In the News

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.”

Jun 26, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says yielding to China’s calls for the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanhzou in order to secure the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from detention in China could set a dangerous precedent. “The first priority of any government is to protect its citizens,” he acknowledged 25 June. However, if other countries “realize that by arbitrarily arresting random Canadians, they can get what they want out of Canada politically . . . that makes an awful lot of Canadians who travel around the world vulnerable.”

Jun 26, 2020

Colin Robertson, a former Consul in Hong Kong and now vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says the federal government has three broad options for securing the repatriation of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from arbitrary detention in China. They are: continue having allies speak out, stop the U.S.-requested extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, or respond to China’s “bullying” by revoking the prized visas of Chinese students in Canada.

Jun 25, 2020

A study released 25 June by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that the proportion of COVID-19 deaths in Canada’s long-term care facilities has been roughly twice that found in other developed nations. They accounted for 81 per cent of reported deaths in Canada compared with an average 42 per cent in 16 other members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Jun 25, 2020

Effective 3 July and barring any COVID-19 resurgence, the four Atlantic provinces plan to permit their residents to travel between and within them without any requirement for self-isolation.

Jun 25, 2020

A 19-year-old former political intern is at the centre of a police investigation into claims that Conservative leadership candidate Erin O'Toole's video conferencing account had been hacked. The unidentified former employee of Calgary MP Greg McLean has said that a member of O'Toole's own team gave him the password, a situation which prompted O’Toole to accuse challenger Peter MacKay’s team of an illegal act.

Jun 25, 2020

The German chemical giant Bayer is to pay the equivalent of up to more than $14 billion to settle cancer claims linked to the herbicide Roundup, which it acquired in a 2018 takeover of Missouri-based Monsanto. The glyphosate-based product, which has been banned in many countries, has been subject to about 125,000 lawsuits over its alleged carcinogenicity and while Bayer has agreed to a settlement, it denies any wrongdoing.

Jun 25, 2020

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are asking visitors from states with resurgent COVID-19 cases to self-isolate for 14 days. New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy says the three northeastern states have gone to “hell and back” with the initial outbreak and do not want “another round.” The U.S. to date has recorded more than 2.3 million cases and more than 121,000 deaths and health officials say the coming weeks will be critical.

Jun 25, 2020

A special prosecutor at The Hague has accused Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and others of war crimes during the country’s 1998-1999 independence war with Serbia, which resulted in more than 10,000 deaths and ended only after NATO intervention. The accusations are being assessed by a judge.

Jun 25, 2020

Twenty major Chinese companies have been identified by the U.S. Department of Defense as being either owned or supported by the Chinese military. The list includes several telecom giants, including Huawei, and could be the basis for U.S. sanctions.

Jun 25, 2020

Faced with a resurgence of COVID-19 diagnoses since it relaxed its lockdown earlier this week, Texas began freeing up hospital space 25 June. More than 4,300 victims are hospitalized, more than double the count at the beginning of June and Gov Greg Abbott has suspended elective hospital procedures in four counties. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses,” he said. “This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

Jun 25, 2020

Thirteen Senators, including several of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s appointees, want Canada to sanction Chinese officials for “gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” In a 23 June letter to the PM, they cite China’s detention of Uighur Muslims, its crackdown in Hong Kong, its decades-long repression of Tibet, and its imprisonment of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

Jun 25, 2020

Justice Minister David Lametti is being urged by a group of former parliamentarians and senior diplomats to end U.S.-requested extradition proceedings for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. In their letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 23 June, they say Canada has a legal right to intervene and also should take time to “re-define its strategic approach to China.”

Jun 25, 2020

The International Monetary Fund warned 24 June that the global economy faces an even deeper downturn than previously forecast as COVID-19 continues to sow uncertainty. Projecting 4.9 per cent shrinkage this year, a downgrade from its previous 3 per cent outlook, it said that even as some countries begin reopening for business, the recovery will be uneven and protracted.

Jun 25, 2020

In their latest annual summit, held by by videoconference 22 June, the European Union and China discussed not only bilateral issues in their complex relationship but also regional and international issues, including COVID-19 and economic recovery. The EU also raised concerns about human rights in general, including the detention of a Swedish citizen as well as Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Jun 25, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been directed to exempt Canadians from new restrictions on foreign professionals’ access, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association. An executive order announced 22 June by the White House blocks entry for most H, J and L visa holders for at least the rest of 2020; President Donald Trump’s rationale is that it would provide job opportunities for U.S. citizens.

Jun 24, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it has long been “obvious” that China’s detention of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor since December 2018 is linked to the Vancouver arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for possible extradition to the U.S. “This was a political decision made by the Chinese government and we deplore it, and have, from the very beginning,” he said. The “Two Michaels” were only recently charged with espionage.

Jun 24, 2020

Juan José Gómez Camacho Mexico’s ambassador to Canada, has suggested that his government might keep migrant workers away from Canadian farms which fail to follow COVID-19 rules. He was commenting on the death of a third worker in Ontario who likely was exposed while on a farm, having been quarantined for 14 days beforehand.

Jun 24, 2020

An extension of its ban on the issuance of green cards outside the U.S. has cast a cloud of uncertainty among Canadians and other nationals employed by multinational companies, notably in the tech sector. In announcing his decision, President Donald Trump characterized it as a way to free up jobs in the U.S. economy for Americans.

Jun 24, 2020

Results of a national Internet survey indicate that 66 per cent of Canadians do not want an easement of the distancing rules designed to curb COVID-19. Moreover, even if the rules were relaxed, most would not be comfortable participating in activities which they feel would put them at risk.

Jun 24, 2020

China has orbited the final satellite in its 35-platform BeiDou-3 navigation system, which means it no longer relies on the U.S.-managed Global Positioning System used by militaries and civilians worldwide.

Jun 24, 2020

The largest single-day increase in global COVID-19 cases has been reported for last Sunday by the World Health Organization. There were more than 183,000 new cases, topping the previous record of 181,232 reported just two days earlier. The biggest surge was in Brazil, followed by the U.S. and then India.

Jun 24, 2020

The largest single-day increase in global COVID-19 cases has been reported for last Sunday by the World Health Organization. There were more than 183,000 new cases, topping the previous record of 181,232 reported just two days earlier. The biggest surge was in Brazil, followed by the U.S. and then India.

Jun 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to track all federal employees and contractors in its hunt for “insider threats” regardless of whether they require security clearance. It had focused initially on government agency employees with clearance who might pose a threat even inadvertently.

Jun 24, 2020

European Union countries are considering banning visitors from the U.S. because that country has fundamentally failed to control COVID-19. This is according to draft lists which would lump Americans with the citizens of Russia and Brazil, two other countries with rising infection rates.

Jun 24, 2020

The senior White House health advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told a House committee 23 June that state governments’ decisions to reopen their economies have resulted in a “disturbing surge” in COVID-19 infections. He also said the next few weeks would be “critical in our ability to address those surges.”

Jun 24, 2020

Seven U.S. citizens permitted to travel to Alaska from the southern states have been ticketed by police and face stiff fines for unauthorized stopovers in Banff National Park. “They’re not criminal violations or criminal charges or anything,” an RCMP spokesperson said 22 June. “Those are fines under the Public Health Act. . . . It’s up to the discretion of the RCMP officer.”

Jun 22, 2020

The Department of National Defence has given Ontario motdorists a heads-up about increased military traffic in some regions as some 500 military personnel return to base from being deployed to assist with the response to COVID-19 issues at five long-term care homes in April. “Drivers and pedestrians are asked to remain patient and show their support to the troops as they conduct this road move,” DND said.

Jun 22, 2020

Tension between the two perceived front-runners to replace Andrew Scheer as Conservative Party leader heightened over the weekend with former Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole accusing former Defence Minister Peter Mackay’s campaign of stealing confidential information. The allegation is being dismissed as preposterous even though a member of MacKay’s team has been specifically named.

Jun 22, 2020

China plans to establish a special bureau in Hong Kong to investigate and prosecute crimes considered threatening to national security, according to details of a controversial new national security law China is imposing on the semi-autonomous former British colony. Moreover, all Hong Kong government departments will be directly answerable to Beijing.

Jun 22, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense is broadening its Comply-to-Connect (C2C) program to encompass the entire U.S. military in a bid to ensure that any device touching its network complies with DoD cybersecurity standards. Set up by the National Security Agency, the Marine Corps and the Air Force in 2013, C2C continuously analyzes all connected devices such as smartphones and computers to ensure compliance.

Jun 20, 2020

The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, which allocates wireless spectrum and sets conditions for its use, has been pressing Telus to remove Huawei gear from the area. The Globe and Mail reports that Telus has rejected the notion it made a pledge to the department. A government database shows nearly 70 locations on the Ottawa side of the National Capital Region, and 13 in Gatineau, where Telus cell sites or cell towers have Huawei equipment. This includes sites near the headquarters of many government departments, the RCMP, the Bank of Canada, the National Research Council and security agencies

Jun 19, 2020

More than 18 months after they were detained by China, two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – have now been charged with espionage. They were arrested in December 2018 a few days after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver at the request of the United States. China has denied any link but Prime Minister Trudeau has accused China of “using arbitrary detention as a tool to achieve political goals.”

Jun 18, 2020

Exempting the U.S. intelligence community from laws which authorize the Department of Homeland Security to issue cybersecurity directives to federal agencies was a mistake, according to Democrat Senator. He says in a letter to John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, that the CIA has been “woefully lax” with some cybersecurity applications.

Jun 18, 2020

A Republican bill which would essentially prohibit some Chinese graduate students from studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the U.S. is “troubling and counterproductive,” says Google CEO Eric Schmidt. There is fear of intellectual property theft but Schmidt, who chairs the Defense Innovation Board and the National Security Council for Artificial Intelligence and concedes the risk, says “more sweeping or expansive restrictions could be damaging to American innovation.”

Jun 18, 2020

Some $87 billion in government spending measures have been approved by the House of Commons with the minority Liberals supported by Opposition MPs. The measures tide over federal departments until the fall as well as underwriting COVID-19 assistance programs.

Jun 18, 2020

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who participated in the protracted negotiations with Canada and Mexico on the new North American trade agreement, is already warning of potential legal challenges by Washington. The painstakingly negotiated pact doesn’t take effect until 1 July but Lighthizer, accusing Canada of doing political end-runs around trade commitments, has promised “action early and often when there are problems.” 

Jun 18, 2020

Mark Kersten, a senior researcher at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, warns that the U.S. administration’s economic sanctions against the International Criminal Court is “reckless and irresponsible escalation that deserves a strong response.” Among other things, he points out that Canadians are being targeted with coercive measures in an act of outright hostility towards civil servants and diplomats and calls on the federal government to push back against Washington.

Jun 18, 2020

Former Conservative cabinet ministers Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole, generally considered the front-runners in the race to succeed Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party, pretty much dominated a French-language debate 17 June. O’Toole, a former RCAF officer, accused MacKay, a former defence minister, of lying several times.

Jun 18, 2020

John Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the UN and national security advisor to President Donald Trump, paints a detailed and derogatory picture of his former boss in a new book the White House is trying to supress through a lawsuit. Among other things, Bolton, an acknowledged policy hawk, says Trump, whom he describes as “servile” in dealings with foreign leaders, asked Chinese President for help in winning next November’s election.

Jun 17, 2020

Canada’s latest bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council has failed after a four-year campaign and recent personal outreach to other leaders by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Canada received 108 of 192 votes, short of the two-thirds threshold, whilc Ireland and Norway, with 128 and 130, respectively, will take their seats for a two-year term beginning next January.

Jun 16, 2020

Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive detained by Canada at the request of the U.S., say U.S. authorities are using “deliberate and/or reckless misstatements of fact and material omissions” in an attempt to mislead the British Columbia judge overseeing the case. 

Jun 16, 2020

Shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s influential sister had threatened to have a liaison office with South Korea near the border destroyed, it has been blown up. Opened in 2018 to facilitate communications, the site has been empty since January.

Jun 16, 2020

Mounting evidence that two antimalarial drugs promoted by President Donald Trump as a possible treatment for COVID-19 has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to revoke its authorization of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. Citing reports of complications, the FDA said the drugs pose a greater risk to patients than any potential benefits.

Jun 16, 2020

By the end of last week, Brazil had recorded 42,000 COVID-19 fatalities and more than 867,000 confirmed, ranking it second only to the U.S. “We are very much in the upswing of this pandemic, particularly in the global south,” says Dr. Michael Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program.

Jun 15, 2020

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who is a Canadian citizen by birth, has been sentenced to 16 years of hard labour by a Russian court on charges of espionage. Whelan, who reportedly had visited Russia many times, the latest to attend a wedding, was arrested in Moscow in December 2018 while in possession of a thumb drive which Russia alleges contained state secrets.

Jun 14, 2020

As the Commissioner of the RCMP and as leader, I have the responsibility to ensure that our organization is free of racism, discrimination and bias, both inside and out." said Commissioner Brenda Lucki in a written statement on June 12th. "We now have the opportunity to lead positive change on this critical issue. It is time to double down on these efforts – there is so much more to do."

Jun 12, 2020

Britain plans a “light touch” approach to checking imports from the European Union next year. Full-scale checks evidently are to be replaced with what is being called a “pragmatic and flexible approach” in a bid to address COVID-19 concerns.

Jun 12, 2020

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order preventing the entry of International Criminal Court staff investigating whether U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would not be “threatened by a kangaroo court” and Attorney General William Barr accused “foreign powers like Russia" of "manipulating the ICC in pursuit of their own agenda.”

Jun 11, 2020

A California threat intelligence consultancy says that at least a dozen bogus COVID-19 “contact tracing” apps, designed to look like official software,  have been deployed globally to install malware and steal personal data. It says the apps are being spread by, among others, third-party marketers and websites that encourage downloads.

Jun 11, 2020

As debates continued this week over police services’ excessive use of force, Halifax city council has dropped plans to spend up to $500,000 on a “rescue” vehicle from Ontario-based Terradyne Armoured Vehicles. "We know that we can put some resources toward anti-black racism programs,” Mayor Mike Savage said. “A lot of us thought this was the right thing to do at this point in time, and partly to send a signal to people that we're listening to the concerns that people have.”

Jun 09, 2020

The Canadian Forces may be preparing to defy its mandated obligation of truth and transparency by controlling unclassified information. DND confirmed to the Ottawa Citizen that a new directive is being written, but no details have yet been provided. 

Jun 09, 2020

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants the alliance to take on a greater political role in world affairs and help nations in the Asia-Pacific region contend with China. “Military strength is only part of the answer,” he said 8 June, calling on NATO states to take a more global approach to security issues.

Jun 09, 2020

Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, an ostensibly staunch ally of President Donald Trump, is accusing China of trying to frustrate western development a COVID-19 vaccine. “We have evidence that communist China is trying to sabotage us or slow it down,” he said, citing unnamed intelligence sources. “They've decided to be an adversary to America and democracies around the world.”

Jun 05, 2020

President Donald Trump has indicated he is backing down on his threat to deploy federal troops to states or cities which refuse the option for suppressing widespread protests about the recent death of a black man in police custody. ““I don't think we'll have to,” Trump said in a televised interview 3 June, conceding that National Guard units, which under dual federal-state control, could be as effective.

Jun 05, 2020

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer fears a surge in COVID-19 cases if governments are not cautious about rebooting stalled economies. The latest modelling projects more than 100,000 confirmed cases and up to 9,400 deaths by mid-June. “These models all tell us that if we relax too much, or too soon, the epidemic will most likely rebound with explosive growth as a distinct possibility,” Dr. Theresa Tam said 4 June.

Jun 05, 2020

The U.S. requested extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is expected to remain before the B.C. Supreme Court for some time to come. The prosecution and defence will propose a new schedule which would bring hearings to a close early next year rather than this fall.

Jun 05, 2020

The U.S. State Department has resurrected its threat of potential intelligence repercussions if Canada’s still inconclusive 5G telecom plans include the use of Huawei technologies. “We . . . have made it very clear to all of our friends and allies around the world that if Huawei is allowed into a country's national security systems, we will have to protect our intelligence-sharing relationship,” a department official said 4 June.

Jun 04, 2020

Iran has released Michael White, an American held since July 2018 after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for alleged privacy violations and insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a personal visit. His release was announced a day after an Iranian scientist held by the U.S. was returned to Iran.

Jun 04, 2020

President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy active duty military personnel to crack down on public protests has been openly challenged by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The former infantry officer said 3 June that invocation of the Insurrection Act must be “a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations.”

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