Sunday, May 20, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 19 May 2012
Canadian International Sports Weather

Harper in Washington for G-8 meeting

Group of Eigh leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, focused on Europe's economic crisis and the future of Afghanistan at their summit near the US capital of Washington on Saturday. Food security in Africa, along with energy and climate issues were also on the agenda. Mr. Harper argued there are ways to resurrect teetering economies that involve neither devastating austerity measures nor massive stimulus spending. A senior Canadian diplomat said Mr. Harpertold his colleagues "it did not have to be an either/or situtation; trade. for example, is a way to cultivate growth." Canada and the European Union are working toward a free-trade agreement and Mr. Harper helda one-on-one chat Saturday with the new French prime minister, Francois Hollande. U.S. President Barack Obama hosted the leaders of Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and two senior European Union officials. Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped the summit -- sparking talk of escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow. At a dinner on Friday, the leaders discussed Iran's nuclear ambitions, the civil strife in Syria, and the security threat posed by North Korea. Later Saturday, some of the leaders -- including Mr. Harper and Mr. Obama --were to fly to Chicago for meetings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Students clash with police again in Montreal

For the 25th straight night, thousands of protesters marched in downtown Montreal on Friday. There was an ugly clash with police, who were pelted with projectiles -- including Molotov cocktails. Some shop windows were smashed. Police responded with rubber bullets, tear gas, and concussion grenades. The protesters denounced a new Quebec law that puts limits on student demonstrations, which began almost 14 weeks ago over tuition hikes. Police said fourpeople were arrested.Meanwhile, a bylaw banning protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations in Montreal "without a valid excuse" was passed at city hall on Friday. Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay says the measure gives police the tools they have lacked until now to intervene and arrest troublemakers before violence and vandalism occur.

Anti-war protesters gather in Toronto
Dozens of anti-war demonstrators picketed across the street from the U.S. consulate in Toronto on Saturday to condemn NATO talks on the future of the Afghan mission. The rally is a response to this weekend's summit in Chicago, where leaders from dozens of countries will discuss the war in Afghanistan and other international security issues. The protesters said they feared that leaders at the summit will approve a plan that would keep foreign troops, including Canadian forces, in Afghanistan longer than originally scheduled. They called on Ottawa to call back the soldiers now deployed on a training mission to Afghanistan. Several protests have already taken place in Chicago ahead of the summit, but the main one is set to coincide with the start of the meeting on Sunday. So far, they have been largely peaceful. One man was arrested during a march on Friday, and three others were arrested in a raid on an apartment this week.

Ottawa will appeal native children ruling
The Canadian government has appealed a Federal Court ruling that ordered a new hearing into whether Ottawa is discriminating against native children. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has said last month's Federal Court ruling clears the way for First Nations to challenge federal funding for education, policing and health care. The Justice Department filed notice Friday that it intends to challenge that ruling in the Federal Court of Appeal. A spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, said that despite the decision to appeal, "we will, in the meantime, continue moving forward with willing partners to make progress with respect to child and family services." She said the government has six framework agreements in place with the provinces and First Nations to fund child and family services. She said that represent new annual investments of $100 million, bringing to $600 million the total invested in First Nations child and family services to 2012-13.

Some BC mayors unhappy with federal cuts to coast guard

Canada's federal government is being criticized by several British Columbia mayors over plans to close coast guard stations in Vancouver, Comox and Ucluelet. More than 1,000 coast guard and fisheries employees have received notice that their jobs may be in jeopardy as the federal government implements budget cuts. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says there been no consultation over plans to close the Kitsilano search-and-rescue station. Ucluelet Mayor Bill Irving says the government should increase services because of tsunami debris washing up on shores and discussion about tanker traffic.

Losing federal candidate wins court challenge
A former Toronto member of parliament who won a court challenge over his election loss last year is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call a byelection as soon as possible. Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj narrowly lost to Conservative Ted Opitz and contended he was the victim of voting irregularities. On Friday, Ontario superior court judge Thomas Lederer agreed, saying enough suspect votes were cast due to clerical errors to justify overturning the result. But the judge made it clear the irregularities were not the product of fraud or other intentional wrongdoing. Mr. Wrzesnewskyj says the court decision should help restore confidence in the electoral system that's recently been shaken. The ongoing robocall scandal affecting other ridings has left the Conservatives fending off accusations of so-called dirty tricks. The Conservatives can appeal the court ruling in the Toronto riding.

Dutch throw Canada a lifeline on oilsands
The government of the Netherlands says any discussion about whether Europe's proposed fuel-quality directive discriminates against Alberta's oilsands must be based on hard facts. Earlier this year, Canada picked up a key ally when the Netherlands, along with France and Britain, abstained from a key vote that delayed Europe's fuel-quality directive until next year. The Canadian government says the measure would unfairly label oilsands crude as dirty oil. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal says it's important to have a serious discussion about whether Canada is facing discriminatory practices. Mr. Rosenthal didn't say exactly where he stands on the oilsands, but he has sent sympathetic signals toward Canada.

Transgendered beauty queen competes Saturday

A transgendered beauty queen will find out Saturday night if she'll become Miss Universe Canada. Jenna Talackova of Vancouver was born male and underwent sex-reassignment surgery when she was 19. If she wins, she'll advance to the international Miss Universe pageant in December. Ms. Talackova was initially denied entry into Canada's pageant because she was not born female. But, Miss Universe pageant owner Donald Trump overruled that decision. Meanwhile, Miss Universe publicity director Brenda Mendoza says transgender competitors are welcome at all of its pageants around the world. But she says it's being left to the individual franchises to determine if the recent policy change is carried out.


G-8 leaders focus on Europe
G-8 leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, focused on Europe's economic crisis and the future of Afghanistan Saturday at their summit near the US capital of Washington. Food security in Africa, along with energy and climate issueswere also on the agenda. U.S. President Barack Obama hosted the leaders of Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and two senior European Union officials. Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped the summit -- sparking talk of escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow. At a dinner on Friday, the leaders discussed Iran's nuclear ambitions, the civil strife in Syria, and the security threat posed by North Korea. Later Saturday, some of the leaders -- including Mr. Harper and Mr. Obama --were to fly to Chicago for meetings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Greeks set new election date
President Karolos Papoulias has dissolved the Greek Parliament elected on May 6 and set a new election date for June 17. The presidential decree dissolving the Parliament and calling for a new election was posted outside the Parliament, which convened Thursday and held just two sessions, making it the shortest in recent Greek history. Elections on May 6 produced a hung parliament, with the winner, conservative New Democracy, winning just 18.85 per cent of the popular vote, its lowest ever, and electing 108 deputies in the 300-seat parliament. Talks to form a coalition government failed, as two leftist parties refused to participate. The fragmented parliament and the sharp decline in popularity for the parties that have supported the country's bailout agreements have brought into question Greece's continuing membership in the euro.

Putin set to announce cabinet on Monday
Political observers say Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely name allies to key economic posts when he unveils his new cabinet on Monday. They say Mr. Putin will assert control over the government in a move that could hamstring reforms backed by his more liberal prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev. At stake is the future of Russia's privatisation programme and the drive to diversify a $1.7 trillion Russian economy still heavily dependent on oil and gas exports, which yield half of all state revenues. The appointments will set the tone for the start of Mr. Putin's six-year term in a country beset by economic tests - curbing corruption, attracting investment and reducing reliance on energy - and changed by unprecedented public opposition to his rule. Anti-Putin protests began over allegations of fraud in a parliamentary election won by his ruling United Russia party on Dec. 4, and were fuelled by dismay at his plan to return to the presidency. They grew smaller after his election but have persisted, and police detained hundreds protests over his May 7 inauguration.

Blind Chinese activist and family on flight to US
A plane carrying a blind activist at the centre of a U.S.-China diplomatic tussle departed from Beijing for the United States on Saturday. Chen Guangcheng and his family left on a flight that is scheduled to arrive in Newark, N.J., on Saturday evening. The departure of Mr. Chen to the United States marks the conclusion of nearly a month of uncertainty for the self-taught legal activist who made an improbable escape from abusive house arrest in his village last month and sought protection from the American Embassy in Beijing. After tense negotiations, Beijing and Washington agreed that Mr. Chen would be allowed to travel to the United States for him to study. Meanwhile, Mr. Chen's family said earlier local officials assaulted and interrogated them after he escaped from house arrest last month. The activist's brother, Chen Guangfu, says he was detained for three days and two nights. His wife, Ren Zongju, says their son, Chen Kegui, was also beaten. Their village, Dongshigu, in Shandong province, has been sealed off and no journalists have been allowed in since Mr. Chen sought sanctuary at the US embassy in late April.

Suicide bomb claims nine lives in Syria
A suicide vehicle bomb ripped through the parking lot of a military compound in an eastern Syrian city on Saturday, killing nine people. It was the latest in a series of blasts in recent months targeting security installations. State TV showed footage of damaged buildings, smouldering cars, and trucks turned upside down. Attacks such as the blast in Deir al-Zour, a former transit hub for militants heading to fight U.S. forces in nearby Iraq, have raised fears that al-Qaida-linked jihadis, possibly including Iraqis, have made strong inroads into Syria's rebel movement. In Washington, the White House said on Saturday that Syria's violence would not end without a political changeover, saying external monitors and a ceasefire would not be sufficient to address the problem.

Rights group says Egyptian military beating and torturing protesters

Human Rights Watch has accused the Egyptian military of beating and torturing protesters arrested during demonstrations early this month. The New York-based group says in a statement Saturday that by permitting such behaviour from its soldiers, the military "enables further abuse." Joe Stork, the group's deputy director for the Middle East, says that "the brutal beating of both men and women protesters shows that military officers have no sense of limits on what they can do." HRW also criticized soldiers who did nothing as apparent supporters of Egypt's military rulers opened fire May 2 on protesters holding a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry, killing nine people. Days later, the military detained some 350 protesters. HRW says at least 256 of them remain in detention.

At least eight die in Afghan attack
Afghan security officials say a suicide bomber blew himself up at a police checkpoint in the country's east, killing eight people. Police say the bomber walked up to the checkpoint in Ali Sher district along the Pakistan border in Khost province and detonated his explosives-rigged vest. The police chief in Khost says police were searching motorists' vehicles at the time of the explosion. He says two Afghan policemen and six civilians were killed and two other people were wounded in the Saturday blast. Suicide bombings and other violence continue across Afghanistan as heads of state gather for a NATO summit in Chicago to discuss Afghan security.

Blast kill at least five in Somalia

Somali officials say two blasts killed at least five people and injured six others in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Saturday. The first bomb exploded in the sprawling Bakara market, where Somali police were conducting operations to demolish illegal kiosks and business sites. The officials said the bomb killed one and injured six. In northern Mogadishu, three soldiers and one pedestrian were killed after a bomb buried under a tree went off at a checkpoint. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the militant group al-Shabab has in the past launched similar acts of violence in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia. Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991.

Mariella Castro to visit US LSBT community

The daughter of Cuban leader Fidel Castro is planning to meet with San Francisco's lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community during a U.S. visit next week that is being opposed by some Cuban-American politicians. The San Francisco LGBT Centre said Friday that it would host the meeting Wednesday night, the day before Mariela Castro is scheduled to lead a panel at a conference organized by the Latin American Studies Association. The 50-year-old Ms. Castro is a noted gay rights advocate in her country and head of Cuba's National Centre for Sex Education.

Woman climbs Everest at 73

A 73-year-old Japanese woman has climbed Mount Everest, smashing her own record to again become the oldest woman to scale the world's highest mountain. Ang Tshering of the China Tibet Mountaineering Association says Tamae Watanabe reached Everest's 8,850-meter-high summit from the northern side of the mountain in Tibet on Saturday morning with four other team members. Ms. Watanabe and the other team members are reported in good condition and are on their way back to the base of the mountain. Ms. Watanabe had climbed Everest in 2002 at the age of 63 to become the oldest woman to scale the mountain.


Saturday sports

The New York Rangers defeated host New Jersey 3-0 Saturday in Game3 of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal. The victory gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.Game four of the Western Conference semifinal between Los Angeles and Phoenix is scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. The Kings lead the series 3-0.
Toronto won their fourth game in a row on Saturday, defeating the New York Mets 2-0 behind a complete game from Brandon Morrow. On Friday, the Jays beat the Mets.14-5.
Canada's Mark Oldershaw will be going to London Olympics after winning gold at a World Cup canoe and kayak competition Saturday in Poznan, Poland. Oldershaw finished first in the men's C-1 1,000 metre in four minutes 08.873 seconds. Teammate Adam Van Koeverden won bronze in the men's K-1 1,000.
Canada's Ryder Hesjedal Saturday reclaimed the overall lead at the Giro d'Italia. Hesjedal finished fourth on the 14th stage to take a nine-second lead in the standings on Joaquin Rodriquez of Spain, who had worn the pink jersey for four consecujtive days.
The top-seeded men's doubles team of Canadian Daniel Nestor and Max Mirnyi of Belarus are out of the Italian Open in Rome. Nestor and Mirnyi lost in the quarter-finals Friday. The seventh seeds, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna of India, beat Nestor and Mirnyi in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5. In Sunday's women's and men's finals, Maria Sharapova of Russiaplays Li Na of China and Novak Djokovic of Serbia faces Rafael Nadal of Spain.
The International Ice Hockey Federation has added Qatar and Jamaica as its 71st and 72nd member nations. The IIHF says Qatar will become a full member after an audit, and Jamaica joins as an associate member. The decisions were taken at the governing body's annual congress in Helsinki, Finland, during the world championships. The IIHF says Qatar formed an ice hockey body in 2010 and has two rinks in Doha. The tiny, desert nation runs a five-team national league. Qatar is the third member country from the oil-rich Gulf region, following the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Jamaica formed its federation last year with one rink, and is the first Caribbean member of the world body.


Sunday's weather
Vancouver has showers with a forecast high temperature of 14 degrees Celsius. Calgary has a mix of sun and cloud with a high of 17. Regina is sunny, a high of 19. Winnipeg is sunny, a high of 21. Toronto is sunny, a high of 26. Ottawa is sunny, a high of 26. Montreal is sunny, a high of 30. Fredericton is sunny, a high of 25. Charlottetown is sunny, a high of 16. Halifax is sunny, a high of 21. St. John's is cloudy, a high of nine. Whitehorse is sunny, a high of 16. Yellowknife has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of eight. Iqaluit has a mix of sun and cloud, a high of one.

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