In the News

May 11, 2021

The National Rifle Association’s attempt to use bankruptcy as protection against a New York regulatory action involving alleged corruption within the organization was dismissed today by a federal court judge in Texas. The judge did not believe the bankruptcy courts were meant to be used in such cases and was troubled in the secretive nature of the bankruptcy filing.

May 11, 2021

The manager of three Canadian Security Intelligence Service teams says he was taken aback by his superiors’ dismissal of recommendation that masking against the possible spread of COVID0-19 should be mandatory at CSIS headquarters in Ottawa. Gary Vos Smith also says he was told that by continuing to challenge the policy that masks were optional, he was not fulling his duties.

May 11, 2021

The World Health Organization says the COVID-19 variant first found in India last year is an issue of “global concern” because studies indicate it can be spread more easily than others. Variants from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil have been similarly designated.

May 10, 2021

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki apparently is failing on her commitment 17 months ago to respond within six-months to public complaints filed with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission. The CBC reports that she has not responded to any complaints within that time frame.

May 10, 2021

Much of the Vancouver International Airport precinct and adjacent suburbs were essentially shut down for a while May 9 as police handled what was believed to be a gang-related killing outside the main terminal. The suspects in the shooting managed to evade police pursuit and their getaway vehicle was later found burned 28km from the crime scene.

May 10, 2021

Four days into a shutdown of nearly half of the U.S. east coast petroleum supply due to a ransomware cyberattack, the federal government and Colonial Pipeline were still working today to secure the network. The has disrupted fuel supply, triggering retail sales restrictions and pusheing benchmark gasoline prices to a three-year high

May 07, 2021

A senior House of Representatives Democrat from New York state is pressing the Biden administration to come up with a detailed plan as soon as possible for the resumption of non-essential travel to and from Canada. Chuck Shumer also wants the definition of currently-exempt essential travellers amended to include vaccinated persons who have property, educational, medical or business reasons for crossing the border.

May 07, 2021

The government has restarted the contract for two new Coast Guard icebreakers. The largest ships in the Coast Guard fleet, they will play a critical role in enabling the Canadian Coast Guard to patrol and protect Canada's 243,000 km of coastline.

May 06, 2021

The common law spouse of the man responsible for killing 22 people in April 2020 in Nova Scotia is pleading not guilty to charges she illegally provided him ammunition.

May 06, 2021

In a 12,400-page communique at the end of their two-day summit in London, foreign ministers from Canada and the other G-7 countries included an anodyne critique of China and Russia, both of which rejected the characterizations. Potentially setting the tone for a G-7 leaders meeting in June, they reiterated concerns about Beijing’s human rights record and expansionism and Moscow’s aggression in eastern Europe.

May 05, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping would be making “a very serious mistake” if he ordered an invasion of Taiwan, says U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We are committed to making sure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself,” he says. “That commitment is not going away. And at the same time, I think it would be a very serious mistake for anyone to try to disrupt by force the existing status quo.”

May 05, 2021

Federal authorities have fined hundreds of Canadian air passengers who have refused hotel quarantine on arrival. The Public Health Agency of Canada says it is “aware” of 513 passengers being ticketed since late February.

May 05, 2021

Assadolah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat sentenced to 20 years in Belgium for planning a bomb attack in France in 2018, has abandoned an appeal. Judges had ruled that diplomatic immunity as third counsellor at Iran's embassy in Austria did not protect him against charges of using the post for state-sponsored terrorism.

May 05, 2021

Luiz Henrique Mandetta, fired last month as Brazil’s health minister, says President Jair Bolsonaro ignored repeated warnings that his approach to COVID-19 could cause the health system to collapse. “I warned Bolsonaro systematically of the consequences of not adopting the recommendations of science,” he told a Senate commission investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.

May 05, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unable to form a new government by a midnight May 4 deadline after the fourth general election in two year. His Likud Party was left well short of a parliamentary majority and his far-right allies evidently have refused to join a government supported by a small Islamist Arab party.

May 05, 2021

Nine more individuals, including two from Turkey’s main procurement agency, have been charged in an ongoing industrial espionage case. Others include active and retired military personnel and three persons in the private sector. The government detained 33 other individuals in January and March.

May 03, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin could be meeting in a third country this summer. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says Biden “believes that such a summit would be valuable in establishing better understandings between our two countries and the possibility of getting this relationship on a more stable, predictable path.”

May 03, 2021

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau is in London for a meeting with his counterparts from the other G-7 countries: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. It is their first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

May 03, 2021

Having been officially designed a terrorist entity, right-wing Proud Boys Canada has dissolved while continuing to reject the government’s characterization. The decision was announced by its U.S. parent organization.

Apr 30, 2021

The constitutionality of Ontario’s COVID-19 public health orders, particularly expanded law enforcement powers, is being challenged by 19 active and retired police officers who have filed a notice of application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. “Many of these regulations are not specific enough, they’re too vague and broad and aren’t clear enough to enforce uniformly,” their lawyer said April 29. “Many of these COVID measures force these officers to breach . . . an oath that includes upholding the constitution.”

Apr 30, 2021

There is a growing body of complaints about Chinese Communist Party efforts to “influence” Canadian business, academic and political circles. “The threat from espionage and foreign interference is significant and continues to grow,” says the latest annual report by the Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), chaired by Ottawa Liberal MP David McGuinty. “Intelligence shows that China and Russia remain the primary culprits.”

Apr 29, 2021

The RCMP says it is considering revisions to its entrance exam in an attempt to address cultural biases and “outdated criteria.” Dealing with what has been described as racism and a “toxic culture” in its ranks, it has posted a tender for a contractor to provide screening services.

Apr 29, 2021

Draft federal back-to-work legislation against striking Port of Montreal workers faces opposition from the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “The union will contest the validity” of Bill C-19, a spokesman said, explaining that it had lodged a complaint with the International Labour Organization. The Official Opposition voted with the government today, setting up for Senate consideration April 30.

Apr 29, 2021

Two Ontario politicians are expected to appear in court in June to face charges of non-compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. Federal MP Derek Sloan and Randy Hillier, a member of the provincial legislature, were charged along with eight other persons who attended a service at a church which also has been charged as a corporation.

Apr 28, 2021

More than 2000 travellers landing in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 variants. Between 22 February and 22 April, 518 international air travellers tested positive for the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the UK. There are currently almost 95,000 confirmed cases of this variant in Canada.

Apr 27, 2021

Up to three Canadian Armed Forces medical teams will be deployed in Ontario to support hospitals overwhelmed by the latest COVID-19 wave. The federal government confirmed the decision April 28 at the request of the province and it’s understood the military is prepared to ferry civilian medical help volunteered by other provinces.

Apr 27, 2021

A New York limit on carrying firearms in public is set to be tested in the U.S. Supreme Court. The court, now with a conservative majority, has refused several similar challenges since 2008 when it established individuals’ rights to keep guns at home for self-defence in the District of Columbia.

Apr 27, 2021

The House of Commons Heritage committee wants federal regulate video content on social media platforms in the same way it controls national broadcasting standards. Critics say the initiative is tantamount to an attack on constitutionally-protected freedom of expression.

Apr 27, 2021

Israel’s government has been accused by Washington-based Human Rights Watch of apartheid-style persecution of Palestinians, displaying “an intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the occupied Palestinians territory.” Israel’s foreign ministry immediately slammed the report, says that HRW “is known to have a long-standing anti-Israeli agenda.”

Apr 26, 2021

Federal Labour Minister Filemena Tassi has indicated a readiness to legislate an end to a strike by members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees at the Port of Montreal which began today, halting operations and threatening the supply chain of thousands of businesses. The union says its members, who have been without a contract since 2018, opted to strike for the second time in eight months because the when Maritime Employers Association arbitrarily extended the workday.

Apr 26, 2021

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has disclosed in a recorded interview that his country’s diplomatic priorities have been “sacrificed” to the agenda of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The leaked portion of the lengthy interview has stirred debate ahead of the country’s presidential elections in June.

Apr 26, 2021

Eighteen years after a Palestinian man was captured in Pakistan and detained in Guantanamo after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether he can access information classified documents. Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn and his lawyer want to question two former CIA contractors about a secret facility in Poland where they say Zubaydah was held and tortured.

Apr 26, 2021

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi says U.S. political rhetoric and policies will cause global chaos. Firing a diplomatic but politically one-sided broadside during a virtual Council on Foreign Relations, he insisted that his country “is committed to . . . peaceful coexistence.”

Apr 26, 2021

A senior British intelligence official says the West risks losing control of economically-critical internet security technologies to nations such as China and Russia. “Significant technology leadership is moving east and causing a conflict of interests and values,” says Jeremy Fleming. Director of the Government Communications Headquarters.

Apr 26, 2021

Two State Department nominees and four from the Pentagon have been named as the U.S. administration continues to flesh out its national security team.

Apr 26, 2021

Formal designation by the U.S. of mass killings of Armenians more than a century ago as genocide have angered Turkey, a key regional ally. “Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement. “We remember so that we remain ever vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms.”

Apr 26, 2021

Myanmar’s senior military commander has been told by other leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that his forces should stop killing protestors and should release political prisoners “Violence must be stopped, democracy, stability and peace in Myanmar must be returned immediately," host Indonesian President Joko Widodo said. More than 700 demonstrators have been killed since a Feb. 1 coup.

Apr 23, 2021

A 30-day ban on commercial and private flights from India and Pakistan has been imposed by the Canadian government. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said 22 April that the decision is prompted by growing numbers of passengers with positive COVID-19 test results at a time when Canada is wrestling with variants.

Apr 22, 2021

The federal government is suspending incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan for the next month as cases of COVID-19 surge in both countries. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says because there are so many people arriving in Canada from India and Pakistan with COVID-19, all commercial and private passenger flights from both countries will be prohibited as of midnight tonight.

Apr 22, 2021

Police in the Mexican state of Michoacán have been attacked with explosive-laden drones believed to have been launched by one off the region’s drug cartels. The latest attack, which wounded two officers, occurred April 20. Drones seized last year were equipped with containers packed with ball bearings.

Apr 22, 2021

Russian police arrested nearly 1,800 persons involved in widespread protests April 21 over the alleged mistreatment of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny. The demonstrations across the country occurred only hour after President Vladimir Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech.

Apr 22, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that Canada will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40-45 per cent from 2005 levels within the next decade. Announced as the U.S. unveiled a planned 50 per cent reduction, Canada’s latest target is higher than the 36 per cent the government says it currently can achieve by 2030 and the 30 per cent goal initially agreed to in the Paris Agreement.

Apr 22, 2021

B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes has granted detained Huwei executive Meng Wanzhou’s defence team a three-and-a-half month adjournment in her extradition case. The extra time evidently is due to the need to obtain documents from a Hong Kong bank which her lawyers say could affect her U.S.-requested extradition. However, Holmes also has said she would accept no further delays.

Apr 21, 2021

The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least May 21, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed on social media April 20, saying that “we will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available.” Meanwhile, a New York congressman is urging both federal governments to craft a plan to reopen the border, insisting that “with vaccines, face masks and good physical distancing, we can do so safely and successfully.”

Apr 21, 2021

New research suggests that the U.S. has been the source of more than half of the COVID-19 variants reported in Canada. Scientists in Ontario, B.C. and Arizona used an international DNA database to track the spread. They also say that viral imports slowed somewhat after international travel restrictions were imposed in March 2020.

Apr 21, 2021

The Bank of Canada opted today to keep its benchmark interest rate at the record-low 0.25 per cent which has prevailed since March 2020. It explained that the COVID-19 response “continues to require extraordinary monetary policy support” and that the rate is unlikely to change until possibly the latter half of 2022.

Apr 21, 2021

Some “unacceptable” uses of artificial intelligence would be banned in Europe under proposed rules announced today by the European Commission's rules. The draft ban would target “AI systems considered a clear threat to the safety, livelihoods and rights of people,” said the EC, which also has proposed stricter rules on law enforcement’s use of biometrics.

Apr 21, 2021

A 100-day initiative designed to protect electrical infrastructure against cyberattacks is being rolled out by the U.S. government. It includes “aggressive but achievable milestones” to help the mostly private-sector industry to modernize its security and enhance detection, mitigation and forensic capabilities.

Apr 16, 2021

NATO officials have vowed to boost the alliance’s cyber defences. During an April 15 virtual conference, they added the commitment to an overarching decision to prevent catastrophic disruptions of member states. Host Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said “malicious” activities had increased as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved and that the alliance needed to “recognize that cyberspace is at the forefront of increased global competition, and democratic nations must stand together against deviations from acceptable behavior.”

Apr 16, 2021

Major U.S. airlines are ignoring advice from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep middle seats vacant to curtail the spread of COVID-19. American, United, Delta and Southwest Airlines have announced plans to unblock those seats, citing their national lobby’s conclusion that the risk of onboard transmission is low.

Apr 15, 2021

The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Russia and formally blamed its SVR intelligence agency for last year’s massive SolarWinds breach of government and corporate systems. Designed to choke off lending to the Kremlin, the sanctions against 32 entities and individuals coincided with diplomatic expulsions in Washington. Also, in collaboration with allies, the U.S. has sanctioned eight individuals and entities associated with Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

Apr 15, 2021

Interoperability with evolving cloud-computing technologies is presenting a challenge for NATO as it tries to set alliance-wide standards. France, Germany and the U.S. have already initiated their own programs but a researcher points out that “showing results quickly is important for NATO to give a common direction.”

Apr 14, 2021

The Canadian Security Intelligence Services says last year saw the highest level of foreign espionage and interference directed at Canadian targets since the end of the Cold War. “The fluid and rapidly evolving environment caused by COVID-19 has created a situation ripe for exploitation,” CSIS Director David Vigneault says in his latest annual report. “Violent extremism, foreign interference, espionage and malicious cyber activity, accelerated, evolved and in many ways became much more serious.”

Apr 14, 2021

An international security think tank is calling on the U.S. and its allies to press for new rules governing the use of outer space. The Washington-based Atlantic Council argues in an April122 report that with more than 70 countries having national space programs, “space governance is prime for a reboot.”

Apr 14, 2021

A Japanese-owned but Panamanian-registered container ship which blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in week in March is not free to leave the waterway pending resolution of claims for as much as $900 million in compensation.

Apr 14, 2021

A surge in Chinese companies’ investment in U.S. defence suppliers has prompted the Pentagon to approve more than $311 million in potential partnerships with the private sector in a bid to contain Beijing;s influence. The Trusted Capital program targets, among others, companies involved in artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

Apr 14, 2021

China warned the U.S. April 12 to stop “playing with fire” in its relationship with Taiwan. It was responding to new State Department guidelines on deepening ties with the island republic which China considers a “rogue” province. “We urge the U.S. side to grasp the situation, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and . . . immediately stop official contact with Taiwan in any form,” a government spokesman said.

Apr 13, 2021

Canada is being urged by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to review military export restrictions imposed after it was confirmed that Canadian technology was on drones used in the battle between Armenian and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. His ministry says Cavusoglu conveyed concerns about Canada’s stance” during a call with his Canadian counterpart, Marc Garneau.

Apr 13, 2021

Lengthy negotiations between Air Canada and the federal government have yielded a financial support package which includes a total of $5.9 billion in low-interest loans in return for the carrier maintaining what’s left of its workforce, restoring most regional services, ordering new Airbus and Boeing jets and agreeing to refunds for passengers whose flights were cancelled last year over COVID-19 concerns. The government also is taking a small equity position in the airline. “We were determined to get a good deal for Canada and Canadians,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland replied April 12 when asked during a why negotiations had taken so long. “We wanted . . . not just any deal -- and getting a good deal can sometimes take a little time.”

Apr 13, 2021

The chairman of the parliamentary National Security and Intelligence Committee says anyone involved in Canada’s electoral processes must be alert to possible foreign interference. “It means individuals joining political parties and attending nomination meetings in order to attempt to exert influence,” David McGuinty said after the committee’s latest report was tabled in the House of Commons April 11. “Usually, the motivation is directed in some way by a foreign government.”

Apr 12, 2021

The federal government has cancelled 29 export permits for Turkey after finding Canadian technology had been used in drones during the 2019 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “This use was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances,” Foreign Minister Garneau said April 12. “Turkey is an important NATO ally and applications related to NATO cooperation programs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

Apr 12, 2021

Climate change and Chinese expansionism have been identified as key Arctic challenges by the Acting Chief of the Defence Staff, LGen Wayne Eyre, in a note to Canadian Armed Forces personnel. “Various trends such as climate change, increased interest in the Arctic, and challenges to our national resilience . . . are driving change in how we conceptualize national defence,” he wrote.

Apr 12, 2021

Canada has signed on to a multinational accord aimed at improving the strategic implications of climate change in polar regions. The other parties are Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the U.S.

Apr 12, 2021

A power failure apparently caused by a planned explosion struck Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site April 11 in what Iranian officials was sabotage. Israeli and U.S. intelligence sources have said Israel was involved.

Apr 12, 2021

President Joe Biden’s first discretionary funding request to Congress sets a $1.5 trillion spending roadmap that includes cash funding for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and a reserve for “information technology enhancements.” Other key elements include funding for two new research agencies focused on health and climate.

Apr 09, 2021

Lingering concerns about Russia’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty evidently means the U.S. is reluctant to rejoin. While there has been no final decision, a recent diplomatic memorandum states that rejoining the 34-country pact abandoned by the previous U.S. administration would send the “wrong message” to Moscow.

Apr 09, 2021

Seven Chinese supercomputing companies have been added to a U.S. list of entities restricted from buying U.S. technologies without a waiver. The Bureau of Industry and Security within the Commerce Department confirmed the move April 9, saying the companies “are involved in activities that support China’s military actors, its destabilizing military modernization efforts, and/or its weapons of mass destruction.”

Apr 09, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants broad access to data on airlines’ passengers and cargo shipments in U.S. skies. “CBP has a critical need to obtain names and related information of passengers who are arriving and departing the U.S. on commercial airlines,” it says. “Equally important, CBP needs to obtain manifests of cargo.”

Apr 07, 2021

Iran is reported to have had “constructive” talks April 6 with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia on a response to the possible easing of U.S. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. European intermediaries have started shuttling between Iranian and U.S. officials in Vienna in a bid to restore a 2015 accord which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to its program. Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.

Apr 07, 2021

A long-standing U.S. program whereby surplus military vehicles and other equipment is donated to local law enforcement agencies is coming under fire amidst allegations of abuse. President Joe Biden is being urged by members of the Democrat caucus in the House of Representatives to limit the program. More than $7.4 billion in equipment has been transferred to police in nearly all states.

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