Sunday, April 1, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 31 March 2012
Canadian International Sports Weather

After year in Lebanese jail, Canadian farmer is abruptly released

A Canadian farmer who was held in a jail in Lebanon for the past year has been freed. Henk Tepper was arrested ion March 23 of last year on an international arrest warrant alleging that he exported rotten potatoes to Algeria in 2007. He was also charged with having forged export documents. Mr. Tepper denied the allegations. He maintained that his potatoes were inspected in Canada before being shipped to Algeria, where they met local standards. Mr. Tepper's family had expressed concerns about the deteriorating state of his health in jail. Canada's minister of state for foreign affairs, Diane Ablonczy, issued a statement saying that the federal government had been working behind the scenes to get Mr. Tepper released. She also thanked unnamed partners in Lebanon for their help. A Liberal Canadian Senator, Pierrette Ringuette, had pressed Canada's government to secure Mr. Tepper's release. He was expected to arrive in Ottawa on Saturday and then to fly home to New Brunswick.

Deadly helicopter crash in Canadian Rockies
A helicopter with five people on board crashed on Friday into the side of Grotto Mountain in the Canadian Rockies near Canmore west of Calgary, Alberta, killing the pilot, MatthewGoodine.The helicopter was on a sightseeing trip. Two couples from Britain were transported by air ambulance to hospitals in Canmore and Calgary, where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries and later released. Police say that snow and wind might have led to the crash.

Winter storm hits Newfoundland
A late-winter snow storm struck Newfoundland on Saturday. Between 20 and 30 centimetres of snow was expected in St. John's. The snow was being blown by high winds gusting as high as 80 kilometres an hour. Some flights were cancelled at the local airport.

Canada marks Earth Hour
Canadians were urged on Saturday to join a worldwide action marking the annual environmental event known as Earth Hour. During Earth Hour starting at 8:30 p.m. local time, electric lights are turned off. In British Columbia, the electric power company, B.C. Hydro urged consumers on its Web site to mark the occasion. Last year, British Columbians turned off the equivalent of almost eight million 15-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs for the hour. Ontario electricity provider Hydro One planned to mark Earth Hour by turning off non-essential electrical equipment at its office facilities across the province.

Facebook photos found on pornographic Web site
Police are warning people that their photos on Facebook might find their way on to pornographic Web sites. The warning comes after a young woman in Whitehorse a pornographic site was using her Facebook photo along with Facebook photos of 19 other women. Police say that it could be difficult to press criminal charges because Facebook users agree to a contract to use the popular social site. Police also say that the pornographic site appears to be based outside Canada.


Amid political turmoil, rebels advance in Mali
Separatist Tuareg rebels in Mali continued to extend their influence in the north, battling the army on Saturday for the strategic town of Gao in heavy fighting. The attack came one day after the rebels took control of the city of Kidal. The rebels have been on the move for the past three months. Less than two weeks ago, Mali's military staged a coup out of frustration over the government's inability to handle the rebel incursion. But the world reacted negatively to the coup, and Mali is facing severe economic sanctions. Coup leader Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo was given until Monday to return power to a civilian government or face isolation. He was reported to have proposed serving as an interim president at the head of a civilian government, but the proposal was refused. Coup leaders are sending a delegation to neighbouring Burkina Fasso in the hope of negotiating help from regional nations that are calling for sanctions. Following the coup, Canada cuts its aid to Mali.

Seven people killed at Syrian funeral procession
A rights group says that Syrian forces opened fire on a funeral procession in Damascus on Saturday, killing at least seven people who were mourning two anti-government protesters killed the previous day. The slain protesters were part of a massive demonstration held in the northwestern town of Kafaroma to express anger over the Arab world's inaction against Syria's violent crisis. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported fighting in several cities including Jarmana, Homs, in Jisr al-Shughur and in Talbisseh, near the border with Lebanon. The United Nations says more than 9,000 people have been killed in the past year in Syrian pro-democracy protests.

Setting themselves on fire, two more Tibetans stage protest
Two more Tibetan monks are reported to have set themselves on fire to protest China's occupation of Tibet. The two enacted their protest simultaneously on Friday in China's western city of Maekang, where the two lived in a local monastery. Police took the two to hospital. One monk died, according to Tibetan monks living in exile in India. One of the protesting monks had been detained for a month in 2010 while visiting Tibet's capital, Lhasa. Police in Maekang blocked local monks from reaching the site of the protest. If confirmed, the latest protests would bring the number of monks to die as a result of self-immolation in the past year to more than 30.

Islamist militants kill ten soldiers in Yemen
Heavy fighting is reported in southern Yemen where Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda seized control of an army checkpoint. Ten Yemeni soldiers were killed. The checkpoint is on a road linking two southern provinces, Lahej and Abyan. Islamist militants launched attacks on the army last month when President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office vowing to fight al-Qaeda's regional wing.

Earth Hour marked in 147 countries
Symbolic gestures in support of the environment were scheduled across the world on Saturday as cities marked Earth Hour. In all, landmarks in cities in 147 countries planned to turn off their lights for an hour to draw attention to global warming. Among the landmarks taking part are Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Washington's National Cathedral, London's Clock Tower, the Great Wall of China and Tokyo Tower. Lights were scheduled to dim at 8:30 p.m. local time. Libya, Algeria, Bhutan and French Guinea are among the countries participating for the first time.

Fire cripples luxury cruise ship

A crippled luxury cruise ship with about one thousand people aboard, including 45 Canadians, was heading under emergency power to Malaysia on Saturday following a fire in the engine room. The fire injured five members of the crew, one of them seriously. None of the passengers was hurt. More than one third, or 201, of the passengers are American. The captain said that the situation was under control. A tugboat and coast guard vessels from the Philippines were dispatched to help the ship, Azamara Quest. At the time of the fire, the ship was about 130 kilometres south of the Philippines. The vessel left Hong Kong on Monday for a 17-day cruise around Southeast Asia. Using emergency power, the ship was heading for an eastern Malaysia port.

China cracks further down on social Web sites
China's government has taken further action to prevent people from using the Internet to organize social protest. The government has closed a dozen websites and penalized two popular social media sites, Sina Corporation and Tencent Holdings. Each site has more than 300 million users. Police also detained six people for circulating rumours of a coup. Police further scolded an unknown number of Internet users. One report says that as many as one thousand people were targeted. One blogger on Sina with more than a million followers, Wang Gongquan, protested against the government's action, writing that the government loses credibility when it murders free speech.

Russia facing controversy over police brutality
Anger is mounting in Russia over the extent of police brutality. In the latest reported incident, a man died in a police station in Tyumen after he was arrested for a minor offence. An inquiry into his death is underway. Earlier this week, four police officers in Novokuznetsk were charged with strangling a witness. Also this month, a man died in police custody in Kazan after he was allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted by police. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says that he will end brutal police tactics when he takes office as president in May.

Historic lotto jackpot is finally won
Three different tickets had the winning numbers on Friday for the biggest jackpot in lottery history. The Mega Millions jackpot in the United States was US$640 million. The winning tickets were sold in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland. Each winning ticket was expected to be worth more than $213 million before taxes. Millions of people bought tickets on Friday, in some cases waiting in line for hours.



Patrick Chan of Canada won the men's title at the world figure skating championships in Nice, France on Saturday. It was his second consecutive title. Daisuke Takahashi of Japan was second while his countryman Yuzura Hanyu was third.

Andrew Ladd scored 16 seconds into overtime as the Winnipeg Jets beat Carolina 4-3 on Friday. The Calgary Flames' playoff hopes are slim following their 4-1 loss to Colorado. The Vancouver Canucks beat Dallas 5-2, to move within a point of first-place St. Louis in the Western Conference. Los Angeles soared in the Western Conference standings, moving from eighth place to third thanks to a 4-1 victory over Edmonton. The New York Rangers became the first NHL team to win 50 games this season and moved ahead of St. Louis into first place in the overall standings, by beating Montreal, 4-1.

The Toronto Raptors lost to the Miami Heat on Friday, 113-101.




Here is Canada's weather forecast for Sunday, April 1. British Columbia will have showers. The high temperature in Vancouver will be eight degrees Celsius. The Yukon: variable cloudiness. Whitehorse, two. Northwest Territories: overcast. Yellowknife, minus two. Nunavut: increasing cloudiness. Iqaluit, minus eight. Alberta: rain. Edmonton, five. Saskatchewan: sunny periods. Regina, 14. Manitoba: clearing skies. Winnipeg, 19. Ontario: increasing cloudiness. Toronto: six. Ottawa, five. Quebec: increasing cloudiness. Montreal, eight. New Brunswick: mainly sunny. Fredericton, 11. Nova Scotia: mainly sunny. Halifax, seven. Prince Edward Island: sunny. Charlottetown, four. Newfoundland: heavy snow. St. John's, minus one.


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