Monday, January 9, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Canadian frigate sets sail on NATO mission


The Canadian frigate, HMCS Charlottetown, set sail on Sunday to join other NATO vessels in the Mediterranean for a six month patrol.

The war ship has about 250 sailors on board and includes a Sea-King helicopter. While the Canadian frigate's mission is to patrol the sea with NATO, there is speculation that it could get involved in a different operation if Iran moves to block the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-sixth of the world's oil supply.

Iran recently threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz if new sanctions were imposedto halt its nuclear program.

NDP leadership candidate makes promise to Canada Wheat Board


A leading candidate for the leadership of the federal opposition New Democratic Party, says if he became prime minister he would reverse the decision to end the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board.

Brian Topp notes, however, that it could be a difficult task due to provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Legislation to end the monopoly power of the Canadian Wheat Board is set to take effect Aug.1.

A challenge over how the federal government introduced the change is still before the courts. The NDP will choose a leader in March to replace Jack Layton, who died of cancer in July.

Protest held against unilingual Montreal Canadiens coach


About two hundred protesters gathered outside a National Hockey League game involving the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night in downtown Montreal.

They were demonstrating against the recent appointment of the team's coach who only speaks English. Former NHL forward Randy Cunneyworth is from Toronto, and speaks no French.

Protesters also demanded more French-speaking players be named to the team and they want more French songs played during hockey games.

Quebec is a mainly French-speaking province. Provincial language lawsenforce the use of French in the workplace and on commercial signs.

Canadian junior minister praises Cuban reforms


A junior Canadian government minister is praising Cuba's recent economic reforms. Diane Ablonczy is the junior foreign minister for the Americas. She spoke as she prepared to travel on an official visit to Cuba this week. Ms. Ablonczy praised President Raul Castro for opening up private property ownership, providing opportunities to hold select private sector jobs, and allowing citizens the right to sell a used car. Ms. Ablonczy said that Canada can help speed Cuba's reforms. But she did not foresee that Cuba would include political reforms of its Communist system. Cuba is a favourite vacation spot for thousands of Canadian tourists. Two-way trade topped CDN$1 billion in 2010. Cuba's largest foreign investor is a Canadian oil and gas company, Sherritt International.

Canada Day to feature War of 1812 theme


A veteran theatre producer will provide some flair at Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa this year. Toronto producer Paul Shaw has been hired to stage an event to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 between Canada and the United States. The war ended in a stalemate two years after it began. Some historians believe that it helped to forge a sense of Canadian nationhood. Mr. Shaw will involve pop singers, dancing and fireworks at the festivities on Parliament Hill on July 1.


Iran to start enriching uranium at underground plant


Iran says that it will start operations soon at its underground uranium enrichment facility. The facility is at a protected site deep inside a mountain near the city of Qom. Its operations could forestall attempts to re-start talks with major Western powers who want Iran to abandon its nuclear program. The United States and its allies say Iran is trying to build nuclear bombs, but Iran insists that its nuclear program aims only to generate electricity.

On Sunday, tension in the Persian Gulf rose further after a high-ranking Iranian military commander warned of closing the Strait of Hormuz if the West proceeds to cut off Iranian oil exports. The Strait is a major route for shipping mideast oil through the Persian Gulf.

Arab League meets to discuss Syria


The Arab League will increase the number of its peace monitors in Syria. Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday also announced that the monitors would be provided with more resources. About 165 monitors were sent to Syria last month to assess President Bashir al-Assad's observance of an Arab League peace plan. Critics of the plan say that it was ineffective and merely allowed more time for Mr. al-Assad to suppress anti-government protesters. The United Nations estimates that more than five thousand demonstrators have been killed since protests began last year. The Arab League on Sunday again urged Syria's government to stop violence and to give monitors access to all parts of the country. Monitors are scheduled to file a full report later this month.

South Africans mark ANC centenary


Tens of thousands of South Africans have held a mass rally to mark the 100th anniversary of the African National Congress. A mass of celebration was also held at a Methodist Church in Blomfontein Sunday, attended by African and world leaders.

The party's figure head - Nelson Mandela is reportedly to ill to attend -- but sent a video message to be broadcast later in the day.

The ANC is hailed as Africa's oldest and most famous liberation movement, but its reputation is has been tarnished by corruption scandals, political infighting and complaints by many South Africans who say the party has not done enough to improve the lives of the poor.

Nigeria poised for nationwide labour strike


As violence intensified against Christians in northern Nigeria this weekend, the country braced for nationwide labour strikes to begin on Monday. Fearing labour violence, the government has ordered large-scale security. Last week, anger over the cost of fuel prices led to demonstrations in which police fired tear gas and used force to dispers protesters. Long lines were seen at gas stations, some of which had run dry. Labour union leaders urged people to stock food ahead of the strike. President Goodluck Jonathan made a last-minute television appeal to avoid the strike, but labour unions vowed to go ahead. Most of the country's 160 million population lives on less than $2 a day. In the mainly Muslim north, the extremist Islamist group, Boko Haram staged a number of deadly attacks on Christians this past week, ending in a warning to Christians to leave the region. Hundreds of Christians fled in fear.

Law grants immunity to Yemen president


Yemen's government cabinet on Sunday approved a law to grant President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution for any alleged crimes committed during his 33-year rule. His aides also received immunity. Yemen's parliament must still approve the law. The law was passed despite widespread demands for Mr. Saleh to stand trial for the killing of hundreds of people during a popular uprising over the past year. An agreement brokered by Persian Gulf States granted him and his aides immunity in exchange for relinquishing power.

U.S. wants investigation into attack against Bahrain activist


The U.S. State Department has expressed concern to the Bahraini government over the apparent beating of prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab. Opposition activists say security officers beat him on the back, head and neck at a rally on Friday.

Bahrain's interior ministry denies the attack but the U.S. says the allegations should be fully investigated. The interior ministry has said police found Mr Rajab on the ground and took him to hospital.

The U.S. maintains close ties with Bahrain and has a huge naval presence deployed there. Bahrain's Shia Muslim majority has been campaigning for greater rights in the kingdom since last February.

 

Deadly stampede at stadium in Sudan


An independence day celebration in Sudan turned tragic on Sunday when a crowd in a stadium suddenly turned into a stampede, killing at least three people. Several others were injured. Witnesses at the stadium in Singa, state capital of Sennar, say that some kind of problem occurred and police reacted by using tear gas. Large crowds were crushed at the stadium gates. The nature of the problem remains unclear. It's estimated that two thousand people were at the celebration, which marked Sudan's 56thyear of independence.

Taiwanese attend election rallies ahead of key poll


Tens of thousands of Taiwanese to the the streets to show support for their favoured presidential candidates days ahead of the Janauary 14th elction.

Incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou led a large crowd of supporters marching along a main Taipei thoroughfare. His main challenger, Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, stood on a truck greeting voters in southern Tainan city.

Late polls indicate an extremely tight race between the two candidates. During his 3 1/2 years in office, Mr.Ma has lowered tensions across the Taiwan Strait by engaging China economically. Ms.Tsai has refused to renounce her party's pro-independence platform, to the ire of China, which still claims the island as part of its own.


Sports


TENNIS

Canadian Milos Raonic---the ATP Newcomer of the Year last year---won his second career ATP title on Sunday, beating top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, 6-7(4), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) at the Chennai Open in India. The match, which lasted more than three hours, was watched by a sell-out crowd of 5,200 at the Nungambakkam tennis stadium. Raonic won his first title in San Jose last February, then finished runner-up to Andy Roddick in Memphis a week later.

 

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Canadian Devon Kershaw finished fourth in the overall standing of the Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Italy on Sunday. Dario Cologna of Switzerland was first, Sweden's Marcus Hellner was second, while Norway's Petter Northug was third.

HOCKEY

In the National Hockey League on Saturday, seven Canadian teams saw action and the scores were:

Calgary 3 Minnesota 1

Vancouver 4 Boston 3

Toronto 4 Detroit 3

Montreal 3 Tampa Bay 1

Winnipeg 2 Buffalo 1 in overtime

Philadelphia 3 Ottawa 2 in overtime

Dallas 4 Edmonton 1

 

BASKETBALL

In the National Basketball Association on Saturday, Philadelphia defeated Toronto, 97-62.


Weather


Here is Canada's weather forecast for Monday, January 9. British Columbia will have heavy rain. The high temperature in Vancouver will be nine degrees Celsius. The Yukon: light snow. Whitehorse, minus six. Northwest Territories: overcast. Yellowknife, minus 11. Nunavut: snow flurries. Iqaluit, minus 20. Alberta: increasing cloudiness. Edmonton, six. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, eight. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, four. Ontario: increasing cloudiness. Toronto: four. Ottawa, minus one. Quebec: light snow. Montreal, minus four. New Brunswick: sunny. Fredericton, minus eight. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, minus three. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, minus six. Newfoundland: snow. St. John's, one.