In the News

Sep 23, 2022

Most of Canada's pandemic border restrictions are set to expire at the end of this month after Prime Minister Justin signed off on the decision September 22. It affects mandatory vaccinations, testing and quarantine of international travellers. In addition, the controversial ArriveCan app is being shelves except as an optional tool for customs and immigration.

Sep 23, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s veiled threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, reinforced by Dmitry Mevedev, a former president and now deputy chairman of the Security Council, is being played down by some officials. “We are not threatening anyone with nuclear weapons,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said today. “Criteria for their use are outlined in Russia’s military doctrine.” Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. said he wanted to believe “that despite all difficulties, Moscow and Washington are not on the verge of a collapse into the abyss of a nuclear conflict.”

Sep 23, 2022

Fracking, the environmentally-contentious technique for enhancing oil and natural gas recovery still employed in parts of Alberta and northeastern B.C., is set to resume in Britain after a three-year moratorium. The government announced the decision September 22 despite a British Geological Survey’s position that understanding fracking’s impact remains limited but Business & Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said strengthening energy security amidst growing global uncertainty is “an absolute priority” for the government.

Sep 22, 2022

Canada has sent $2.5 million to the UN in response to an appeal months ago for help in salvaging a decaying oil storage and offloading tanker in the Red Sea off Yemen, but the UN is still waiting for other countries to fulfill pledges made months ago. The tanker, which has seen little to no maintenance since 2015, contains some 223,000 cubic metres of crude. Warning that time is running to prevent a major environmental disaster, the UN estimated that a clean-up would cost at least US$20 billion.

Sep 21, 2022

British PM Liz Truss has ordered an update of last year’s defence and security review due to what her government described today as a new global environment resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. John Bew, the PM’s special adviser for foreign affairs and defence, is leading the initiative with a view to completing it by year’s end.

Sep 21, 2022

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos tabled draft legislation in the House of Commons September 20 which would keep the Liberal minority in power with New Democratic Party support. Assuming it becomes law, Bill C-31 would finance dental care for children of lower-income families as well as top up other benefits.

Sep 21, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin was called “reckless” and “irresponsible” today by U.S. President Joe Biden today for implying that he would use everything in his country’s arsenal to end the conflict he began with Ukraine eight months ago. “Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime,” Biden told the UN. “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Sep 21, 2022

A significant number of Russians rushed to book one-way flights out of the country today after President President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists for his “special military operation” in Ukraine. Seats quickly filled up on the only options, Air Serbia and Turkish Airlines, and prices skyrocketed.

Sep 21, 2022

U.S. State Department officials have disclosed that the U.S. is in “deep converstion” with India in a bid to reduce its reliance on Russian arms and energy. “India is heavily, heavily dependent on Russia, and that's something that they did to themselves over some 40 years,” an official said September 20. “We want to help them have options to diversify.”

Sep 20, 2022

A U.S. Navy veteran who worked for more than a decade as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan and who had been held hostage by the Taliban for two years was released by the Taliban September 19 in exchange for a drug trafficker associated with the Taliban who was jailed in 2008. There had been concerns that repatriation attempt would be undermined by the fundamentalists’ return to power last year and the subsequent withdrawal of the U.S. military.

Sep 20, 2022

Plans by Russian-installed leaders in four Ukrainian regions to hold September 23-17 referenda on whether to join the Russian Federation were dismissed as a stunt today by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmuytro Kuleba. An President Vladimir Putin optimistically predicted that the voting in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia would alter the geopolitical landscape.

Sep 20, 2022

Despite steadily rising food prices, Statistics Canada reported that annualized inflation was 7.0 per cent in August compared with 7.6 per cent in July and a 40-year high of 8.1 earlier in the summer. Economists had been expecting a deceleration, but to 7.3 per cent. Gasoline prices fell by an annual 9.6 per cent in August but food prices were up 10.8 per cent, the largest increase since 11.9 per cent in 1981.

Sep 20, 2022

A man who lives across the street from Russia’s consulate in Montreal has been protesting since mid-March against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including playing the Ukrainian national anthem. Police say he is free to protest on a public street and he plans to continue doing so despite a threatening confrontation with a consulate employee.

Sep 19, 2022

With provincial-territorial health care delivery buckling under the weight of shortage of providers, the past president of the Canadian Medical Association is calling for a national physician-licensing approach. Dr. Katharine Smart, a Yukon pediatrician, says the current system is confusing and bureaucratically cumbersome, particularly for physicians trained elsewhere. She says some leave for other countries while many who remain in Canada “are never able to enter the system and actually practise medicine.”

Sep 19, 2022

After being shut down last week because electricity was not available from the national power grid, Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear station, the largest in Europe, has begun receiving power again after power lines damaged by artillery shelling in the area were repaired. All six reactors remain shut down, but the plant needs external power to cool them and avert a meltdown in a situation the UN says remains precarious.

Sep 19, 2022

The minority Liberal government has been reminded by New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh that continued support depends on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fulfilling commitments that would prevent a general election until 2025. First and foremost is full implementation of a national dental care plan by next year.

Sep 19, 2022

Four members of the iconic RCMP Musical Ride led part of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession today as it left Westminster Abbey. Their horses had been given to the Queen as part of an ongoing tradition and the four riders’ main challenges was to familiarize themselves with the horses, notably how they would behave during an extended slow walk along a densly-crowded procession route.

Sep 19, 2022

The value of the dollar against its U.S. counterpart is at nearly two-year low. It traded at 75.27 cents at the close of markets September 16, recovering only slightly from 75.15 earlier in the day. Meanwhile the World Bank has warned that as central banks continue to raise interest rates in a bid to damp inflation, there is increased risk of recession.

Sep 16, 2022

Vladimir Putin has praised what he calls China’s “balanced position” on Russia’s war on Ukraine. However, the Russia leader also conceded during a meeting with Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan September 15 that China had “questions and concerns” about the conflict. Xi said China would “work with Russia to extend strong mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests” and “play a leading role in injecting stability and positive energy into a world of change and disorder.”

Sep 16, 2022

Federal Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault has announced that up to $250 million will be provided over four years to help defray homeowners’ heating bills, including $120 million in the Atlantic provinces where some 30 per cent of homes use oil-heating. The funds also will support a move toward “greener” heating options.

Sep 16, 2022

Germany’s economic ministry confirmed today that it is taking over domestic subsidiaries of Russian-controlled petroleum refineries to ensure energy security before an oil embargo takes effect next year. The Rosneft facilities account for some 12 per cent of German refining capacity which imports several hundred million euros' worth of oil from Russia every month.

Sep 16, 2022

Analysis of donations to last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa indicates that many of the contributors to that event’s month-long occupation also gave money to Conservative Party leadership candidates. The largest share went to the eventual winner, Pierre Poilievre.

Sep 16, 2022

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin over his “special military operation” in Ukraine. It was an unusual exchange during a meeting in Uzbekistan, where Modi said he had told Putin on the phone “that today’s era is not an era of war.” Putin replied that after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy had refused to negotiate, “we will do everything to stop this as soon as possible.”

Sep 16, 2022

A “serious” political leader can be defined as someone who, regardless of party, doesn’t resort to social media to feed public cynicism by attacking institutions or exaggerating shortcomings for personal gain. In many democracies, including Canada, politics has been dominated of late by too many “unserious” politicians who evidently like to foment voters’ apparent cynicism.

Sep 15, 2022

Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister, said today that his country has signed a memorandum of understanding which puts it a step closer towards permanent membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation dominated by Russia and China. He said his country is entering “a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit and energy cooperation.”

Sep 15, 2022

Since just before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February, at least 11 oligarchs and other executives with some of Russia’s largest corporations, along with family members, have died. Ostensibly murdered or victims of suicide, illness or accidents and seen as coincidental, it has raised the spectre of something more sinister in a country where political and business-related assassination is not uncommon.

Sep 15, 2022

Canada’s security community has become increasingly vocal about foreign cyberthreats and the concern is evidently warranted, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Quebec in Montreal have identified at least 75 attacks since 2010, half involving espionage, and mostly government-orchestrated for political, economic or other purposes.

Sep 15, 2022

The latest weekly World Health Organization assessment of coronavirus deaths indicates that the pandemic continues to decelerate but WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is urging caution. “Now is the worst time to stop running,” he said today. “Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap all the rewards of our hard work.”

Sep 14, 2022

A multinational police operation has resulted in the arrest of five persons who used private jets to smuggle migrants into Europe. The suspects and two others still at large are accused of giving the migrants fake diplomatic papers from Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean but flew them from Turkey to a European airport where declared their true identity and claimed asylum. Two jets worth €426,000 have been seized.

Sep 14, 2022

A New Brunswick woman has been told by the Parole Board of Canada that she cannot use social media to distribute a photograph of the man who murdered her sister in 1987 and who recently disappeared after breaching parole. The board told her to delete the image of Patrice Mailloux, explaining that it was “classified as ‘protected’ and is shared . . . for your personal use only as a registered victim.”

Sep 14, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised that when the House of Commons resumes sitting September 15, his government will introduce draft legislation to begin implementing national dental care, augment a rental housing benefit, and double the GST rebate. The bills would ensure the minority Liberals’ support by the New Democratic Party, whose leader, Jagmeet Singh, immediately took credit for the PM’s promise. Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre denounced it as “more inflationary spending.”

Sep 14, 2022

A physician doctor originally from Toronto who trained at Memorial University in St. John’s and now practises in Massachusetts volunteered to move to Newfoundland for three months at no cost to help address a doctor shortage in one community. His offer was accepted by the hospital and the province but rejected by the provincial College of Physician and Surgeons. It said that because he had been practising telemedicine for the past three years, it could not license him “at this time” because he needed to have been practising “active” medicine during that period.

Sep 14, 2022

Researchers at Simon Fraser University in B.C. and the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing in Ontario say in a new report that Canada has a brief window of opportunity to benefit from the global transition to electric vehicles. “Canada has all the right ingredients to be a battery powerhouse,” says one of the report’s authors. “But it's vital that Canada acts swiftly and decisively, or it risks squandering thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.”

Sep 14, 2022

A Belgian lawyer said September 13 that France cannot comply with a request from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to extradite a former priest to face charges of child abuse. The lawyer told a delegation from Nunavut in Paris this week that France is constitutionally prohibited from extraditing the man; nor could it try him on Canada’s behalf because the statute of limitations had expired.

Sep 14, 2022

Quebec MP Alain Rayes announced September 13 that he is leaving the Conservative caucus to sit as an Independent. Having supported Jean Charest’s bid for the party leadership, he cited concerns about law and order, environmental issues and the importance of respect between elected officials as Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre takes over as leader.

Sep 14, 2022

Windfall profits generated by major energy companies since prices began surging after Russia invaded Ukraine are being targeted by the European Commission which would use the money to subsidize consumers’ and industries’ natural gas and electricity bills this winter. “Companies are making revenues they never accounted for, they never even dreamt of,” EC Commission President Ursula von der Leyden said today, hoping to generate €140 billion. “It is wrong to receive extraordinary record profits benefiting from war and on the back of consumers.”

Sep 14, 2022

The U.S. said today that $3.5 billion in assets of Afghanistan’s central bank, part of the reserves seized when the Taliban took control 13 months ago, will be placed in trust in Switzerland. Managed by an international board and shielded from the Taliban, a new Afghan Fund, could cover the costs of critical imports, debt payments and printing new Afghan currency.

Sep 14, 2022

A U.S. intelligence report declassified September 13 claims that Russia has spent the equivalent of more than US$300 million trying to influence politicians in more than 24 countries since 2014. “We think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” a White House official said, explaining that “Russia likely has transferred additional funds covertly in cases that have gone undetected.”

Sep 14, 2022

Parole Board of Canada records show that the gunman accused of a double murder in Ontario earlier this week — one of them a Toronto police officer “ambushed” at point-blank range — had a lengthy criminal record, including robbery and illegal firearms possession.

Sep 13, 2022

Alena Douhan, a Belarussian professor of international law who is the UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, is calling for the removal of unilateral sanctions on Iran, first imposed in 1979 when the Islamic revolution drove the Shah from power. In a report released September 12, she said among other things that delivery of medicines and medical equipment is “severely undermined” by the effects of sanctions on finance, trade, shipping, insurance and over-compliance on the part of foreign businesses and suppliers.

Sep 13, 2022

The European Union, in an escalating standoff with Russia over natural gas supplies, is being urged by the UN not to potentially undermine climate change mitigation by burning other fossil fuels this winter. “In the face of soaring energy prices which threaten to impact the most vulnerable as winter approaches, some EU member states are turning to investments in fossil fuels infrastructure and supplies,” UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Commissioner Nada al-Nashif of Jordan said September 12. “There is no room for backtracking in the face of the ongoing climate crisis.”

Sep 13, 2022

The International Labour Organization, the UN and a global non-profit group say in a new report that an estimated 50 million people were victims of “modern slavery” in 2021, an increase of some 10 million recorded five years earlier. The increases were noted in an array of poorer countries but the data indicated that issues such as forced marriage and labour also were confirmed in wealthier parts of the world.

Sep 13, 2022

A Toronto Police constable, Andrew Hong, was shot to death at point-blank range while lunching with colleagues after a training exercise September 12 in what a senior officer described as an “ambush.” His assailant eventually was apprehended and shot in Hamilton after he had killed a businessman in a community between the cities.

Sep 13, 2022

A strike by at one Canada’s largest tugboat operators, Seaspan ULC, continues to slow vessel movements in British Columbia and is affecting the company’s shipyard operations, which include work on two Royal Canadian Navy supply ships and a Canadian Coast Guard research vessel.

Sep 12, 2022

A six-month police investigation has led to the arrest of two Ottawa residents on multiple weapons-related charges after a recent traffic stop on Highway 401 in eastern Ontario netted 46 pistols, long guns and magazines. One of the accused also was charged with possession of cocaine.

Sep 12, 2022

An Arizona law which would have limited how the public and news media could film police – an increasingly common element in allged police brutality cases – has been blocked in U.S. District Court. Judge John Tuchi agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union and media organisations that the law, which the state’s Republican governor signed in July and was to take effect September 24, was unconstitutional.

Sep 12, 2022

The last operating reactor at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, Europe’s largest and one of the biggest in the world, was shut down September 11 to reduce the threat of a radiation disaster amid the ongoing campaign against Russia. Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces near the plant has fueled fears of widespread contamination akin to that after the 1986 reactor explosion.

Sep 12, 2022

Iran says it is receptive to proposals to resurrect its 2015 nuclear accord but it has coupled that stance with a call for the International Atomic Energy Agency “not to yield to Israel’s pressure” on the issue, going so far as to unveil a drone it says can strike Israel. The mixed message prompted one of the deal’s brokers, Germany, to express regret today that Tehran is not responding to Europe’s call in a truly positive manner. Britain and France are similarly skeptical.

Sep 10, 2022

A recent Canada-U.S. maritime border control exercise in the waters between British Columbia and Washington state turned into the real thing. Coordinated by the RCMP Border Integrity as part of a regular series of are usually routine operations, the interception and boarding of several vessels in the August exercise yielded several individuals associated with transnational organized crime

Sep 09, 2022

The day after Queen Elizbeth II’s death at 96, Prince Charles echoed his mother’s commitment to life-long service as monarch and head of the Commonwealth. “I too now solemnly pledge myself throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation,” said the 73-year-old heir to the throne, who will reign as King Charles III.

Sep 09, 2022

Meta, the company which owns Instagram, plans to appeal a €405 million fine announced by Irish regulators after an inquiry revealed that European Union data privacy standards were breached by how teenage users’ personal information had been. Meta, which also owns Facebook, says it had engaged fully” with authorities throughout the inquiry and disagrees with the way the penalty was determined.

Sep 08, 2022

Two female RCMP officers working undercover were key to the arrests of four Alberta men now facing charges of plotting to murder members of the national police force during last winter’s blockade of a border crossing in southern Alberta. Details of the operation have been disclosed in search warrant applications which were unsealed by a provincial court September 7.

Sep 08, 2022

Results of a peer-reviewed scientific study found that a total of 89 per cent of identifiable plastics found in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” between Hawaii and California in 2019 was from five countries: Japan (36 per cent), China (32), Korea (10), U.S. (7) and Taiwan (6). However, Canada was identified as another “significant” source with 4.7 per cent and the researchers linked much of the overall debris to the international fishery.

Sep 08, 2022

What started as speculation in international defence and security circles — the notion that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland could succeed Jens Stoltenberg as Director-general of NATO — seems to have taken on some traction. However, when asked about the prospect September 7, she replied only that she already has “two busy jobs.” Stoltenberg’s term, which began in 2014, was recently extended to 2023.

Sep 08, 2022

Australia has legislated a commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the initiative an end to a decade of inaction by a half dozen predecessors, but independent MPs want a 50 per cent reduction by the end of this decade while the Green Party called it a “small step” and most want an end to new coal and natural gas projects.

Sep 08, 2022

Results of a two-day opinion poll completed September 7 indicate that 58 per cent of Americans, including one in four Republicans, believe that former president Donald Trump's movement, Make America Great Again, is undermining democracy. Considered accurate to within four points, he poll of 1,003 adults also found that 60 per cent of Republicans don’t think MAGA represents the majority of their party.

Sep 08, 2022

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it cannot support Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, saying there has been “no progress” in resolving questions about the history of material at undeclared sites. IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi says he is “increasingly concerned that Iran has not engaged with the Agency on the outstanding safeguards issues . . . and, therefore, that there has been no progress towards resolving them.”

Sep 08, 2022

Queen Elizbeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch and head of the Commonwealth, died “peacefully” today at the age of 96, surrounded by family at her Scottish estate. Her 70-year reign spanned 15 British prime ministers, the last of whom, Liz Truss, she had formally appointed two days earlier amidst doctors’ concerns about the sovreign’s declining health.

Sep 08, 2022

The accused in a weekend stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan that left 10 victims dead and 19 wounded, died September 7 after being arrested. RCMP said Myles Sanderson, 30, went into “medical distress” when taken into custody after a car chase and that he was transported by ambulance to a Saskatoon hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Sep 08, 2022

Increasing online harassment and hate messaging has left the federal government with no option but some sort of legislative or regulatory controls on Internet service providers, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said Sept. 7. “There's a consensus on the fact that we have to do something,” he said. “Whoever says ‘oh no, no, you shouldn't do anything on this’ has to justify why status quo is OK.”

Sep 07, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested today that a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey to lift a naval blockade and permit embattled Ukraine to export grain might need to be reviewed. Saying that other foods and fertilizer were being sent to European Union states and Turkey rather than to poor countries, he also threatened to halt all energy supplies to Europe if the EU caps the price of Russian natural gas.

Sep 07, 2022

As the manhunt continued today for a Saskatchewan man accused of stabbing 10 persons to death and wounding 18 others, questions are being asked about the National Parole Board’s approval of Myles Sanderson’s release because he did not “present an undue risk to society” despite a lengthy record of criminal violence. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendocino said September 5 that while the board “will be undertaking an investigation of the decision,” the review “does not end at that point.”

Sep 07, 2022

Danielle Smith, one of seven candidates to succeed Premier Jason Kenny as leader of the United Conservative Party, insists that her proposed provincial sovereignty legislation would enable the province to ignore court rulings that find the province violated the Constitution. Kenney said Sept. 5 that would turn the province into a “banana republic” and scare off investors who don’t want “political chaos.”

Sep 07, 2022

A First Nation in northern Alberta is suing the provincial government for what it says is the cumulative negative impact of the sale of Crown land and industrial and agricultural development. “Alberta has engaged in a pattern of conduct that has significantly diminished the . . . right to hunt, fish and trap as part of their way of life,” the plaintiff says in its statement of claim. “Habitats have been fragmented, lands and waters have been degraded, substances have been introduced that cause legitimate fears of contamination, and pollution and lands have been put to uses that are incompatible with . . . treaty rights.”

Sep 07, 2022

Extensive flooding in Pakistan, which as displaced 33 million people and resulted in more than 1,300 deaths, has left areas looking “like a sea”, Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif said today. As much as a third of the country of 220 million has been inundated after days of torrential rain and while the waters are receding, they leave behind the threat of disease.

Sep 07, 2022

A political about-face in Montana, bordering on Canada’s three westernmost provinces, is a case study in how to deal with coronavirus waves which remain problematic. A new Republican governor lost no time in undoing his Democratic predecessor’s policies by ramrodding an extreme antivaccination law with little, if any, input from state health officials – with disastrous consequences.

Sep 07, 2022

Helicopter crews fighting a wildfire in Jasper National Park had to ground their aircraft September 5 when small unmanned aerial vehicles were flown in the highly dynamic airspace. Drone usage is prohibited in national parks without a permit and two operators are facing charges.

 

Sep 06, 2022

Citing the global impacts of ongoing pandemic concerns, Russia’s war on Ukraine and uncertain commodity prices, the Bank of Canada today increased its overnight interest rate by 75 basis points, to 3.25 per cent from the 2.5 per cent that had prevailed since March. The next rate announcement is scheduled for October 26.

Sep 06, 2022

After leading an International Atomic Energy Agency team to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine, the UN agency’s director general said today that the situation remains “very worrying” and warned that ongoing conflict in the area is “playing with fire.” Rafael Grossi called for a safety zone around Europe’s largest station. “This is a measure that one way or the other must be put in place.”

Sep 06, 2022

The National Computer Virus Emergency Response Centre in China is accusing the U.S. National Security Agency of breaking into computers at Northwestern Polytechnical University, an institution in Xi’an funded by the Ministry of Industry & Information Technology and believed to do military-related research. The newly-reported hacking occurred in June

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