Saturday, January 28, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Canada reacts to allegations of torture in Libya


Canada has responded to alarms sounded by Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders by formally expressing its displeasure to the interim government in Libya.

Earlier this week, both NGOs reported instances of torture of detainees in Libyan prisons, one-time loyalists of the deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Amnesty had exhorted the Canadian government to exert its influence on the new regime, a regime put in place with the aid of a Western military intervention in which Canada played a key role.

Ottawa has now sent diplomatic notes to the Libyan embassy in Ottawa and to the government in Tripoli directly to express its concern at what was described as credible reports of torture and deaths.

 

Canada wants Syria out of U.N. agency


Reports say that Canada is working with some of its allies to have Syria expelled from a United Nations committee that is investigating human rights abuses.

Canada is one of 14-nations who have asked that Syria membership on the U.N. cultural agency, UNESCO, be reconsiderd.

UNESCO's executive meets on February 27th. Syria has launched a crackdown on protests that began last March that has claimed more than 5,000 lives.

 

Canadians asked to help the starving in Africa


The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, is asking Canadians to do more to help starving children in Africa.

The call comes from David Morley, the head of UNICEF's Canadian branch who points to a disturbing new report by the U.N. agency.

It says starvation and malnutrition are rising among children under the age of five in many of the world's troubled regions.

UNICEF is appealing for 1.28 billion dollars in donations this year, which is down nine per cent from its funding requirement last year.

 

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.

 

Arrest reported in beating of Canadian tourist


A Mexican official said late Friday that a suspect had been arrested in the bloody beating of a Canadian woman last weekend.

Sheila Nabb, 37, was found unconscious in an elevator at a five-star resort in Mazatlan, where she was staying with her husband, Andrew. She suffered extensive facial injuries.

Ms. Nabb has since returned to Calgary, Alberta, where she is in hospital for treatment.

Ivan Pico, an official with Mexico's secretary of tourism, says his ministry has not yet been provided any details about the suspect's identity and could not confirm media reports that say he is a Mexican national.

 

Family fears for daughter in detention in Mexico


The detention of a Canadian woman in Mexico over allegations she had attempted to smuggle a son of the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi into the country, is due to end early next week.

But the parents of Cynthia Vanier, who visited her for the first time this week, are skeptical that their daughter will be set free.

Ms. Vanier is being held without charge. Under Mexican law, that means she must be set free after three months, a time limit that expires next Tuesday. But her mother, Betty MacDonald, says they are bracing for the worst.

She says her daughter could be released and then immediately re-arrested and held for another three months.

Ms. Vanier, 52, of Mount Forest, Ontario, and three others were arrested in Mexico City in November in connection to an alleged plot to fly Saadi Gadhafi, his wife and two children to Punta Mita, Mexico, on false passports.

Ms. Vanier's family denies the allegation.

It also expressed frustration about what it says is a lack of support from the Canadian government.

 

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.

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Mr. Harper stressed his government's desires to slash spending with cuts to Canada's pension system.

Mr. Clement said the government is looking to achieve even more savings from cuts to the public service, to as much as $8 billion from the previously announced $4 billion.

 

Canada urged to do better for disabled


A joint report from the World Health Organization and World Bank says despite steps taken in Canada to improve accessibility for the disabled, there is still much work to be done.

Tom Shakespeare of the WHO points out that disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed and face many other barriers that leave them feeling excluded. T

he World Report on Disability suggests that more than one billion people in the world today experience disability.

Mr. Shakespeare, one of the report's authors, says that number represents about 15 per cent of the population and is growing due to aging, chronic disease and injuries.

 


U.N. wants resumption of  nuclear dialogue between West and Iran


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is urging a resumption of dialogue between Western powers and Iran on their nuclear dispute.

He says Iran must comply with Security Council resolutions and prove conclusively that its nuclear development program is not directed to making arms.

Mr. Ban says that dialogue with leading world powers and Iran is the best option. He also expressed concern at the most recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

It suggested that Iran's nuclear program has a military intent. Western nations and Israel have repeatedly accused Iran of using its nuclear program to make atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Claims of lack of support for Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin


The head of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's presidential campaign has accused Russian President Dmitry Medvedev of failing to support the Mr. Putin as he seeks a historic third Kremlin term as President.

Analysts are calling it an extraordinary attack on Mr. Medvedev by Stanislav Govorukhin. He says he would like to see Mr. Medvedev to be more involved in the Putin campaign.

Analysts alsosay the 46-year-old Medvedev committed political suicide when he voluntarily agreed to step aside after just one term in office and allow Mr. Putin to seek the presidency.

Mr. Medveddev will take over the role of Prime Minister.

The job-exchange announcement triggered the worst political crisis of Mr. Putin's 12-year rule with tens of thousands of people hitting the streets in Moscow in two mass protests last month.

Another massacre in Syria


There's a report of another massacre in Syria.

Human rights activists say forces loyal to President Bashar Assad killed more than 30 people on Thursday in the city of Homs.

The United Nations estimates more than 5,400 people have been killed since last March when President Assad began a crackdown on Syrians who want democracy.

Meanwhile, the United Nations. Security Council is scheduled to meet today to discuss Syria before a possible vote next week on a new

Western-Arab draft resolution aimed at halting months of bloodshed.

Syria, which says it is pursuing its own political reforms, has rejected the Arab plan as interference in its affairs.

 

Suicide bomber attack in Iraq kills at least 31 people


At least 31-people were killed Friday in a suicide bomber attack in Baghdad.

The bomber detonated his explosive-filled taxi near a funeral procession.

It was the latest attack in a Shiite neighbourhood. Officials are blaming Sunni Islamist insurgents for an increase in attacks targeting Shiites.

Officials also say the bomber may have also tried to target the a nearby police station.

Sunni insurgents often target local government offices and police stations and patrols as a way to show the authorities are unable to provide security.

More than 320 people have been killed in attacks in Iraq since the beginning of of the year.

Iraq's current crisis was triggered when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government sought the arrest of a Sunni vice president and asked lawmakers to remove a Sunni deputy prime minister just after the last U.S. troops left Iraq on December 18.

Toxins from mine pollute two Chinese rivers


A discharge of a cancer-causing toxic metal into a waterway by a Chinese mining company has polluted a long stretch of

two rivers in southern China.

And officials have warned some 3.7 million people of Liuzhou in the Guangxi region to avoid drinking water from the river.

Officials are hoping to dilute the pollutants after the toxic metal cadmium was first detected nearly two weeks ago.

Pollution of waterways by toxic run-offs from factories and farms is a major issue in China though the problem shows no sign of going away.

Survivors unlikely in Rio buildings collapse


Rescue workers do not expect to find any survivors under the rubble of the three high-rise buildings that collapsed in Rio, killing at least 11 people, a civil defense official said Friday. With the estimated 15 missing now presumed dead, the final death toll could reach 26.

"Regrettably I must say that we no longer expect to find survivors," said Sergio Simoes, the state secretary for civil defense.

The three office buildings - of 20, 10, and four stories - collapsed late Wednesday near the municipal theater on the city's Cinelandia square, a historic district bustling by day but nearly deserted at night.

 

Holocaust Remembrance Day - an apology from Norway


Norway apologised for the first time on Friday for the country's complicity in the deportation and deaths of Jews during the Nazi occupation in World War Two.

"Norwegians carried out the arrests; Norwegians drove the trucks and it happened in Norway," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

"Today I feel it is fitting to express our deepest apologies that this could happen on Norwegian soil." "It is time for us to acknowledge that Norwegian policemen, civil servants and other Norwegians took part in the arrest and deportation of Jews," he said in a speech marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Vidkun Quisling, the country's leader during the occupation whose name has become synonymous with traitor, ordered Norway's 2,100 Jews registered in 1942. More than a third were deported to death camps, while others fled to neighbouring Sweden.

Germany marked the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp on Friday facing serious doubt about how well its institutions are dealing with right-wing extremism.

An opinion poll published by Forsa institute this week suggested as many as one in five Germans aged 18-30 did not know what happened at Auschwitz, while a new report suggested one fifth of Germans harboured anti-Semitic sentiments.

 


Markets


The S&P/TSX composite index gained two points to 12,466.

The Canadian dollar rose a tenth of a cent to 99.93 cents U-S.

New York's Dow Jones industrial average fell 74 points to 12,660.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 11 points to 2,817.

 

RIM


Fairfax Financial Holdings has taken a greater stake in Research In Motion.

The moves follows last weekend's management shakeup at the embattled BlackBerry maker, which added Fairfax founder Prem Watsa to its board at the same time Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis stepped aside as RIM's co-CEOs.

A filing with U-S regulators shows that Watsa, Fairfax and affiliated companies have boosted their holdings in Research In Motion to just under 27 million shares, or about 5.12 per cent of RIM's outstanding shares.

Oil & Gas


An oil and gas industry group is scaling back its drilling activity forecast for 2012. The Petroleum Services Association of Canada expects just over 13-thousand wells to be drilled in Canada this year, an 11 per cent decrease from its November forecast.

Part of the problem is there aren't enough workers who have the know-how necessary to drill big, complicated wells.

Association CEO Mark Selkeld says another reason for the new forecast is a big shift taking place in the industry toward unconventional oil and gas drilling. Companies are now drilling far-reaching horizontal wells thousands of metres underground to tap into prolific, but tough to access, reservoirs. And he says while fewer wells may be drilled, the wells themselves are taking longer to drill as they are more complex.

HOCKEY

There were no games in the National Hockey League on Thursday as preparations continue for this weekend's All Star game to played in Ottawa.

 

FOOTBALL

In the Canadain Football League, quarterback Kevin Glenn has restructured his contract with the Calgary Stampeders. The 32-year-old Glenn will enter training camp competing for the starting job with incumbent Drew Tate.

 

Arland Bruce signed a new contract with the Grey Cup champion British Columbia Lions. Bruce finished the 2011 campaign with 58 receptions for 859 yards.

 

SKI

Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, was the fastest in training for a World Cup downhill race in Germany. It's the same course where he won the world championships last year. The 30-year-old Guay edged runner-up Adrian Theaux of France. The race goes Saturday. Meanwhile, American Lindsey Vonn won a World Cup super-combined event in Switzerland to extend her lead in the overall standings. Marie-Michele Gagnon of Levis, Quebec, was 22nd.

 

Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who died a week ago after a training accident,was honoured at the Winter X-Games last night. Her friends took a slow trip down a darkened halfpipe while holding white glow sticks above their heads. Sarah Burke was 29.

Canada's Kaya Turski made history at the Winter X-Games. The 23-year-old Turski won gold in slopestyle skiing to become the first women to win the event three years in a row.

TENNIS

 

At the Australian Open Tennis championships Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka will meet in the women's final match. In the men's final competition, Rafael Nadal will play defending champion Novak Djokovic in the final..

 


Saturday, January 28, 2012


Vancouver, rain and 5.

Edmonton, cloudy and minus 3.

Calgary, partly cloudy and 5.

Saskatoon, mainly sunny and minus 5.

Regina, partly cloudy with flurries and minus 5.

Winnipeg, mainly sunny and minus 5.

Toronto, rain or wet snow and 2.

Ottawa, a few flurries and zero.

Montreal, mainly sunny and 2.

Fredericton, a few flurries and zero.

Halifax, rain and 5.

Charlottetown, rain and flurries, plus 3.

St. John's, rain or wet snow and zero.

Happy Valley-Goose Bay, chance of flurries and minus 16.

Whitehorse, cloudy and minus 11.

Yellowknife, sunny minus 32.

Iqaluit, mainly sunny and minus 25.