In the News

Jul 04, 2022

A general election set for Israel in November will be the country’s fifth in less than four years, a cycle that began in April 2019 as mainstream political parties lost coalition support from small but influential smaller parties. In the meantime, centrist Yair Lapid has be named interim Prime Minister, succeeding Naftali Bennett who had held office for only a year.

Jul 04, 2022

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the constitutionality of enhancements of the 1982 “rape shield laws”, Criminal Code amendments designed to encourage reporting of sexual by essentially preventing a victim's sexual history from being used against them. Parliament approved changes in 2018 to expand the definition of evidence to include communications such as emails, videos and documents an accused might have about the complainant.

Jul 04, 2022

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and top Polish security officials visited their country’s border last week to mark the completion of a steel wall designed to stem the influx of migrants. Morawiecki’s government also plan to lift a state of emergency that has blocked human ights agencies, reporters and others from monitoring developments along the border.

Jul 04, 2022

The prospect of a $5-billion Atlantic Loop to transmit Quebec hydroelectricity to the four Atlantic provinces is putting pressure on the federal government to approve it quickly due to the construction time frame. “We need to make sure we have clarity from the federal government on their timelines and, of course, their financial commitment,” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said after talks with his New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Prince Edward Island counterparts.

Jul 04, 2022

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has lost some of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as the Supreme Court upheld a challenge by 19 mostly Republican-governed states, led by major coal producer West Virginia, which said the EPA lacked authority to limit emissions state-wide.

Jul 04, 2022

Governor General Mary Simon’s lack of fluency in French has prompted a group led by a former Parti Québécois leadership hopeful to file suit against her appointment on ground that it violates a constitutional requirement that the vice-regal representative, A Quebec-born Inuk who speaks English and Inuktitut, speak both official languages. The move in Quebec Superior Court follows a successful attempt by New Brunswick Acadians to have the appointment of their anglophone Lieutenant-Governor declared unconstitutional.

Jul 04, 2022

Rapid response to cyberattacks and other malign digital activity is the goal of a new NATO “virtual rapid response cyber capability” as it moves to boost Ukraine’s defences against relentless Russian activity. Agreed to at the latest alliance leaders’ summit, the voluntary program relies on current assets.

Jul 04, 2022

UN envoy says his country is ready for the EU to resume brokered discussions with the U.S. on overcoming remaining obstacles to a renewed nuclear agreement. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told the UN Security Council his country’s “negotiating team is ready to engage constructively . . . if the US acts realistically and shows its serious intention to implement its obligations.”

Jul 04, 2022

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has confirmed that federal public health requirements for visitors, including use of the ArriveCAN app, are expected to remain in place until the end of September. Also, the suspension of random COVID-19 testing for airport arrivals has been extended to mid-July.

Jun 30, 2022

The extreme views facilitated by the Muslim Association of Canada, have been ongoing, yet the organization continues to receive millions in federal funding. Speakers at the upcoming conference in Toronto will include one who advocates the death penalty for homosexuality and another who says it's OK to beat your wife. An ongoing Canada Revenue Agency audit has identified links between the association and foreign entities, and the MAC is seeking a court order to have the audit shut down.

Jun 30, 2022

After “two intense days of proximity talks” in Qatar about resuscitating Iran’s moribund multinational nuclear accord, the affair ended unproductively June 29. “We are disappointed that Iran has, yet again, failed to respond positively,” a U.S. official said. The EU, which brokered the meeting, said it would “keep working with even greater urgency to bring back on track a key deal for non-proliferation and regional stability.”

Jun 29, 2022

The Canadian government has yet to appoint a successor to Dominic Barton, its Ambassador to China who resigned in six months ago. The government’s position this week was that a replacement would be named in “due course” and that Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly had discussed with her Chinese counterpart “the challenges of recent years, including cases of arbitrary detention, and the importance of frank dialogue.”

Jun 29, 2022

Two men described by authorities as “illegal aliens” have been charged in Texas in connection with the deaths of 51 migrants found in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio earlier this week.

Jun 29, 2022

A judge who presided over court appearances of “Freedom Convoy” organizers says there have been threats and other offensive messages from Canadian and U.S. sources that police considered serious enough to require intervention. “It's intimidation,” said the judge whose identity is protected. “It's trying to influence a court decision, and that's serious.”

Jun 29, 2022

The day after it was dropping its opposition to NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, Turkey’s justice minister said today that he will press for the extradition of 33 Kurdish expatriates it considers “terror suspects” from the Nordic countries. Finland and Sweden have said they would “address Turkey's pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously.”

Jun 29, 2022

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said today that Canada is discussing with European allies the potential for exporting oil and natural gas from Atlantic terminals as alternative to Russian imports. “It is important for Canada to be able to step up and to help our European friends that are dealing with very difficult energy realities,” she said. “We need to do it in a way that we’re also dealing with the climate change issue, and And this is exactly the conversations we’re having, particularly with the Germans and also with the Spanish.”

Jun 29, 2022

A Quebec resident who pled guilty earlier this year to ransomware attacks that cost companies millions of dollars has pled guilty to similar charges in the U.S. Sébastien Vachon-Desjardins was arrested by RCMP in January 2021 and was sentenced to seven years in prison before being extradited for trial in Florida earlier this year.

Jun 29, 2022

Individuals described as pro-Chinese agents have been using social media to pose as local residents and environmental activists unhappy with rare earth mining projects in the U.S. and Canada, according to a Virginia-based threat intelligence consultancy. The misrepresentation is designed to give China, the largest producer of rare earth minerals, a competitive advantage.

Jun 29, 2022

Canada is broadening its diplomatic reach in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus to help counter Russian disinformation in the region. In addition to a new embassy in Armenia, offices in Estonia, Lithuania and Slovakia will be upgraded to full embassies and staff will be increased at the embassy in Latvia.

Jun 29, 2022

At the request of a commission of inquiry into the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act to address “freedom” protests earlier this year, the Liberals have waived cabinet confidence, only the fourth such move in Canadian history. “This exceptional step recognizes the fundamental importance of the commission's work and how critical these documents are in inquiring into why the government declared a public order emergency,” commission lawyers said.

Jun 28, 2022

The remaining member of a group that killed 130 persons and injured hundreds of others in Paris in 2015m Salah Abdeslam, has been found guilty of terrorism and murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for 30 years. The court handed down prison terms to 19 others convicted for their roles, ranging from two years to Abdeslam's sentence.

Jun 29, 2022

The expansion of NATO's rapid reaction force marks a new phase of its response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and is intended to send a stronger message of deterrence to Russia.

Jun 28, 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today agreed to endorse NATO membership for Sweden and Finland in a trilateral deal to “support … each other's security.” The two Nordic states agreed not only to address concerns about their handling of Kurdish nationalists deemed terrorists by Turkey but also to lift restrictions on weapons sales to Turkey.

Jun 28, 2022

Less than a month after being appointed Australia’s Minister for International Development & Pacific, Pat Conroy announced today that his country will set up a school to train Pacific island militaries amidst mounting competition for security ties in the region. He disclosed the plan ahead of a forum in Fiji at which regional leaders are expected to press for a trade and security pact with 10 countries which have diplomatic ties to China.

Jun 28, 2022

The Dominican Republic, a popular Caribbean destination for Canadian tourists, has been added to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Level 3: Covid-19 High” risk category along with Kuwait. As of the weekend, there were some 115 Level 3 designations, accounting for nearly half of the places monitored by the CDC.

Jun 28, 2022

Iran and Argentina are trying to join the five-national BRICS group, the economic coalition currently comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Jun 28, 2022

Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the “freedom convoy” which paralyzed downtown Ottawa for a month, faces a new charge of breach of recognisance under the Criminal Code. Arrested in Alberta June 28, she had been released on bail in March subject to an array of conditions, including not contacting many others linked to the protest.

Jun 28, 2022

There has been no Canadian government followup so far on a U.S. announcement that diplomats showing mysterious symptoms first noted at their embassy in Havana several years ago will be compensated. The “Havana Syndrome”, also reported by Canadian diplomats and their families there, evidently resulted in long-term cognitive impairment, The president of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers says Ottawa needs to “get to the bottom of what this is so that we can figure out what the best way of helping people is.”

Jun 27, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his counterparts from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S., today pledged ongoing support for Ukraine. “We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” they said in a statement on the second day of their G7 summit in Germany which also included EU representatives.

Jun 27, 2022

The U.S. is pressing its allies to address forced labour practices in China’s Xinjiang region, kickstarting the campaign by implementing a law that bans goods from the region where it accuses authorities of genocide against Muslim minorities. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the goal is freedom from “the use of forced labour, to speak out against atrocities in Xinjiang, and to join us in calling on the government of the . . . to immediately end atrocities and human rights abuses.”

Jun 27, 2022

The RCMP spent $2.8 million dealing with last winter’s “freedom” blockades in Ottawa and Alberta, excluding regular salaries. This is according to a reply to an Access to Information request CBC access to information request, which also disclosed that most of the total is due to extraordinary travel costs, accommodations and meals during the month-long lockdown in Ottawa.

Jun 27, 2022

As the national capital braces for more “freedom” protests over the Canada Day weekend, interim Conservative Leader Candice Berger says her caucus is free to attend the protests. “I support peaceful and legal demonstrations, and if my MPs want to be there, they're free to do whatever they want, and they'll answer to their constituents,” she said on the weekend. Meanwhile, Ottawa police plan to ensure no long-term blockage of the city’s downtown core.

Jun 27, 2022

An alleged Russian spy studying in an elite program favoured by the U.S. military at the Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies in Washington evidently was betrayed by his accent. When a classmate asked “Victor Muller” outright, he replied that he was Brazilian, but it was found be to part of an elaborate “deep sleeper” cover intelligence agent Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov sought to parlay into a position at the International Court of Justice.

Jun 27, 2022

The European Union’s top diplomat says a “long and positive” weekend meeting with Iran’s foreign minister has set the stage for a resumption of stall nuclear negotiations. Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Nuclear Policy, said new talks would focus on “resolving the last outstanding issues” which include U.S. sanctions.

Jun 24, 2022

A half-century after the U.S. Supreme Court gave women abortion rights, the current iteration of the court reversed that decision today. Five judges agreed to strike down the previous ruling while three dissented and Chief Justice John Roberts effectively abstained, leaving it to his conservative colleagues. Pending possible congressional action, it leaves jurisdiction to state governments.

Jun 24, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today to overturn decades-old jurisprudence on abortion is a “horrific” threat to women’s right to choose. “My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion,” he said on social media. “I can't imagine the fear and anger you are feeling.”

Jun 24, 2022

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has renewed the operating licence for the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station in New Brunswick for 10 years only days before its current licence was set to expire. NB Power had requested a 25-year renewal for the reactor, which began generating power in 1983, but the regulator said June 22 that 10 years was “appropriate” due to “strong public interest” in a series of hearings.

Jun 24, 2022

An earthquake in eastern Afghanistan June 22 left at least 1,000 dead and the Taliban government working with aid groups to bring in resources. In one particularly hard-hit community, Taliban fighters were reportedly seen driving around but only a few evidently were helping with rescue and recovery efforts.

Jun 24, 2022

Four months after the “Freedom Convoy” paralyzed downtown Ottawa, 23 members of the federal Conservative caucus met in the parliamentary precinct this week with key protest figures. One said that Ontario Conservative MP Dean Allison had helped to secure access.

Jun 24, 2022

Microsoft reports that state-backed Russian hackers have engaged in “strategic espionage” against governments, think tanks, businesses and aid groups in 42 countries which have sided with Ukraine against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s so-called “special military operation.” Nearly two-thirds of the targets have been NATO members, notably the U.S. and Poland, and the hackers’ activities have included unrelenting cyberattacks against Ukraine.

Jun 24, 2022

Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved from house arrest to solitary confinement in prison. Having spent 15 years under house arrest after an earlier coup and then overthrown by the military in February 2021, the 77-year-old Nobel laureate was sentenced to 11 years on charges widely condemned as spurious.

Jun 24, 2022

Yves Côté has ended his 10-year term as Commissioner of Canada Elections with a warning that disinformation and foreign interference are two key threats to the country’s electoral system. “There are all kinds of challenges that are lurking and some of them are becoming perhaps worse as we move on with time,” he says, calling on “politicians of all stripes, of institutions, of media, of academics . . . to pull together and say this is a danger.”

Jun 24, 2022

A New York state gun law restricting concealed handguns outside the home, enacted more than a century ago, was ruled unconstitutional today by the U.S. Supreme Court. The 6-3 decision changes how lower courts will handle other firearms restrictions which could include legislative amendments currently before Congress.

Jun 23, 2022

Responding to the problem of youth radicalization, the parliament in Australia’s second-largest state, Victoria, has become the first in the country to ban public displays of Nazi swastikas. Dvir Abramovich, chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission, expects other states to follow suit, saying “the fact that we’ve got a resurgent white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement is a cause for concern in every state.”

Jun 23, 2022

Some 72 per cent of Canadians evidently are displeased with how their provincial governments are handling health care, according to an Angus Reid Institute poll of more than 5,000 respondents this month. Governments are signalling by their words and actions that the pandemic is over,” Institute President Shachi Kuri says. “It is not surprising, then, that their constituents begin to expect primary medical care that is at least as reliable and accessible as it was before the pandemic”

Jun 23, 2022

Saudi Arabia's crown prince. Mohammed bin Salman. visited Turkey June 22 for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about repairing a deep diplomatic rift sparked by journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Seeking trade, investment and assistance, Turkey also has also worked to improve relations with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel.

Jun 23, 2022

The European Commission and non-government organizations are concerned about several states’ reversion to coal-fired power generation to compensate for reduced natural gas availability from Russia. “We have to make sure that we use this crisis to move forward and not to have a backsliding on the dirty fossil fuels,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Jun 23, 2022

The cost of twinning the federally-owned Trans Mountain pipeline to B.C. from Alberta has tripled, the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported June 21, topping $21 billion compared with an initial $7.4-billion estimate. Natural disasters along the right-of-way, coupled with environmental measures and increasing financing costs are cited but an aide to Finance Ministers said the project “is in the national interest and will make Canada and the Canadian economy more sovereign and more resilient,”

Jun 23, 2022

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has rebutted suggestions by an RCMP Superintendent in Nova Scotia that she had tried to manage information released by officers investigating a 2020 mass shooting in that province. “I would never take actions or decisions that could jeopardize an investigation” Lucki stated June 21. “I did not interfere in the ongoing investigations into the largest mass shooting in Canadian history.”

Jun 23, 2022

The centrist government of French President Emmanuel is trying to avoid political paralysis after losing its parliamentary majority to influential right- and left-wing parties in last weekend’s election. The government now is focusing on building a “working majority’ through a coalition or alliances with individuals in the other parties.

Jun 22, 2022

Tracking by a Global Affairs Canada unit has identified an apparent Chinese disinformation campaign about what Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were doing in China before they were detained in 2018. They were convicted in closed courts of spying in 2021 in what was generally seen as unwarranted retaliation for Canada’s detention of a Huawei executive at the request of the U.S.

Jun 22, 2022

Growing concern about the personal safety of Members of Parliament have prompted parliamentary security to issue MPs with emergency response technology. The decision has been confirmed by Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, himself the target death threats on social media, and follows recent harassment of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh during an Ontario election campaign event.

Jun 21, 2022

The application for NATO membership by Finland and Sweden remains a work in progress due to concerns that the Nordic neighbours have been havens for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been labelled a “terrorist” organization. Turkey’s presidential spokesman said June 20 that discussions have been “constructive” but more work is needed.

Jun 16, 2022

A three-year-long public inquiry into money-laundering in British Columbia delivered strong criticism, finding billions of dollars of criminal funds flowed annually through casinos, real estate and luxury goods in the absence of effective federal law enforcement. The report released Wednesday by former B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen says the anti-money laundering actions taken by the former BC Liberal government were largely ineffective. Cullen calls on the provincial government to create its own intelligence and investigation police unit to tackle large-scale money laundering, with an independent officer of the legislature to provide oversight.

Jun 15, 2022

At a press conference today, Toronto Police Chief James Ramer announced the release of race-based data and admits the results have confirmed the prevalence of systemic discrimination within the organization. "Our own analysis of our own data from 2020 discloses that there is systemic racism in our policing." For this, he apologized "unreservedly", vowing "we must improve and we will do better."

Jun 03, 2022

The Canadian government plans to fight gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, providing more tools to investigate firearms crimes, and strengthening border measures. According to the federal Liberal govt, the firearm-control legislation tabled today would put a national freeze on importing, buying or selling handguns, and also allow for the removal of gun licences from people involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking.

May 25, 2022

A teenage gunman opened fire at an elementary school in South Texas on Tuesday, killing 19 students, 1 teacher and another adult. The 18-year-old shooter was killed at the scene, possibly by responding officers. Salvador Ramos, who investigators was armed with a handgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and high-capacity magazines, is suspected of shooting his grandmother at the start of the rampage.

May 23, 2022

A rare "Derecho" storm extended roughly 1,000km from the Michigan border to Quebec City leaving fatalities and much damage in its wake, toppling trees and power lines, overturning cars, cutting electricity, and tossing debris through windows. At least nine deaths have been attributed to the storm, mostly from falling trees.

May 20, 2022

The technology that supports the 5G network has been redesigned from previous generations. The speed difference (about 100 milliseconds) may be imperceivable for individual use, but noticeable at a larger scale. This article examines what led to the decision to ban the Chinese tech giant from Canada's 5G network, what other countries are doing, and alternatives to Huawei.

May 19, 2022

The federal government has banned Huawei from working on Canada's fifth-generation networks over security concerns. The move puts Canada in line with key intelligence allies like the United States, which have expressed concerns about the national security implications of giving the Chinese tech giant access to key infrastructure.

May 18, 2022

Europe’s effort to stand up to Vladimir Putin is being slowed by the leaders of Hungary and Turkey. A procedural vote on NATO moving ahead quickly with the membership applications of Sweden and Finland was blocked by Turkey on Wednesday. For its part, Hungary continues to block all European Union efforts to put an embargo on Russian oil.

May 15, 2022

Historically neutral Finland and Sweden confirmed today that they will apply for NATO membership, a political shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland, which shares a 1,300km border with Russia, announced its decision first and was followed within hours by Sweden. Russia has threatened unspecific “consequences.”

May 13, 2022

A 1995 Criminal Code amendment which barred extreme intoxication as a defence was struck down today by the Supreme Court of Canada. Ruling unanimously on three appeals, the court said the law is a Charter violation because a person's decision to become intoxicated does not mean they intended to offend. It called on Parliament to consider new legislation which could hold persons accountable while protecting victims.

May 13, 2022

The Israeli surveillance company NSO Group is being sued by Apple Inc. in U.S. federal court in a bid to hold it accountable for surveillance and targetting the San Francisco-based giant’s customers with NSO’s Pegasus spyware. Seeking unspecified damages and costs, Apple said it would donate the proceeds its suit to organizations that expose spyware.

May 13, 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today his country is “not of a favourable option” about the prospect of NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, but he stopped short of saying that he would exercise Turkey’s veto. He cited, among other things, alleged Scandinavian support for Kurdish militants and other groups Turkey sees as terrorists.

May 13, 2022

With Finland’s parliament expected to formally approve a request for NATO membership, a decision expected to be matched by Sweden this weekend, Russia’s foreign ministry said today there is a threat to security and stability in northern Europe. “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature,” it added without being specific.

May 13, 2022

The European Union is giving Ukraine another €500 million to buy heavy weapons to fend off the Russian invasion, the bloc's foreign policy head said today against the backdrop of a G-7 meeting in Germany. Also, Canada and the other bloc members are planning to examine how to gain access to millions of tonnes of globally-critical grain in the besieged country.

May 13, 2022

Canada’s dairy supply management program can now add New Zealand to the roster of countries challenging its legitimacy. New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor said May 12 that his government has initiated dispute settlement proceedings under the 2018 Trans-Pacific Partnership accord. “Our priority is to ensure that New Zealand exporters have meaningful access to the benefits negotiated under CPTPP, and that all parties fulfill the commitments they have made to each other.”

May 12, 2022

Profanity-laden harassment of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Ontario this week “would rank among the worst experiences” of his political career. He said May 11 that the incident in Peterborough as he was campaigning for a provincial candidate reflected a worsening trend. “We should be able to disagree as a society respectfully, maybe even angrily, but it doesn't have to come to the point where it's getting so polarized that people's safety is at risk.”

May 12, 2022

The Finance Department has approved a $10-billion loan guarantee for Trans Mountain to help the pipeline company finish its expansion work. Responding to suggestions that this was tantamount to a fossil fuel subsidy, the department pointed out that “it does not reflect any new public spending” and that guarantees are “a common practice which puts in place an insurance policy for the institutions that have invested in the project.”

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