began on Saturday but broke off late in the day. Two main labour leaders they arrived for talks with Mr. Jonathan and other government leaders. The strike was called to protest fuel prices that doubled in cost due to an end to government subsidies.




Canadians Perianne Jones and Chandra Crawford finished third on Sunday in a cross-country ski World Cup team sprint event in Milan, Italy. Ida Ingemarsdotter and Hanna Brodin of Sweden were first and Americans Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall finished second.


Canada Weather

Here is Canada's weather forecast for Monday, January 15. British Columbia will have snow flurries. The high temperature in Vancouver will be two degrees Celsius. The Yukon: mainly sunny. Whitehorse, minus 26. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, minus 39. Nunavut: snow flurries. Iqaluit, minus 23. Alberta: overcast. Edmonton, minus 22. Saskatchewan: variable cloudiness. Regina, minus 19. Manitoba: overcast. Winnipeg, minus 13. Ontario: increasing cloudiness. Toronto: two. Ottawa, minus four. Quebec: cloudy. Montreal, minus five. New Brunswick: mainly sunny. Fredericton, minus nine. Nova Scotia: mainly sunny. Halifax, minus five. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, eight. Newfoundland: variable cloudiness. St. John's, minus nine.

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