In the News

Jan 24, 2020

Some three years after the fact, details are available on a major “real world” test of cyber  cooperation between the U.S. and coalition partners in their Daesh campaign. Operation Glowing Symphony in November 2016 was the largest exercise of its kind operations and the details show that U.S. Cyber Command considered sharing information typically held closely. The details are in documents released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by George Washington University archives.

Jan 24, 2020

As the death toll from a coronavirus continues to rise slowly but steadily from initial diagnosis in early December, China has widened its travel restrictions in Hubei province. As of 24 January, they affect some 35 million residents in 10 cities. At least 26 fatalities have been reported in China and a few isolated cases have been confirmed elsewhere, including France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S. (one case each in Chicago and Seattle), and Vietnam.

Jan 23, 2020

Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre, first elected to the House of Commons in 2004, announced 23 January that he would not seek the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. He had served in two cabinet portfolios in the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and most recently has been Opposition finance critic.

Jan 23, 2020

Alberta’s auditor general plans to investigate how the province has been left to clean up 3,406 oil and gas wells left behind by bankrupt companies and why an arm’s-length government agency failed to address the situation. An additional 94,000 inactive wells in the province also could require remediation at public expense.

Jan 23, 2020

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ordered measures to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in predominantly Buddhist Muslim Myanmar despite its military’s insistence that it was combatting extremists. Thousands of Rohingya have died and more than 700,000 have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh during an army crackdown that began in 2017.

Jan 23, 2020

Volkswagen Group has been fined $196.5 million in the Ontario Court of Justice after pleading guilty to having illegally imported 130,000 VW, Audi and Porsche automobiles that violated emissions standards. The company and the federal government had agreed to the penalty handed down 22 January by Judge Enzo Rondinelli.

Jan 23, 2020

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ metaphoric Doomsday Clock has ticked 20 seconds closer to midnight, to 100 seconds, the closest it has ever been to the prospect of a global catastrophe. Created in 1947, when it was set at seven minutes to midnight, the iconic marker has shifted back and forth 23 times and had been at two minutes since 2018. The latest shift, announced 23 January, reflects growing concern about the “existential” threats of nuclear war and climate change, which the group says are exacerbated by cyber-enabled information warfare.

Jan 23, 2020

Dave Calhoun, the new chief executive officer at Boeing Inc., says the company expects to resume 737 Max production in a matter of months even as it also begins a “clean sheet” design of a new jetliner. Max production was stopped in December after two fatal crashes attributed mainly to a control software problem.

Jan 23, 2020

A Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport owned by Coulson Aviation (USA) Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Columbia-based Coulson Group, crashed 23 January while fighting wildfires in Australia. The three-member crew of American residents died.

Jan 22, 2020

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh wants a “thoughtful approach” to ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which suggests that the Liberal minority government’s preference for fast passage is at risk. Singh pointed out 22 January that the pact’s forerunner, the North American Free Trade Agreement, had to amended to suit U.S. political interests.

Jan 22, 2020

Former Alberta MP Ron Ambrose has announced that she will not seek the Conservative Party of Canada leadership. She said on Facebook 22 January that she “struggled” with the decision. Ambrose, who held portfolios in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, including the government's procurement arm, Public Works & Government Services, resigned from the House of Commons in 2017.

Jan 22, 2020

Wuhan, a city of more than 11 million people in China’s Hubei province and the epicenter of a potentially-deadly coronavirus outbreak, is effectively being quarantined by the Chinese government. Effective 23 January, Beijing is cancelling air and train travel from the city and suspending internal bus, subway and ferry services. The pneumonia-like virus has killed at least 17 persons and affected more than 400 others since its diagnosis in December.

Jan 22, 2020

The Canadian Security Intelligence Services is being sued for racial and religious discrimination by a longtime employee who alleges that his Muslim faith marked him as a target. File last week in Federal Court, the action alleges a pattern of bullying and prejudice stretching back almost two decades.

Jan 21, 2020

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest announced 21 January that he will not seek the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. The former federal cabinet minister said, among other things, that the organization had changed significantly since he quit in 1998 to enter provincial politics.

Jan 21, 2020

The first case of the potentially deadly Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S. has been reported in Seattle. The federal Centers for Disease Control says the patient, in his 30s, had travelled from Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus first was identified in December.

Jan 21, 2020

The global corporate tax environment is in sore need of an overhaul, says Tim Cook, chief executive officer at Apple Inc. His call for an end to tax havens being used as “headquarters” by companies seeking to reduce their tax liability, flows from an Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development recommendation. Apple itself has been at the centre of just such a controversy.

Jan 21, 2020

A lawyer for Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei telecom executive facing possible extradition to the U.S., has accused the U.S. of trying to use Canada to enforce its economic sanctions against Iran. Her counsel said at the beginning of a B.C. Supreme Court hearing that despite the Crown’s claims to the contrary, the case is all about the sanctions the U.S. alleges Meng has tried to circumvent. “We're being asked to impose on Canada an obligation to assist the U.S. in the enforcement of its sanctions — sanctions that we have expressly rejected.”

 

Jan 21, 2020

An outbreak of coronavirus in China has resulted in more stringent screening of passengers arriving at Vancouver International Airport. Also, the Public Health Agency of Canada in introducing arrivals-screen messages reminding travellers from Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the outbreak has claimed a number of lives, that they must advise Canada Border Services Agency personnel if they have any flu-like symptoms.

Jan 21, 2020

Draft legislation introduced by a group of senior U.S. Senators could require common operational standards for mobile networking equipment as a way to avoid Chinese providers which the U.S. considers a national security threat. The bipartisan bill has been welcomed by the domestic telecom sector.

Jan 19, 2020

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid David, says U.K. manufacturers cannot expect any regulatory “alignment” with the European Union after Brexit. He declined to say which EU rules would be scrapped but the automotive, pharmaceutical and food and drink sectors all have expressed concerns.

Jan 17, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is extending the use of facial recognition technology to its optional Global Entry program for frequent travellers. Until now, those “low risk” persons only had to have their passports and fingerprint scanned on entry but CBP says the use of facial biometrics eliminates the passport and fingerprint requirements.

Jan 17, 2020

Unprecedented physical, social, economic and geopolitical shifts in the Arctic present a “considerable impact” on the region’s security, according to a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Ekaterina Klimenko writes that security issues too often are handled in isolation from each other. Her observations flow from a SIPRI workshop in London last year.

Jan 17, 2020

Canadian legislation, which gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers the power to question, detain and even strip-search visitors while they are still in Canada, faces growing criticism. The rules permitting the CBP to position officers at Canadian airports ostensibly were designed to enhance border security and facilitate travel but have become increasingly problematic for some.

Jan 17, 2020

The British Columbia government’s attempt to regulate what can flow through commodity pipelines, especially an oil pipeline expansion project planned by Crown-owned Trans Mountain, was struck down 16 January by the Supreme Court of Canada. The case essentially boiled down to which level of government has constitutional jurisdiction.

Jan 17, 2020

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has used a mass prayer session in Tehran to defend the country’s Revolutionary Guard for having maintained Iran’s security by shooting down a Ukrainian airliner 08 January. Among other things, the cleric used his rare appearance to say that Iran’s “enemies” were “as happy about the plane crash as we were sad,” and called U.S. President Donald Trump a “clown.”

Jan 16, 2020

An agreement aimed at easing a U.S.-China trade war which has had global fallout is described by President Donald Trump as “transformative” and by Chinese leaders as a “win-win” deal. However, while committing to increase imports from the U.S. in return for a reduction in some U.S. tariffs, the deal signed 15 January is already under pressure for more negotiations because it retains many U.S. protectionist mechanisms.

Jan 16, 2020

Nearly three years after Turkey blocked access to Wikipedia when the site refused to delete critical material, the country's Constitutional Court has ruled that the ban violated freedom of expression. The articles said, among other things, that Ankara had cooperated with Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces in Syria

Jan 16, 2020

Families of U.S. paratroopers deployed to Kuwait earlier this month have been advised to check their social media settings and report anything strange. A spokesman says families have reported unsolicited contact with “some menacing messaging.”

Jan 16, 2020

U.S. adversaries’ evolving technological capabilities mean that the government needs cyberspace protection, says Glenn Gerstell, who is leaving his position as general counsel to the National Security Agency later this year. He shared his concerns at an American Bar Association event 15 January.

Jan 16, 2020

The U.S. Senate voted 89-10 on final congressional approval 16 January of a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, rebranded by President Donald Trump as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump is expected to sign the bill next week. 

Jan 15, 2020

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev resigned 15 January shortly after President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes which could keep in him power after his current term expires in 2024. Medvedev said there could be “significant changes” in the balance between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Jan 15, 2020

The United States “is better at cyber than anyone else” or so says President Donald Trump. Asked during a televised interview about a possible cyberattack from Iran, he replied that if it did happen, “we’ll be able to hit very hard.” He characterized cyber as “a new form of war” which the U.S. has “very well under control.”

Jan 14, 2020

Ukraine is mounting a coordinated effort to facilitate its joining NATO and the European Union despite what its Dmygro Kuleba, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, sees as a “discouraging environment. He said during a visit to Washington last month that joining both alliances is vital as his country deals with Russia.

Jan 14, 2020

president Donald Trump plans to divert $7.2 billion from the Department of Defense budget to fund continued construction of his border wall with Mexico this year. That would be five times the amount authorized by Congress and would bring the total spent on the wall during his presidency to $18.4 billion

Jan 14, 2020

Britain, France and Germany say they do not accept Iran’s defence of its decision to remove all limits on its production of enriched uranium as provided for in a 2015 pact. The U.S. withdrew from the agreement last year and now the European partners, along with Russia and China, are trying to maintain the restrictions on a program Iran insists is for peaceful use.

Jan 14, 2020

Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company which figures prominently in U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, was hacked by Russian military intelligence in November. Area 1 Security, a California company which specializes in counter-phishing, says the "Fancy Bear" hackers are known to cybersecurity researchers.

Jan 14, 2020

A U.S. Department of Commerce directive plan to prohibit the purchase of information and communications technologies from “foreign adversaries” is getting some push-back from smaller telecom carriers. One says the executive order might even be illegal.

Jan 14, 2020

U.S. Attorney General William Barr wants Apple to unlock two of its iPhones which were owned by a Saudi air force officer who was shot by police after he had killed three persons at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida last month. Insisting 13 January that it is “very important” to know about the shooter’s communications, Barr says Apple has not given investigators “substantive assistance”, a claim the company denies.

Jan 14, 2020

An Iranian Judiciary official said 14 January that “extensive investigations” into last week’s missile shoot-down of a Ukrainian jetliner has resulted in an undisclosed number of arrests. All 176 persons aboard the Boeing 737-800, including 57 Canadian citizens, died in the crash minutes after Flight PS752 had taken off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport en route to Kiyv, Ukraine.

Jan 13, 2020

A Pakistani high court in Lahore has revoked a guilty verdict and death sentence handed down last month to former President Pervez Musharraf. A government official explained 13 January that the special judicial tribunal which handed down the original sentence was unconstitutional. The tribunal head also said that the former military leader, who is undergoing medical treatment in Dubai, should die before he could be executed, his body should be hung in public.

Jan 13, 2020

An emergency Ontario-wide alert that woke thousands to warnings of an unspecified “incident” at the Pickering nuclear station near Toronto 12 January was erroneously sent out during a training exercise. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says there was no danger to the public or the environment.

Jan 13, 2020

A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee has been told that government agencies could play more crucial roles in countering online deception of Americans. One witness suggested the problem could be address by expanding existing infrastructure.

Jan 10, 2020

Iranian state television has reported that its military "unintentionally" shot down the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 minutes after it took off from Tehran International Airport 07 January on a flight to Kyiv, Ukraine. All 176 persons aboard,  including 57 Canadian passengers, were killed. The report that "human error" resulted in a missile strike came at approximately 10 p.m. EST on 10 January -- early in the morning in Tehran.

Jan 10, 2020

The Indian government's prolonged internet shutdown in its Kashmir administrative revion has been criticized by the country’s Supreme Court. Responding to a number of petitions, the court has given the government a week to review its decision.

Jan 09, 2020

Most information of late about U.S. cyber activities has come from unnamed, but likely authorized, government sources. These choreographed disclosures allow the administration to signal to adversaries that it views certain actions as infringing upon U.S. national interests while creating plausible deniability that keeps options open and limits domestic political risks.

Jan 09, 2020

A divided U.S. House of Representatives wants to force President Donald Trump to get congressional approval of any further military action against Iran. Its 09 January 224-194 vote, almost entirely along party lines, is seen as another constitutional hurdle for Trump as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial.

Jan 09, 2020

Canada has received intelligence indicating an Iranian missile shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight full of Canadians that crashed near Tehran

Jan 08, 2020

Sixty-three Canadians were among 167 fatalities when a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukraine International Airlines crashed minutes after taking off from Tehran International Airport 08 January.

Jan 07, 2020

More than 30 persons died and hundreds have been injured in a stampede as Iranians flocked to the burial of Gen Qassem Soleimani, killed in Iraw by a U.S. drone strike along with several other senior officials. The interment in his hometown of Kerman was postponed.

Jan 07, 2020

The head of the new Royal Canadian Mounted Police union, the National Police Federation, expects to begin negotiations in a few weeks. Brian Sauvé says pay, benefits and resources are the top concerns – which implies higher costs not only federally but also for other levels of government that rely on the RCMP for services.

Jan 07, 2020

The cost to the federal government of dealing with natural disasters would indicate that Canada continues to be seriously affected by climate change. Public Safety Canada says the amount was $309.5 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year compared with $494.9 million a year earlier and $485.8 million in 2016-2017. The average in the five previous years was $360 million, which was triple the average in the five years before that.

Jan 07, 2020

British-registered vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea between Oman and Iran, are to have Royal Navy escorts as tension in the region escalates. A Duke-class Type 23 frigate and a Daring-class Type 45 destroyer are reported to have been deployed.

Jan 07, 2020

U.S. manufacturers of machine learning and artificial intelligence software capable of analyzing satellite imagery face new restrictions under an interim final rule change published 06 January in the Federal Register. Such software is to be classified as a dual-use technology and subject to the same controls as arms exports. Taking effect in early March, the new rule (85 Fed. Reg. 9) applies to software which would “provide a graphical user interface that enables the user to identify objects (e.g., vehicles, houses, etc.) from within geospatial imagery.”

Jan 05, 2020

An internal RCMP report on the suicide of one of its officers has concluded that the federal policy service lacks a strategy for monitoring and detecting potential problems. The report was on the death of Const Jean-Pascal Nolin in Ottawa in March 2016, more than a year after he participated in the police response to shootings on Parliament Hill in 2014.

Jan 05, 2020

The Austrian foreign ministry has been targeted by a cyber-attack it suspects was launched by a “state actor” in another country. The ministry says the attack was recognized quickly and countermeasures were taken immediately.

Jan 03, 2020

The Conservative Party of Canada will selected a successor to outgoing party leader Andrew Scheer at a leadership convention in Toronto 27 June. Former deputy leader Lisa Raitt confirmed the plan 03 January, saying that the relatively limited time means potential candidates will have to decide quickly whether to run.

Jan 03, 2020

The RCMP has confirmed that it uses information posted on social media to profile persons of potential interest. It is responding to concerns expressed by a Toronto woman who learned that she had been profiled after showing up at a leadership debate during the 2015 election campaign, but who was eventually found to be doing nothing illegal. The RCMP says it acknowledges the constitutional right to peaceful protest but says due diligence is required to ensure there is no public safety issue.

Jan 01, 2020
Demonstrators outside the US embassy in Baghdad have withdrawn after a tense standoff which began when the compound was attacked by a crowd angered by U.S. air strikes against Iranian-based Iraqi militia. The standoff continued into a second day 01 January as U.S. military personnel fired tear gas in response to thrown rocks.
Jan 01, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, indicted in November on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, said 01 January that he was asking Parliament to grant him immunity from prosecution. His announcement comes as the country faces its third general election in 12 months.

Jan 01, 2020

The Canadian and British operations of MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates, the company behind Radarsat and the Canadarm robotics on the International Space Station, are being acquired by a Toronto-based investment group led by Northern Private Capital with backing from former BlackBerry executive Jim Balsillie. MDA’s corporate headquarters is being returned to Canada from the U.S.

Dec 31, 2019

Africa's largest mobile operator, MTN, is reviewing allegations that it paid protection money to militant Islamist groups in Afghanistan. The allegations are part of a complaint, filed in a US federal court, that MTN had violated U.S. anti-terrorism laws. It says the company bribed Daesh and the Taliban to avoid having to invest in security for their transmission towers and that the funds underwrote a Taliban-led insurgency that led to the attacks in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017.

Dec 31, 2019

Huawei says “survival will be our first priority” as the Chinese telecom giant continues to deal with fallout from the White House’s ban on the company doing business in the U.S. One of the largest 5G suppliers, it expects lower than forecast 2019 sales growth will be followed by continue pressure in 2020. Huawei has been deemed a national security threat because of allegedly close ties to China’s government.

Dec 31, 2019

Wyze, a Seattle-based producer of “smart” home video cameras, has reported a data breach affecting some 2.4 million of customers whose personal data was held on an unsecured server for several weeks this month.

Dec 31, 2019

Tear gas was used to repel dozens of protesters who broke into the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad 31 December, angered by recent U.S. air strikes on Iranian-backed Iraqi militia. President Donald Trump said Iran would be “held fully responsible” for the protest while Tehran said the U.S. attacks on the militia were a “clear example of terrorism.”

Dec 30, 2019

U.S. military personnel are being cautioned against using widely-advertised consumer DNA kits due to concerns about security risks such as mass surveillance and potential tracking. Joseph Kernan, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, says in a memo that the test are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information with unintended security consequences.

Dec 30, 2019

A U.S. research panel is expected to publish in 2020 the results of a year-long study of how mefloquine and other anti-malaria drugs used by military and civilian personnel concerned about physical and mental debilitation. Requested by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the study involves a detailed review of existing literature.

Dec 30, 2019

New data on a natural gas well blowout in Ohio in February 2018 indicate that its environmental impact was more significant that previously thought. It spewed an estimated 60 kilotons of methane in only 20 days, more than some European countries release in a year. Methane has a global warming potential 20 times that of carbon dioxide, albeit with a shorter atmospheric lifespan.

Dec 30, 2019

There are concerns about the integrity of a massive concrete dome over a Cold War nuclear test site on Runit Island in the western Pacific, one of 48 islands in the Enewetak Atoll. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillete has been given until late June to report back to Congress on the dome’s status. The President of the Marshall Islands, which include Enewetak, has expressed concern about the dome’s vulnerability to rising sea levels.

Dec 30, 2019

An artificial intelligence-controlled unmanned aerial system capable of identifying and tracking targets and maybe even supporting search and rescue missions is the goal of a new U.S. Defense Department program. The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center has issued a request for information to determine whether AI developers and drone swarm builders can collaborate on development.

Dec 30, 2019

A Chinese national who managed to get around a perimeter fence at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Key West 26 December has been charged by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. He told investigators that he was trying to photograph the sunrise but the images on his camera included some of a base facility.

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