7 December 2023   (Reuters)

In a move virtually guaranteed to drive up global oil prices, Saudi Arabia and Russia today called on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to reduce crude production. They said in a joint statement after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin had met in Riyadh that it would enhance “the stability of global oil markets.”

7 December 2023   (Al Jazeera)

Invoking Article 99 of the United Nations Charter, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Security Council November 6 to impose a ceasefire on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

6 December 2023   (AP)

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN Relief & Works Agency, said today that there is no haven in besieged Gaza for civilians, including in UN shelters and Israeli-designated “safe zones.” More than 16,000 Gazans have reportedly been killed by Israel’s response to Hamas terrorists’ October attack.

6 December 2023   (CBC)

A Senate committee chaired by former diplomat Peter Boehm said today that Global Affairs Canada needs to reduce senior management and reallocate resources to recruiting and training frontline staff. The Foreign Affairs & International Trade committee says that a suspension of entry-level recruitment for much of the last decade exacerbated the staff shortage, which includes a huge reduction in foreign service officers.

6 December 2023   (CP)

For the third time this year, the Bank of Canada today held its key interest rate at 5%, encouraged by evidence that higher rates are helping to curb inflation. “Consumption growth in the last two quarters was close to zero, and business investment has been volatile but essentially flat over the past year,” it said.

6 December 2023   (CBC)

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre has fined Royal Bank of Canada $7.4 million for non-compliance with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures after it failed to report 16 suspicious transactions. RBC opted not to appeal the fine which was not “commensurate with an administrative matter where there is no connection to money laundering or terrorist financing offences” and said no employees had “knowingly contributed to violations.”

6 December 2023   (BBC)

The only major western economy to joint China’s flagship 2019 Belt and Road Initiative, Italy has notified Beijing it will pull the plug in the next few weeks. The BRI aims to invest the equivalent of US$1 trillion in Asian and European infrastructure but Slammed as “debt-trap diplomacy” which leaves recipient countries unable to repay huge loans and gives China economic and political leverage.

6 December 2023   (CBC)

The Communications Security Establishment warned today that hostile entities are “very likely” to use artificial intelligence technology to try to influence Canada’s next general election. “"Given the ineffectiveness of deepfake detection models, and the increasing availability of generative AI, it is likely that […] target voters will increasingly go undetected by the general public,” it said in a cyber alert.

5 December 2023   (ABC)

An Oregon district attorney announced today that a grand jury had indicted a former Alaska Airlines pilot accused of trying to shut down another carrier’s aircraft engines while he dead-headed on an October 22 flight to California from Washington state. Joseph Emerson, who says an extended lack of sleep was a factor, faces 83 charges of recklessly endangerment and one of endangering an aircraft.

5 December 2023   (Jerusalem Post)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced today that the U.S. will travel bans on “dozens” of extremist Jewish settlers implicated in a rash of attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. It comes at a sensitive moment in U.S.-Israeli relations as President Joe Biden’s administration has firmly backed Israel since an October attack by Hamas touched off a massive Israeli response which has killed thousands of civilians in Gaza.