Monday, April 23, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Last minute reprieve for family facing deportation from Canada
A family facing deportation from Canada to Guinea has received another last-minute reprieve. The family's lawyer says Federal Immigration minister Jason Kenney has intervened, allowing them to stay in Canada while officials study their case. They were to be deported from Canada on Sunday. Anne-Marie Bellemare is a social worker who has been helping the family. She says Kankou Keita and her five children will likely be allowed to stay at least another year before knowing whether they stay permanently. Keita and her children arrived in Canada in 2007 as refugee claimants in the province of Quebec.That claim was turned down. Keita says a subsequent appeal on humanitarian grounds was lost in the system. She has said she is terrified to return to Guinea because her daughters will likely be forced into arranged marriages and could suffer genital mutilation.

Last day of campaigning in Alberta
It's the last day of campaigning for candidates in Alberta's provincial election. Observers say the front runners are Premier Alison Redford and Wildrose leader Danielle Smith. Redford says she'll continue talking to Albertans in hopes her Progressive Conservative government can win yet another mandate. The Conservatives have been in power for 41 years and despite a strong challenge from the Wildrose party Redford says she isn't worried.She says her party will be in good shape come Monday night when the votes are tallied. Polls show that the Wildrose Party is mounting a strong challenge to the Progressive Conservative Party that has governed for decades. Alberta Premier Alison Redford says that she could work with the New Democratic Party or the Liberal Party in the legislature, but not with the rightwing Wildrose party. Ms. Redford says her party's values clash too much with those of the Wildrose. Alberta's NDP leader, Brian Mason, is calling on all parties to commit to do away with patronage in government appointments. Mr. Mason says the Progressive Conservative government has turned public appointments into political rewards. Mr. Mason suggests there must be open public applications for all appointments.

Police arrest dozens in protests


Police arrested 90 people after a day of anti-government protests in Montreal, the largest city in the province of Quebec. For several weeks protest rallies have been staged by students opposed to provincial government plans to raise university tuition fees. Saturday's rally included several First Nations groups protesting Quebec's plans to expand energy projects in the north of the province. The Quebec government says the multi-billion dollar Plan Nord will help boost the province's economy and create thousands of new jobs.

Earth Day events held across Canada
Dozens of events were held across CanadaSundayto mark Earth Day,including a fair in St. John's, Newfoundland, a day of tree planting in Windsor, Ontario, and a parade in Vancouver. Organizers of Earth Day events say more than six-million Canadians take part every year. Earth Day was launched in the U.S. in 1970 to raise awareness about environmental issues.


Voters cast ballots in France


Voters in France cast their ballots in the first round of the country's presidential election Sunday.The voting will reduce a list of 10 candidates down to two finalists for the runoff on May 6. Polls have suggested that conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, a socialist, are likely to make it to the runoff. Other candidates include far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, communist-backed firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon and centrist Francois Bayrou. Balloting got under way Saturday in France's embassies and overseas holdings. About 150 thousand people in Canada were eligible to vote.

Afghanistan and United States reach strategic agreement
Afghan and U.S. officials finalized a long-awaited strategic partnership deal Sunday meant to set guidelines for future U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. The officials had said that they expected to sign the deal before a NATO summit in May but a series of disagreements had threatened to derail the partnership in recent months.They say Sunday's agreement is ready for signatures from each country's president. Some of the most contentious issues were removed from the broader pact into separate memorandums of understanding. The deal spells out the framework for a future U.S. role in Afghanistan, including aid assistance and governance advice. But it will not specify whether a reduced number of U.S troops and advisers will remain in the country after NATO's 2014 withdrawal deadline. That issue is to be covered in a separate status of forces agreement.

 Tymoshenko returned to prison
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been taken back to prison from a local hospital after refusing medical treatment for severe back pain. Tymoshenko had been taken to the clinic in Kharkiv late Friday under what her office said was coercion. The state prison service said Tymoshenko was moved back to prison on Sunday because she "categorically" refused treatment. Tymoshenko, the country's top opposition leader, is serving a seven-year sentence on charges of abuse of office condemned as politically motivated by the West. She has appealed her conviction. She is again on trial on new charges of tax evasion and attempted embezzlement. If convicted, she could receive a sentence of up to 12 years. The European Union has warned Ukraine that its members would not ratify key bilateral agreements on political association and free trade while Ms. Tymoshenko remains in prison.

Iran says it is building copy of U.S. drone
A senior Iranian commander says the country has reverse-engineered an American spy drone captured by the country's armed forces last year and has begun building a copy. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who is chief of the aerospace division of the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted Sunday by the semi-official Mehr news agency as saying that experts are also recovering data from the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel captured in December in eastern Iran. U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the drone. They have said Iran will find it hard to exploit any data and technology aboard it because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory.

Sudan and South Sudan engaged in border clashes
Sudan says it quelled a major rebel attack on a strategic town in its South Kordofan state Sunday. A spokesman for the Sudanese army said rebels launched the attack on Talodi, a border town the rebels have repeatedly tried to seize.There was no immediate comment from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a rebel group fighting the Sudanese army since last year. Meanwhile, a Muslim mob set fire to a Catholic churchused by Southern Sudanese in the capital Khartoum. The church in Khartoum's Al-Jiraif district was built on disputed land but the Saturday night incident appeared to be related tocontinuing hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan over control of a border oil town. Last week, South Sudanese troops seized Heglig, which the southerners call Panthou, sending Sudanese troops fleeing. The Khartoum government later claimed to have regained the town.

Buma's oppostion threatens to boycott parliament


Burma's Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party will not attend Monday's re-opening parliament because of a row over the oath of office for MPs. Ms Suu Kyi was among 43 MPs elected from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in by-elections in April. They object to a sentence in the oath of office which would have them "safeguard" the constitution, which they say is undemocratic. They have offered to pledge to "respect" the constitution instead.The constitution was drawn up by Burma's former military junta.

 

Continuing violence in Syria
Reports say Syrian soldiers shelled and stormed a suburb of the capital of Damascus Sunday. The new violence comes the day after the United Nations Security Council voted to boost the number of ceasefire monitors in Syria to 300. An eight-member United Nations team is already in Syria, where it's estimated nine-thousand people have been killed since President Bashar Assad began targeting his opponents 13 months ago.

Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead
Bahrain's Formula One Grand Prix race was completed without incident Sunday, despite widespread protests in the country leading up to the event. Outside Shiite villages around Bahrain's capital, Manamar, there was a heavy security presence. Authorities posted armoured cars on roads leading into and out of the villages. Demonstraters set tires on fire in one village in protest. Bahrain's Sunni rulers pushed for the race to be held as a chance to rebuild their credibility on the world stage after it was called off last year as police and army troops cracked down on dissent. The country's Shiite majority has been been on a 14-month campaign to break the near monopoly on power by the ruling Sunni dynasty, which has close ties to the West.


SPORTS
HOCKEY

In the National Hockey League, the Vancouver Canucksare facing elmination by the Los Angeles Kings the first round of playoff action. The Ottawa Senators are one win away from knocking off the top seed in the Eastern Division.They beat the New York Rangers Saturday 2-0. Game six is being played in Ottawa Sunday.

Canada has won bronze at the World Under-18 Hockey Championships. They defeated Finland 5-4. It's Canada's first medal at the tournament since taking gold in 2008. The U.S. beat Sweden 7-0 in the gold-medal game.

BASEBALL

Canada's only team in Major League Baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays, play against the Kansas City Royals Sunday.

TENNIS

Rafael Nadal has won the Monte Carlo Masters for the eighth consecutive year. He beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 to end a run of seven straight defeats to his rival in title matches. Meanwhile Canadian Daniel Nestor and doubles partner Max Mirnyi lost in the final to American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan.


CANADA WEATHER
Here is Canada's weather for Monday, April 23.

British Columbia will be mainly sunny. The high temperature in Vancouver and Victoria will be 17 degrees Celsius.

The Yukon: cloudy. Whitehorse, 10. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, minus 6. Nunavut: mainly sunny. Iqaluit, minus 8. Alberta: partly cloudy. Edmonton, 24. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, 27. Manitoba: partly cloudy. Winnipeg, 19. Ontario: rain. Toronto: 5. Ottawa, 7. Quebec: rain. Montreal, 12. New Brunswick: rain. Fredericton, 13. Nova Scotia: cloudy. Halifax, 13. Prince Edward Island: cloudy. Charlottetown, 18. Newfoundland and Labrador: cloudy in Newfoundland. St. John's, 11. Sunny in Labrador: Happy Valley-Goose Bay, 6.