In the News

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

Sep 06, 2022

Six victims of a Sept. 5 suicide bombing at the Russian embassy in Kabul included the Second Secretary and a locally-hired security guard at the mission. An Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility.

Sep 06, 2022

The Washington-based e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs agreed today to pay nearly US$440 million to settle a two-year investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping products. The states and Puerto Rico had launched a 2020 inquiry into the company’s earlier promotions and it still faces hundreds of lawsuits on behalf of teens and others who claim addiction to its products.

Sep 06, 2022

James Cleverly, 53, a former British Army reservist who had held a number of posts in former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet, was appointed Foreign Secretary today by the new Prime Minister Liz Truss, only hours after she was sworn in. Cleverly’s earlier roles included Minister of State for Minister of State for Middle East, North Africa and North America.

Sep 06, 2022

Ten defendants involved in last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa have asked a court to order to release of $450,000 in donations so they can pay for lawyers to represent them in a public inquiry into the government’s unprecedented invocation of the Emergencies Act to shut down the disruption. The money from crowdfunding was placed in escrow pending a proposed class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of local residents and businesses.

Sep 06, 2022

An RCMP threat advisory last February indicated that some members of the federal force sympathized with last winter’s disruptive “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa. “The potential exists for serious insider threats,” it stated. “Those who have not lost their jobs but are sympathetic to the movement and their former colleagues may be in a position to share law enforcement or military information to the convoy protests.”

Sep 06, 2022

Canada’s embassy in Beijing says Chinese censors have deleted screenshots it posted on two social media platforms about a UN report on human rights abuses in Xinjiang province. The posts were translations of Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly's comment that the findings in the report reflected “credible accounts of grave human rights violations.”

Sep 06, 2022

Information gleaned from a Toronto Police Service social media account indicates that most seized crime-related firearms are imported, likely from the U.S. So far this year, 84 of 116 seized weapons were prohibited, 20 were restricted and 11 were non

Sep 06, 2022

Cyberattacks on Italian energy operators and infrastructure are increasing, says the country’s National Cyber Security Agency. Following two breaches over the last week, it urges the sector to “raise the levels of protection of digital infrastructure of energy operators” and says it is “constantly updating them in line with the most recent threat information” as attackers use new coding software.

Sep 06, 2022

One of two brothers sought in the stabbing deaths of 11 persons and the wounding of 19 others in central Saskatchewan’s Smith Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon was found dead Sept. 5. RCMP said that Damien Sanderson had visible injuries … not believed to be self-inflicted. A province-wide manhunt for Myles Sanderson continues.

Sep 06, 2022

The German manufacturer of a turbine is questioning Russia’s explanation of Gazprom’s decision to shut down one of its main natural gas lines to Europe on the weekend, stocking fears of winter shortages. European governments had expected the Nord Stream 1 to resume flows after what was to be a brief maintenance pause but Gazprom said an oil leak in a Seimens turbine cancelled that plan. Siemens says the leak would not normally affect turbine operation and, besides, other units could keep the pipeline running.

Sep 06, 2022

One of several European Union states to enact emergency measures in preparation for winter as Russia shuts off natural gas supplies, Germany has announced a US$65-billion plan to help its citizens and businesses cope with soaring prices. “Russia is no longer a reliable energy partner,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Sept. 4.

Sep 05, 2022

Former British foreign secretary Liz Trust has been elected by the Conservative Party as Boris Johnson’s successor, The former Liberal Democrat, who opposed Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, is promising to return to fundamental Conservative values such as reducing taxes and smaller government.

Sep 05, 2022

Two men remained at large today after 10 persons were stabbed to death and 15 others were wounded Sept. 4 in central Saskatchewan’s Smith Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon. RCMP, who have been searching for one of the suspects, have issued a three-province alert for Myles and Damien Sanderson.

Sep 04, 2022

The RCMP feared that serving Mounties sympathetic to the convoy protest in Ottawa earlier this year might leak operational plans to protesters, says an internal threat advisory obtained by CBC News. "Those who […] are sympathetic to the movement […] may be in a position to share law enforcement or military information to the convoy protests."

Sep 02, 2022

The September 1 release of a report on China’s treatment of minorities, prepared by Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has sparked diametrically-opposed responses by China and the U.S. The report, which several repressive regimes had tried to block, found China's “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uyghurs and other Muslims may constitute crimes against humanity. While the U.S. said the report described China’s “appalling” record, China called it “completely illegal and void.”

Sep 02, 2022

As China doubles down on its zero-Covid policy ahead of a key Communist Party meeting, the city of Chengdu imposed a sweeping lockdown of its 21 million inhabitants September 1. The action follows confirmation of more than 700 coronavirus cases the previous week and mass testing will run until at least September 4.

Sep 02, 2022

A supporter of last winter’s disruptive “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa was himself disruptive in court where he faced charges of obstruction of police and causing a disturbance by being drunk. Walter Derksen repeatedly interrupted proceedings before he was removed from the court and held for the resumption of his trial. His behaviour is seen as a manifestation of an apparently flourishing “sovereign citizen” movement by people insisting that the laws don't apply to them.

Sep 02, 2022

The families of 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich are receiving a total of €28 million from Germany, including payments already made. Having acknowledged that its response to the attack was inadequate, Germany initially offered €10 million ahead of the September 5 commemoration of the 50th anniversary.

Sep 02, 2022

Canada today joined its G7 partners — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. — in agreeing to contain the costs of imported Russian crude oil and petroleum products in a bid to curb its ability to fund its war in Ukraine. Beginning in early December, the initiative would ban “services which enable maritime transportation of Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products globally” above a price cap to be set by “a broad coalition” of countries. Russia had already threatened to ban exports to countries that implement a cap.

Sep 02, 2022

Vicky Bowman, Britain’s ambassador to Myanmar from 2002 to 2006, was sentenced by the country’s military government to a year in jail today along with her Burmese husband, a former political prisoner. They were charged with breaching immigration laws but since such offences are rarely prosecuted, wider political issues are suspect.

Sep 02, 2022

Myanmar’s military rulers today sentenced Nobel Peace Prize Laureat Aung San Suu Kyi, 77, to three years hard labour for alleged electoral fraud. The latest in a series of punishments, the sentence means that the politician, deposed in 2021, now faces 20 years in prison.

Sep 02, 2022

Ian Scott, chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, was scheduled to leave the post today after four years. However, his tenure has been extended for four months until the federal government recruits a replacement who would manage the regulator’s additional legislated Internet responsibilities.

Sep 01, 2022

Key organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” which paralyzed downtown Ottawa last winter, prompting the federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act, are expected to go on trial in September 2023. Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, both released on bail, are accused of mischief, obstructing justice and counselling others commit mischief and intimidation.

Sep 01, 2022

A convoy of UN inspectors managed today to reach Europe's largest nuclear power station, in southern Ukraine, despite the presence of Russian forces embedded in and around the Zaporizhzhia plant. Some of the International Atomic Energy Agency team left after only a few hours but Ukraine's nuclear power operator expects five others to remain for two more days.

Sep 01, 2022

A surge in resource revenues has enabled Alberta to reduce its cumulative public debt by $13.4 billion. Finance Minister Jason Nixon said August 31 that the repayment shows his government's commitment to fiscal rigour but he did not restore social benefits indexation suspended three years ago.

Sep 01, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said August 31 that the government will look into allegations by a British author in a new book that a Canadian Security and Intelligence Service contractor helped to traffic three British teenage girls to Islamic State extremists seven years ago. “The fight against terrorism requires our intelligence services to continue to be flexible and to be creative,” the PM said. “But every step of the way they are bound by strict rules . . . and we expect that those rules be followed.”

Sep 01, 2022

Three Ontario Provincial Police officers have been charged by the province’s Special Investigations Unit in the November 2020 death of an 18-month-old boy. It was found that the officers shot at the boy's father in his truck during an interception after he allegedly abducted his child. The father died about a week later.

Sep 01, 2022

A man who accused a B.C. business of fraud has been ordered by the province’s Supreme Court to pay $90,000 in damages for defamation. Longhouse Specialty Forest Products had sued Tyler Ginther for $675,000 based on reviews he posted on two social media sites in 2017 and 2018 and the presiding judge ruled August 31 that the posts were untrue and malicious.

Sep 01, 2022

Nine years after they were arrested after planting what they believed were bombs at the provincial legislature, a B.C. couple who eventually cleared on terrorism charges are suing the RCMP along with the provincial and federal governments. While John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were found guilty in June 2015, the B.C. Court of Appeal found that they had been duped by police into engineering the plot. Citing “serious harm” during their legal odyssey, they are seeking general, special and punitive damages as well as legal costs and interest

Sep 01, 2022

Nvidia and AMD, two major California-based computer chip manufacturers, have been ordered by U.S. authorities to stop selling China certain new high-performance chips which could have “military” applications.

Sep 01, 2022

The trial of Cameron Jay Ortis, former head of the RCMP's National Intelligence Coordination Centre, on charges of breaching the Security of Information Act has been delayed until October 2023 after new defence counsel was appointed. His trial was supposed to begin in Ottawa next week.

Sep 01, 2022

A U.S. surtax on luxury items, imposed in 1991 and abandoned several years later, hasn’t stopped Canada from imposing its own version effective today despite warnings that it will hurt manufacturers and that forecast revenues won’t live up to expectations. Even so, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, citing rising health care costs, said it is “entirely reasonable” to expect people who can afford high-end purchases “to help everybody else.”

Sep 01, 2022

British Columbia's auditor general has doubts about the accuracy of the province's public accounts, saying at a $1.3-billion budget surplus for 2021-2022 announced by the government Aug. 30 should have been about six times bigger. AG Michael Pickup’s office says there were three departures from generally accepted accounting principles, including how B.C. records payments from other governments and non-government sources.

Sep 01, 2022

European Union foreign ministers have agreed to suspend a visa agreement with Russia which will make entry more difficult for Russian visitors. Ukraine and some other states had called for a blanket ban but that was opposed several others. More than a million Russians have travelled to the EU since their president ordered the invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Sep 01, 2022

Health Canada has approved Moderna's updated COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron BA.1 variant for use in adults 18 and older. The department also said today that clinical trials suggest it elicits a “stronger immune response” against more recent and dominant BA.4 And BA.5 variants.

Aug 31, 2022

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agree that health must be delivered “differently” as most jurisdictions deal with staffing issues. Ford also reiterated August 30 that his other counterparts want more federal money for the programs they are mandated to deliver “and we're gonna make sure that we sit down and really work out a deal.”

Aug 31, 2022

The federal government has rejected a call by Nova Scotia to be exempted from the national carbon levy program. Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault’s August 29 response is being called a “missed opportunity” by his provincial counterpart. “A carbon tax will increase prices,” Tim Halman says, arguing that the federal levy is not needed because Nova Scotia has legislated the most aggressive emissions reductions in Canada.

Aug 31, 2022

Government’s mandate letters to cabinet ministers are routinely made public across Canada and in other countries, but Ontario Premier Doug Ford continues to keep them secret despite a recent directive from his own privacy commissioner. The government now is appealing to Ontario Divisional Court and questions are being asked how much the fight is costing taxpayers.

Aug 31, 2022

Insisting that critical repairs are needed, Russia has shut Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline for three days after it had already reduced throughput to European markets. The line had been shut down for 10 days in July for repairs and state-owned Gazprom now is blaming faulty valves.

Aug 31, 2022

The Canadian Coast Guard commissioned a new station at the remote northern tip of Vancouver Island August 30 to facilitate more efficient responses to marine rescues or environmental emergencies in the ecologically-vulnerable area. The 16,000-square-foot CCG Hardy Bay Base include a drive-on floating dock as well as maintenance and office facilities.

Aug 30, 2022

The Solomon Islands, which signed a security agreement with China last April, today suspended entry into its waters for all foreign naval visits in what the prime minister’s office says is part of a bid to police its exclusive economic zones more effectively. The suspension evidently will remain in effect pending adoption of a new process for visits. U.S. and British vessels were unable to visit recently to refuel and provision.

Aug 30, 2022

Union Bay, a small community on the east coast of Vancouver Island, has become the centre of a dispute between local residents and a company which dismantles ships. The residents say that Deep Water Recovery, headquartered in Vancouver, is ignoring a provincial cease-and-desist order due to concerns about potential pollution.

Aug 30, 2022

Canada’s economy is predicted to take a $139 billion hit over the next three decades as floods, droughts and increasingly severe weather damages or destroys infrastructure. The grim projection is set out in a new climate-based analysis of seven countries by GHD Group, a global engineering and architectural services company headquartered in Australia.

Aug 30, 2022

The United Nations today issued an urgent appeal for US$160 million to help Pakistan cope with “epochal” floods that have affected 22 million people, killed more than 1,100, and destroyed homes, businesses, crops and infrastructure. “The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said

Aug 30, 2022

Canada has invoked a 1977 energy treaty with the U.S. in a bid to prevent the shutdown of an Enbridge pipeline. The Wisconsin government, echoing similar legal action by Michigan, orries about the potential for a catastrophic spill. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said “the economic and energy disruption and damage . . . from a Line 5 shutdown would be widespread and significant . . . on both sides of the border.”

Aug 30, 2022

The federal government is considering options for tighter security for politicians faced with increased harassment and threats in what Public safety Minister Marco Mendicino says is an increasing “complex” political environment. “We are seeing more incidents,” he says, notably against women and indigenous and racialized Canadians. “I don't believe that is a coincidence, and we need to be sure that people can contribute, that they can lend their voices to our politics.”

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