Monday, May 21, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

British Royals begin Canadian visit
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla the Duchess of Cornwallarrive in Canada Sunday for a four-day visit to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. They are beginning their brief tour in New Brunswick. On Monday they will visit the Canadian Forces Base in Gagetown and take part in Victoria Day celebrations in Saint John, the province's largest city. On Tuesday, the Ontario government will host a reception inToronto's historic Distillery District for the royals before Charles visits the Yonge Street Mission.They then travel to Saskatchewan where in Regina, Charles and Prime Minister Harper will be attend a concert by the Regina Symphony Orchestra before the tour concludes.

Air Canada talks fail
A final attempt by Air Canada and its pilots to work out a new contract on their own has failed. A 10-day bargaining final session ended Saturday without a deal and now a federal arbitrator will be called on to impose a settlement. Both the airline and the pilots union are expressing disappointment. The two sides will likely be meeting with federal arbitrator Doug Stanley this week. He'll lay out the arbitration process, but both sides will draft proposals and Stanley will decide which one will be the basis for a contract. The threat of a lockout of the pilots prompted the federal government to intervene earlier this year with back-to-work legislation. The legislation allowed an arbitrator to impose a settlement.

CP Rail facing strike
One of Canada's two national rail transport companies could be hit by a strike next week. CP Rail says the union representing five-thousand workers has served 72 hours strike notice. The employees include conductors, trainmen, yardmen, locomotive engineers and rail traffic controllers. Contract talks continue, but the workers could walk off the job at 12:01 a-m on Wednesday. The railway indicates it will be forced to shut down its train operations in Canada if the strike threat actually materializes. The union says CP is demanding major concessions on pensions,work rules and wages.

Thousands protest in Montreal
Thousands of students held a protest march through the city of Montreal Saturday night. Firefighters were called out as a barrier was set on fire and police made at least69 arrests. Students threw bottles and other random objects at police. In return, the riot squad lobbed percussion grenades and tear gas.The protesters were defying a new law designed to reduce violent demonstrations. Passed Friday, all demonstrations in the province of Quebec with more than 50 people are illegal if they are not registered with police, with a declaration of the intended route. Saturday's demonstration was immediately declared illegal. The student demonstrations began 13 weeks ago as a protest against tuition hikes.

Rowers call off Atlantic crossing

Severe ice warnings from Canadian experts have persuaded two rowers from Britain to cancel their planned excursion across the Atlantic Ocean. Roz Savage and Andrew Morris were planning a record-setting row from St. John's, Newfoundland to Bristol, England in an effort to raise environmental awareness. On the pair's website, Roz Savage blamed the unusually large quantities of ice off the coast of Newfoundland on the massive chunk of ice that broke off a Greenland glacier two years ago. it has since drifted into Canadian waters, breaking up into a minefield of icebergs as it goes. She says the risk to their vessel is too great to attempt the crossing in time to meeting their deadline, the opening of the London Olympics in July.

Presidential election  in Serbia

Voters went to the pollsSunday inSerbia's presidential runoff election between pro-European Union Boris Tadic against nationalists Tomislav Nikolic who wants closer ties with Russia.The voteis key for Serbia's plans to become an EU member, after being isolated under late autocrat Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s. It also will determine whether Serbia continues to reconcile with its neighbours and wartime foes, including the former province of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. Tadic was slightly ahead of Nikolic in the first round of voting on May 6, while Nikolic's Serbian Progressive Party won the most votes for parliament. Nationalists claimed the vote was rigged, a charge that is fueling fears of possible violence after the runoff. Tadic led pre-election polls before the runoff.

Chinese human rights activist begins new life in U.S.
Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is settling into his new home in the United States. He and his family arrived in New York on Saturday after Chinese authorities allowed him to leave that country. The blind human rights activist was the cause of intense diplomatic negotiations after he escaped house arrest and sought refuge at the U.S. embassy in Bejing last month. He received word Saturday that he would be allowed to leave China for the United States. He and his family have moved into an aprtment near New York University where he is expected to study law. Speaking briefly to reporters and supports he thanked the U.S. and Chinese governments, along with the embassies of Switzerland, Canada and France. He says the U.S. has granted him partial citizenship rights. He says he is concerned about the future of his extended family back in China It also was unclear whether the Chinese government would ever allow him to return but he said China had promised him protection of his rights as a citizen there.

Earthquake hits Italy

A strong earthquake has hit northern Italy.The magnitude-6 quake, struck, early Sunday morning north of Bologna. At least six people were killed and 50 others injured. Older buildings appear to have suffered the most damage. Rescue workers are combing the area, looking for people, who may be, buried under rubble

G-8 leaders differ on approach to economic crisis
The G-8 leaders wrapped up a meeting at Camp David in the United States with continued differences on how to solve the economic crisis in Europe. U.S. President Barack Obama said all the members agreed that growth and job creation should be the priority. They can't agree on the means to accomplish that. Many of the newer European leaders, including recently elected French President Francois Hollande support stimulus measures over austerity. Others, led by Germany's Angela Merkel, say tough austerity measures are the way to go. Canada's Prime Minster Stephen Harper says a combination of the two is required. Mr. Harper told reporters fiscal discipline and economic growth go hand in hand, saying Canada's own economic action plan contains both. He had been pushing for a solution to prop up European economies that involved neither devastating austerity measures nor massive stimulus spending. Canadian officials cited expanding trade as one way to stimulate the European economies

NATO leaders meeting in Chicago
Afghanistan is the major topic of discussion as leaders from NATO nations meet in Chicago. The military alliance is set to wrap up operations in Afghanistan in 2014, but it's expected that U.S. President Barrack Obama will be pressing member nations, including Canada, to help pay for continuing operations there. Canada has had 950 soldiers in the country since last summer training the Afghan military and police. They are set to leave in 2014. Ahead of the trip, Canadian officials were vague about how much moresupport they might be willing to give. Other countries including Germany, the U.K. and Australia have already announced financial contributions to help cover the estimated $4.1billion it will cost for Afghanistan to secure itself. At the two-day NATO meetings, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to make his own pitch for what he'd like to see from the global community. In a paper released ahead of the summit, a group of young Afghan leaders asked for NATO forces to continue counter-terrorism missions in the country.

Lockerbie bomber dies
The Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing over Scotland has died at the age of 60. Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is the only person ever convicted for the270 deaths in the bombing. He'd been released from a Scottish prison on humanitarian grounds three years ago after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. British Prime Minister David Cameron says he should never have been released from prison.

Here is Canada's weather for Monday, May 21. British Columbia will have rain. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 16 degrees Celsius, Victoria, 14. The Yukon: cloudy . Whitehorse, 14. Northwest Territories: sunny. Yellowknife, 14. Nunavut: flurries. Iqaluit, minus 2. Alberta: partly sunny. Edmonton, 20. Saskatchewan: increasing cloudiness. Regina, 21. Manitoba: cloudy. Winnipeg, 25. Ontario: isolated showers. Toronto: 27. Ottawa, 30. Quebec: sunny. Montreal, 29. New Brunswick: sunny. Fredericton, 24. Nova Scotia: mainly sunny. Halifax, 20. Prince Edward Island: sunny. Charlottetown, 23. Newfoundland and Labrador: sunny breaks in Newfoundland and in Labrador: St John's and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, 11.