In the News

Apr 26, 2021

A senior British intelligence official says the West risks losing control of economically-critical internet security technologies to nations such as China and Russia. “Significant technology leadership is moving east and causing a conflict of interests and values,” says Jeremy Fleming. Director of the Government Communications Headquarters.

Apr 26, 2021

Two State Department nominees and four from the Pentagon have been named as the U.S. administration continues to flesh out its national security team.

Apr 26, 2021

Formal designation by the U.S. of mass killings of Armenians more than a century ago as genocide have angered Turkey, a key regional ally. “Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement. “We remember so that we remain ever vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms.”

Apr 26, 2021

Myanmar’s senior military commander has been told by other leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that his forces should stop killing protestors and should release political prisoners “Violence must be stopped, democracy, stability and peace in Myanmar must be returned immediately," host Indonesian President Joko Widodo said. More than 700 demonstrators have been killed since a Feb. 1 coup.

Apr 23, 2021

A 30-day ban on commercial and private flights from India and Pakistan has been imposed by the Canadian government. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said 22 April that the decision is prompted by growing numbers of passengers with positive COVID-19 test results at a time when Canada is wrestling with variants.

Apr 22, 2021

The federal government is suspending incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan for the next month as cases of COVID-19 surge in both countries. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says because there are so many people arriving in Canada from India and Pakistan with COVID-19, all commercial and private passenger flights from both countries will be prohibited as of midnight tonight.

Apr 22, 2021

Police in the Mexican state of Michoacán have been attacked with explosive-laden drones believed to have been launched by one off the region’s drug cartels. The latest attack, which wounded two officers, occurred April 20. Drones seized last year were equipped with containers packed with ball bearings.

Apr 22, 2021

Russian police arrested nearly 1,800 persons involved in widespread protests April 21 over the alleged mistreatment of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny. The demonstrations across the country occurred only hour after President Vladimir Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech.

Apr 22, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that Canada will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40-45 per cent from 2005 levels within the next decade. Announced as the U.S. unveiled a planned 50 per cent reduction, Canada’s latest target is higher than the 36 per cent the government says it currently can achieve by 2030 and the 30 per cent goal initially agreed to in the Paris Agreement.

Apr 22, 2021

B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes has granted detained Huwei executive Meng Wanzhou’s defence team a three-and-a-half month adjournment in her extradition case. The extra time evidently is due to the need to obtain documents from a Hong Kong bank which her lawyers say could affect her U.S.-requested extradition. However, Holmes also has said she would accept no further delays.

Apr 21, 2021

The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least May 21, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed on social media April 20, saying that “we will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available.” Meanwhile, a New York congressman is urging both federal governments to craft a plan to reopen the border, insisting that “with vaccines, face masks and good physical distancing, we can do so safely and successfully.”

Apr 21, 2021

New research suggests that the U.S. has been the source of more than half of the COVID-19 variants reported in Canada. Scientists in Ontario, B.C. and Arizona used an international DNA database to track the spread. They also say that viral imports slowed somewhat after international travel restrictions were imposed in March 2020.

Apr 21, 2021

The Bank of Canada opted today to keep its benchmark interest rate at the record-low 0.25 per cent which has prevailed since March 2020. It explained that the COVID-19 response “continues to require extraordinary monetary policy support” and that the rate is unlikely to change until possibly the latter half of 2022.

Apr 21, 2021

Some “unacceptable” uses of artificial intelligence would be banned in Europe under proposed rules announced today by the European Commission's rules. The draft ban would target “AI systems considered a clear threat to the safety, livelihoods and rights of people,” said the EC, which also has proposed stricter rules on law enforcement’s use of biometrics.

Apr 21, 2021

A 100-day initiative designed to protect electrical infrastructure against cyberattacks is being rolled out by the U.S. government. It includes “aggressive but achievable milestones” to help the mostly private-sector industry to modernize its security and enhance detection, mitigation and forensic capabilities.

Apr 16, 2021

NATO officials have vowed to boost the alliance’s cyber defences. During an April 15 virtual conference, they added the commitment to an overarching decision to prevent catastrophic disruptions of member states. Host Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said “malicious” activities had increased as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved and that the alliance needed to “recognize that cyberspace is at the forefront of increased global competition, and democratic nations must stand together against deviations from acceptable behavior.”

Apr 16, 2021

Major U.S. airlines are ignoring advice from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep middle seats vacant to curtail the spread of COVID-19. American, United, Delta and Southwest Airlines have announced plans to unblock those seats, citing their national lobby’s conclusion that the risk of onboard transmission is low.

Apr 15, 2021

The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Russia and formally blamed its SVR intelligence agency for last year’s massive SolarWinds breach of government and corporate systems. Designed to choke off lending to the Kremlin, the sanctions against 32 entities and individuals coincided with diplomatic expulsions in Washington. Also, in collaboration with allies, the U.S. has sanctioned eight individuals and entities associated with Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

Apr 15, 2021

Interoperability with evolving cloud-computing technologies is presenting a challenge for NATO as it tries to set alliance-wide standards. France, Germany and the U.S. have already initiated their own programs but a researcher points out that “showing results quickly is important for NATO to give a common direction.”

Apr 14, 2021

The Canadian Security Intelligence Services says last year saw the highest level of foreign espionage and interference directed at Canadian targets since the end of the Cold War. “The fluid and rapidly evolving environment caused by COVID-19 has created a situation ripe for exploitation,” CSIS Director David Vigneault says in his latest annual report. “Violent extremism, foreign interference, espionage and malicious cyber activity, accelerated, evolved and in many ways became much more serious.”

Apr 14, 2021

An international security think tank is calling on the U.S. and its allies to press for new rules governing the use of outer space. The Washington-based Atlantic Council argues in an April122 report that with more than 70 countries having national space programs, “space governance is prime for a reboot.”

Apr 14, 2021

A Japanese-owned but Panamanian-registered container ship which blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in week in March is not free to leave the waterway pending resolution of claims for as much as $900 million in compensation.

Apr 14, 2021

A surge in Chinese companies’ investment in U.S. defence suppliers has prompted the Pentagon to approve more than $311 million in potential partnerships with the private sector in a bid to contain Beijing;s influence. The Trusted Capital program targets, among others, companies involved in artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

Apr 14, 2021

China warned the U.S. April 12 to stop “playing with fire” in its relationship with Taiwan. It was responding to new State Department guidelines on deepening ties with the island republic which China considers a “rogue” province. “We urge the U.S. side to grasp the situation, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and . . . immediately stop official contact with Taiwan in any form,” a government spokesman said.

Apr 13, 2021

Canada is being urged by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to review military export restrictions imposed after it was confirmed that Canadian technology was on drones used in the battle between Armenian and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. His ministry says Cavusoglu conveyed concerns about Canada’s stance” during a call with his Canadian counterpart, Marc Garneau.

Apr 13, 2021

Lengthy negotiations between Air Canada and the federal government have yielded a financial support package which includes a total of $5.9 billion in low-interest loans in return for the carrier maintaining what’s left of its workforce, restoring most regional services, ordering new Airbus and Boeing jets and agreeing to refunds for passengers whose flights were cancelled last year over COVID-19 concerns. The government also is taking a small equity position in the airline. “We were determined to get a good deal for Canada and Canadians,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland replied April 12 when asked during a why negotiations had taken so long. “We wanted . . . not just any deal -- and getting a good deal can sometimes take a little time.”

Apr 13, 2021

The chairman of the parliamentary National Security and Intelligence Committee says anyone involved in Canada’s electoral processes must be alert to possible foreign interference. “It means individuals joining political parties and attending nomination meetings in order to attempt to exert influence,” David McGuinty said after the committee’s latest report was tabled in the House of Commons April 11. “Usually, the motivation is directed in some way by a foreign government.”

Apr 12, 2021

The federal government has cancelled 29 export permits for Turkey after finding Canadian technology had been used in drones during the 2019 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “This use was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances,” Foreign Minister Garneau said April 12. “Turkey is an important NATO ally and applications related to NATO cooperation programs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

Apr 12, 2021

Climate change and Chinese expansionism have been identified as key Arctic challenges by the Acting Chief of the Defence Staff, LGen Wayne Eyre, in a note to Canadian Armed Forces personnel. “Various trends such as climate change, increased interest in the Arctic, and challenges to our national resilience . . . are driving change in how we conceptualize national defence,” he wrote.

Apr 12, 2021

Canada has signed on to a multinational accord aimed at improving the strategic implications of climate change in polar regions. The other parties are Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the U.S.

Apr 12, 2021

A power failure apparently caused by a planned explosion struck Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site April 11 in what Iranian officials was sabotage. Israeli and U.S. intelligence sources have said Israel was involved.

Apr 12, 2021

President Joe Biden’s first discretionary funding request to Congress sets a $1.5 trillion spending roadmap that includes cash funding for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and a reserve for “information technology enhancements.” Other key elements include funding for two new research agencies focused on health and climate.

Apr 09, 2021

Lingering concerns about Russia’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty evidently means the U.S. is reluctant to rejoin. While there has been no final decision, a recent diplomatic memorandum states that rejoining the 34-country pact abandoned by the previous U.S. administration would send the “wrong message” to Moscow.

Apr 09, 2021

Seven Chinese supercomputing companies have been added to a U.S. list of entities restricted from buying U.S. technologies without a waiver. The Bureau of Industry and Security within the Commerce Department confirmed the move April 9, saying the companies “are involved in activities that support China’s military actors, its destabilizing military modernization efforts, and/or its weapons of mass destruction.”

Apr 09, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants broad access to data on airlines’ passengers and cargo shipments in U.S. skies. “CBP has a critical need to obtain names and related information of passengers who are arriving and departing the U.S. on commercial airlines,” it says. “Equally important, CBP needs to obtain manifests of cargo.”

Apr 07, 2021

Iran is reported to have had “constructive” talks April 6 with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia on a response to the possible easing of U.S. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. European intermediaries have started shuttling between Iranian and U.S. officials in Vienna in a bid to restore a 2015 accord which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to its program. Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.

Apr 07, 2021

A long-standing U.S. program whereby surplus military vehicles and other equipment is donated to local law enforcement agencies is coming under fire amidst allegations of abuse. President Joe Biden is being urged by members of the Democrat caucus in the House of Representatives to limit the program. More than $7.4 billion in equipment has been transferred to police in nearly all states.

Apr 06, 2021

The city of Saint John, N.B. faced a ransom demand of nearly $17 million worth of bitcoin last November in return for cyberattackers not releasing encrypted information. City Manager John Collin, recently confirming the attack, says it shut down all IT services and refused to pay the ransom.

Apr 06, 2021

A new Iranian military prosecutor has confirmed the indictment of “10 of the officials who had a role” in the January 2020 missile downing of a Ukrainian International Airlines flight with scores of Canadians aboard. Gholam Abbas Torki, who did not ientify the officials, said they would face trial “in the new year,” which began March 21.

Apr 06, 2021

Despite personal misgivings, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has asked incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to forming a new government after a recent election, the country’s fourth in two years, failed to produce a clear winner. Rivlin’s request comes as Netanyahu goes on trial on charges of fraud and breach of trust.

Apr 06, 2021

The new U.S. administration will join talks in Vienna designed to revive a nuclear deal with Iran from which the former administration withdrew in 2018. The six countries still party to the agreement must find a way for the U.S. to lift the former administration’s sanctions against Iran, which has said it will not meet with the U.S. until that happens.

Apr 06, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law designed to keep him in power until possibly 2036. Currently 68 and serving his fourth term, Putin could serve two more six-year terms when his current orchestrated mandate expires in 2024.

Apr 06, 2021

Ten retired admirals have been detained for publicly criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan for a canal project in Istanbul. They were among 104 former officers who signed a letter warning against withdrawal from an international treaty governing the strategic Bosphorus Strait. The canal would provide an alternative shipping route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean..

Apr 05, 2021

In an attempt to reduce crime in rural areas and improve law enforcement’s emergency response times, the Alberta government has authorized its fish and wildlife officers and sheriffs to assist with high-priority RCMP situations.

Apr 05, 2021

Two days after he was arrested and accused of trying to destabilize his country, former Jordanian crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein has said he has pledged allegiance to King Abdullah and is committed to the constitution. He also has denied allegations of conspiracy.

Apr 05, 2021

The U.S. has lifted “inappropriate and ineffective” sanctions imposed by the previous administration on International Criminal Court officials investigating alleged war crimes by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. “We maintain our long-standing objection to the court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-states parties such as the United States and Israel,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders.”

Apr 01, 2021

Defence lawyers for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou say that although her December 2018 arrest in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities was valid, her ongoing detainment is illegal. Federal prosecutors have argued that Canada was obliged by its extradition treaty to arrest Meng.

Apr 01, 2021

Christine Schraner Burgener, a Swiss diplomat and UN special envoy on Myanmar, has told the Security Council that “a bloodbath is imminent” in Myanmar as its military intensifies its crackdown on anti-coup protesters. She said March 31 that the UN must consider “potentially significant action” to turn the situation around. At least 521 civilians have been killed in protests against the Feb. 1 overthrow of the elected government.

Apr 01, 2021

Two Russian officials have been expelled from Italy in connection with an espionage case, which Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio describes as “an extremely serious hostile act.” His March 31 statement follows the arrest of an Italian navy captain and the detention of a Russian military attaché the Italian authorities say were “caught in flagrante” in an exchange of cash for classified documents.

Apr 01, 2021

A new Parliamentary Budget Office report says the government’s COVID-19 response should see the current year’s deficit balloon to $363.4 billion. However, PBO Yves Giroux also says the red ink should sink as emergency spending measures wind down and that financing will eventually become sustainable.

Apr 01, 2021

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute says the Chinese Communist Party has become increasingly bold and sophisticated in trying to shape international perceptions of how it treats religious and ethnic minorities. It says diplomats and state media have been prolific users of western social media platforms as well as using so-called “influencers” in a bid to shape public opinion.

Apr 01, 2021

The Philippines wants China to remove a flotilla of militia-operate ships from six islands and reefs claimed by Manila in the South China. The ships and four naval vessels are described as a threat to sovereignty and the marine environment and Manila says that “neither the Philippines nor the international community will ever accept China’s assertion of its so-called ‘indisputable integrated sovereignty’ over almost all of the South China Sea.”

Apr 01, 2021

A former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst pleaded guilty March 31 to leaking classified documents to a journalist about military drone strikes against Middle East terrorist targets in 2014 and 2015. Daniel Hale, who was working as a contractor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at the time, faces up to 10 years in prison.

Mar 31, 2021

A Federal Court judge has certified a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP over accusations that physicians who routinely screen applicants had sexually abused them. “It's rewarding to be able to move this forward and know that some folks will get resolution,” the lead plaintiff says.

Mar 31, 2021

An Italian navy officer identified as a frigate captain has been arrested while allegedly handing over classified documents to a Russian officer posted at his country’s embassy in Rome. A national police special operations unit carried out the arrests March 30 “during a clandestine meeting between the two” at which money changed hands.

Mar 31, 2021

The Polish government is being taken to court by the European Commission, which accuses its member state of undermining judicial independence. “Polish judges . . . apply EU law and contribute to the mutual trust on which Europe is built,” EC Vice-President Věra Jourová, a Czech politician and lawyer, explained today. “National governments are free to reform the judiciary, but while doing so they have to respect the EU treaties.”

Mar 30, 2021

Twenty-six persons, including 16 former Turkish Aerospace Industries employees and a former member of the government’s defence procurement agency, were detained today on suspicion of espionage. They also are accused of what Turkey says is a terrorist organization run by an exiled Muslim cleric.

Mar 30, 2021

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today that although new analysis points to a wildlife vector for COVID-19, the organization still needs to confirm that the coronavirus did not originate in a Chinese laboratory. China has dismissed the possibility but Tedros, noting that his team had difficulty getting raw data during a recent visit, called for “more timely and comprehensive data sharing.”

Mar 30, 2021

The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that Canada had a poorer record than many other countries when it came to the number of deaths in long-term care homes between the first and second waves of COVID-19. Its study also found that the deaths accounted for 69 per cent of the national total, well above an international average of 41 per cent.

Mar 30, 2021

Too many Americans are declaring victory in the COVID-19 too early, say President Joe Biden and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This is deadly serious,” Biden said, urging state governors to reinstate restrictions shortly after Walenksy admitted that she is “scared” by the prospect of continued waves.

Mar 30, 2021

More than 20 national leaders, including those from Britain, France and Germany, are calling for a new treaty to help the world to prepare for future pandemics. “There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies,” they said in a published declaration. “No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when.”

Mar 30, 2021

A new law limiting the right of Hong Kong residents to run for local election has been enacted by the China's rubber-stamp parliament. Previously, the former British colony’s legislature was divided between elected officials and representatives of Beijing-oriented trade and industry bodies, theoretically enabling opposition parties to win a majority. Now the elected seats will be filled by government appointees.

Mar 30, 2021

India's border state of Manipur has rescinded an order to officials to “politely turn away” refugees from Myanmar in the aftermath of last month’s military coup. Meanwhile, continued protests in Myanmar evidently have resulted in more than 500 deaths at the hands of the country’s military.

Mar 29, 2021

Conservative MP Michael Chong, vice-chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and its international human rights subcommittee is one of several persons sanctioned by China in a dispute over Beijing’s treatment of its minorities. Chong says he will consider China’s response to Canadian sanctions “a badge of honour.”

Mar 29, 2021

Ahead of the release of a delayed WHO report on COVID-19, one of its authors says the wildlife trade in China is the most likely vector for viral transmission to humans. This echoes an initial assessment by a multinational team which visited a market in Wuhan earlier this year. “There was definitely a pathway that takes animals coming into that market from all over China, including the places where the nearest relatives of SARS-CoV-2 have been found in bats,” says British zoologist Peter Daszak.

Mar 29, 2021

Traffic through the Suez Canal resumed today after a salvage company headquartered in The Netherlands coordinated the removal of a 200,000-tonne container ship which had blocked passage for six days. Assisted by a high tide, tugs pulled the Japanese-owned and Panamian-registered Ever Given from the waterway’s banks where it had lodged after being blown off-course.

Mar 29, 2021

The weekend deaths of more than 100 protesters against the February military coup in Myanmar, bringing the total to more than 400 since the elected government was overthrown, has drawn global condemnation. The U.S. has accused the country’s military leaders, who celebrated Armed Forces Day March 27, of carrying out a “reign of terror” and a dozen countries’ defence ministers issued an unusual joint condemnation.

Mar 29, 2021

More than 25 million residents of the Philippines capital of Manila and nearby provinces, nearly a quarter of the mostly Catholic country’s population, face a strict Easter lockdown against COVID-19. It was announced March 27 after the country reported 9,838 new cases, its highest single-day jump.

Mar 29, 2021

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s internationally-condemned decision to withdraw from treaty designed to address violence against women has resulted in a second wave of public protests. Named for the city in which it was drafted in 2011, the Istanbul Convention was said by Erdoğan to have been “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalise homosexuality” which was “incompatible” with Turkish values.

Mar 29, 2021

During Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s weekend visit to Tehran, he and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, signed a 25-year agreement which is expected to yield large Chinese investment. They also agreed to a 10-fold increase in bilateral trade over the next decade.

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