In the News

Jul 14, 2020

In an attempt to curb China’s growing presence in the South China Sea, the U.S. administration has formally rejected most of Beijing’s significant maritime claims which have been challenged by other nations around the region. U.S. policy hitherto had been that disputes be resolved peacefully through the UN, but Secretary of State Mike Pomeo said 13 July that the U.S. now “stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law.”

Jul 14, 2020

An interim U.S. ban on federal agencies contracting with entities which use equipment from Chinese telecommunications and surveillance companies could cost the government $11 billion in its first year, according information in the 14 July Federal Register. Beginning 13 August, government contracting officers, who can issue waivers in emergencies, will required bidders to confirm compliance with the new rule.

Jul 14, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 deaths and confirmed cases surge in many parts of the U.S., President Donald Trump’s evidently is undercutting its trusted coronavirus expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Among other things, White House staff have posted recordings from earlier this year to suggest that Fauci is an unreliable source of advice but the postings exclude his qualifying remarks about how the pandemic outlook was shifting.

Jul 14, 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the removal of Huawei equipment from Britain’s 5G network by 2027. The U.S. has been pressing Britain as well as Canada and other allies to exclude the Chinese telecom giant on grounds of national security.

Jul 14, 2020

Having already been collecting vehicle data at border entries since 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection now is incorporating third-party license plate reader data from local governments, law enforcement and the private sector. A CBP “privacy impact statement” published last week noted that the technology “may also capture . . . drivers and passengers” images.

Jul 14, 2020

Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly rejected an 11th-hour legal challenge, a 47-year-old convicted murderer was executed by lethal injection 14 July at a penitentiary in Indiana. Daniel Lewis Lee was the first of three federal death row inmates scheduled for execution this week, the first federal executions in more than 17 years.

Jul 13, 2020

Global Affairs Canada says giving unredacted Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents to Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers could put Canadian lives at risk and undermine Canada-China relations.

Jul 13, 2020

The downing of a Ukrainian airliner shortly after takeoff from Tehran International Airport 8 January is being attributed to a breakdown in communications between an improperly aligned Revolutionary Guard missile battery and its command centre. Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority said in a weekend report that the battery crew also misidentified the airliner as a threat.

Jul 13, 2020

Even as Taliban leaders preparing for formal peace talks with the Afghan government seem to be prepared for conciliation on on democracy, human rights and power-sharing, hard-core militants in the country’s eastern districts are still talking about overthrowing the government. The chief concern is that even if a peace deal is struck, entrenched differences among the militants could mean a return to widespread violence.

Jul 13, 2020

Poland's conservative President Andrzej Duda evidently has been elected by a narrow margin to a second five-year term in a weekend election, defeating Rafal Trzaskowski, the liberal mayor of Warsaw. The state electoral commission says voting in 99.07 per cent of districts in the NATO member state showed Duda with 51.21 per cent support against Trzaskowski’s 48.79 per cent.

Jul 13, 2020

An Amnesty International request that an Israeli spyware company be stripped of its export licence has been rejected by an Israeli court. AI says NSO Group’s technology has been used by foreign governments to target dissidents and journalists. Tel Aviv District Court ruled that there is insufficient evidence to prove AI’s claims.

Jul 12, 2020

Ottawa Nepean communities in the vicinity of the Connaught Ranges will see multiple helicopter flights and hear blank ammunition fire during training tonight. 

Jul 10, 2020

It has been disclosed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, mother and brother received payments totalling nearly $300,000 over the last four years by WE Charity, a youth-support group the government had awarded a $900-million contract to manage a student funding program. The government subsequently withdrew the contract, which is being investigated by the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Jul 10, 2020

China is being accused by the Commerce Department of dumping fibre-optic cables as well steel and aluminum into the U.S. market. Nazak Nikakhtar, the assistant secretary for industry and analysis, said 9 July that while the metals imports are already subject to tariffs, fibre-optics technology should be a national security concern because the country which controls the cables can control access.

Jul 10, 2020

With a U.S.government-wide ban looming on contractors' use of Chinese telecommunications equipment, industry lobbies are pressing the administration for more time to adjust. The National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council want the 13 August deadline delayed by a year, saying the government should be focusing on recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19.

Jul 10, 2020

Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden has laid out a $700-billion COVID-19 economic rescue plan for the U.S., saying the “Build Back Better” initiative would spur a manufacturing and technology jobs boom. He also said 9 July that President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic had “come with a terrible human cost and a deep economic toll.”

Jul 10, 2020

An investigation into leaks of classified and unclassified material to news media from within his department and others has been ordered by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during a Thursday hearing. “All those things … hurt our nation’s security,” he told a House of Representatives committee 9 July. “They undermine our troops, their safety; they affect our relations with other countries.; they undermine our national policy.”

Jul 10, 2020

U.S. Army Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says the Department of Defense is taking a close look at how National Guard operations could be complicated in situations where police are dressed and equipped like troops. The decision was prompted by controversy over whether Guard personnel had recently helped to remove protestors near the White House and Milley told Congress 9 July that it is critical to have “a clear definition between that which is military and that which is police.”

Jul 09, 2020

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are suing the U.S. administration over a directive which would strip foreign students of their visas if their coursework has shifted online due to COVID-19. The measure announced 6 June by the White House is seen as an attempt to put pressure on institutions to reopen campuses despite the continued spread of the pandemic in many states.

Jul 09, 2020

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic challenger to President Donald Trump in the Nov. 4 U.S. elections, has said he will prohibit U.S. industries from “abetting repression and supporting the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.” However, it’s being pointed out that untangling the web of cooperation established over the years evidently won’t be a straightforward initiative.

Jul 08, 2020

Espionage and theft of intellectual property by China present the “greatest long-term threat" to the future of the U.S., according to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The stakes could not be higher,” he says. “China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world's only superpower by any means necessary.”

Jul 08, 2020

The federal deficit is projected at $343 billion in the current fiscal year, boosting cumulative indebtedness to $1.2 trillion, according to a Fiscal Snapshot released 8 July by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. “Some will criticize us on the cost of action,” he said, referring to the sundry COVID-19 support packages offered by the government. “Those who would have us do less ignore that, without government action, millions of jobs would have been lost, putting the burden of debt onto families and jeopardizing Canada's resilience.”

Jul 08, 2020

The Canada Border Services Agency lost track of 37,400 foreign nationals who had been ordered out of the country up until April 2019, the Office of the Auditor General reports after a coordinated review with the Immigration and Refugee Board and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Some had been in the CBSA for several years, including failed asylum seekers, criminals, national security risks and visitors who had overstayed their visas.” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said 8 July that the immediate focus is on the “most concerning” cases.

Jul 08, 2020

Pyotr Verzilov, a Russian activist and Kremlin critic, has been arrested for failing to report that he also has Canadian citizenship from having lived in Toronto as a boy. Russian legislation passed in 2014 requires declaration of dual citizenship, a move critics have said is part of a government campaign to encourage nationalism.

Jul 08, 2020

The third in a planned constellation of 10 U.S. third-general global positioning system satellites has been launched by SpaceX on behalf of Lockheed Martin. It eventually will orbit at some 21,000 kilometres.

Jul 08, 2020

Federal Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister have been photographed without COVID-19 masks at Toronto International Airport in violation of the airport’s pandemic control. An aide to Sheer says he removed it only for a telephone call while Pallister said he had lifted his to chat with friends, a mistake he says won’t be repeated.

Jul 08, 2020

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a staunch opponent of measures to prevent and contain COVID-19, tested positive 6 July for the virus. His country has the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the world, second only to the U.S. Bolsonaro also said he was taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial championed by President Donald Trump despite no supporting evidence of its effectiveness and the risk of serious side-effects.

Jul 08, 2020

President Donald Trump has formally moved to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization, as he threatened in May while accusing the WHO of being Chinese-controlled. Actual withdrawal of participation and funding would take effect in July 2021, a move which Robert Menendez, leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, says “leaves Americans sick and America alone.”

Jul 07, 2020

Members of the public will see a larger number of military vehicles on the roads between Canadian Forces Base Borden and various units across Ontario on 8 July 2020.

Jul 07, 2020

>New York-based Clearview AI, pending the results of federal and provincial privacy investigations, is not making its facial recognition software available in Canada. The company came under scrutiny earlier this year when it reported having collected billions of images from the Internet. Its last client in Canada was the RCMP.

Jul 07, 2020

Citing unspecified “frequent violent actions” by Canadian police,China has warned its citizens to exercise caution in travelling to Canada. The advisory was posted on social media 6 July by its embassy in Ottawa. Bob Rae, the newly-appointed ambassador to the UN, calls the warning “bizarre” and suggests it should not be taken seriously.

Jul 07, 2020

Former military journalist Ivan Safronov, who joined the Russian space agency less than two months ago as an advisor to its director general, has been arrested for treason. Roskosmos says the arrest was not related to his job with the agency. Russian state security has accused Safronov of passing on information to an unspecified NATO member.

Jul 06, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t joining Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and President Donald Trump in Washington 7 July to celebrate the new North American trade agreement. “While there were recent discussions about the possible participation of Canada, the Prime Minister will be in Ottawa this week for scheduled Cabinet meetings and the long-planned sitting of Parliament,” a spokesperson explained. Also, Trudeau told reporters he is concerned about rumourfs of new U.S. aluminum and steel tariffs.

Jul 06, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent condemnation of China’s new security law for Hong Kong has drawn a predictably sharp response from Beijing. A foreign ministry spokesman said 5 July that Canada should “stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s other internal affairs in any way so as to avoid further damage to China-Canada relations.”

Jul 06, 2020

Veteran federal and Ontario politician Bob Rae, 71, has been appointed Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations. He replaces Marc-Andre Blanchard who has served since April 2016 and who had indicated earlier that he would be leaving. Rae, 71, most recently served Trudeau as a special envoy for humanitarian and immigration issues.

Jul 04, 2020

A Manitoba member of the Canadian Rangers faces 22 criminal charges in relation to an attack on Rideau Hall, the estate housing the Governor General’s residence and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s temporary official residence. Corey Hurren, 46, was arrested after a pickup truck rammed through the estate’s main gate 2 July and the driver proceeded on foot toward the residences until a 90-minute negotiation with RCMP ended quietly. Most of the charges relate to possession and transportation of firearms and Hurren has been remanded in custody.

Jul 04, 2020

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, scheduled to present a federal government “economic and fiscal snapshot” on Wednesday 8 July, says that “as hard as it’s been over the last few months,” mainly due to COVID-19’s economic impact, “the really tough choices will still be to come.” The challenge, he explained, is that “we'll need to think about where we invest and how we support people without creating bad incentives.”

Jul 04, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the focus of an Ethics Commissioner’s inquiry over his decision to have a charity with which he and his wife have personal ties to manage a $900-million student support program, has ended the proposed arrangement.

Jul 04, 2020

In response to China’s increasing crackdown on Hong Kong, the Canadian government has suspended an extradition treaty with the former British colony and is restricting exports of sensitive goods. “This process demonstrated disregard for Hong Kong's basic law and the high degree of autonomy promised for Hong Kong under the 'one country, two systems' framework,” Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said 03 July. “Hong Kong's role as a global hub was built on that foundation. Without it, Canada is forced to reassess existing agreements.”

Jul 04, 2020

Zheng Yanxiong, a veteran Communist Party apparatchik perhaps best known for his role in quashing a 2011 land dispute in a Chinese village, has been put in charge of overseeing a new law providing up to life imprisonment for Hong Kong residents accused of “subversion” and “terrorism” activities. Zheng previously was secretary general of the party’s governing committee in the southern province of Guangdong.

Jul 04, 2020

An audio recording obtained by the Canadian government suggests that Iran permitted air traffic in and out of Tehran’s international airport during a period of intense military activity that saw a Ukrainian airliner downed by missiles six monhs ago. The recording is of a conversation between Iran’s accident investigation team and a Canadian family member of one of the 17 victims. The investigator, who explained that closing Tehran airspace could have exposed an imminent missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, has since been removed.

Jul 04, 2020

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's legal battle over access to more than $1 billion in gold stored at the Bank of England has been rebuffed by Britain’s High Court of Justice which explained in its ruling that the U.K. had “unequivocally recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as president.” Maduro had said he needed the gold to fund its COVID-19 but Guaidó warned that it would be used for corrupt purposes.

Jul 04, 2020

A bill drafted by Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies to require masks in public during a growing COVID-19 crisis has been vetoed by President Jair Bolsonaro, a persistent pandemic denier. His country ranks second only to the U.S. globally in terms of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. Bolsonaro also rejected a proposal to distribute masks to the poor.

Jul 03, 2020

Another attempt by First Nations to block expansion of the TransMountain pipeline between Alberta and a B.C. export terminal has been shut down by the Supreme Court of Canada. Without giving reasons, as usual, the court has refused to hear the challenge by the three appellants which now are considering other unspecified legal options.

Jul 03, 2020

Manitoba resident Corey Hurren, a Canadian Ranger and former regular member of the Canadian Armed Forces, is being held by RCMP after a pickup truck was used 02 July to ram through the games at Rideau Hall. The driver, who was reportedly armed with a long gun, was arrested without incident after moving on foot toward the official residences of the Governor General and the Prime Minister, neither of whom was home.

Jul 02, 2020

A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, identified only as an armed member of the Canadian Rangers, is in RCMP custody after a pickup truck registered in Manitoba was used to ram the gates at Rideau Hall early 02 July. after which the driver proceeded on foot toward the official residences of the Governor General and the Prime Minister, neither of whom was at home. The Department of National Defence confirmed the suspect’s military status but declined further comment “at this time” as it is an RCMP investigation.

Jul 02, 2020

Nearly 78 per cent of Russian voters have backed constitutional reforms which, among other things, are designed to keep President Vladimir Putin in office until 2036. He is already the longest-serving leader in modern Russia since Soviet-era dictator Joseph Stalin and his political opponents say his aim is to be “president for life.”

Jul 02, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Neanyahu’s latest push to annex parts of the occupied West Bank was not implemented July 1 as expected even as his British counterpart urged him to call off the internationally-condemned plan. A member of the Israel cabinet says officials were still working on details with the U.S. administration, a staunch supporter of the annexation despite concerted Palestinian opposition.

Jul 02, 2020

The renegotiated North American trade agreement came into effect on Canada Day. Signed in November 2018 and then reworked slightly to satisfy some protectionist U.S. interests, the new agreement includes some sector-specific changes from the original 1994 accord.

Jul 02, 2020

Rules barring most foreign travellers from entering Canada have been extended by a month until at least 31 July as the federal government steps up its COVID-19 countermeasures. The restrictions apply to everyone except Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and U.S. citizens entering Canada for “essential” reasons. Closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all but essential workers and trade is covered by a separate order.

Jul 02, 2020

Former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton says his country continues to use its global clout to support Canada amid tensions with China, notably over Beijing’s continued detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in response to Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at Washington’s request. “When they put pressure on a small country like Canada, it's important for all of us to stand together.”

Jul 02, 2020

The multinational Airbus consortium has announced plans to lay off 11 per cent of its global workforce, mainly in the commercial aircraft division which, like other original equipment manufacturers, has been hit hard by COVID-19’s impact on international travel. The move affect–s 15,000 of its total workforce of some 134,000.

Jul 02, 2020

A series of flight tests involving software updates designed to correct a controls conflict on Boein737 MAX airliners has been completed by the company and the Federal Aviation Administration. The results are key to returning the aircraft to service after the global fleet was grounded in the aftermath of fatal crashes in Malaysia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia March 2019.

Jul 02, 2020

There are growing concerns that anthropogenic climate change is a bigger factor than expected in Antarctica. Newly-published data indicate the region has warmed at three times the global average over the last three decades up through 2018, the which was the continent’s hottest year on record.

Jul 02, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others accused by Iran in the January death of a senior military officer in January are the targets of an arrest warrant issued in Tehran, which is vowing to pursue Trump whenever he leaves the White House. While Interpol has said it would not consider Iran’s request, the development underscores the growing tension between Tehran and Washington.

Jun 30, 2020

Washington-based Human Rights Watch is accusing Canada of flouting its international obligations by failing to repatriate and provide adequate consular assistance to 47 citizens, including 26 children, detained in northeast Syria. The adults, linked to the Islamic State terrorist organization, are being held by Kurdish forces. The Canadian government said it will not put its personnel at risk to gather evidence and repatriate the combatants.

Jun 30, 2020

Auditor General Karen Hogan has been asked by the Conservatives to look into a government decision to have an international charity manage a $900-million student support fund during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Conservatives say “outsourcing” to WE Charity undermines Parliament's ability to monitor the aid program. Prime Minister Justin, who a personal tie to the charity, says a public service review of potential managers concluded that WE was uniquely suited.

Jun 30, 2020

Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta says his government is adding $3 billion to a budgeted $6.9 billion infrastructure fund in a bid to reboot his province’s economy, which has been hit hard by depressed world oil prices and COVID-19. He also has committed to reduced corporate income tax and to more incentives for industry generally.

Jun 30, 2020

As expected, China has adopted a contentious security law tightening its grip on Hong Kong. President Xi Jinping’s signature on the measure effectively amends a constitutional arrangement dating to 1997 when Britain returned colonial sovereignty. British Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has described any move to tighten control as “a grave step.”

Jun 30, 2020

The U.S. has imposed new export controls on military and some high-technology products destined for Hong Kong. The administration decided several weeks ago that the former British colony no longer had sufficient autonomy as Beijing consolidated its hold.

Jun 30, 2020

Even though Covid-19 remains a global threat, Canada is on a European Union list of 14 from which visitors are deemed “safe” due to the success of their governments in dealing with the pandemic. So, too, are Australia and Japan, among others, but the U.S., Brazil and China are not.

Jun 29, 2020

The U.S., Europe and Japan are pooling satellite data and opened a public web portal which enables users to monitor and chronicle planetary shifts in socioeconomic activities and the environment as the world deals with COVID-19. The goal is to hopefully enable various levels of government to assess and possibly plan for the pandemic’s short- and long-term impacts

Jun 29, 2020

A 2021 National Defense Authorization Act endorsed by a U.S. House of Representatives panel includes no mention of a proposal for a national security coordinator as recommended by the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. A Senate version of the bill simply calls for a study of the benefits of having a coordinator who would report directly to the White House.

Jun 29, 2020

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders from Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, downed by Iranian missiles after takeoff from Tehran nearly six months ago, will be shipped to France for analysis in July, the International Civil Aviation Organization has announced. While French investigators will lead the analysis, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada also will be involved because many Canadians died in the attack.

Jun 29, 2020

Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have tabled drft legislation designed to prohibit federal agencies’ use of facial recognition technologies without explicit congressional approval.

Jun 29, 2020

Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have tabled a bill which would ban federal agencies’ use of facial recognition technologies without explicit congressional approval.

Jun 29, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s rejection of calls to intervene in the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, in the hope of China reciprocating by releasing detained Canadian Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, has majority support among Canadians. Some 72 per cent of respondents to an Angus Reid Institute poll agree that the Meng case should be allowed to play out in the courts while 28 per cent want the government to negotiate an exchange.

Jun 27, 2020

Off-duty Toronto police officer found guilty of assault, but he and his brother acquitted of aggravated assault and obstruction of justice for chasing down and delivering a brutal beating on Dafonte Miller, a young black man. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders says he'll stay neutral.

Jun 26, 2020

A Transport Canada plan to permit some types of remotely piloted aircraft system to be flown out of sight of their operators, and at higher altitudes, is a concern for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. Drone advocates complain that current regulations have not kept up with advances in drone technology but COPA “is taking a position against the proposed amendments on safety grounds.”

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