Sunday, February 19, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 18 February 2012
Canadian International Sports Weather

Canadian among 22 new Roman Catholic cardinals
A Canadian was among 22 new Roman Catholic cardinals installed on Saturday by Pope Benedict. Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto became Canada's 16th cardinal. Only two other Canadian cardinals are alive, Marc Ouellet of Quebec City and Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty led an official delegation to the ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica. He described the appointment as an honour for Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement of congratulations. The new cardinals include the archbishops of New York, Prague and Hong Kong as well as the heads of several Vatican offices. At 84, Pope Benedict conducted an abbreviated installation ceremony, a sign that the pontiff is slowing down. Cardinals under the age of 80 are eligible to elect the next pope.

Pope to bestow sainthood on Canadian Mohawk woman

Pope Benedict has set Oct. 21 as the date to declare a Mohawk woman buried in Quebec as a saint. Kateri Tekakwitha, who spent most of her life in what is now Upstate New York, will become the first aboriginal saint when she and six others are canonized at a Vatican ceremony. Benedict had already approved miracles attributed to Tekakwitha, the final step toward sainthood. Known as the "Lily of the Mohawks," she was born in New York in 1656. It's been 332 years since Tekakwitha died, and 128 years since the process for her canonization began in 1884. She was declared venerable in 1943. Pope John Paul beatified her in 1980, a step the Catholic News Service reported made her "the first native American to be beatified." Tekakwitha is entombed in a marble shrine at the St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, QC.

Canadian among defendants in Mumbai attack trial

A court in India will proceed with the trial of a Canadian, Tahawwur Rana, and eight others in connection with the deadly attacks in Mumbai in 2008. Among the listed defendants is an American, David Headley. Headley served as a U.S. government witness in the trial last year against Rana, a Canadian citizen who has lived in Chicago for many years.Ran was convicted of supporting the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group but acquitted of charges involving the Mumbai attack. District Judge H.S. Sharma ordered the nine defendants to appear in court in New Delhi on March 13 and issued warrants for five suspects not already in custody. The Indian court will try to extradite Headley from the United States, where he was imprisoned after he admitted his role in the Mubmai attack plot. The Mumbai attacks killed 168 people.

Commission chief has strong words about aboriginal removals

The head of Canada's truth and reconciliation commission is using stark language to describe the removal of more than 100,000 aboriginal children from their homes during the last century.Justice Murray Sinclair says the move to place them in residential schools was an act of genocide. Mr. Sinclair told students at the University of Manitoba on Friday the United Nations' definition of genocide includes the removal of children based on race, then placing them with another race to indoctrinate them. About 150,000 aboriginal children were forced to attend the government schools. The last school closed outside Regina,Sask. in 1996. The $60 million truth and reconciliation commission is part of a landmark compensation deal between the federal government, the Crown and residential school survivors. It has visited about 500 communities, where it has heard graphic details of rampant sexual and physical abuse.

Berlin Film Festival honours Canadian filmmaker

A film by a Canadian director received a special mention at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday. War Witch by Quebec director Kim Nguyentells the story of a child soldier filmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The award for the best actress went to Rachel Mwanza for her role as the child soldier in War Witch. The top prize, the Golden Bear, was bestowed on the Italian documentary, Cesar Must Die, by Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani.

Some Canadian scientists fear government muzzling

Some members of Canada's scientific community are expressing concern that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is trying to muzzle scientists who get money from Ottawa. A number of groups have used a major scientific conference in Vancouver to release an open letter to Mr.Harper. It calls on him to "tear down the wall" that's been raised over the past four years separating scientists, journalists and the public. The letter says federal scientists are not allowed to speak to reporters without the 'consent' of media relations officers." It complains that reporters often face "unacceptable" delays or denials for interviews, prompting them to give up trying to talk to federal government scientists. The letter suggests the muzzling of Canadian scientists is at odds with the Harper government's repeated promises to be accountable and transparent.

Controversial Twitter site is shut down

It appears the Twitter site that posted personal information about Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has been shut down after sparking a political firestorm. A final post on "Vikileaks" says the site was set up to make a point -- and not to ensare innocent people in a Harper government witch hunt. The move follows a stinging attack by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird in the House of Commons on Friday. He accused the Official Opposition NDP of being behind the attack on Mr. Toews, The NDP denies the charge. The Speaker of the House of Commons is currentlylooking into a media report that the account is connected to a Commons Internet protocol address. Vikileaks has been posting tawdry details from Mr. Toews' divorce, juxtaposing them with public statements he's made about family values. The online campaign began after the government introduced a bill that would allow police to access the personal information of Internet users without first having to get a warrant. Opposition members and privacy advocates say the new powers to snoop go too far.

Prime Minister declines to discuss gun registry with Quebec political leader

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he is not interested in meeting with the leader of Quebec's Official Opposition to discuss the federal gun registry, which Ottawa moved to abolish this past week.Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois sent a letter to Mr. Harper's office asking for the meeting. She says the registry has been useful to police since it was set up in the wake of the Ecole polytechnique massacre of 14 women in 1989. Ms. Marois says Quebec would like to set up its own system and use the information gathered by the federal government, but Ottawa has steadfastly refused such a request. The separatist PQ frequently makes demands of the federal government even when there's a high likelihood of refusal. In the event of any concession, they stand to gain credit and if they're refused there's always potential for a nationalist backlash. A statement from Mr. Harper's office accused Ms. Marois of trying to create fights.

Saskatchewan minister heads to China on trade mission

Saskatchewan's resource minister, Bill Boyd, leaves Sunday on a trade mission to China. Mr. Boyd will meet with businesses and market development companies to talk about investing in potash, uranium, and oil projects. The two-week trade missionalso includes a stop in Australia. Mr. Boyd Saskatchewan has something products and resources that Chinaneeds. He says China has potash-deficient soils and as a result it needs relatively large applications of potash to maintain very strong yield performances for the crops that they grow. Uranium also has huge growth potential after Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently struck a new deal with China to buy Canadian uranium.

Canada's government moves to protect gay unions
The Canadian government is moving to close a legal loophole that could have undermined thousands of gay marriages around the world. The governing Conservatives have introduced amendments to the Civil Marriage Act to ensure the marriages are recognized. The changes are prompted by a divorce case in Ontario involving a gay couple. Legal documents filed by the federal government in the case had argued that even though the couple married in Canada, they couldn't be considered legally married because it wasn't recognized in their U.S. and United Kingdom homes. Therefore, they couldn't get a divorce. Gay-rights activists and opposition politicians had accused the government of trying to rewrite the rules on same-sex marriage to suit their own agenda. But Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says its opinion is that the marriages are valid and it doesn't want to reopen the debate on the definition of marriage. The government said amendments will make all marriages of non-resident couples that were performed in Canada valid under Canadian law, and will also allow these couples to end their marriages if they cannot get a divorce where they live.

High court rules in religion case
The Supreme Court has rejected the arguments of a Quebec couple who wanted to have their children exempted from having to take an ethics and religion course at school. The court unanimously ruled on Friday that the course does not violate freedom of religion. The case centred on a couple from Drummondville who wanted to
have their children exempted from the course, which the Quebec government introduced in 2008. They claimed the class violated their freedom of religion by forcing their children to be exposed to religious beliefs that were
different from the family's. But The Supreme Court ruled that the parents did not prove their rights were infringed or that the school board's refusal to exempt their children violated their constitutional rights. Quebec introduced the ethics and religious culture curriculum to replace the former Protestant and Catholic religious courses for all
students except those in Grade 9.

NB nuclear facility gets green light
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has given NB Power a five-year licence renewal for operation of the reactor at New Brunswick's Point Lepreau nuclear power plant. The commission has given the provincial power utility company permission to begin reloading fuel and restarting the reactor. The decision follows two days of public hearings last fall. Point Lepreau has been out of service since March 2008 for a major refurbishment that's meant to extend the life of the reactor by 25 years. The project is three years behind schedule and $1 billion over the original $1.4-billion budget. Point Lepreau, the only nuclear power plant in Atlantic Canada, is now scheduled to return to service this fall.

Collective responsibility ruled for hockey riot

A judge ruled Thursday that the rioters who participated in the chaos that swept through downtown Vancouver after the Stanley Cup final last year should be punished not just for their own actions, but for the destruction wrought by the entire mob, as he sentenced the first person convicted in the riot to 17 months in jail. Ryan Dickinson, 20, admitted to trashing an unnmarked police car and vandalzing a clothing store, but he claimed he was merely "caught up in the moment" and argued his crimes weren't as serious as other rioters who were on the streets that night. But provincial court Judge Malcolm MacLean rejected that argument, concluding that even though Dickinson didn't assault anyone, set fires or loot stores, his actions nonetheless encouraged others to do so. Dickinson pleaded guilty to participating in a riot, as well as breaching bail conditions from an unrelated assault charge. He admitted to using a road barricade and a newspaper box to damage an unmarked police car, and then later tossing a mannequin and a newspaper box at the window of a clothing store several blocks away.


Violence continues in Syria

Security forces shot dead a mourner at a huge funeral on Saturday for demonstrators killed in rare protests in the Syrian capital. The Damascus funerals were for four people, two of them teenagers, killed when security forces fires on protesters in the capital's Mazzeh district on Friday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were casualties among the "thousands" attending the funerals without specifying their number or severity. Activists described Friday's demonstrations in Damascus as "unprecedented," saying there were 49 in all, and called for a "day of defiance" in the capital on Sunday to galvanise support. Security forces also kept up their pounding of the flashpoint central city of Homs. Rockets crashed into strongholds of resistance at the rate of four a minute on Friday, according to one activist, who warned that the city -- Syria's third largest -- faces a humanitarian crisis. Thirteen of the 30 people killed on Friday were in the Homs district of Baba Amr.


China supports planned elections in Syria

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun is calling on all sides in Syria to stop the violence and to conduct elections peacefully. The elections proposed by the government next month have been denounced by the opposition. Zhai made the comments following talks in Damascus with President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday. Zhai's visit followed talks with his counterpart, Faisal Meqdad, late on Friday after which he said the international community must respect Syria's sovereignty. Meanwhile, China says it was courageous in voting against a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning human rights violations in Syria. The Global Times newspaper, published by the ruling Communist Party, said in an editorial Saturday that the response was an indication of China's rising influence on global affairs. The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favour of the nonbinding resolution backing an Arab League plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and strongly condemning human rights violations by his regime. Russia and China, who both vetoed a similar resolution in the Security Council, voted against the measure. China, which violently suppressed anti-government protests in 1989, has refused to condemn Syria over the violence. China and Russia have faced a barrage of criticism for blocking action by the UN Security Council, including from Arab nations with which Beijing normally has good ties.

Another victim dies from Honduras prison fire
Another victim has died of injuries that he suffered during a prison fire this week in Honduras. The death toll stands at 358. Fire swept through the overcrowded cells of the prison north of Tegucigalpa on Tuesday evening. The cause of the fire remains a mystery, but an investigation continues. The prison fire was the worst in a century.

Number of victims in Pakistan attack continues to mount

A local official says the death toll from a suicide attack in a majority-Shiite Pakistan town close to the Afghan border has reached 32. Wajid Ali, who is an administrator in the town of Parachinar in the Kurram region, said Saturday that nine people had died in hospitals since the Friday blast, which was initially reported to have killed 23. Another 67 were injured when on a motorcyclist detonated his explosives in the Parachinar's market. Mr. Ali said security forces later shot and killed four people who took to the streets to protest. Violence by Sunni extremists against Shiites is common in Sunni-dominated Pakistan. The Kurram region has seen outbreaks of sectarian bloodshed in recent years.

Latvians vote against Russian language
As expected, Latvians have voted against making Russian the country's second official language. Almost 70 per cent of those eligible to vote cast a ballot in a referendum on Saturday. About 81 per cent opposed giving status to Russian, while about 19 per cent voted in favour. Almost one in three Latvians speaks Russian. Under Latvian law, Russians who arrived in Latvia during the Soviet era and cannot speak Latvian are ineligible to vote or to hold government jobs. The same law applies to their children.

Another Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in China

Overseas groups say another Tibetan Buddhist monk has set himself on fire in western China amid a wave of such protests against China's handling of its vast Tibetan areas. The advocacy group Free Tibet says Tamchoe Sangpo set himself alight Friday during a prayer ceremony at a monastery in a remote region of Qinghai province. It gave no details about his current condition, although U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia said he had died. A police officer in the county of Tianjun, where the monastery is located, and an official at the surrounding Haixi prefectural government said Saturday that they had no information about the case. As many as 21 monks, nuns and ordinary Tibetans have set themselves on fire over the past year, and Free Tibet says at least 13 died from their injuries.

Pro-Putin demonstrators take to the streets.

Tens of thousands of Vladimir Putin's supporters backed his bid for the presidency in rallies across Russia on Saturday. The supporters were trying to outdo mass nationwide protests staged by his opponents. At least 50,000 people attended rallies in European Russia, Siberia and the Far East supporting Putin's candidacy for a historic third Kremlin term in March 4 polls. Russians are taking to the streets with increasing regularity ahead of the election as the opposition and pro-Putin camp seek to outdo each other with competing rallies. The opposition has accused the authorities of using the state's resources or even employing financial incentives to encourage people to show up for the Putin rallies. Several buses were visible on the fringes of the rally that had brought people in from outlying Saint Petersburg regions. Pro-Putin rallies took place in almost all of Russia's biggest cities, the main exceptions being Moscow and the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk where the Russian premier was busy attending an economic forum. According to a police count quoted by Russian news agencies, 12,000 people turned out for the biggest rally in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk seven time zones away under the slogan "We Have Something to Protect!" Rallies mustering at least 10,000 people also took place in cities including Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, and Novosibirsk in Siberia, while several thousand came for events in the Pacific port of Vladivostok and the Siberian city of Irkutsk.

Pre-election protests continue in Senegal

Riot police fired tear gas on anti-government protesters in the capital as Senegal's security forces wrapped up early voting in a contentious presidential race. Saturday marked the fourth straight day of protests ahead of next week's critical election, which pits the country's 85-year-old president against a young opposition demanding his departure. Earlier on Saturday, some 23,000 security personnel including police and military lined up to vote early, as called for in the electoral code. No incidents of violence were reported. But protesters gathered in the late afternoon, prompting police to launch tear gas. The increasingly tense atmosphere on the ground has many concerned that there may be unrest if President Abdoulaye Wade is declared the winner of the vote.



Friday's results: Montreal defeated Buffalo 4-3 in a shootout, Winnipeg defeated Boston 4-2 and Colorado defeated Edmonton 3-1. In other NHL news, Montreal traded defenceman Hal Gill to Nashville on Friday for prospects Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney and two draft picks. Geoffrion, 24, is the first fourth-generation player in NHL history. His great-grandfather, Hall of Famer Howie Morenz, his grandfather, Hall of Famer Bernard (Boom Boom) Geoffrion and his father, Danny Geoffrion, all played for Montreal Danny Geoffrion played parts of four seasons in the NHL in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including 32 games with the Canadiens in 1979-80.

Friday's result: Charlotte defeated Toronto 98-91.

Hamilton signed all-star receiver Andy Fantuz to a four-year contract on Friday. Fantuz was the league's top Canadian in 2010 and leaves Saskatchewan after six seasons. The Riders also lost lost two-time outstanding lineman Gene Makowsky to retirement after 17 seasons with Saskatchewan. Makowsky's decision was expected after he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a member of the Saskatchewan Party. On Saturday, the Ticats signed linebacker Kevin Eiben, defensive end Greg Peach and offensive lineman Tim O'Neill.

Canadian Milos Raonic, the defending champion, advanced to the semifinals at the SAP Open in California on Friday with a straight set win over South Africa's Kevin Anderson. Raonic faces Ryan Harrison of the United States in the semifinals on Saturday.

Matt Guest and Rob Short had two goals apiece Saturday as Canada shut out Italy 9-0 in its first game at the final men's Olympic field hockey qualifying tournament in New Delhi. Canada, ranked 14th by the International Hockey Federation, took 3-0 half-time lead before taking control of the match with six second-half goals. David Jameson, Stewart Hudson, Iain Smythe, Phillip Wright and Scott Tupper had the other goals for Canada. Prior to the match, Canadian team player Scott Tupper was honoured for his 150th international cap. Canada plays India on Sunday. On the women's side, Canada overcame a 1-0 half-time deficit to take a 2-1 lead over Italy in the second half before the Italians scored late to force a 2-2 tie.


Here is Canada's weather forecast for Sunday, February 19. British Columbia will have rain showers. The high temperature in Vancouver will be seven degrees Celsius. The Yukon: variable cloudiness. Whitehorse, minus eight. Northwest Territories: variable cloudiness. Yellowknife, minus 17. Nunavut: sunny. Iqaluit, minus 25. Alberta: snow flurries. Edmonton, minus one. Saskatchewan: cloudy periods. Regina, three. Manitoba: variable cloudiness. Winnipeg, minus one. Ontario: sunny. Toronto: one. Ottawa, minus two. Quebec: sunny. Montreal, minus one. New Brunswick: mainly sunny. Fredericton, minus four. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, minus one. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, minus three. Newfoundland: snow flurries. St. John's, zero.

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