Sunday, January 29, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 28 January 2012
Canadian International Sports Weather

Mexican suspect identified in beating of Canadian woman

Police in Mexico say that a Mexican man has confessed to brutally beating a Canadian woman in her hotel room earlier this month. Mexican media reported that the suspect, Jose Ramon Acosta Quintero, says he met Sheila Nabb in a hotel elevator and punched her several times when she refused his advances. Quintero appeared at a news conference in the Pacific town of Mazatlan on Saturday under heavy guard. Ms. Nabb was vacationing with her husband at the Hotel Riu Emerald Bay when the attack took place on January 20. She was found lying in a pool of blood in the elevator. Mexican prosecutors say that Quintero was filmed by a hotel security camera as he left the elevator. The attack broke several bones in Ms. Nabb's face. She will undergo facial reconstruction surgery in Canada. Ms. Nabb returned to her home in Calgary by private air ambulance on Friday.

Grenada begins preliminary inquest into Canadian's death

Grenada has begun a preliminary inquest into the death of a Canadian permanent resident. Five police officers are accused of beating Oscar Bartholomew to death while he was in their custody in St. Georges last month. Sixteen witnesses are expected to testify, including the wife of the victim. The charged officers are Edward Gibson, Shaun Ganness, Roddy Felix, Kenton Hazzard and Wendell Sylvester. Lawyers for the five policemen failed in their bid to have the inquest delayed. Mr. Bartholomew was detained after he hugged a plainclothes female officer and lifted her in front of a police station, apparently confusing her for a friend. Mr. Bartholomew was a native of Grenada. He was buried on January 9 at a funeral in Grenada that was attended by the island nation's prime minister.

Jury starts deliberations in 'honour killing' trial

The jury in a multiple murder trial in Kingston, Ontario, has begun deliberating the fate of the three accused, Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Yahya, and their son Hamed.

The three Afghan-Canadian immigrants are accused of murdering three daughters and Shafia's first wife in a polygamous marriage.

The Crown alleges it was a premeditated murder over family honour, staged to look like an accident after it was carried out. But the defence lawyers told the jury in their closing addresses that the evidence does indeed fit with the deaths being an accident.

In his charge to them on Friday, the judge told the jury that they can find the accused guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of second-degree murder or not guilty.

Deficit shrinking faster than forecast

As Canadians brace for spending cuts by the Government of Canada, the Finance Department reported Friday that Ottawa is well ahead of schedule in reducing the size of the deficit.

As of November the deficit stood at $17.3 billion compared to $26 billion for the same period in 2010.

Despite those gains, both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Treasury Board President Tony Clement continue to strike a harsh note of austerity about the government's future plans.

Storm brewing over rumoured cuts to Old Age Security.

Prime Minister Harper's Conservative Party government is facing tough questions about its rumoured plans to cut back on Old Age Security benefits. Mr. Harper is being criticized over the fact that during the last election campaign he never even hinted at cutting government-sponsored pensions. At least two different think tanks have weighed in on the matter, suggesting that while OAS benefits are a critical resource for many impoverished Canadians they don't have a big impact on Canada's economic picture. The Prime Minister's Office has handed out talking points to Conservative MPs to help them sell the new pension vision to Canadians. The talking points say OAS will become too expensive and unsustainable without reforms. Critics speculate the government hopes to raise the age at which people are eligible for old age benefits to 67 from 65. The government is promising to give Canadians plenty of notice before any OAS benefits are cut. The opposition NDP and Liberal Party are planning to raise the issue in parliament next week.

Call for tenders for new school on troubled reserve

The federal government has issued a call for tenders to build a new elementary school on the troubled James Bay reserve of Attawapiskat that's suffering from a severe housing crisis. The move comes the week before students from the Cree community are to take part in a U.N. conference on children's rights where they're expected to challenge Canada's record on First Nation education. The community's first school became a toxic hazard in 1979. A new school will mean a chance at an education for more than 400 elementary-aged children. Ottawa announced approval of the new school project in December 2009. Critics say there are between 40 and 50 aboriginal communities across Canada in just as much need of new schools as Attawapiskat. A recent Senate committee report warned the First Nations education system in Canada is in crisis and needs a complete overhaul.


Arab League observer mission in Syria temporarily suspended

The Arab League has abruptly suspended its observer mission in Syria because of safety concerns. Mission members were told to stay in their hotels indefinitely. On Saturday, Syrian activists said that government forces killed at least 12 people and injured 30 others in a bombardment in outlying regions of Damascus. Half of those killed were civilians, while the rest were described as army defectors. Activists say that anti-aircraft gunfire and mortar rounds hit the suburbs of Saqba, Hammouria and Kfar Batna. Arab League foreign ministers are expected to discuss early next month the possibility of withdrawing their monitors completely, but the decision to end the mission could come at any time if deemed necessary. The Arab League is in New York to seek United Nations approval for a Syrian peace plan that would see President Bashir al-Assad resign.

Gulf states meet to discuss Iran

Foreign ministers of six Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, are meeting in Istanbul to explore new ways of co-operation with Turkey amid Iranian threats to immediately halt oil exports to Europe. The latest threat from Iran follows a European Union decision earlier this week to enforce an oil embargo against Iran starting this summer, to pressure Tehran over its secretive nuclear program which the West fears is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, a charge denied by Iran. Iran, the world's third-largest oil exporter, has also threatened to close the oil tanker lanes through the Strait of Hormuz, the route for about one-fifth of the world's crude. The unrest in Syria might also be discussed during Saturday's meeting in Istanbul.

Russia opens the door a crack on Syria

Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Friday a European-Arab draft resolution on Syria circulated to the U.N. Security Council was unacceptable in parts, but Russia was ready to "engage" on it. Mr. Churkin was speaking to reporters after Morocco presented the council with the draft, aimed at supporting an Arab League plan for resolving the crisis in Syria. He made no explicit threat to veto the draft resolution, which French Ambassador Gerard Araud and British envoy Mark Lyall Grant said they want to put to a vote next week after a briefing on Syria on Tuesday by Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby and the Qatari prime minister. The European-Arab draft resolution would have the council endorse the Arab League's call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer his powers to his deputy in order to form a unity government and prepare for elections.

Slovenia has new prime minister

The centre-right leader, Janez Jansa, was appointed Slovenia's prime minister on Saturday. He will try to form a government that will stabilize government finances and restore economic growth. Mr. Jansa was returned to power ahead of a five-party, centre-right coalition. He had been runnerup in early elections last month even as he faced a corruption trial connected with activity from his earlier term. He has two weeks to unveil his cabinet for parliamentary approval. The cabinet will have 12 members instead of the former 16. It's expected that the new government will have to introduce unpopular stringent financial measures, including pension reform, to restore economic stability to Slovenia, a Eurozone country.

Peru fire kills 26

At least 26 people were killed on Saturday when a fire erupted in a drug rehabilitation centre in Lima.Six others were injured seriously. The deaths occurred in a locked room where some 40 patients were eating breakfast. One survivor jumped from the second floor. Fire department officials say that a mattress on the first floor might have caught fire.Unconfirmed reports say that the Christ is Love drug centre was unlicenced and overcrowded.

Tunisians denounce extremist violence

A large demonstration was held in Tunisia's capital on Saturday to denounce violence allegedly committed by Islamist extremists. Several thousand demonstrators in Tunis accused small groups known as Salafistsof using violence to call for greater piety. Attacks have been carried out in recent months on unveiled women, secular intellectuals and at universities. Not far away, several hundred Islamists held a counter-protest. A moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, swept elections last year after the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Some secular parties warn that radical Islamists are trying to change the country.

Confrontations continue between Chinese police and Tibetans

Three clashes between Tibetan protesters and police in western China in the past week have left several Tibetans dead and dozens injured. They mark an escalation of a protest movement that for months expressed itself mainly through scattered individual self-immolations. In the the most recent incident, Tibetan advocacy groups said Friday Chinese security forces shot into a crowd of Tibetans in southwestern Sichuan province, killing a 20-year-old student, as protesters sought to prevent the arrest of another youth. Ethnic Tibetans accuse Han Chinese authorities of stifling their traditions and religious freedoms. Protests have been gathering pace in the mountainous region since Monday, the start of the Chinese lunar new year. Over the past year, there have been at least 16 incidents of Tibetans setting themselves on fire in response to Beijing's grip over Tibetan affairs. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

US admiral calls for greater military ties with China

The U.S. commander in charge of Asia is calling for greater military relations with China. Admiral Robert Willard of the U.S. Pacific Command saying that dialogue between the Pacific powers has generally focused on comparing strategic issues and nothing of major substance. But Admiral Willard expressed satisfaction that military dialogue has continued despite frequent setbacks in U.S.-China relations. He says that the two countries had a difference in philosophy and acknowledged that there were problems with trust. China has repeatedly cancelled planned military exchanges with the United States to protest U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. China claims the self-governing island, while U.S. domestic law requires providing Taiwan means of self-defense. Meanwhile, the Philippines announced plans on Friday to allow a greater U.S. military presence on its territory. Analysts say the move is directly aimed at trying to contain a rising China. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines was looking for more joint military exercises with its former colonial ruler, as well as having a greater number of US troops rotating through the Southeast Asian country.

Sudan talks at standstill

A South Sudan official says negotiations to end an oil dispute between South Sudan and Sudan have failed. South Sudan, which is landlocked, began halting oil production last week after accusing Sudan of stealing oil worth $815 million from the south. Pagan Amum, the secretary general of South Sudan's ruling party, said late Friday that South Sudan would now "turn east" to neighbours Kenya and Ethiopia to export its oil. South Sudan already has signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenya to build a pipeline from its oil fields to Kenya's northern coast. South Sudan says it has also approached Ethiopia about a possible pipeline going to Djibouti's port. South Sudan president Salva Kiir and Sudanese leader Omar al Bashir have been holding talks in Ethiopia.

Karzai meets Cameron at Chequers

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was in Britain on Saturday for talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, a day after France announced it would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan a year earlier than the 2014 date agreed by NATO. Mr. Cameronmet Mr .Karzai at Chequers, the prime minister's country retreat outside London. Britain's Foreign Office said the meeting "is about long-term partnership and commitment beyond 2014 and the need for progress on the political track." It is also sure to include the effects of the announcement by President Nicolas Sarkozy that French troops would speed up their withdrawal.. Britain has about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan.Britain plans to withdraw almost all of them by the end of 2014.

Three arrested for topless protest in Davos

Three topless Ukrainian protesters were detained Saturday after trying to break into an invitation-only gathering of international CEOs and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland. The women were trying to call the VIPs' attention to the needs of the world's poor. They arrived Saturday at the entrance to the congress centre where the World Economic Forum takes place, took off their tops and climbed a fence before being detained.
The activists are from the group Femen, which has have become popular in Ukraine for staging small, half-naked protests to highlight a range of issues including oppression of political opposition. They have also conducted protests in some other countries.

Saudi women will be permitted to attend soccer matches

A government-run Saudi Arabian newspaper reports that for the first time in the conservative Muslim country, women will be allowed to attend soccer matches in one of the country's stadiums. Al-Sharq newspaper on Saturday quoted unnamed officials as saying that women will be able to watch the matches in a new facility that will be completed in 2014 in the western port city of Jeddah. The officials say that the new stadium will include a family section with private cabins and balconies for women who wish to attend the games. Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islam prohibits unrelated men and women from mingling. Women and men in Saudi Arabia remain highly segregated and are restricted in how they are allowed to mix in public.




Canadian Christine Nesbitt set a world record in the 1000-metres on Saturday at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. Her time of one minute 12.68 seconds surpassed the previous mark of 1:13.11 set by another Canadian, Cindy Klassen, on the same rink in 2006. Nesbitt is the women's defending champion in the world sprint championship and the reigning Olympic champion in the 1,000 metres.

Christine Sinclair scored twice to lead Canada past Mexico 3-1 in the CONCACAF Olympics qualifying tournament in Vancouver on Friday. The victory secured one one of two available berths in this summer's London Games. Melissa Tancredi scored Canada's other goal and assisted on both of Sinclair's goals before a record crowd of 22,054 at B.C. Place Stadium. The United States earned the other Olympic berth with a 3-0 victory over Costa Rica. The top-ranked Americans go to the London Games as two-time defending Olympic champs but will first play Canada in a largely meaningless final on Sunday.

Canadian Erik Guay won the silver medal in the men's downhill in a World Cup race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Saturday. Dider Cuche of Switzerland won the gold, and Hannes Reichelt of Austria won the bronze.

Two Canadians won medals at the youth Luge World Cup meet in Winterberg, Germany on Saturday. Mitchel Malyk won the silver medal and John Fennel won the bronze. Germany's Marcel Engejahringer won the gold.

The Calgary Flames on Friday traded veteran centre Brendan Morrison to Chicago for minor league defenceman Brian Connelly. The 36-year-old Morrison had four goals and seven assists in 28 games with Calgary. Flames GM Jay Feaster says the team couldn't find Morrison a spot in the lineup and wanted something in return for the pending free agent. Meanwhile, the skills competition at the NHL All-Star Game weekend in Ottawa takes place Saturday. The game will be played Sunday.

With leading scorer Andrea Bargnani out of action because of a sprained calf, Toronto lost 96-81 to the Denver Nuggets on Friday. The Raptors are now 0-7 without Bargnani, who re-aggravated his calf earlier this week. Tests revealed no significant damage, but the team has no timeline for Bargnani's return.

At the Australian Open in Melbourne, Canadian Filip Peliworeached the junior boys' finalafter defeating American Mackenzie McDonald in 6-4, 6-4 the semi-finals. Peliwo was to face top-seeded Luke Saville of Australia in the final. In the junior girls' draw, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard lost in the semis to Yulia Puntinseva of Russia 7-5, 6-1.


Canada Weather

Here is Canada's weather forecast for Sunday, January 29. British Columbia will have rain. The high temperature in Vancouver will be nine degrees Celsius. The Yukon: variable cloudiness. Whitehorse, minus 20. Northwest Territories: increasing cloudiness. Yellowknife, minus 24. Nunavut: overcast. Iqaluit, minus 12. Alberta: overcast. Edmonton, five. Saskatchewan: light snow. Regina, two. Manitoba: increasing cloudiness. Winnipeg, minus 11. Ontario: partly cloudy. Toronto: one. Ottawa, minus one. Quebec: mainly cloudy. Montreal, minus four. New Brunswick: mainly sunny. Fredericton, one. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, three. Prince Edward Island: clearing skies. Charlottetown, one. Newfoundland: variable cloudiness. St. John's, two.

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