Monday, January 23, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 22 January 2012
Canadian International Sports Weather

Search delayed for missing workers at BC sawmill

A lack of water and hot spots are delaying the search for two people missing and feared dead following the explosion and fire that ripped through a sawmill in Burns Lake in northern British Columbia on Friday night. The two are employees of the Babine mill, 220-kilometres west of Prince George. Of the 19 people who were injured in the accident, four are in critical condition. Damage to the mill from accident could reach $100 million. The fire has left thousands of workers uncertain about their future and the economic future of the community is in doubt. The mill's U.S. owners have not indicated if the facility will be rebuilt. One welder says 80 per cent of the workers in Burns Lake were employed by the company. The mill opened in 1975, ushering in a wave of newcomers from across the country and building the village from the ground up.

Another Canadian attacked in Mexico

A Canadian woman is being treated in a Mexican hospital after being attacked in her luxury hotel. The woman was found on Saturday severely beaten and covered in blood in the hotel elevator. The victim was staying atthe five-star Riu Emerald Hotel popular with Canadians and Americans in Punta Serritos near the resort city of Mazatlan on the Pacific coast. She was reported to be in her late 20s. The attack is the third violent incident involving Canadians in Mexico in the past two months. Canada's foreign affairs department is warning citizens to beware of traveling in Mexico because of what it calls deteriorating security in many parts of the country.

Former Bloc Quebecois leader, Gilles Duceppe, leaves politics

The former leader of Canada's Bloc Quebecois party, Gilles Duceppe, announced on Sunday that he was withdrawing from politics. Mr. Duceppe was being courted to join Quebec's separatist Parti Quebecois, but he said that he needs to concentrate his time and energy on defending himself from allegations that recently surfaced about his accounting practices during his tenure as Bloc Quebecois leader. It's alleged that for several years he used funds slated for the party's official activities in Canada's House of Commons to pay the salary of the party manager. A parliamentary committee will review the party's expenses. As party leader, Mr. Duceppe raised the Bloc Quebecois profile. The party for a time was Canada's official opposition party. The Bloc Quebecois promoted Quebec's independence from Canada, and fields candidates only in the province of Quebec.

Merger of two political parties in Quebec

Two provincial parties in the Canadian province of Quebec have merged. Members of the Action Democratique du Quebec voted on Sunday to join a recently formed party, Coalition Avenir Quebec. ADQ membership fell from the 50,000 at the height of its popularity in 2002-2003 to just over 2,500. The CAQ is promising to set aside Quebec's debate on sovereignty for a generation. The ADQ has four seats in the provincial legislature. The merger brings the CAQ's presence in the legislature to nine seats. The new party is led by Francois Legault, a former cabinet minister of the Parti Quebecois, an opposition party that promotes Quebec sovereignty. Quebec Premier Jean Charest of the Liberal Party is not obliged to call an election until December, 2013.

Controversial tagging of West Coast whales will move ahead

The US government has approved a controversial plan to satellite tag an endangered species of killer whale that plies the waters off the Pacific Coast. Scientists at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration hope the tracking devices will reveal where the whales go and what they eat over the winter. They say that with better information, they can designate critical habitat areas and perhaps better manage the salmon fishery in order to help the recovery of the endangered whales. However, opponents of the plan say they are concerned about the golf-ball sized holes the tags leave in the dorsal fin. The opponents say because the whales live in urban waters with a lot of toxins they have trouble with their immune systems and are susceptible to injuries. The NOAA has permission to tag six of the 89 whales that summer off southern Vancouver Island and Washington state.

PM plays down meeting with First Nations leaders

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is playing down the possibility of major breakthroughs when he meets with First Nations chiefs in Ottawa on Tuesday. The aboriginal leaders will press the federal government for concrete action to raise the living standards of First Nations across Canada. But Mr. Harper says there'll be no grand announcements or buckets of money handed out. Officials say Mr. Harper favours an approach that starts with pilot projects and builds on small successes.

Ontario struggling to reduce courtroom backlog

Ontario's government says it may be unable to meet its target to reduce court appearances in criminal cases. Attorney General John Gerretsen says it remains to be seen whether the province will meet its goal to reduce appearances by 30 per cent by June. He says progress has been made, but 30 per cent may have been too ambitious a target. Chris Bentley, who is now the energy minister, launched the project nearly four years ago with much fanfare. But with six months to go, it doesn't appear the province will be able to meet its target. Results vary from court to court, but processing times province-wide have only been cut by about seven per cent. Government statistics show it took an average of 8.5 appearances to complete a criminal charge in the province last year, down from 9.2 appearances in 2007.


Arab League offers new peace plan for Syria

The Arab League is promoting a new plan to resolve the violent crisis in Syria by encouraging President Bashar al-Assad to resign peacefully. Under the plan, he would delegate power to a deputy and set up a unity government. Parliamentary and presidential elections would follow. Arab League foreign ministers adopted the plan at their meeting in Cairo. The Arab League will take its initiative to the United Nations Security Council for its endorsement. The U.N. estimates that more than five thousand people have been killed during anti-government demonstrations in Syria during the last ten months. President al-Assad has refused all pressure to deal with the protesters. The Arab League was also reported to have approved an extension of its observer mission in Syria. The mission was widely criticized for failing to end the violence in Syria.

Arrests made in Nigerian attacks

Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday visited Kano, where the Islamist fundamentalist group, Boko Haram, staged deadly attacks two days earlier. At least 166 people were killed. Mr. Jonathan said that some arrests have been made in connection with the attacks, adding that some assailtants were killed or died in suicide attacks. In an interview with the BBC, he said that his security forces are looking for Boko Haram members as well as those who encourage the group. Boko Haram has regularly staged attacks on police and Christians in an attempt to impose strict Islamic law on Nigeria.

Protesters reject Yemeni president's apology

Thousands of Yemenis staged demonstrations on Sunday against parliament's decision to grant complete immunity to President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Immunity was guaranteed under a plan proposed by neighbouring Gulf nations to persuade him to leave the country. Demonstrators blamed him for the death of hundreds of anti-government protesters during the past year of unrest. In response, Mr. Saleh apologized for any shortcomings during his 33-year rule and asked for forgiveness. On the same day, he prepared to leave for the United States to receive medical treatment for injuries that he sustained duirng an assassination attempt last year. His departure opens the way for a transition of power over the next year. Mr. Saleh remains nominal head of government, but in his absence, he will be replaced by vice-president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Presumed frontrunner Romney suffers setback in US Republican race

The race for the Republican presidential nomination appears wide open again after Newt Gingrich's upset victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary. The former House Speaker trounced his bitter rival Mitt Romney, who just a week ago appeared to have a lock on the state. But Mr. Romney is vowing to fight on for every vote in every state -- which could mean this race is going to be a long one. Exit polls showed Mr. Gingrich led among voters who said their top priority was picking a candidate who could beat President Barack Obama. Rick Santorum, who finished third, and Ron Paul, who came in last, both say they're staying in the race. Mr. Gingrich said his win in South Carolina came with the support of people who don't believe they are represented by what he calls the "elites" in Washington and New York. He says if he's the nominee, he will challenge Mr. Obama to seven three-hour debates.

Hosni Mubarak's lawyer wraps up defence

Hosni Mubarak's lawyer has concluded his defence, arguing that the ousted Egyptian leader should be acquitted of criminal charges because he is technically still the president of Egypt. Mr. Mubarak, who stepped down nearly a year ago, is charged along with his security chief and four police commanders of complicity in the killing of protesters during an 18-day uprising in January and February. They could face the death penalty if convicted. His lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, said Sunday during the closure of arguments that spanned five court sessions that Mr. Mubarak did not formally resign and should enjoy immunity from prosecution. Mr. El-Deeb received a round of applause from other defence lawyers when he finished his statements. Lawyers for the victims responded with chants of "Execution, execution."

Finland to have runoff presidential vote

Finland's former finance minister, Sauli Niinisto, won the first round of the presidential election on Sunday with 37 per cent of the vote. Failure to win a majority means that he will compete in a runoff vote on February 5 with the second-place finisher, Pekka Haavisto of the Greens party. Both are pro-European candidates, contrasting with the surge in euroskeptic sentiment expressed in last year's parliamentary election. The president has a largely ceremonial role but is considered to have important influence public opinion.

China hit with second recent bird flu death

China's health ministry says the country has suffered its second bird flu death in a month. The ministry said a patient died Sunday in Guizhou province in the southwest after being hospitalized on Jan. 6. Hong Kong radio RTHK, citing local authorities, said the patient was a 39-year-old man who said he had no contact with poultry. A bus driver in the city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, died Dec. 31 of bird flu in China's first fatal case in 18 months. Last week, Vietnam reported its first bird flu fatality in nearly two years. In Cambodia, a two-year-old boy died last week. The latest death in brings to 28 the number of people in China who have died from the disease -- which is fatal in humans in about 60 percent of cases -- since 2003, out of 42 reported human cases.

Palestinian cleric facing harsh Israeli backlash

The Palestinians' top Muslim cleric is facing harsh Israeli criticism for quoting a religious text that includes passages about killing Jews. Mufti Mohammed Hussein said his remarks at a rally for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement last week were taken out of context and that he didn't incite people to kill Jews. The comments from the rally were posted to YouTube by an Israeli watchdog group tracking incitement. In the video, the mufti cited a hadith, or saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, that the Earth's end of days will not happen until Muslims kill Jews in a religious battle. Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday condemned the comments as "heinous."

Croatia votes to become European Union member

Partial official results in a referendum on Sunday indicated that Croatia had voted by a large majority in favour of joining the European Union in 2013. The country would become the E-U's 28th member. Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia more than 20 years ago.




Patrick Chan won his fifth Canadian men's figure skating title on Sunday in Moncton, New Brunswick. He scored 302.14 overall points, breaking the 300-point mark for the first time. The score does not qualify as a world record because the Canadian championships are a domestic event. Kevin Reynolds won the silver medal and Jeremy Ten won the bronze medal.



The Montreal Canadiens rebounded from Friday's loss at Pittsburgh with a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs Saturday in Toronto. Carey Price made 32 saves, and Rafael Diaz and Lars Eller had third-period goals. Rene Bourque got his first goal in a Montreal uniform. In other games, Anaheim defeated Ottawa 2-1, Florida defeated Winnipeg 4-2 in a shootout, Calgary defeated Edmonton 6-2 and Vancouver defeated San Jose 4-3.



Canada's Devon Kershaw won the bronze medal on Sunday at a World Cup cross-country skiing meet in Otepaa, Estonia. Switzerland's Dario Cologna won the gold, while Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic won the silver medal.



Canadian Laurent Dubreuil won the silver medal in the men's 500-metre race on Sunday at the World Cup long track event at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah. Russia's Dmitry Lobkov won the gold and Michel Mulder of the Netherlands won the bronze. In the men's 1000-metre event, Canadian Denny Morrison was fourth. American Shani Davis won his second gold in as many days.


Canada Weather

Here is Canada's weather forecast for Monday, January 23. British Columbia will have rain showers. The high temperature in Vancouver will be eight degrees Celsius. The Yukon: cloudy. Whitehorse, minus 15. Northwest Territories: variable cloudiness. Yellowknife, minus 17. Nunavut: sunny. Iqaluit, minus 28. Alberta: variable cloudiness. Edmonton, two. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, minus four. Manitoba: sunny periods. Winnipeg, minus 11. Ontario: rain. Toronto: nine. Ottawa, two. Quebec: cloudy. Montreal, zero. New Brunswick: variable cloudiness. Fredericton, zero. Nova Scotia: sunny. Halifax, zero. Prince Edward Island: mainly sunny. Charlottetown, minus two. Newfoundland: variable cloudiness. St. John's, minus three.

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