In the News

Jul 15, 2022

The commander of the U.S. Coast Guard said July 14 that her service needs to beef up its icebreaker capability to counter growing Russian and Chinese activities in the North. “We are an Arctic nation,” Admiral Linda Fagan pointed out to a congressional committee. “Getting the capability and capacity to create an enduring presence in the Arctic, in the waters off Alaska, are absolutely a priority.” Russia has more than 40 icebreakers and China, hoping to exploit a longer ice-free season, has declared itself a “near-arctic power.”

Jul 15, 2022

Legal notices from the federal government which seemed to be a scam, mainly due to fractured English and strange graphics, are the real thing. The emails from Service Canada are calling for repayment of unwarranted benefits to individuals during the initial coronavirus waves but the often skeptical response from recipients has prompted calls for the agency to change how it contacts taxpayers.

Jul 15, 2022

A new Asia-Pacific coronavirus wave underscores the need to take precautions immmediately if healthcare systems are not to be overwhelmed again. Mostly BA .4 and .5 variants, the resurgence prompted New Zealand to begin free distribution July 14 of masks and rapid antigen tests.

Jul 15, 2022

Ripudaman Singh Malik, one two men acquitted in the 1985 Air India bombings – a mid-air explosion that killed 329 passengers and crew on a flight to Canada from Mumbai and a failed second attempt that killed two baggage handlers in Japan – was shot to death July 14 in Surrey, B.C. Opinions on his involvement remain deeply divided but police said they believe Malik had been targetted.

Jul 15, 2022

Russian officials at a G20 finance ministers meeting in Bali were told by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland today that she holds them personally responsible for “war crimes” in Ukraine. Freeland, whose maternal grandmother was Ukrainian, walked out in protest against Russians at a G20 ministerial in Washington in April.

Jul 14, 2022

A former Central Intelligence Agency computer engineer was found guilty July 13 in U.S. Federal Court of the largest data leak in ghe agency’s history. Joshua Schulte, whose previous trial ended with a hung jury in 2020, was accused of handing over reams of classified information to WikiLeaks in 2016 while working in the CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence.

Jul 14, 2022

North Korea recognition of two pro-Russian breakaway “people’s republics” in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine has prompted Kiyv to sever all ties. “We consider this decision as an attempt by Pyongyang to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the foreign ministry said July 13.

Jul 14, 2022

The UN Security Council says more needs to be done to counter disinformation and misinformation about its 90,000 peacekeepers, whose operations have faced growing attacks, especially on social media. All 15 council members approved a Brazilian call July 13 for the UN to “improve the culture of strategic communications across civilian, military and police components” of its 12 peacekeeping missions.

Jul 14, 2022

The U.S. House or Representatives has approved an amendment to its latest defence spending bill which could compel the Defense and Homeland Security departments to report on instances of white supremacy and neo-Nazi activity in uniformed services and federal law enforcement.

Jul 14, 2022

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and visiting U.S. President Joe Biden pledged today to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Their written accord came a day after he told a local TV station that he was open to the use of force as a “last resort” against Iran which Israel, generally believed to have the only nuclear weapons in the Middle East, considers an existential threat.

Jul 14, 2022

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was set to resign today hours after his 18-month-old unity government lost a confidence vote in parliament. The coalition leader refused to support a €23-billion domestic economic aid package, saying Draghi was not doing enough to tackle the country’s cost-of-living crisis.

Jul 14, 2022

The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked by an Ottawa-based Muslim charity to direct the federal government to stop a Canada Revenue Agency policy of “shoot first and hold a hearing later” when it comes to levying administrative penalties. The charity wants a review of a Federal Court of Appeal's refusal to freeze a CRA directive that prohibited the charity from issuing tax receipts.

Jul 14, 2022

A global resurgence in confirmed coronavirus cases is prompting the federal government to reinstate mandatory random tests for returning air travellers July 19. “That is how we track importation of the COVID-19 virus, and of new variants of concern,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced. “We will keep adapting our border measures to balance the need to protect Canadians while supporting our economic recovery.”

Jul 13, 2022

A journalist already jailed for two years for “violating public order” by covering protests against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, has been sentenced to an additional eight years for “state treason.” Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said Katerina Bakhvalova is being punished for simply showing “the truth” about their country’s increasingly authoritarian leader.

Jul 13, 2022

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has ordered Rogers Communications to explain in detail what caused last week's network outage, that affected a broad range of services acrfoss the country. “In the first several hours of the outage, it became clear that Rogers was either unable to reassure, or ineffective in reassuring, its customers and providing critical information about what to expect,” the regulator says in a letter. Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri has said only that the network crash was caused by a maintenance update.

Jul 13, 2022

As current head of the Council of the Federation, B.C. Premier John Horgan called on the federal government July 12 to stop “quibbling” about health care funding and actually meet with the provinces and territories on how to restore a “crumbling” system. Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos countered that officials in the two levels of government have been working on the issue, which centres on a provincial call for increased and unconditional transfer payments.

Jul 13, 2022

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who also was a National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, has admitted involvement in plans to overthrown foreign governments. “As somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat . . . it takes a lot of work,” he said July 12.

Jul 13, 2022

An Alberta judge has ruled that it is not unconstitutional to refuse an organ transplant to a woman who has refused COVID-19 vaccine as a matter of “conscience.” Annette Lewis had sought preserve her place on a waitlist after doctors told her she was ineligible. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Paul Belzil dismissed her challenge July 12, explaining that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not applicable in such cases.

Jul 13, 2022

In what it calls a move to counter surging inflation, the Bank of Canada today raised its benchmark interest rate by one percentage point to 2.5 per cent and signalled more increases to come. It is the largest single rate increase since 1998.

Jul 12, 2022

A proposed 233-kilometre transmission line to carry Quebec hydroelectricity to Massachusetts is facing a legal challenge in a Maine court 18 months after construction began. Even though it has the potential to eliminate three million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, the $1-billion project funded by Hydro-Quebec and Spanish-owned Central Maine Power was vetoed in a Maine referendum last November.

Jul 12, 2022

The U.S. dollar and the Euro reached parity today for the first time in two decades as the European currency has depreciated by some 12 per cent since the beginning of the year amid fears of recession stoked by inflation and energy uncertainty due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Jul 12, 2022

Faced with resurgent passenger demand and staff shortages at many airports, Air Canada plans to cut an average of 154 flights daily for the rest of July and all of August. “Things are not business as usual in our industry globally, and this is affecting our operations and our ability to serve you with our normal standards of care,” CEO Michael Rousseau said today. The COVID 19 pandemic brought the world air transport system to a halt in early 2020. Now, after more than two years, global

Jul 12, 2022

In an attempt to quell travel chaos, Britain’s busiest airport is capping outbound passenger numbers at 100,000 daily for the summer and telling carriers to stop selling tickets. Its usual daily outflow is around 115,000 but pent-up demand has resulted in a surge with long delays and growing frustration.

Jul 12, 2022

Via Rail and Unifor have announced a tentative contract agreement which, if ratified by 2,400 unionized workers, would eliminate the threat of a national passenger rail shutdown. It would be retroactive to the beginning of 2022 and in effect through 2024.

Jul 12, 2022

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has given major telecommunications networks 60 days to set up an emergency protocol for addressing the kind of network crashes which affected millions of Rogers Communications’ business and residential subscribers across the country last week. Champagne called it a “first step” toward improving networks’ resiliency and reliability.

Jul 12, 2022

Canada’s decision to permit the return to Germany of six turbines needed to import Russian natural gas has resulted in Ukraine calling in Canada’s ambassador to protest what President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls an “absolutely unacceptable exception to the sanctions regime against Russia.” He also said July 11 that the unprecedented decision in Ottawa “will be perceived in Moscow exclusively as a manifestation of weakness.”

Jul 11, 2022

A squabble between the federal government and some provinces over funding and other resources is slowing efforts to transfer military police investigations and prosecutions of alleged sexual crimes to civilian authorities. Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louise Arbour warned in a recent report that without change, the two levels of government would engage in “interminable discussions.”

Jul 11, 2022

As concern grows in some European markets about the security of supplies of natural gas from Russia, Canada has agreed, despite protests from Ukraine, to return a turbine to Germany which is essential to pipeline operations. Gas supplies to Germany via a submarine line across the Baltic Sea have been shut down for 10 days for annual maintenance but German Economy Minister Robert Habeck says EU countries must prepare in case shipments do not resume.

Jul 11, 2022

A maintenance-related crash of Rogers Communications national network which affected telecommunications and caused problems at airports, border crossings and some financial services is being seen as a “wake-up call.” Maithili Mavinkurve, a senior fellow for the Centre for International Governance Innovation, points out that the failure of a “critical infrastructure for Canadians” emphasized the need to understand “very critically, very deeply, what actually went wrong.”

Jul 09, 2022

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency is reviewing internal security programs at the Communication Security Establishment, the foreign signals intelligence agency. Among other things, NSIRA is looking into whether the use of polygraph tests in CSE recruitment "is lawful, reasonable and necessary. The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the use of polygraph results as evidence in court due to concerns of accuracy.

Jul 08, 2022

Tamara Lich, a key organizer in last winter’s disruptive “freedom convoy” in Ottawa, was denied bail and remanded in custody today. Arrested on a Canada-wide warrant, the Alberta resident was found by a Justice of the Peace to have breached a condition of her original release by attending an event with another convoy organizer. She was already facing multiple charges of mischief and obstructing police.

Jul 08, 2022

An unexpected loss of jobs in June, the first monthly decline not associated with the coronavirus pandemic, was reported today by Statistics Canada. Subject to revision, overall employment fell 43,000, effectively negating a 40,000 increase in May. Despite the decline, the unemployment rate fell to a record low of 4.9 per cent from 5.1 as fewer people evidently looked for work. The agency said the latest loss was tied mainly to self-employment.

Jul 08, 2022

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly used the backdrop of a G20 Summit in Indonesia today to announce new sanctions against Russian agents and organizations, notably focusing on disinformation efforts. The measure applies to 29 agents and 15 entities owned or controlled by the Russian government.

Jul 08, 2022

The Community Security Establishment’s use of polygraph tests as part of its agent recruitment process is being assessed by the National Security and Intelligence Review. The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the use of polygraph results as evidence in court but NSIRA investigators say the review should include sampling the results of current and prospective CSE personnel’s “lie detector” tests, a proposal the CSE says raises serious personal privacy concerns.

Jul 08, 2022

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent and a former agent have been indicted in connection with an alleged Chinese scheme to stalk, harass and spy on U.S.-based Chinese critics. The Justice Department said July 7 that the pair are accused of accessing and providing information about critics from a government database.

Jul 08, 2022

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, has died in hospital after being shot twice during a speech July 8 in the capital city of Nara Prefecture. Police immediately subdued the attacker, who admitted having used a home-made gun to shoot the 67-year-old politician.

Jul 08, 2022

A prominent Russian legislator has mooted the notion that Russia can take back ownership of Alaska, for which the U.S. paid $7.2 million in 1867 and secured a Treaty of Cession. “Let America always remember: there is a part of its territory that is Russia,” says Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker in the Duma’s lower house. “When they attempt to appropriate our assets abroad, they should be aware that we also have something to claim back.”

Jul 07, 2022

The British government has approved a £2.6 billion takeover of Ultra Electronics, which manufactures a range of sensitive defence and security systems for the “Five Eyes”, by the Boston-based Advent International private equity firm. This was after months of discussion in London about the sale to a foreign entity and there were reports that U.S. officials threatened to limit intelligence-sharing if the deal wasn’t approved.

Jul 07, 2022

Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, said July 6 that the province is officially dealing with a seventh wave of COVID-19, driven by the Omicron BA.5 subvariant. The incidence of positive diagnoses had been rising slowly since early June but he said it really started to “take off” by the middle of the month.

Jul 07, 2022

As his province enters its seventh COVID-19 wave, Health Minister Christian Dubé said today that while the situation is “under control for the moment”, residents should be “vigilant” because he doesn’t want to reimpose health measures. “We've said all along that we need to live with this COVID,” he said, stressing the need to keep vaccinations up to date and to isolate positive cases.

Jul 07, 2022

After a series of seemingly never-ending controversies that resulted in the resignations of several key ministers, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that he will step down after nearly four years. However, he said he would remain in office until his Conservative Party chooses a successor.

Jul 07, 2022

The Supreme Court of Canada has been asked by the federal government to resolve a dispute with Alberta about the legality of 2019 legislation empowering federal regulators to consider the environmental and social effects of major construction. Alberta Court of Appeal struck down the Impact Assessment Act, calling it a “breathtaking pre-emption of provincial authority.”

Jul 07, 2022

Amid diplomatic talks aimed at rebooting a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran that the U.S. abandoned in 2018, the White House unveiled a new round of Iran-related sanctions July 6. It said they target “an international network of individuals and entities” that the Treasury Department says facilitated the sale of U.S.-sanctioned Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia.

Jul 07, 2022

Trade Minister Mary Ng confirmed today that the U.S. has agreed to lift tariffs on Canadian solar panels. First imposed by the former U.S. administration in January 2018, they were extended by the current one in February 2018 but a trade tribunal found that they were not in compliance with the terms of the North Amerian free trade pact

Jul 06, 2022

Former MP Patrick Brown, currently the mayor of Brampton, Ont., has been disqualified from the federal Conservative leadership race in what his campaign calls “undemocratic behaviour that breaks faith with hundreds of thousands of Canadians that embraced Patrick Brown's vision of a modern, inclusive Conservative party.” The leadership election organizing committee said the ouster was due to “serious allegations” related to Canada Elections Act financing rules.

Jul 06, 2022

A “strategic lawsuit against public participation” filed by anti-vaccine activists is being described as a vexatious attempt to silence critics and limit free speech. Three Ontario nurses who have been investigated for spreading medical misinformation and conspiracy theories on social media are seeking $1 million in damages in the suit which the Canadian Nurses Association and news media are moving to have the suit struck down.

Jul 06, 2022

Despite objections from some members of its environment and economy committees, the European Parliament has backed an EU move to label investments in natural gas and nuclear power generation as climate-friendly. This sets the stage for legislative approval by gthe parliament unless 20 of the 27 member states oppose it.

Jul 06, 2022

Finland has seized 865 Russian railcars as a result of European Union sanctions. VR, the Finnish state railway operator had already reduced traffic with Russia after the EU sanctioned Russian coal supplies in April and a spokesperson said the company is trying to return “non-sanction” rolling stock as soon as possible.

Jul 06, 2022

The U.S. Justice Department has settled a lawsuit filed by six men held without charge in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks. The department’s own watchdog acknowledged that conditions in a federal jail in New York were abusive but in awarding a total of $98,000, the department did not admit guilt as part of a settlement agreement.

Jul 06, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced July 5 that Canada is the first country to ratify Finland and Sweden’s accession protocols to join NATO. “Their membership will make NATO stronger and we call on all NATO members to move swiftly to complete their ratification processes to limit opportunities for interference by adversaries,” he said. The House of Commons had already approved a motion of support before it adjourned for the summer.

Jul 05, 2022

The circumstances of an Ottawa police officer’s use of a non-lethal projectile against a 37-year-old man who threatened self-harm is being examined by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit. “At this time, it does not appear that the man suffered any serious injury,” said the SIU, a civilian oversight body mandated to review police incidents that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault, or the discharge of a firearm.

Jul 05, 2022

Even though Allan Kerpan, a former MP and Saskatchewan MLA, has been tasked by Premier Scott Moe with co-hosting “in house” about increasing the province’s autonomy, he’s not interested in “independence from Confederation.” Rather, he says he is “very interested in some sort of independence from Ottawa.”

Jul 05, 2022

New satellite imagery from Brazil’s space research institute shows that a record area of the country’s rainforests, some 3,750 km2, was lost in the first half of 2022, the worst deforestation since the institute began its monitoring program. Destruction of the world’s largest rainforest has surged since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 and weakened environmental protections.

Jul 05, 2022

A day after contract talks with its pilots collapsed, Scandinavian Airlines, headquartered in Sweden, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. today as part of an accelerated corporate restructuring. It’s the latest in a series of international carriers which have used the process to renegotiate contracts with aircraft leasing companies and other suppliers while continuing to operate during the pandemic.

Jul 05, 2022

After NATO invited Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance in one of the biggest shifts in European security in decades. However, although 30 NATO allies signed off on accession protocols, it could be months before the two countries become full members.

Jul 05, 2022

Customs & Immigration Union President Jack Weber believes that a lack of frontline airport staff, coupled with an overdependence on technology notably the ArriveCan app, are contributing to widespread long lineups as well as flight delays and cancellations. He is urging recruitment of at least 2,000 staff at airports and marine and land entry points.

Jul 05, 2022

The last remaining COVID-19 restrictions in Nova Scotia, including mandatory isolation for those who test, are to be dropped July 6. Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says “we’re at a place now with our epidemiology . . . that we feel it’s appropriate to do what many other provinces have already done and make some adjustments.”

Jul 05, 2022

Sixteen women and 35 minors have been repatriated by the French government from camps in Syria, where they had been involved with the Islamic State, which drew more adherents from France than from any other European country. Eight women were taken into custody for questioning, the other eight were detained on arrest warrants and one of the children who is about to turn 18 is in custody on suspicion of terrorist activities.

Jul 05, 2022

Chelsea Hillier, an Ontario resident who has sought provincial and federal political office, has been ordered by a provincial Superior Court judge to pay 85,000 in damages and $12,485 in costs for defaming a faculty member at Carleton University in Ottawa. The suit was prompted by a series of attacks on social media which the target said had damaged her reputation and mental health. Hill did not provide a defence so her victim moved for a default judgment.

Jul 05, 2022

Canada’s embassy in Beijing has confirmed that a China-born businessman with Canadian citizenship was due to go on trial July 4 but so far has been denied access to the trial, which is believed to part of a crackdown on conglomerates. Xiao Jianhua, known to have links with the Chinese Communist Party elite, has not been seen since 2017 when he was abducted in Hong Kong.

Jul 05, 2022

The Assembly of First Nations and the federal government have announced a final compensation package for indigenous children discriminated against for decades in how government services were provided. The $20-million settlement must be approved by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Federal Court of Canada.

Jul 04, 2022

NATO’s 30 member states signed off today on protocols which would enable Finland and Sweden to join the alliance but the process is far from over. Each state’s parliament must ratify the proposal and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to indicate that the Nordic countries should extradite Kurdish expatriates whom he considers terrorists.

Jul 04, 2022

Purdue Pharma Canada, headquartered in Toronto, has agreed to a deal which would pay provincial and territorial health plans $150 million toward the recovery of costs related to the sale and marketing of opioid-based pain medication. B.C. Attorney General David Eby says “deceptive marketing” contributed to more than 27,000 deaths across Canada due to toxic street drugs.

Jul 04, 2022

A man accused of shooting two Ottawa brothers in broad daylight in May 2021 was only minutes away from boarding a flight to Somalia when he was arrested at Toronto International Airport. Abdullahi Osman actually was arrested Feb. 12 but details have only now come to light during the trial of an alleged accessory who pleaded guilty to passport fraud for having helped Osman.

Jul 04, 2022

Switzerland was accused by one of its own non-governmental organizations of having become a “safe haven” for Russian oligarchs and as a trading hub for Russian oil, grain and coal. Referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Public Eye urged the government to “use all levers at its disposal to stop the financing of this inhuman aggression.”

Jul 04, 2022

Seventy Russian diplomatic staff in Bulgaria were expected to have left the country by July 3, reducing Moscow’s footprint by more than half. Prime Minister Kiril Petkov explained that “our services identified them as people who worked against our interests.” Many European countries have expelled Russians since the invasion of Ukraine began February 24 and Moscow has generally responded in kind.

Jul 04, 2022

The U.S. Department of Defence Inspector General’s office plans to look into the extent to which the U.S. military “developed, planned, and executed cross-domain intelligence sharing” with its European partners in support of Ukraine. This is several months after the White House relaxed constraints on how the DoD and intelligence agencies shared information.

Jul 04, 2022

Some 51 per cent of major Canadian airports’ commercial departures and arrivals in one six-day period in late June were cancelled or delayed, according to a New Brunswick-based data strata consultancy. DataWazo reports that Toronto International had the worst June 22-27 performance with 11 flights cancelled and 52 per cent delayed.

Jul 04, 2022

Two U.S. right-wing groups already designated terrorist organizations by Canada also have been formally identified as such by New Zealand. Even though the Proud Boys and The Base are not known to be active there, the country has become more attuned to extremist threats since a white supremacist killed 51 Muslims at two Christchurch mosques in 2019, a massacre that inspired killings elsewhere.

Jul 04, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized the takeover a major oil and gas project in which London-based Shell and two Japanese companies have major stakes. Shell, which has a 27.5 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-2 project, which is 50 per cent owned by Russia’s Gazprom and accounts for four per cent of the global liquefied natural gas production, said in February that it was prepared to pull out and take a take a £3.8-billion hit.

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