NEWS BRIEFS: INTERNATIONAL
30 January 2023   (AP)
The World Health Organization said today that the coronavirus remain a global emergency even though an expert panel says higher levels of immunity can virus-related deaths. “There is no doubt that we're in a far better situation” than a year ago, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urging vulnerable group to be fully vaccinated and ignore “misinformation” about masking and social distancing.
29 January 2023   (CBC)
The Russian mercenary Wagner Group has been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a “transnational criminal organization” responsible for atrocities in Ukraine. Molly Dunigan, senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a California-based global policy think tank, says Wagner “historically has just been . . . no-holds-barred in terms of brutality against civilians in the population in which they operate.”
29 January 2023   (CNN)
Petr Pavel, 61, a former Czech Republic army general and head of NATO’s military committee, was elected to the country’s presidency January 28. Campaigning as a social liberal, he promised to keep the country firmly anchored in the West and will take office in March.
29 January 2023   (Breaking Defense)
An accelerated procurement process in German is designed to equip “each and every” soldier personnel equipment such as protective gear, night vision goggles, and rucksacks inside the next three years. It could have taken nearly double that time under normal circumstances but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added real-world urgency to the task.
27 January 2023   (Al Jazeera)
A court in Helsinki today found two Finnish journalists from a major daily newspaper guilty of revealing classified defence intelligence information in 2017. The lead writer was fined for divulging what was described as publicly-available 10-year-old information of the approximate location and mission of Finnish defence forces, but his colleague was not sentenced.
27 January 2023   (Al Jazeera)
Fiji’s new government, elected in December, today suspended its police commissioner and its elections supervisor as it beefs up ties with Australia and New Zealand and prepares to terminate a contentious policing agreement with China. “Our system of democracy and justice systems are different so we will go back to those that have similar systems with us,” explained Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.
27 January 2023   (USNI)
Despite Russia’s commitment of apparently dwindling resources to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s Northern Fleet’s ballistic missile submarine and strategic bomber capabilities remain intact, according to a report this week from the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington. its authors note that the Arctic remains “of great strategic value”, especially the Kola Peninsula as a gateway for attack and ballistic missile submarines to reach the Atlantic.
27 January 2023   (Defense News)
Recent joint ventures with foreign defence manufacturers evidently will enable Hungary to boost military expenditure to NATO’s target of two per cent of gross domestic product a year earlier than expected. The deals with the state-owned N7 Holding company are part of a large-scale effort to procure new weapons and production facilities.
27 January 2023   (Defense News)
The U.S. Navy is suspending submarine repairs at four dry docks in Washington state due to concerns about their possible vulnerability to seismic activity. Stressing that there is “no immediate risk,” the USN says the decision enables a team of experts to assess three drydocks at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard drydocks in Bremerton and one at the Trident Refit Facility in nearby Bangor.
27 January 2023   (AP)
A former U.S. Army reservist has been sentenced by a Chicago court to eight years in prison for spying for China by collecting information on aerospace scientists and engineers. Ji Chaoqun, 31, enlisted through a program to recruit foreigners who have skills considered vital to the national interest; he was convicted of falsifying answers on a government background form.
27 January 2023   (AP/EuroNews)
Nuclear nonproliferation experts have suggested for months Iran had enough highly-enriched uranium to build at least one weapon and now the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says the stockpile is larger than thought. He said January 24 that while “we need to be extremely careful” in describing the program Iran insists is for peaceful purposes, “they have amassed enough nuclear material for several nuclear weapons, not one at this point.”
27 January 2023   (CTV)
When Russia invaded Ukraine 11 months ago, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country needed fighters, including foreigners. Canadians were among the earliest to heed the call, alone or in groups, and the Ukrainian Foreign Legion said a short while later that they were “one of the most numerous nationalities” in its ranks. Several have died in combat but the federal government says it is not monitoring anyone going to Ukraine.

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