In the News

Aug 05, 2022

Three ships laden with corn left Ukrainian ports today, the latest sign that a negotiated deal to export grain trapped since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly six months ago is holding. A first ship left Odesa earlier in the week for Lebanon and the latest are bound for Britain, Ireland and Turkey.

Aug 05, 2022

Reacting to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s brief visit to Taiwan earlier this week, China says it is ending discussions with the U.S. on key issues such as climate change as it ramps up military provocations. The White House summoned China's ambassador, Qin Gang, late August 4 to tell him that the military actions were of “concern to Taiwan, to us and to our partners around the world.”

Aug 05, 2022

The federal government plans to fast-track a ban on handgun imports in two seeks, opting to do it by regulation rather than wait until sometime after the House of Commons resumes sitting September 19. Provisions for a ban are part of a package of criminal Code amendments introduced May 30 as Bill C-21 but the bill was still before committee when the House adjourned for the summer.

Aug 03, 2022

In the latest effort to address chaos in much of the international air travel market, Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has extended its passenger cap through October and British Airways has suspended short-haul sales from London Heathrow.

Aug 03, 2022

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, agreed today to increase combined daily production by 100,000 barrels, a fractional amount amid concerns that a global recession will crimp demand. Average crude prices have risen in recent months due to western sanctions on Russian output and although OPEC+ agreed to increase daily output by 648,000 barrels, many countries have fallen short.

Aug 03, 2022

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Aug. 2 that a major nuclear power station in southeastern Ukraine “is completely out of control” since Russian forces seized it shortly after their invasion of the region. “Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” he said, demanding IAEA access to the “extremely grave and dangerous” Zaporizhzhya site in the city of Enerhodar.

Aug 03, 2022

The Canada Border Services Agency has confirmed that officers in Montreal have seized more than a dozen shipments of “dual use goods” destined for Russia but banned under Canada’s sanctions after the invasionof Ukraine. All involved “suspected links to the Russian military.”

Aug 02, 2022

The weekend U.S. drone killing of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a Kabul “safe house” has resulted in renewed scrutiny of Afghanistan's Taliban rulers and further undermined their efforts to secure international recognition and desperately needed aid. The Taliban promised in 2020 that they would not harbour al Qaeda members.

Aug 02, 2022

Disregarding Chinese threats of an unspecified military response – as well as the advice of President Joe Biden ¬– U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy arrived in Taipei today. She and an accompanying congressional delegation said in a statement that the visit, part of an Indo-Pacific tour, “honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy.”

Aug 01, 2022

For the first time since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a shipment of 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain left the Black Sea port of Odesa today under an internationally brokered deal to unblock agricultural exports. Sixteen loaded ships had been blockaded by Russia since February, prompting a UN warning of a looming international hunger catastrophe.

Aug 01, 2022

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres kicked off a long-postponed nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference today with a warning that the world faces “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War" and is “one miscalculation” from annihilation. “We have been extraordinarily lucky so far,” he stated. “But luck is not a strategy.”

Aug 01, 2022

After seizing power again last year, Myanmar’s military rulers today extended their “emergency rule” which, among other things, enables them to detain critics. General Min Aung Hlaing's regime first extended its rule last August, appointing himself prime minister at the same time, and it now will remain in effect until at least next year.

Aug 01, 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Russia’s bluff by allowing German pipeline turbines repaired in Canada to be returned to Gazprom. Arguing that it eliminated a pretext for Vladimir Putin to reduce or stop deliveries of natural gas to Europe, Scholz says criticism of the PM and the federal and his government is “utterly baseless” and he welcomes the prospect of eventually receiving Canadian gas.

Aug 01, 2022

A Saudi-born man who grew up in Toronto has been sentenced in a U.S. federal district court to life in prison after pleading guilty to working with Islamic State terrorists. Mohammed Khalifa, 39, left Canada in 2013 for Syria, where he killed two Syrian soldiers before his capture by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in 2019.

Jul 31, 2022

Natural gas supplies to Latvia have been cut off by the Russian energy giant Gasprom which accuses the EU state of violating purchase conditions without providing details. However, since gas accounts for only 27 per cent of Latvia’s total energy consumption, an economics ministry official suggests Gazprom’s move should not have a major impact.

Jul 29, 2022

A barrage of hate-filled comments has prompted a pub in Charlottetown to pull photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from its social media accounts. After the PM and several Prince Edward Island MPs stopped at the pub last week, social media selfies by the owners, staff and patrons sparked what one of the owners said were vulgar and profanity-laced and occasionally threatening posts.

Jul 29, 2022

Three days after stating that Russia would pull out of the International Space Station after 2024, Ruscosmos’ new director, Yuri Borisov, said today that there is no firm date. He confirmed the plan but the timing depended on the “condition” of the ISS and on when Russia can commission its own orbital platform.

Jul 29, 2022

The roster for an August 3 Conservative Party leadership debate has been reduced to three participants when Toronto MP Leslyn Lewis confirmed July 28 that she would not take part. The perceived frontrunner, Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre, had already declined and each is being fined $50,000 by the party. That leaves the roundtable discussion without a live audience to Ontario MP Scott Aitchison, former MP Jean Charest and former Ontario legislator Roman Barber.

Jul 28, 2022

When former radio host Éric Duhaime became leader of the Quebec Conservatives last year, the party had never held a National Assembly seat or raised more than $60,000 in donations in any year. With a general election on the horizon, his party has collected more than $500,000 so far this year, his growing support base is notable for its pandemic deniers, conspiracy theorists and extremists.

Jul 28, 2022

Two peer-reviewed studies published in Science have concluded that a market in Wuhan, China, was most likely the epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic. Acknowledging that the “exact circumstances remain obscure,” the researchers said the COVID-19 virus was probably present in live animals sold at the market in late 2019.

Jul 28, 2022

Canadian owners of “assault” rifles could be compensated by as much as $6,209 through the federal government’s buyback program. That’s the highest proposed payout, for a Swiss Arms SG550, while the more common Colt AR-15 variants on the Public Safety Canada list could be worth $1,337 but the actual amounts depend on feedback from owners, businesses and industry during consultations over the next four weeks.

Jul 28, 2022

Canada’s draft legislation which could monetize online streaming services is getting U.S. pushback, raising the prospect of retaliatory tariffs. Introduced last February and passed by the House of Commons June 21, Bill C-11 is now before the Senate. A previous version didn’t survive dissolution of the last Parliament and the possibility of retaliation was raised during the latest North American trade trilateral ministerial meeting.

Jul 28, 2022

An existential threat to Canada’s burgeoning electric-vehicle industry could be over after senior U.S. Senators agreed that a discriminatory tax-credit plan should be expanded to include all of North America. While their plan still faces hurdles in the divided Senate, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., Kristen Hillman, is “very pleased to see that our message has been heard.”

Jul 28, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, used a video call today, their fifth since Biden took office, to discuss for more than two hours the future of an increasingly complicated relationship. China’s ascendency as a global power, economic policies, human rights and the ongoing political clash over Taiwan remained key issues.

Jul 28, 2022

More shelling, more sanctions against Russia and more deliveries of western weapons and other materiel show that the invasion of Ukraine may be slowed but is continuing. Also, there are accusations of stolen grain and a threat by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of broader territorial ambitions.

Jul 28, 2022

The federal government says it will audit CP Rail’s safety practices and training after the Transportation Safety Board issued a critical report on a February 2019 freight train derailment in British Columbia which killed three crew members

Jul 28, 2022

Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are pressing the federal government to enable them to be more selective about immigrants. In a letter to Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Minister, the provinces say they want more immigrants “with the skills they need most . . . to respond to the rapidly evolving needs of specific areas and communities, with a flexible system that we can adapt to changing economic and humanitarian needs.”

Jul 28, 2022

Alberta resident Tamara Lich, a key organizer of last February’s disruptive “freedom convoy” in Ottawa, has been granted bail for the second time. Lich, who faces multiple charges, was taken back into custody for allegedly breaching her initial bail conditions.

Jul 26, 2022

Russia's state-owned Gazprom is halving natural gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, prompting political panic on both sides of the Atlantic. A U.S. official says the retaliation against western sanctions puts the west in “uncharted territory and has resulted in the administration’s global energy coordinator leaving for Europe today to discuss options.

Jul 26, 2022

In the event of Russia stopping natural gas exports to European Union customers, the EU says that its members have agreed to reduce usage by 15 per cent next winter while leaving some states to opt out to avoid rationing. The measure would be in effect between August and March but the voluntary aspect would become mandatory if supplies reach crisis levels.

Jul 26, 2022

The newly-appointed head of Ruscosmos, Yuri Borisov, confirmed today that Russia will pull out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own facility. The U.S., Canada and other countries hope to keep the ISS operational until at least 2030.

Jul 26, 2022

Lithuania has lifted a ban on rail transport of passengers and European Union-sanctioned freight to and from the Russian Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad which depends on the rail link. The moves comes after the EU clarified that its sanctions applied to road transport.

Jul 26, 2022

Updated cybersecurity directives for U.S. oil and natural gas pipelines have been announced by the Transportation Security. Initial plans a year ago were widely criticized and now the CSA says consultations with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have resulted in more “technical countermeasures” designed to prevent threats discovered during extended research.

Jul 25, 2022

The expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries, including Canada where 681 cases have been confirmed, is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared July 23. In an unprecedented move, he personally opted for the designation to break a deadlock on the UN agency’s emergency committee.

Jul 25, 2022

Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault says the federal government could give the petroleum more time to meet 2030 carbon emissions reduction targets. “I'm not saying today it's necessarily going to be 2032, but the companies have said it could be 10 years,” he said on the weekend. The oil and natural gas industries accounted for 26 per cent of emissions in 2019.

Jul 25, 2022

Four democracy activists, including a former member of the country’s parliament, have been executed by Myanmar's military rulers in what is believed to be the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades. They were sentenced to death in a closed-door trial on what sources say were charges that they “gave directives, made arrangements and committed conspiracies for brutal and inhumane terror acts.”

Jul 25, 2022

Five months into his country’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said July 24 that his ultimate goal is help Ukrainians to “liberate themselves” from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “absolutely unacceptable regime.” In Egypt at the start of an African tour to drum up support, he said western propaganda is designed to ensure Ukraine “becomes the eternal enemy of Russia.”

Jul 22, 2022

A new Deloitte Canada report raises concerns about the potential of hacking control systems on the latest generation of increasingly connected vehicles. The report examines the implementation of cybersecurity measures and cites, among other things, last year’s hacking of a transport company's 25 automated vehicles.

Jul 22, 2022

The International Court of Justice today dismissed preliminary objections by Myanmar to a case alleging the military-ruled country is responsible for genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority. The decision sets the stage for hearings into atrocities against the Rohingya, hundreds of thousands of whom fled to neighboring Bangladesh amid a brutal crackdown by Myanmar forces in 2017.

Jul 22, 2022

The Canada Border Services Agency has been given 12 months to find its own detention facilities in B.C. after Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the province’s jails will no longer be used to house migrants the province’s human rights comissioner calls “innocent migrants” who have been detained “simply for administrative reasons like missing documentation.”

Jul 22, 2022

Nexus enrolment centres in Canada remain closed due to a dispute over whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers should be armed when stationed in Canada. The result is a growing backlog in Nexus approvals which are supposed to facilitate cross-border traffic.

Jul 22, 2022

The Conservative Party of Canada has confirmed that a third leadership debate will be held August 3 in response to the “overwhelming” results of a survey of 24,000 party members. Candidates have already participated in two official debates, one in English in Edmonton and a second in French in Laval. However, the perceived front-runner, Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre, has said he would not participate despite the prospect of a $50,000 fine by the party.

Jul 22, 2022

An agreement signed today by Ukraine and Russia could mean shipments of Ukrainian grain to international markets could resume in weeks. Mediated by the UN and Turkey, it would permit five million tonnes a month to be shipped from three Black Sea ports through a safe maritime corridor monitored by a multinational Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul.

Jul 21, 2022

The International Civil Aviation Organization has accused senior Belarus officials of being behind the forced grounding in May 2021 a Ryanair flight between Greece and Lithuania that led to the arrest of a dissident journalist. The flight was forced to land by Belarus air traffic control because of what ICAO called a “deliberately false” bomb threat and the Montreal-based UN organization now says Minsk had committed “an act of unlawful interference” with commercial aviation rules.

Jul 21, 2022

After key coalition parties withdrew their support for his government, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi formally submitted his resignation today to President Sergio Mattarella, whose office asked Draghi to remain in a caretaker capacity. The resignation opens the way for early elections in September or October.

Jul 21, 2022

Americans remained deeply divided on how to slow climate change that scientists say is driving much of the extreme weather seen in many parts of the world. Recently-released results of a national poll by the Washington-based Pew Research Center found that while 49 per cent of respondents agree that the administration’s policies are appropriate, 47 per cent disagreed. Also, while a majority might acknowledge climate change, there’s disagreement on the causes and potential solutions.

Jul 21, 2022

After threatening to curb or stop natural gas shipments to Europe, Russia has restarted its Nord Stream 1 pipeline after a maintenance break, but at reduced capacity. State-controlled Gazprom supplied 40 per cent of Europe’s gas last year but the war on Ukraine, western sanctions and President Vladimir Putin’s belligerence has prompted the European Commission to urge its members to reduce consumption.

Jul 21, 2022

The U.S. administration is hoping to refine its predecessor’s offensive cyber capabilities to fit “within our foreign policy goals.” Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger confirmed the decision July 19, explaining that the review should give U.S. Cyber Command more discretion to engage in time-sensitive operations so as to determine whether cyber capabilities are “resilient, flexible, and ready to be used when needed.”

Jul 21, 2022

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem expects that Canadians can’t expect much relief from inflation, which he said July 19 likely will remain “painfully high” for the rest of the year with annualized rates “probably going to start with a seven.” The bank’s next rate fix is scheduled Sept. 7.

Jul 21, 2022

The European Central Bank today raised interest rates for the first time since 2014 in a bid to control widespread inflation. Announcing a 0.5 percentage point increase to zero from the negative rate previously in effect, the bank plans further hikes this year

Jul 21, 2022

The White House today confirmed that President Joe Biden is experiencing “mild symptoms” from a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 despite having received two booster shots and having tested negative July 19. A spokesperson said Biden is “working and resting” in self-isolation.

Jul 21, 2022

The federal government’s push for a new emissions cap for the petroleum industry threatens the industry and thousands of workers nationwide, says Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage. “I’m a little amazed by the timing of it,” she says. “It’s tone deaf from the federal government to be pushing this at a time when the world is looking for more energy. And it’s looking like in Europe, they’re going to be rationing natural gas over the winter.”

Jul 20, 2022

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is defending the government’s extraordinary decision to ship six repaired natural gas pipeline turbines back to Russia despite criticism at home and abroad. “I understand the concern . . . but it was the right thing to do,” said Freeland, who has family roots in Ukraine.

Jul 20, 2022

Canada's former chief of the defence staff Rick Hillier said July 19 that Canada should not have agreed to return six turbines to Germany needed to keep Russian natural gas flowing into Europe because Russian President Vladimir Putin could see it as a “sign of encouragement" and a signal that western sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine could weaken.

Jul 20, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin said July 19 that reduced supplies natural gas to European customers is the West’s fault and warned of further cuts. He said capacity could soon drop to 20 per cent if pipeline turbines are not replaced quickly. Germany said today Russia is using the turbine issues as an “excuse” to curtail deliveries.

Jul 20, 2022

The European Commission asked its 27 member states today to begin reducing natural gas consumption by 15 percent to ensure that a Russian cut-off would not disrupt industries next winter. The EC also is seeking authority to mandate reductions “when there is a substantial risk of a severe gas shortage or an exceptionally high demand of gas occurs, which results in a significant deterioration of the gas supply situation.”

Jul 20, 2022

The federal government is yet again being accused by provincial and territorial leaders of short-changing them when it comes to paying for health care. They have reiterated a demand that federal transfers should be increased to 35 per cent of their services’ delivery costs but an examination of overall federal funding over the past decade suggest the latest demand may not be justified.

Jul 20, 2022

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned today that his country’s eventual goal as its invasion of Ukraine hits the five-month mark extends beyond the country’s breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions. “Now the geography is different,” he said. “This process is continuing logically and persistently” and if the West out of “impotent rage” continues to supply Ukraine with long-range weapons, “that means the geographical tasks will extend still further from the current line.”

Jul 19, 2022

Statistics Canada reported today that the country’s annualized inflation rate rose to 8.1 per cent in June, compared with 7.7 per cent in May, and was the largest year-over-year change since January 1983. Surging fuel prices were the key factor; excluding gasoline, the June rate was 6.5 per cent compared with 6.3 in May.

Jul 19, 2022

The Newfoundland & Labrador government is facing a class-action lawsuit over the use of solitary confinement. The province’s Supreme Court certified the class action last fall and a lawyer now says the case is gaining momentum with scores of potential participants sharing their experiences of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Jul 19, 2022

Temperatures continued to soar throughout much of Western Europe today after Britain recorded a record 40.2 degrees July 17. Extreme heat warnings have been issued in France, record temperatures were reported in The Netherlands, and wildfires have been spreading in France, Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Jul 19, 2022

Dozens of wildfires in Western Canada, including one near a B.C. community devastated by a fire in 2021, are being blamed on continued warm dry weather. Manitoba has reported 45 blazes

Jul 19, 2022

In only his second foreign trip since launching his “special military operation” against Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran today for a meeting with his Iranian counterpart about the war, its impact on global grain markets and the ongoing conflict in Syria. He was to meet later in the day with Iran’s supreme leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later

Jul 18, 2022

IMF Chair Kristalina Georgieva is signalling retrenchment in the organization’s global economic outlook. In its April outlook, the IMF predicted 3.6 per cent growth for 2022 but the Bulgarian economist now says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, coupled with inflation and the ongoing pandemic are forcing a recalculation.

Jul 18, 2022

Government, industry and ordinary Canadians’ responses to the recent nationwide crash of the Rogers Communications network has prompted CEO Tony Staffieri to promise “every change and investment needed” to avoid a repetition. However, he offered no details on what’s to be done.

Jul 18, 2022

Hamid Noury, a former official at a prison in Iran, has been sentenced to life in prison by a Swedish court after being convicted of committing grave war crimes and murder during the Iran-Iraq war. Iran’s foreign ministry dismissed the verdict as “political” but Human Rights Watch Says the verdict “sends a message to the most senior Iranian officials implicated in these crimes that they can’t remain beyond the reach of justice.”

Jul 18, 2022

New York-based facial recognition company Clearview AI has been fined €20 million by Greece’s privacy authority and ordered to not only stop processing individuals’ biometrics but also delete all data collected to date. The ruling responds to a complaint filed in May 2021 by privacy organizations which also raised concerns in Austria, Britain, France and Italy.

Jul 18, 2022

Pat King, a key figure of February’s “freedom convoy” which paralyzed Ottawa’s core, was granted bail today five months in custody. There is a publication ban on the evidence and judicial reasons, but the Alberta resident, who faces a variety of charges, was ordered to, among other things, leave the capital within 24 hours and avoid contact with other persons involved in the protest.

Jul 15, 2022

In a marked shift in policy, Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to all civilian carriers today in what is seen as a step toward normalizing relations with Israel during U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East. Biden lauded the move, saying it would “help build momentum toward Israel's further integration into the region.”

Jul 15, 2022

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu supports indigenous communities’ calls for exemption from Quebec legislation limiting the use of English in the public service and increasing French-language requirements in schools. “We cannot put barriers in the way of children striving to reach their full potential, including barriers that involve language,",” she said. “We will continue to stand by and defend the leaders with whom I have the opportunity to work.”

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