In the News

Oct 18, 2021

Hong Kong has banned Air Canada flights from Vancouver after a passenger on an Oct. 13 flight tested positive for COVID-19. The ban will remain in effect until Oct. 29 and the carrier said it has four scheduled during that period but that cargo service would continue.

Oct 18, 2021

An unidentified Canadian is among 17 members of a U.S. aid organization kidnapped Oct. 16 in Haiti. They were visiting an orphanage when their bus was hijacked by a gang just outside Port-au-Prince.

Oct 18, 2021

After eight “undeclared Russian intelligence officers” were expelled from NATO’s military mission in Brussels Oct. 6, Russia said today that it was shutting down its involvement in the mission. It also has cancelled the accreditation of alliance staff at the NATO mission in Moscow

Oct 17, 2021

Colin Powell, the career U.S. Army officer who went on to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then Secretary of State, died today at the age of 84 from complications due to COVID-19. He is reported to have had multiple myeloma which suppressed his immune system.

Oct 17, 2021

The prospect of losing one seat in the House of Commons in the next redistribution of federal ridings, reducing the number of Quebec MPs to 77, annoys the Bloc Quebecois. Overall, the number of seats is set to increase by four to 342 to reflect undated census data. Alberta increases to 37 seats from 34 while Ontario and British Columbia gain one each, to 121 and 43 respectively. “It is out of the question . . . to see the power of francophones diminish,” says Alain Therrien, the BQ’s critic on democratic institutions.

Oct 17, 2021

With the U.S. border set to reopen Nov. 8 to Canadians fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, there will be a cost on their return. All returnees will be required to proof of a negative test within 72 hours of re-entry, at a cost of at least $129.

Oct 17, 2021

Mark Forkner, a former chief technical pilot at Boeing, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he misled the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration about safety issues with the 737 Max, two of which crashed overseas in 2018 and 2019, killing everyone aboard. Prosecutors say that he hid information about the control software in a bid to save the company millions of dollars.

Oct 17, 2021

Nicolas de Lacoste, appointed France’s ambassador to Belarus late last year, has left the country at the insistence of the host government. There are suggestions that it was because he had presented his credentials to the Belarusian foreign minister rather than to the country’s autocratic president.

Oct 17, 2021

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada stands to collect as much as $4.5 billion annually through a deal with 135 other countries that will require major corporates to pay more in taxes. “There are still some final details being hammered out, so the numbers . . . are not exact,” she said Oct. 16.

Oct 15, 2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today that Canadians with mixed COVID-19 vaccines will be able to cross the border when it reopens Nov 8. The only proviso is that only vaccines approved by the U.S. or World Health Organization will be recognized. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/u-s-canadian-travellers-mixed-vaccines-1.6213176

Oct 15, 2021

The Italian government’s decision, effective today, to require all workers to have a “Green Pass” confirming vaccination against COVID-19, has prompted widespread protests. An estimated three million workers remain unvaccinated and non-compliant workers are liable for a fine of up to €1,500.

Oct 15, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has scheduled a cabinet shuffle for Oct. 26 and plans to begin a new Parliament Nov. 22, giving new ministers four weeks to settle into their portfolios. The PM’s office also said today that he would be talking with opposition leaders next week about issues such as running the session while the fourth wave of COVID-19 persists.

Oct 14, 2021

The U.S. had little to no regard for the World Trade Organization in recent years but its top negotiator said today that the Biden administration believes the WTO is “a force for good” and “we want it to succeed. The Trump administration’s blockage of key appointments are widely blamed for the organization’s current paralysis on key global issues.

Oct 13, 2021

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé is giving the province’s healthcare workers an extra month to comply with mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations before they could be suspended without pay. Confirming the extension to Nov. 15, he said today that “it would be irresponsible to roll the dice with the health of Quebecers.”

Oct 13, 2021

A new Arctic strategy published today would ban development of new hydrocarbon development in the region. The European Commission acknowledged that the EU still imports petroleum resources from the North but said it will work “towards a multilateral legal obligation not to allow any further hydrocarbon reserve development in the Arctic or contiguous regions.”

Oct 13, 2021

The World Health Organisation today unveiled a new scientific advisory group, including a Chinese animal health expert, tasked with assessing new high-threat pathogens such as COVID-19. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that understanding is “essential for preventing future outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential.”

Oct 12, 2021

Canada is among two dozen countries which have joined an initiative led by the EU and the U.S. designed to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030. The notion is to give momentum to the issue in advance of the UN climate summit which begins Oct. 31 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Oct 12, 2021

The U.S. will open to all non-essential visitors from Canada and Mexico in November, lifting a 19-month COVID-19 ban. White House officials confirmed the decision Oct. 12, saying that all must provide proof of vaccination but they would not specify which vaccines would be acceptable or whether mixed doses would be compliant.

Oct 12, 2021

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, widely regarded as a potential Liberal Party leader, is well known to the Russian intelligence apparatus for her Cold War campaign in support of Ukraine while she was a Harvard University exchange student. The KGB actually lauded her efforts against its political masters and even tagged her with a personal code name.

Oct 12, 2021

The first face-to-face talks between U.S. officials and the Taliban, held in Qatar, reportedly focused on containing extremist groups active in Afghanistan, humanitarian aid and evacuating U.S. citizens.

Oct 12, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping says he wants “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan despite his country’s recent series of provocative air force manoeuvres near the island state. Taipei responded to the weekend declaration by calling on Beijing to abandon its coercive military and political pressures.

Oct 12, 2021

Abdul Qadeer Khan, a physicist acknowledged as the “father” of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program and an international trafficker of the technology, has died from COVID-19 at the age of 85. Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan had lost a “national icon.”

Oct 12, 2021

A former senior North Korean military and intelligence official says his agencies were the “eyes and ears and brains” of his country’s leaders. He says his activities during a 30-year career before he fled to the South in 2014 included coordinating assassinations and building a drugs laboratory to raise “revolutionary” funds.

Oct 12, 2021

Canada and 129 other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have signed an agreement to enforce a corporate tax rate of at least 15 per cent, an initiative they expect will generate additional annual revenues of more than $150 billion. The measure, still resisted by some smaller OECD members, is designed to address concerns that multinational companies reroute profits through low-tax countries.

Oct 08, 2021

The federal government is “mindful” about the ongoing impact of COVID-19 but is so far noncommittal about further extension of economic support measures. “The fourth wave and the Delta variant are hitting parts of the country particularly hard, and we know government policy needs to be mindful of that,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said with the current measures set to expire this month. “We will provide economic support as needed,” she said, adding that “we’ll have more to say about the specifics soon.”

Oct 08, 2021

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh wants the minority Liberal government to take “concrete” steps in return for its support in Parliament. He said Oct. 7 that the “immediate” requirements include paid sick leave, a federal coronavirus vaccination passport, real progress on reconciliation with indigenous peoples and on climate change measures.

Oct 08, 2021

Responding to former employees’ complaints about a “toxic workplace” fraught with racism and bullying, the Royal Canadian Mint says it has accepted all 24 recommendations by independent investigators. “It is evident that although significant progress has been made, a toxic environment remains,” the investigators say in a newly-released report submitted two months ago.

Oct 08, 2021

Only a couple of weeks after Chinese President Xi Jinping told the UN his country would stop funding foreign coal-fired power plants to help reduce global carbon emissions, China’s two largest coal-producing regions have been ordered to expand output to address power requirements.

Oct 07, 2021
October 6 marked 100 days since the government of Ethiopia imposed a blockade on the northern region of Tigray after a political "falling out". Cutting off all delivery of humanitarian goods, electricity, communications, and services, the government knows that civilians are dying of starvation under entirely man-made conditions. Refugees International is calling for an end to the blockade.
Russia behind most state-backed hacks
Oct 07, 2021

Russia accounted for the most state-sponsored hacking detected by Microsoft over the past year, with a 58% share. The detected hacks were mostly targeting government agencies and think tanks in the United States, followed by Ukraine, Britain and European NATO members, the company said.

Oct 07, 2021

European Union Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen has acknowledged the western Balkan states are frustrated and impatient over stalled hopes for EU membership. The German politician said Oct. 6 that a lack of a decision on even opening negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania was “jeopardising our standing and leverage in the region.”

Oct 07, 2021

The UN is being advised by one of its investigators, Argentinian lawyer Tomas Ojea Quintana, to ease Security Council sanctions against North Korea, which he says risks a starving populace and a slide into further isolation. In his report, set to be presented Oct. 22, Quintana says the sanctions over nuclear weapons development “should be reviewed and eased when necessary to both facilitate humanitarian and lifesaving assistance and to enable the promotion of the right to an adequate standard of living of ordinary citizens.”

Oct 07, 2021

France’s decision to return its ambassador to Australia after a diplomatic row over the cancellation of a major submarine deal is being welcomed in Canberra. “Hopefully we can move beyond our recent disappointments,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said today. “France and Australia share a number of common interests, particularly in our work together in the regions.”

Oct 07, 2021

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Taliban representatives will be invited to a meeting in Moscow Oct. 20. No further details were given but Russia hosted a meeting in Afghanistan in March at which in joined China, Pakistan and the U.S. in calling for a peace agreement.

Oct 07, 2021

Turkey has become the last G20 country to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change but is resisting its classification at an Annex 1 signatory. That obliges it take a more aggressive stance on carbon emissions than developing nations.

Oct 07, 2021

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has sworn a left-wing former head of Congress as his new prime minister, hours after Mirtha Vasquez’ predecessor resigned after only two months. The cabinet shuffle is seen as possibly setting the state for a more moderate administration under Marxist-Leninist Castillo.

Oct 07, 2021

All federal government employees will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 29 whether they still work in an office in Canada or abroad or work from home, Prime Minister Trudeau and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland announced Oct. 6. The only exemptions will be those who provide a letter from their doctor or for justifiable religious reasons. Moreover, the policy also applies to anyone travelling by air or train within Canada.

Oct 06, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court today began hearing a case which could shed light on the CIA’s use of “black sies” in other countries to hold terrorists before they were sent to Guantanamo. The Palestinian who brought the suit is described as an al-Qaeda recruiter who claims to have been tortured at a CIA “black site” until he was transferred to Guantanamo, where he has been held without charge since 2006.

Oct 06, 2021

NATO has withdrawn the accreditation of eight members of Russia's mission to the alliance today, saying they were “undeclared Russian intelligence officers.” The reduction in the number of Russian positions to 10 evidently faces retaliation, but a NATO official said today that the alliance’s policy “remains consistent” in that while “we have strengthened our deterrence and defence in response to Russia's aggressive actions . . . we remain open for a meaningful dialogue.”

Oct 06, 2021

After strong criticism of a "serious lapse in judgement", the Prime Minister now admits that taking a holiday in Tofino while the rest of Canada commemorated the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, was a mistake and that he will "focus on making it right". No details were provided on what actions will make this right.

Oct 06, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden said Oct. 5 that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan after officials there said relations with Beijing were at their worst in decades. “We agree we’ll abide by the Taiwan agreement and we made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement,” Biden said, meaning the deal whereby the U.S. has diplomatic relations with China while continuing to support what China considers a “rogue” province.

Oct 06, 2021

Even though the Conservative parliamentary caucus voted Oct. 5 to give itself the power to potentially oust him as leader, Erin O’Toole says his MPs are “fully united” after losing the latest election which saw them win fewer seats and a reduced share of the popular vote. “I am accountable . . . for what went well, and accountable for where we fell short,” he said, adding that he is “resolutely committed” to reviewing every element of the party’s campaign.

Oct 05, 2021

Canada has invoked a dispute resolution process in a 1977 pipeline treaty with the U.S. in a bid to keep a critical Enbridge pipeline from being shut down. Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac linking Lake Michigan and Lake Huron carries nearly half of the fuel supply to Ontario and Quebec but Michigan’s governor, fearing a potential spill, revoked a 1953 operating permit. Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau now says “Canada has raised its significance for Canadian economic and energy security at the highest levels of the U.S. federal government.”

Oct 04, 2021

Canada's hotel quarantine requirement for international air passengers, which ended in August, evidently was ignored at one of four airports authorized to receive visitors. Public Health Agency of Canada records indicate that of 5,315 fines for non-compliance, 4,711 were applied at Toronto, 601 at Vancouver and the balance at Montreal – but none in Calgary.

Oct 04, 2021

Months after severing its hotline with South Korea yet again, the North Korea restored the link today but said the future depends on the “attitude of South Korean authorities.” The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un had give notice of the move even as it steps up the frequency of its weapons testing.

Oct 04, 2021

The German foreign ministry says it would reject any Iranian demands for the U.S. to release frozen assets as a condition for resuming nuclear talks. A ministry spokesman was responding to Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian's demand that $10 billion in assets be released as a goodwill gesture.

Oct 04, 2021

Fumio Kishida, Japan’s foreign minister from 2012 to 2017, was sworn in as Prime Minister today after being elected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party last week. A moderate liberal with a reputation for building consensus, he immediately confirmed his 20-member cabinet, 13 of whom have no previous cabinet experience.

Oct 04, 2021

Kosovo's main border crossings with Serbia were reopened on the weekend as Serbs removed blockading vehicles and NATO mobilized some of its 3,000 troops in under an EU-mediated deal. It ended a dispute between the neighbouring countries over car licence plates which Kosovo said was retaliation for Serbian measures against Kosovar drivers.

Oct 04, 2021

An independent tally of global COVID-19 deaths puts the total at more than five million. More than half were accounted for five countries with the U.S. topping the account with 700,000 deaths as of Oct. 1. The others in the top five are Russia, Brazil, Mexico and India.

Oct 04, 2021

After implementing one of the world’s tightest borders against COVID-19 in March 2020, Australia plans to permit vaccinated citizens and their families to travel again next month. “It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” says Prime Minister Scott Morrison, explaining that Australians would be able to travel when state vaccination rates reach 80 per cent. However, visitors would remain restricted.

Oct 04, 2021

That nearly three-quarters of all adults in the EU are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, making it a global leader, evidently masks the fact that the program has been unequal. is a world leader in inoculations. Some states have achieved near-universal vaccination but others, notably Bulgaria and Romania, are well down the list published by the European Center for Disease Control despite ready access to vaccines.

Oct 04, 2021

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, whose 2020 election win has been widely discredited, continues to crack down on dissidents. Eight-seven have been arrested for commenting on social media about a confrontation that resulted in two deaths last week.

Oct 04, 2021

The UN Relief and Works Agency supporting Palestinian refugees, facing what it says is an “existential” budget crisis, has appealed for an urgent US$120 million to keep education, healthcare and other services running. “We keep struggling, running after cash," UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini says. “We should not underestimate this because . . . we risk to collapse.”

Oct 02, 2021

The Philippines’ notably outspoken President, Rodrigo Duterte, announced today that he will not run for the vice-presidency next year, avoiding a legal battle with opponents who questioned the move, which some critics said could have set him up for an eventual return to the presidency. “The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipino is that I'm not qualified, and it would be a violation of the constitution,” he said.

Oct 02, 2021

The U.S. and Russia held “intensive and substantive” talks this week in an effort to reduce tensions. The second meeting within a framework flowing from a June summit between presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.

Oct 01, 2021

Seven UN officials have been kicked out of Ethiopia for allegedly “meddling” in the country’s internal affairs. Announced Sept. 30, the move comes as the country is under increasing pressure to lift a blockage of humanitarian assistance in its Tigray region.

Oct 01, 2021

Military personnel and civilian staff from Newfoundland and Labrador are being brought into Alberta to help health authorities struggling with a growing COVID-19 crisis which has swamped some hospitals. Premier Jason Kenney confirmed the development Sept. 30, saying “it will help to provide some relief.”

Sep 30, 2021

All YouTube content which spreads misinformation about vaccines against COVID-19 and other illnesses, are being censored by the social media giant. It confirmed the decision Sept. 29, explaining that it would apply to all content “that falsely says that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those who receive them.”

Sep 30, 2021

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to a year in prison today on charges of illegally funding his unsuccessful 2012 re-election campaign. He can serve his sentence at home, albeit with an electronic tracking bracelet and, denying any wrongdoing, is expected to appeal.

Sep 30, 2021

Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been promoted to the State Affairs Commission run by her brother. A shakeup of the ruling body also saw the demotion of Ri Pyong Cho as senior military commander, who was replaced by Pak Jong Chon, who has been overseeing the country’s latest weapons development program.

Sep 30, 2021

Mohib Ullah, a prominent member of the Rohingya Muslim exodus from Myanmar after a military crackdown in 2017 was shot to death Sept. 29 in Bangladesh. A UN official and local police say the killing followed months of escalating violence in what has become the world’s largest refugee settlement. Ullah's group had been notable for documenting atrocities against Rohingyas during the Myanmar crackdown, which the UN says had genocidal intent.

Sep 30, 2021

The Conservatives are the only federal party with seats in the upcoming session of Parliament which will not confirm that all its members, except those with medical exemptions, will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said Sept. 29 that MPs should “get fully vaccinated or they stay home” but the parties remain divided on whether the House can operate in a virtual hybrid mode as was the case throughout the pandemic so far.

Sep 29, 2021

Some 1,600 businesses deemed to have the poorest emissions-reduction practices have been asked by investment fund managers to “urgently” set science-based targets. The companies have the equivalent of nearly $30 trillion in assets and the fund managers’ call comes just over a month before a UN global climate change summit in Scotland.

Sep 29, 2021

Results of a poll conducted in the closing weeks of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan indicate that a plurality of Americans want fewer troops stationed abroad, Published Sept. 28, they also indicate that a majority prefer more diplomatic engagement on a range of issues such as climate change, migration and human rights.

Sep 29, 2021

An inaugural transatlantic Trade and Technology Council meeting went ahead today despite resistance in France, which remains angry over losing a nuclear submarine contract. Senior European Union and U.S. officials were discussing a range of issues, including the global semiconductor shortage, artificial intelligence and competition.

Sep 29, 2021

Milorad Dodik, the Orthodox Serb member of Bosnia’s three-member presidency, which also includes Muslim and Croat representatives, wants to withdraw consent for a multi-ethnic army, calling Bosnia “impossible, imposed country” and “experiment by the international community.” His Croat counterpart, Zeljko Komsic, considers the concept “a criminal act of rebellion.”

Sep 29, 2021

Canada remains under pressure from the U.S. to ban Huawei 5G technology over concerns that it could be used to compromise communications security. Having reviewed the situation for three years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sept. 28 that a decision is forthcoming in the “coming weeks.”

Sep 29, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sept. 28 that he will name his new cabinet in October, with Chrystia Freeland staying on as Deputy PM and Finance Minister. He also plans to begin the new Parliament “before the end of fall.”

Sep 28, 2021

In the closing hours of the latest UN General Assembly Sept. 27, Canada and China traded diplomatic broadsides over the nearly three-year detenion of the “Two Michaels” which ended last week. Foreign Minister Marc Garneau reiterated suggestions that the two Canadians were jailed by China in retaliation for Canada’s detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and a Chinese diplomat countered with accusations not only that Canada and the U.S. had detained Meng illegally but also were trying to thwart Chinese high-tech companies generally.

Pages