Sunday, April 13, 2008

RCI Cyberjournal

Foreign minister holds high-level talks in Kabul.

Government seizes anti-sealing ship.

Olympic official from Canada opposes Games boycott.


Canada's foreign minister on Saturday repeated Canada's commitment to help Afghanistan's government to fight Taliban militants. Maxime Bernier held talks with President Hamid Karzai and with the Afghan foreign minister, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, in Kabul. Mr. Bernier said that Canada is in the country to build a viable state. But he admitted that there were challenges, including the problem of corruption. Canada has around 2,500 troops in southern Afghanistan. Eighty-two Canadian soldiers have been killed since their mission began in 2002. France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also arrived in Kabul. The two foreign ministers were expected to visit the southern city of Kandahar, former stronghold of the hardline Taliban militia.


Canada's Fisheries Department on Saturday seized the flagship of an anti-sealing group. The Department says that it took the move to protect Canadian sealers. Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn says that the captain and chief officer of the Farley Mowat were arrested for violating marine regulations. Last week, the Fisheries Department charged them with approaching too closely to the annual East Coast seal hunt. Paul Watson, the head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, says that armed boarding parties from two coast guard vessels stormed the vessel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He called the move an act of war. He maintains that the vessel is Dutch-registered and does not have to submit to Canadian regulations.


A member of the International Olympic Committee from Canada, Dick Pound, says that boycotting the Beijing Olympic Games would be a mistake. Mr. Pound is the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He says that if Canada bypasses the Beijing Games to protest China's crackdown in Tibet, then some countries might stay away from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He advised any Canadian Olympic athletes who object strongly to China's conduct in Tibet should stay at home. Canada has no plan to boycott the Beijing Games, which start August 8. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not attend the opening ceremonies because of other commitments, but a Canadian delegation will represent the government.


The Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame on Saturday inducted six new memebers along with a recipient of the Canadian Olympic Order. Speedskaters Catriona LeMay Doan and Guillaume Leblanc were added in the athlete category. Members of the RCAF Flyers, who won a gold medal in the 1948 Winter Olympics, were honoured in the team category. Daniele Sauvageau, who won a gold medal in women's hockey at the 2002 Winter Olympics, was added in the coach category. Frank King and Bill Warren joined in the builder category. A memeber of the hall since 1949, Barbara Ann Scott, who won Canada's first gold medal in figure skating in 1948, became a recipient of the Canadian Olympic Order.


Students from the University of Windsor want the Ontario Human Rights Commission to investigate charges of racism against the police force in Windsor, Ontario. The group, Students Against Anti-Black Racism, is wondering why more than two dozen officers were called to break up a Caribbean-themed dance party held on campus in late January. Students say that police used excessive force when arresting some students. Students reported that the only tense event of the evening was a verbal altercation that had been dispersed by bouncers. Two people were eventually charged with assaulting an officer. A number of other students were detained overnight and released without charge.


The Conservative Party under Prime Minister Stephen Harper has widened its lead over the opposition Liberal Party. Figures from a new opinion poll show that neither party has a clear chance of winning a majority government. The survey put support for the Conservatives at 35 per cent, unchanged from a poll in March. But support for the Liberals fell to 30 per cent, from 32. The New Democratic Party rose to 16 per cent from 13 per cent. The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which campaigns only in French-speaking Quebec, had the backing of 33 per cent of Quebec voters. The Conservative Party formed a minority government in January, 2006.


China's president has denounced a proposal by the European Parliament to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing unless China opens talks on Tibet with the Dalai Lama. Hu Jintao accused the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader of instigating unrest and sabotaging the Games. The Dalai Lama is in the United States to attend a conference ons compassion in Seattle. On arriving, he said that he opposed boycotting the Olympic Games. He said that national governments should decide for themselves whether they want to boycott the Games' opening ceremonies on August 8. The Olympic torch arrived on Saturday in the east African nation of Tanzania, after a relatively trouble-free run through Buenos Aires. A heavy security cordon surrounded the torch, preventing a repeat of the incidents that marred the relay in London, Paris and San Francisco. Several protesters tried unsuccessfully to douse the torch with water bombs.


Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, is ready to meet the Dalai Lama again despite the trouble that their last meeting caused for German-Chinese relations. Speaking in Oslo, she said that she would be unable to meet Tibet's exiled spiritual leader when he visits Germany next month because she will be in Latin America. Their initial meeting last September caused a crisis in relations. During a visit to Germany by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in January, his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier was able to restore relations.


China's President Hu Jintao has held a historic meeting with Taiwan's Vice-President-elect, Vincent Siew. The meeting at a business conference on China's Hainan Island was the highest-level contact between the two governments since their post-civil war split in 1949. Although the meeting was short, it signalled that both sides want to improve relations after several years of worsening ties. Mr. Siew is the running-mate of Ma Ying-jeou, who won a convincing victory in Taiwan's elections in March. He's pledged to improve the island's standing with Beijing once he takes office on May 20.


A spokesman for Kenya's president, Mwai Kibaki, says that it's likely a coalition cabinet will be announced on Sunday. Mr. Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga were reported to have reached a deal on a coalition cabinet following seven hours of talks on Saturday.


The parliament in Haiti has voted to dismiss Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis. Sixteen of Haiti's 27 senators voted in favour. The government is facing widespread frustration over the rising cost of living in what is considered the western hemisphere's poorest country. Deadly clashes occurred earlier this week between protesters and United Nations peacekeepers over high food prices. President Rene Preval announced a plan to cut food prices. Mr. Alexis was nominated as prime minister in May, 2006. He survived a no-confidence vote over the government's handling of the economy in February. On Saturday, a United Nations peacekeeper was shot and killed in Port-au-Prince. No details were reported.


A bomb exploded in a mosque in southern Iran on Saturday, killing at least eight people and wounding more than 60 others. The bomb exploded during an address by a cleric in the Shohada mosque in Shiraz. The death toll was expected to rise because some of the wounded were in critical condition. No one has claimed the responsibility for the blast.


A Sudanese transport plane crashed near the Moldovan capital while trying to land on Saturday. Eight people are reported to have died. Four were Moldovan and four others were Ukrainians. The crash occurred after pilots requested permission to land ten minutes into the flight.


Some ten thousand textile workers clashed with police near Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, on Saturday. The workers were demonstrating for better wages to meet higher food prices. Dozens of people, including at least 20 police officials, were injured in the violence.


Former Maoist rebels have taken a surprising early lead in Friday's general election. The election was aimed at cementing a peace deal that ended a decade-long civil war. Of seven results declared, the Maoists have taken five seats. They are leading in over half of the 102 constituencies where counting is taking place. The final result of the polls, Nepal's first in nine years, could take around ten days.


Cuba has taken another step to improve living standards and efficiency for its citizens. The Communist government will speed up the hand-over of private titles to state-owned housing. In a decree published on Friday, the government said it will expedite property titles for Cubans who have been renting state houses allotted to them as far back as 20 years ago. The measure is the latest in a series of reforms taken since President Raul Castro succeeded his ailing brother, Fidel Castro, in February.


The United States beat Canada, 4-3, on Saturday to win the women's world hockey championship in Harbin, China. Two of the Americans' four goals were awarded following a viewing of the goals on video replay. The U.S. team outplayed Canada for the second straight game at the tournament to win their second world title, their first since 2005. Canada has won the other nine. In the National Hockey League playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat Ottawa 5-3, to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff.


Canadians Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion won bronze on the synchronized platform on Saturday in Moscow. China's Cao Jingzhen and Chen Ni won the gold, and Russia's Natalia Goncharova and Yulia Koltunova were second.


Canada reached the final at the men's world curling championship after Kevin Martin's Canadian rink advanced with a 5-4 win over Norway in a semifinal on Saturday. Canada will face Scotland on Sunday.


The Toronto Blue Jays beat Texas, 8-5, on Friday. Toronto's Lyle Overbay hit a three-run double as part of a 13-hit attack by the Jays, who ended a three-game losing streak.


The Toronto Raptors beat the New Jersey Nets, 113-85, on Friday. The Raptors won their second in a row, to move past Philadelphia for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Carlos Delfino led the Raptors with 24 points. Chris Bosh added 21.


Here is Canada's weather on Sunday. British Columbia will have variable cloudiness. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 12 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: rain showers. Whitehorse, four. Northwest Territories: rain. Yellowknife, eight. Nunavut: sunny periods. Iqaluit, minus four. Alberta: variable cloudiness. Edmonton, 21. Saskatchewan: mainly sunny. Regina, 18. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, 13. Ontario: sunny. Toronto, six. Ottawa, four. Quebec: snow flurries. Montreal, four. New Brunswick: rain showers. Fredericton, six. Nova Scotia: rain showers. Halifax, eight. Prince Edward Island: rain showers. Charlottetown, six. Newfoundland: rain showers. St. John's, four.

No comments: