In the News

Jun 10, 2021

As early as next month, returning fully-vaccinated Canadians might not not be subject to self-isolation or quarantine requirements. Health Minister Patty Hajdu said June 9 that this first step in a “phased” easing of federal COVID-19 border measures depends on talks with the provinces and territories as well as case counts and vaccination rates. “These metrics are very important factors as we move towards implementing the changes on the border that we hope to have in place in early July,” she said.

Jun 09, 2021

Cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, which Alberta was counting on to get crude oil to southern U.S. refineries, will cost the province approximately $1.3 billion, it was disclosed today. “We invested in Keystone XL because of the long-term economic benefits it would have provided Albertans and Canadians,” said Energy Minister Sonya Savage in a news release. The government agreed last year to a $1.5 equity position in the project as well as billions more in loan guarantees.

Jun 09, 2021

China cannot be compelled to provide more data on the origins of COVID-19, a senior World Health Organization official has pointed out. Rather, says Mike Ryan, the Irish epidemiologist who oversees the WHO Health Emergency Program, “we fully expect cooperation, input and support of all of our member states in that endeavour.”

Jun 09, 2021

The U.S. is forming expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, Britain and the European Union to determine how best to restart travel after 15 months of pandemic restrictions. A White House official says decisions on reopening borders “will be fully guided by the objective analysis and recommendations by public health and medical experts.”

Jun 09, 2021

The official spokesman for the Taliban says postwar Afghanistan will be a law-abiding society open for business and at peace with the rest of the world while still under strict control. In the meantime, adds Zabiullah Mujahid, the insurgents will continue to fight for an “Islamic government.”

Jun 09, 2021

More than 800 suspected criminals have been arrested worldwide after being tricked into using an encrypted messaging app. Australian, British and U.S. law enforcement agencies were able to monitor exchanges about narcotics, money laundering and even murder plots before moving in to make arrests as well as seizing drugs, guns and money.

Jun 08, 2021

Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić has lost his appeal against a 2017 conviction for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. A five-member UN panel upheld his life sentence today for his role in killing some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.

Jun 08, 2021

The Russian foreign ministry has banned visits by Canada’s Justice and Intergovernmental Affairs ministers, the Commissioner of the RCMP, the Deputy Minister of Defence and the commander of the Canadian Armed Forces Intelligence Command. They and other senior officials have been accused by the ministry of “inappropriate and counterproductive activity in support of the ultra-nationalist regime” in Ukraine and other “Russophobic forces” in the Baltic states.

Jun 08, 2021

On the heels of Air Canada executives agreeing to return bonuses paid last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, their counterparts at NAV CANADA are under political pressure to follow suit. They received $7 million in bonuses even as the company was laying off employees and accessing federal financial support.

Jun 07, 2021

Four members of a Muslim family in London., Ont., were killed in a June 6 hit-and-run attack which resulted in the 20-year-old driver of the vehicle being charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder, the latter involving a fifth member of the family. Police said the attack was a “premeditated act motivated by hate” and were consulting the RCMP on the possibility of laying terrorism-related charges as well.

Jun 07, 2021

The U.S. Justice Department said June 7 that it had recovered much of the roughly $4.4-million Bitcoin ransom paid last month to Russian hackers who shut down the company’s control systems. A department team is reported to have seized some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency by hijacking the Darkside Network’s Bitcoin wallet.

Jun 07, 2021

Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Nigerian militant Boko Haram movement evidently has been killed in a battle with rival Islamic State West African Province forces. ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi confirmed Shekau’s death in a verified audio recording.

Jun 07, 2021

A thick slimy layer of organic mucilage has spread through the sea south of Istanbul, posing a threat to the fishing industry and marine life. Turkey’s environment minister announced plans to make the entire Sea of Marmara a protected area, reduce pollution and improve treatment of waste water from coastal cities and ships, which has contributed to the sea snot spread.

Jun 07, 2021

Canada's border agency is urgently looking to hire a global technology firm to help develop a biometric strategy in response to rapidly evolving issues including COVID-19. The chosen contractor would help CBSA develop a plan to "manage, evolve and adapt" the use of biometrics to address issues flowing from the pandemic and other priorities.

Jun 07, 2021

"We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith,” said London Police Chief after 4 pedestrians were run down and killed while walking on the sidewalk on Sunday evening. The victims, all related, ranged in age from 15 to 74. A 9-year old boy is in hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle was apprehended wearing a body armour vest.

Jun 07, 2021

A strategic intelligence report prepared by the Canada Border Service Agency warns that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to drive an increase in immigration fraud and human smuggling. It says that economic downturns and increased poverty abroad will prompt more people to resort to irregular methods to gain entry.

Jun 07, 2021

Some 400,000 persons living in the U.S. on humanitarian grounds have been ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court as ineligible to apply to become permanent residents. However, with Temporary Protected Status, they cannot be deported and are permitted to work. The case turned on whether people who entered the country illegally and were given humanitarian protections were ever “admitted” under immigration law.

Jun 07, 2021

Canada and the other G7 countries countries plan to set common minimum corporate tax rates, a move Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says is the first step toward a global deal. She also says Canada will go ahead with a three per cent digital services tax next year, contingent on any international deals.

Jun 07, 2021

The U.S. government is being pressed by major airlines to relax COVID-19 restrictions which continue to block travellers who have been in much of Europe and elsewhere even as other countries began to ease prohibitions.

Jun 07, 2021

Investigations into misconduct by Canada Border Services Agency officers increased by nearly 27 per cent last year despite a dramatic drop in international travel. The CBSA said it conducted 215 “founded” investigations last year compared with 171 in 2019 and that 170 officers were reprimanded, mainly with temporary suspensions, but one was dismissed for interfering in the immigration process.

Jun 07, 2021

A sweeping law designed to wipe out any type of foreign “reactionary thought”, including using slang or wearing some types of clothing, has been enacted by the North Korean government of Kim Jong-Un. Anyone cause with large amounts of media from South Korea, Japan or the U.S. is liable for the death penalty.

Jun 07, 2021

In a settlement with French authorities, the Internet giant Google said today that it will change its global advertising policy to ensure it does not abuse is dominant market position. This was after the California-headquartered company was fined €220million by the French competition bureau in a case with broad international ramifications.

Jun 07, 2021

A U.S. federal judge has overturned California’s 32-year-old ban on assault weapons, calling it a “failed experiment” and fundamentally unconstitutional. Immediately criticized by the state government, the ruling was on a 2019 lawsuit file by a California resident and a political action committee. “Government is not free to impose its own new policy choices on American citizens where Constitutional rights are concerned,” Judge Roger Benitez wrote.

Jun 07, 2021

After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland lambasted them in Parliament, senior Air Canada executives confirmed June 6 that they would return their 2020 bonuses and stock options. The bonuses had been awarded as the carrier was negotiating pandemic-related financial support.

Jun 07, 2021

Dozens of Chinese companies with alleged ties to the country’s military will be off-limits to U.S. investors, effective August 2. President Joe has signed an executive order which initially targets investment in 59 companies but the prohibition is to be updated on a rolling basis.

Jun 04, 2021

NAV CANADA has launched an app designed to enhance the safety of drone operations in controlled airspace. help drone pilots and operators safely and legally fly their remotely piloted aircraft systems. The air navigation service provider said it received nearly 16,000 flight authorization requests in the second half of last year, a 54 per cent jump from the same period in 2019.

Jun 04, 2021

Nearly two decades after the Anglo-French Concorde was retired service, United Airlines has signed an agreement to buy 15 smaller platforms from Colorado-based Boom Supersonic, which has been developing new technologies since 2014. Whether the deal can be realized evidently won’t be known until 2026.

Jun 04, 2021

Cristiana Chamorro, a prospective candidate for the presidency of Nicaragua, has been placed under house arrest, accused by Danial Ortega’s government of money laundering. Her arrest is the latest in a series of measures the opposition says is designed to ensure Ortega’s reelection.

Jun 04, 2021

Effective today, the European Union is preventing Belarus airlines and other carriers with code-sharing agreements. The move is the latest in a series of punitive measures against Belarus in response to its scrambling a fighter May 23 to force a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk so that authorities could arrest a political critic.

Jun 03, 2021

A 41-year-old Chinese man from Jiangsu province has been confirmed as the first human case of infection with a rare bird flu strain. Officials did not give details on how the man got infected, but the H10N3 strain is thought to not easily spread from humans to humans. Contact tracing did not find any other cases of the virus.

Jun 03, 2021

The federal government has committed an additional $220 million to COVAX, the international agency mandated to improve lower-income countries’ access to COVID-19 vaccines. International Development Minister Karina Gould announced the decision June 2, saying that “only by pulling together will we protect everyone everywhere.”

Jun 03, 2021

The upper house of Russia’s parliament voted June 2 to withdraw from the Open Skies treaty which facilitated reciprocal military reconnaissance overflights with other signatories. The U.S. had already decided not to rejoint the agreement. The Duma’s decision now requires only President Vladimir Putin’s signature to become law.

Jun 03, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told the Communist Party leadership that he wants to increase his country’s “circle of friends” and to present an image of a “credible, loveable and respectable” international partner.

Jun 03, 2021

Arriving air passengers who refuse to quarantine in a designated hotel face a $5,000 fine, beginning June 4. The $2,000 increase is in response to the findings of a government advisory panel which recommended that passengers arrange their own quarantine.

Jun 03, 2021

Former U.S President Donald Trump evidently has abandoned a personal blog launched only a month ago as a personal alternative to Twitter. An aide confirmed the decision June 2, saying only that the blog “will not be returning.” Trump was cut off from several social media platforms in January after he told rioters that he “loved” them after they had attacked Congress.

Jun 03, 2021

Since the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.617 was reported in India late last year, it has spread to dozens of other countries, including the U.S. and Britain, where investigators are trying to determine how this and other variants are driving the global pandemic.

Jun 03, 2021

The release of more than 3,000 emails in response to a Freedom of Information Act request shows that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. administration’s pandemic point man, was working within a whirlwind of often conflicting information in the early phases of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jun 03, 2021

Reports that Danish intelligence helped the U.S. to spy on European leaders several years ago are neither being denied nor commented on directly, but Prime Minister Mette Freederiksen said June 2 that her country has solid relations with its allies. “I do not think it is correctly presented that there is a need to restore relations with either France or Germany,” she said. “We have an ongoing dialogue.”

Jun 02, 2021

More than a third of the world's deaths attributable to “heat events” each year are directly related to global warming, according to new scientific analysis. In reviewing 1991-2018 data from 732 cities, the researchers say that even more deaths are due to other extreme weather events.

Jun 02, 2021

A 2017 decision by the former U.S. administration to permit oil and gas exploration in an ecologically-sensitive part of Alaska was overturned June 1, some five months after a moratorium was imposed. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been at the centre of a decades-long fight between environmentalists and indigenous peoples and the petroleum industry.

Jun 02, 2021

Eight years after it was alleged that the U.S. had spied on some of its allies, European leaders are once again demanding explanations after new claims. The original claim focused on Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel but the latest focuses on a report that Danish intelligence had worked with the U.S. After talks with Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron said any he expects “completely open” clarification.

Jun 02, 2021

The Canadarm2 on the International Space Station suffered “limited” damage from debris last month. However, the Canadian Space Agency says “results of the ongoing analysis indicate that the arm's performance remains

Jun 01, 2021

The World Health Organization’s answer to that question evidently is “plenty”. Hence its decision, announced May 31, to assign new Greek alphabet labels to COVID-19 variants in what an official explained is a move to destigmatize the countries where variants are first detected.

Jun 01, 2021

NATO foreign and defence ministers began meeting today to prepare for the alliance’s first meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, set for June 14, after four fractious years with his predecessor. “This is a pivotal moment for our alliance, and our collective security,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said May 31. “In a more competitive and unpredictable world, we need transatlantic unity.”

Jun 01, 2021

The International Atomic Energy Agency said May 31 that Iran has failed to explain traces of uranium found at several undeclared sites. The UN agency’s report potentially sets up for a new diplomatic clash which could derail negotiations to get an international accord back on track.

Jun 01, 2021

The espionage trial of a former Polish intelligence agent and a former Huawei employee began today in Warsaw as some European countries consider whether to block the Chinese company’s involvement in upgrading their telecommunications networks. The two accused were arrested in January 2019.

May 31, 2021

France says an espionage charge brought against one of its citizens in Iran, a tourist arrested last year for flying a drone near the Turkmenistan border a year ago, are “incomprehensible.” A foreign ministry spokesman said France “knew of nothing that could back up” the capital offence charge which was laid May 30.

May 31, 2021

Two days after the remains of 215 children were found buried near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., the federal has directed that flags on all federal buildings across the country be flown at half-mast. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision on social media May 30.

May 31, 2021

Responding to a steep decline in birth rates and concerns about an increasingly older national demographic, the Chinese government says it will permit couples to have up to three children. Its previous cap of two was implemented in 2016 after decades of a one-child limit.

May 31, 2021

A group of Houston hospital workers have invoked the Nuremburg Code in suing their employer over mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. Implemented after WWII in response to Nazi atrocities, the code is designed to prevent experimentation on human subjects without their consent. The suit follows a statement by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that employers could mandate vaccinations.

May 31, 2021

President Joe Biden’s first budget, for 2022, includes $58.4 billion for 25 civilian agencies’ information technology improvement and maintenance as the administration furthers “the vision of digital government.” The request in the May 28 budget represents a 2.4 per cent increase from 2021.

May 28, 2021

A malware attack on a Canada Post supplier, Commport Communications, involved 44 of its largest customers and potentially nearly one million people. As a data interchange service, Commport manages manifest data for large-parcel shippers. Canada Post said in a May 26 statement that no personal financial information was accessed during the attack between July 2016 and March 2019.

May 28, 2021

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won a fourth term in an election observers say was marred by fraud. His government says the May 26 vote, with a reported turnout of 78 per cent, shows the country is functioning normally despite a decade-long conflict which has killed hundreds of thousands and driven about half the population from their homes.

May 28, 2021

Swiss legislators are discussing the need for more controls over their country’s secretive and essentially unregulated banking industry after a recent investment scandal. “Bank directors don’t take responsibility for their action because there is no need,” says Green Party parliamentarian Gerhard Andrey. “We have proposed a reform . . . that would mean if something goes wrong, then the manager is on the hook.”

May 28, 2021

Air France and Austrian Airlines have been refused landing rights in Moscow after they said they would not overfly Belarus. They are protesting the Russian ally’s forced diversion of a flight to Lithuania from Greece so that authorities could arrest a critic of Belarusia’s autocratic president.

May 27, 2021

Students at Western University and its affiliated colleges in Ontario must have at least one COVID-19 vaccination as part of the London-based campus’ plan to return to in-person classes this fall. It said May 26 that the preference is to get vaccinated before arriving but failing that, students would have two weeks after their scheduled move-in date to get shots on campus. However, students who cannot be vaccinated for medical or “other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code” can request accommodation.

May 27, 2021

With COVID-19 infection rates near zero and life mostly normal, Australia has been one of the world's success stories during the global pandemic, having closed its borders early. However, it now seems that the prospect of restrictions remaining in place until mid-2022 is under attack as critics say it will cause long-term economic and societal problems.

May 27, 2021

Australia's ambassador to China, Graham Fletcher, was denied entry May 25 to a Beijing court which was hearing espionage charges against an Australian blogger. “The reason given was because of the pandemic situation but the foreign ministry has also told us it is because it is a national security case,” Fletcher said. “We have had longstanding concerns about this case, including lack of transparency, and therefore have concluded it is an instance of arbitrary detention.” The blogger, Yang Hengjun, is an Australian citizen born in China who was living in New York immediately before he was detained in China.

May 27, 2021

Information-sharing software developed by Fujitsu enabled hackers to leak data from Japanese government offices. Among other things, air traffic control data at Tokyo Narita Airport was compromised, prompting a cybersecurity alert. Fujitsu suspended the software's services pending an investigation.

May 27, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed today to review the sentencing of a man who shot six persons to death at a Quebec City mosque in 2017. Alexandre Bissonnette, who pled guilty to six counts each of first-degree murder and attempted murder in 2018, was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 40 years. Quebec’s appeal court ruled last November that he would be eligible to apply for parole after 25 years, saying that a Criminal Code provision for consecutive life sentences is unconstitutional.

May 27, 2021

Michelle Bacelet, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, says the deaths of more than 200 Palestinians during Israel’s latest attack on the Gaza strip may be considers “war crimes.” The former socialist president of Chile made her comment May 26 at the opening of a UN Human Rights Council meeting. “If found disproportionate, such attacks might constitute war crimes,” she said, also urging Hamas to stop firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel.

May 27, 2021

The global pandemic has proven the value of international research cooperation but are geopolitical tensions, notably between the U.S. and China, undermining that process? It’s argued that all sides need to strike a balance that safeguards the rewards of cooperation because other global issues such as climate change, environmental degradation and disease require it.

May 26, 2021

Auditor General Karen Hogan said today that the Public Health Agency of Canada was inadequately prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic because it ignored internal audits that found serious gaps in the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile. She said PHAC failed to address “long-standing issues” in how personal protective equipment and other devices were managed in the stockpile, which was created in part to supply provinces and territories with crucial goods during crises.

May 26, 2021

In what is being described as a precedent-setting judgment, Royal Dutch Shell has been ordered by a court in The Netherlands to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions in that country by 45 per cent from 2019 levels by 2030. A spokesman for the petroleum giant said it expects to appeal the ruling in the case brought by Friends of the Earth along with six other organizations and thousands of Dutch citizens.

May 26, 2021

Even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was saying May 25 that his government is considering further sanctions against Belarus over its military diversion of an international airline flight to arrest a passenger who has criticized the autocratic regime, Minsk announced that it is closing its embassy in Ottawa in a couple of months. Meanwhile, Transport Canada has advised all airlines to avoid Belarussian airspace.

May 25, 2021

Alberta has ordered four universities to stop seeking research projects linked to the Chinese government. “I am deeply concerned about the potential theft of Canadian intellectual property and further concerned that research partnerships . . . may be used by Chinese military and intelligence agencies,” Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides says. “More needs to be done to curb foreign state infiltration into our research and innovation centres.”

May 25, 2021

A Federal Court of Canada decision (Docket No. T-783-20) means it should be more difficult for officials to cancel travellers’ NEXUS cards over a minor rules infraction. Having heard the case of a Montrealer who had slightly miscalculated the amount of cash he was carrying, the judge set aside the decision to cancel the card and ordered “reconsideration by a different decision maker.”

May 25, 2021

The Republican governor of Texas is preparing to sign off on a bill which would enable most residents to carry concealed handguns without a license, training or background checks. Texas already permits long-guns to be carried openly without a license.

May 25, 2021

European leaders have agreed unanimously to toughen sanctions on Belarus and to bar European Union airlines from flying over the country’s airspace after Belarusian authorities used a Mig-29 fighter jet to force a Ryanair flight to land in Belarus so that a dissident journalist could be arrested. The May 23 flight to Vilnius from Athens was diverted to Minsk on the orders of President Alexander Lukashenko.

May 25, 2021

The U.S. territory of Guam in the Western Pacific has been cleared by the Supreme Court to pursue a $160-million lawsuit against Washington over the cost of cleaning up a landfill dating to the 1940s. The court was unanimous in its May 24 ruling, which overturned a lower court’s decision that Guam had waited too long to pursue the claim.

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