Monday, February 20, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Canadian warship returns home after Libyan operations
A Canadian warship that participated in NATO operations in Libya last year returned on Sunday to the Canadian navy base in Esquimault, British Columbia. Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk greeted HMCS Vancouver as it docked. The warship replaced HMCS Charlottetown in patrolling the waters off Libya to ensure that no arms and ammunition reached the Gadhafi regime. HMCS Vancouver was later assigned to counter-terrorism patrol in the Mediterranean Sea.

Navy chief says Arctic climate change warrants bigger military presence

The head of the Royal Canadian Navy says Canada needs to boost its military presence in the Arctic largely because climate change will likely lead to a boom in human and economic activity. Climate change is believed to be occurring faster in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth and it's opening previously inaccessible areas to resource development as well as commercial shipping. Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison says that will result in more open water in the Arctic Ocean and the area will probably open up to international shipping from Asia to Europe. He says a number of major shipping companies are planning to have ships that are capable of sailing out of Singapore and over the North Pole into Rotterdam. Adm. Maddison says the extra activity means Canada needs to be ready to react to search and rescue events as well as the possibility of environmental accidents. He says he would like to add another thousand sailors to the navy and beef up the navy's surveillance capability in the Arctic.

Scientist downplays oilsands role in climate change
A leading Canadian climate scientist says coal not oilsands emissions playa determiningrole in global warming. Andrew Weaver is a climate modeller at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. In a commentary on Sunday in the science publication, Nature, Mr. Weaver writes that his climate emission projections revealed that hydrocarbonswould havea much smaller environmental footprint than he expected. He and his colleague,Neal Stewart, examined the potential effect of burning the entire world's stocks of coal, oil and natural gas. They found that the amount of carbon dioxide released would raise global temperatures by no more than .36 degrees Celsius. Over the entire last century, global temperatures have risen by about twice that amount. When only emissions from oilsands are calculated, the increase in global temperature would be just .03 degrees Celsius. Burning all the world's coal deposits, in contrast, would raise global temperatures by 15 degrees, while releasing all of the natural gas would cause a three-degree rise. Mr. Weaver says that his paper tried to bring perspective to the debate over oilsands development. Environmentalists have often blamed oilsands for its effect on climate.

Astronaut Hadfield bullish on space research

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield says the research being done aboard the International Space Station is paving the way for future space exploration. Mr. Hadfield is scheduled to return to the Space Station in December for a six-month mission and will become its first Canadian commander. Mr. Hadfield says 100 years from now people may look back at early 21st century space exploration as merely baby steps. But he says he sees those tiny steps as more like a giant leap forward. Mr. Hadfield says before humans can go any significant distance in space, they'll need proven technologies they can rely on to keep them alive. And he says the space station is the best place to develop those technologies. Mr. Hadfield made the comments in Vancouver where he is participating in the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Warnings issued on foster care

Child advocates from across Canada are issuing a warning about the way children are placed in foster care. They say some children are being placed before full safety checks are done while others are winding up in supervised apartments or overcrowded homes. Peter Dudding of the Child Welfare League of Canada describes the situation as dangerous. The children's advocate in British Columbia has found numerous instances of children being placed in homes that weren't adequately screened. The children's advocate in Saskatchewan says the province has lost 100 foster homes in the last 18 months and too many homes now exceed the limit of four children per home. Last month in Newfoundland and Labrador, 43 children were living in places with paid and screened supervisory staff because no foster or group home was available. Mr. Dudding says the problem is compounded by the dwindling number of families willing to help troubled kids. Tom Waldock, an expert at Ontario's Nipissing University, says a number of child welfare agencies are now using private agencies to help supervise kids in apartments because of the lack of family placements.

Heavy security prevents protests at Syrian funeral

Syrian security forces were out in force on Sunday at the burial of a young protester who was killed the day before in the Damascus district of Mezze. The security presence was there to prevent mourners from staging an anti-government demonstration. Activists say that police cars and militia jeeps patrolled the city while secret police agents on foot stopped people at random and checked identification cards. A rare public protest in Damascus this weekend was seen as a new challenge to the power of President Bashar al-Assad. During talks with Mr. al-Assad in Damascus this weekend, a Chinese envoy, Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, appealed to all sides in the conflict to end the violence.


China says peaceful settlement in Syria still possible


China said on Sunday it believed a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis was still possible as any armed intervention would only spread turmoil through the region. But Britain's foreign minister said he feared Syria will slide into civil war. The comments were published by the official Xinhua news agency a day after Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun met with President Bashar al-Assad. China has emerged as a leading player in the multiple international efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria and is sympathetic to Mr. Assad. China and Russia infuriated Western and Arab states this month by blocking a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that backed an Arab plan urging Assad to halt the repression and surrender power. They also voted against a similar, non-binding U.N. General Assembly resolution that was overwhelmingly passed last week. On Saturday, the Chinese envoy in Damascus backed a new plan for a referendum and multi-party elections within four months - a move the West and some in Syria's fragmented opposition movement have dismissed as a sham.


Suicide bomber kills 16 in Iraq
A suicide bomber in Iraq has killed 16 people and wounded 26 in a crowd of police recruits who were leaving their academy in eastern Baghdad.

It was the latest strike on Iraqi security officials who are often targeted by insurgents seeking to underscore how vulnerable the country remains.

Iraqi police said the bomber detonated his car Sunday outside the fortified national Police Academy compound when the crowd of recruits came out and began walking down the street.

Labour anger sparks nationwide protests in Spain

Large public protests were held throughout Spain on Sunday as people expressed their anger over recent labour reforms. The reforms allow companies to dismiss employees more easily and to withdraw from collective bargaining agreements. The government passed the reforms earlier this month as part of an effort to stimulate a rigid labour market. Almost one in four Spaniards are unemployed.

Riot kills 44 prisoners in Mexico
At least 44 inmates were killed in a riot Saturday overnight at a prison in Mexico. Clashes erupted between rival gangs at Apodoca prison, about 20 kilometres from Monterrey. The prison holds about three thousand inmates. It was the second deadly riot in recent months near Monterrey. Seven inmates died and 12 were injured in a clash in October at Cadereyta prison.

Roadside bomb kills four in Afghanistan
An Afghan official says a roadside bomb has killed four civilians in southern Kandahar province. The police chief of Kandahar's Shah Wali Kot district said the four were killed on Sunday when their car drove over the bomb. The explosion occurred on a highway in the district. The United Nations says roadside bombs planted by insurgents are the single biggest killer of civilians in Afghanistan, responsible for nearly one third of the 3,021 who died in 2011. The U.N. attributed 77 per cent of the deaths in 2011 to insurgent attacks and 14 per cent to actions by international and Afghan troops. Nine per cent of cases were classified as having an unknown cause.

Ireland and China sign new trade pacts
Ireland and China on Sunday unveiled newagreements to promote trade, investment and education as part of Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping's three-day visit. are holding official talks there. Xi, widely expected to become China's next president, and his 150-member delegation landed Saturday in Ireland after a five-day tour of the United States. He spent Sunday morning at a dairy farm and the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most stunning sights, in western County Clare. He flew to Dublin to tour Croke Park, the national stadium for Gaelic sports, and to see a production of "Riverdance."

New German president is named
Joachim Gauck, a former East German human rights activist, will become Germany's next president. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced his name on Sunday after her government partners and the main opposition parties agreed to appoint him as a consensus candidate. He succeeds Christian Wulff, who resigned abruptly because of a probe into his alleged connection to corruption.

Dissident monk in Burma faces new charges

State media in Burma, also known as Myanmar, say a dissident monk who helped lead the country's 2007 anti-government uprising is facing fresh legal action. The state-run New Light of Myanmar says Shin Gambira is facing charges of "squatting" illegally in a government-sealed monastery and breaking into two others. The 33-year-old monk was one of the leaders of the so-called Saffron Revolution, a 2007 uprising led by Buddhist monks against the then-ruling military junta. Mr. Gambira was detained then, shortly after a military crackdown on protesters. He had been released on Jan. 13. as part of a mass prisoner release that was hailed as a sign of the new government's willingness to make reforms.

Iran's foreign minister speaks of nuclear talks
Iran's foreign minister says the next round of talks between Iran and six world powers on the country's nuclear program will be held in Istanbul, Turkey. Ali Akbar Salehi made the comments during a press conference in Tehran Sunday. He didn't give any timing for the talks. The last round of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany were held in Istanbul in Jan. 2011 but ended in failure. The West wants Iran to meet U.N. Security Council demands to stop uranium enrichment but Tehran accused the other side of pushing not "dialogue but dictation." The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran maintains its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

Time bomb kills eight in Pakistan

A time bomb has killed eight members of an anti-Taliban militia in northwest Pakistan. Six other members of the militia were wounded in the Sunday incident in the Tirah valley of the Khyber tribal region. The militia was set up to fight against a local radical group known as Lashkar-e-Islam. The militia later killed two Lashkar-e-Islam members.


Latvia leaders talk gently following referendum

Latvian leaders called Sunday for efforts to heal an ethnic split after voters answered with a resounding "no" to a referendum on making Russian the second official language. The crushing defeat of the plan underscored divisions between the ethnic Latvian majority and Russian-speaking minority in the ex-Soviet republic, now a member of the European Union. About 75 percent voted against the language drive, which was piloted by Russian-speaking radicals, while 25 percent were in favour. That ratio mirrors Latvia's ethnic split -- 27 percent of its two million-strong population are Russian, according to a 2011 census. President Andris Berzins said the result was clear. Turnout was 70 percent, making the plebiscite the most popular in Latvian history. At nearly 1.1 million, the number of voters was only just behind that recorded for the parliamentary elections of 1993, the first since Latvia regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics offered a conciliatory tone to those who had voted in favour of giving Russian official status in the constitution alongside Latvian--promising to open public dialogue on the issue.


Authorities detain Tibetan writer in China

Police in southwest China have detained a Tibetan writer amid scores of detentions in the region hit by anti-Chinese protests. A U.S.-based broadcaster, Radio Free Asia, said Sunday a t team of 20 policemen took Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, 33, from his home in Seda county, Sichuan province on Wednesday last week. Drubpa Kyab's disappearance comes amid a huge clampdown in Tibetan-inhabited areas following several bouts of deadly unrest, and ahead of the March anniversary of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama's flight into exile. Writers, singers, and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have frequently been detained by Chinese authorities, especially following protests against Chinese rule in 2008, it said. A government official in Seda that he was unaware of the arrest of Drubpa Kyab. Police in the county did not answer phones on Sunday. According to Human Rights Watch, authorities have also detained large numbers of Tibetans for political re-education after they returned from a visit to India to listen to religious teachings. The New York-based group quoted multiple sources as saying that since Feb. 6, many recently-returned Tibetans had been detained in ad hoc centres in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, and other areas. The group said the exact number of detainees was not known, but may run into the hundreds. China has imposed virtual martial law in numerous Tibetan-inhabited regions as tensions have escalated, leading to the deaths last month of at least two people in clashes between police and locals in Sichuan, which borders Tibet. Over the past year at least 20 Tibetans, many of them Buddhist monks, have set themselves on fire in protest at what they say is religious and cultural repression.


Anti-Putin forces stage another driving demo

Hundreds of cars are circling central Moscow to demand that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin allow free elections in Russia. It is the second such anti-Putin rally in three weeks. As they travel along the wide Garden Ring, which makes a 16-kilometre loop around the Kremlin, the cars are flying the white ribbons and balloons that have become a symbol of the peaceful anti-Putin protest movement. Sunday's demonstration is taking place two weeks before the presidential election that Mr. Putin is expected to win. None of the four challengers to him poses a serious threat, but Putin does need to get a majority of the vote to avoid a runoff. A similar protest in support of Putin drew at least 2,000 cars late Saturday. Mr. Putin's supporters have been trying to counter the opposition protests by showing that they too can bring people out onto the street.


Confrontations continue in Senegal

Riot police fired tear gas on a crowd outside a mosque in Senegal's capital, Dakar capital, on Sunday, a week before a contentious presidential election. Hundreds gathered outside the mosque as religious leaders met to discuss a Friday incident in which police used grenade launchers to throw volleys of tear gas down the wide boulevard, at one point hitting the mosque. Young men outside threw rocks at the police on Sunday, prompting them to fire tear gas. Sunday marked the fifth straight day of protests ahead of next week's critical election, which pits the country's 85-year-old president, Abdoulaye Wade, against a young opposition demanding his departure. The increasingly tense atmosphere on the ground has many concerned that there may be unrest if Mr. Wade is declared the winner of the vote.




Canadian Christine Nesbitt set a track record in the 1,500 metres to help her win the bronze medal at the world all-round speed skating championships in Moscow on Sunday. Ireen Wust of the Netherlands captured her third career title, finishing with medals in all championship four races. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic was second. Canadian Cindy Klassen finished fifth.


Canada's men's team lost 3-2 to Poland in an important Olympic qualifying tournament on Sunday in New Delhi. Canada's women's team lost to India, 4-1. Both Canadian teams must win their six-team qualifying tournaments to participate in the London Olympic Games this summer.


Saturday's results: Vancouver defeated Toronto 6-2 and Calgary shut out Los Angeles 1-0...In other NHL news, Phil Esposito is heading to Moscow to help commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Summit Series between the Soviet Union and Canada. Esposito, among a group of players from Team Canada making the trip, said Saturday night "he is getting excited" about the event next weekend that will include activities in Moscow's Red Square. Esposito added there will also be an event commemorating the classic hockey matchup this September in Canada. The 1972 series, won by Canada 4-3-1, marked the first time Soviet and Canadian NHL players faced each other. Esposito, the founder of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is currently a team radio analyst and vice-president of corporate relations.


Canada's Milos Raonic, the defending champion, moved into the final at the SAP Open in San Jose, California on Saturday with a 7-6(4), 6-2 victory over American Ryan Harrison. Raonic faces Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, a three-set winner over Julien Benneteau of France, in Sunday's final.


Canada's Kaillie Humphries and breakwoman Jennifer Ciochetti won the women's gold medal at the bobsled world championships in Lake Placid, New York on Saturday. The victory was Canada's first gold at worlds since the women's race debuted in 2000. Humphries, who won bronze at worlds last year at Konigssee, Germany, held the lead after every run and beat three-time world champion Sandra Kiriasis of Germany by 0.33 seconds. Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling, in their first worlds for the United States, took the bronze,


Longtime coach and executive Cal Murphy died on Saturday. He was 79. The Hall of Famer spent 30-plus seasons in the CFL, 14 of them with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he was part of nine Grey-Cup winning teams.

Here is Canada's weather forecast for Monday, February 20. British Columbia will be mainly cloudy. The high temperature in Vancouver will be seven degrees Celsius. The Yukon: sunny periods. Whitehorse, minus eight. Northwest Territories: snow flurries. Yellowknife, minus 15. Nunavut: sunny periods. Iqaluit, minus 23. Alberta: sunny. Edmonton, one. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, two. Manitoba: light rain. Winnipeg, one. Ontario: sunny. Toronto: four. Ottawa, three. Quebec: sunny. Montreal, zero. New Brunswick: mainly sunny. Fredericton, minus five. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, minus four. Prince Edward Island: mainly sunny. Charlottetown, minus six. Newfoundland: sunny periods. St. John's, minus two.