Interoperability (International)

EU shelving Chinese virus tests

European Union states have agreed to phase out by the end of February their requirement that Chinese visitors have a pre-departure coronavirus test. When China eased its policies January 8, the EU initially failed to agree on a unified response. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa urged to tackle asylum crisis

Quebec Premier François Legault is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make the flow of migrants across an irregular border crossing in southern Quebec a priority during an upcoming with U.S. President Joe Biden. In a February 20 letter, he said Canada urgently needs to renegotiate an agreement which enables asylum seekers to enter at an “irregular” border crossing and overload his province’s social support resources. [node:read-more:link]

Putin renews nuclear threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin used a 105-minute speech to his country’s political and military elite today announced that he is spending involvement in arms limitation talks, putting new strategic systems on combat status and threatening to resume nuclear tests. Three days before the first anniversary of his “special military operation” against Ukraine, he also said the war had been forced on Russia by NATO’s eastward expansion. [node:read-more:link]

Highlights of Putin's alternate reality?

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that his country is at a “watershed moment” as his war in Ukraine has triggered the biggest confrontation with the West since the depths of the Cold War. It is, he said, “a time of cardinal, irreversible changes around the world, the most important historic events that shape the future of our country and our people, when each of us bears a colossal responsibility.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran denies enrichment claims

A report that it has intentionally enriched uranium to a purity of 84 per cent is being denied by Iran amidst ongoing issues with the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was reported that IAEA inspectors had discovered the enrichment to just below the 90 per cent required for weapons production. An official with the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran said February 19 that particles with above 60 per cent purity had been found, as they had in the past, but that “does not mean that there has been enrichment over 60 percent.” [node:read-more:link]

Turkish arrests after earthquakes

The Turkish government has ordered the arrest of more than 100 persons as it investigates the role of sloppy construction of thousands of buildings toppled or heavily damaged in the recent earthquakes. The death toll there and in neighbouring Syria topped 41,000 today as recovery efforts continue. [node:read-more:link]

Four NORAD shootdowns in nine days

An “unidentified” object shot down by a U.S. F-22 Raptor pilot over Lake Huron February 12 is the focus of a Canadian-U.S. debris recovery in Canadian waters. It was the fourth such interception since a suspected Chinese “spy” balloon was shot down off the U.S. East Coast after transiting the U.S. and Canada. That was followed by the downing of high-altitude “objects” off northern Alaska and the central Yukon due to concerns about surveillance and potential interference with commercial air traffic [node:read-more:link]

Winter “worsening” earthquake aftermath

Unseasonably cold weather is worsening the outlook for survivors of this week’s massive earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria with more than 20,000 deaths confirmed as of today. “We’ve got a lot of people who have survived now out in the open and in worsening and horrific conditions,” said Robert Holden, the World Health Organization’s incident manager. “We are in real danger of seeing a secondary disaster.” [node:read-more:link]

Earthquake death toll mounting

More than 11,000 people in Turkey and Syria are now confirmed dead and thousands more remain missing today after a earthquakes and aftershocks in their border region February 6. International rescue teams are racing against time, their work hampered by winter weather, to find survivors in devastated communities but logistics and politics in war-torn Syria exacerbate the difficulties. [node:read-more:link]

Russia trying to “destabilize” Moldova

Moldova’s prime minister is accusing Russia of sponsoring protests and conducting cyberattacks in an attempt to destabilize the former Soviet republic abutting southwestern Ukraine. “We are seeing . . . pro-Russian forces trying to destabilise the country politically through paid protests,” Natalia Gavrilița said February 7. “We've had the biggest cyberattacks in 2022 in the history of our country, and we are seeing bomb threats.” [node:read-more:link]

EU mounts fake news counteroffensive

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign affairs and security chief, said February 7 that EU missions worldwide are being assigned special staff to deal with growing traffic in disinformation. “We have to address this politically at the highest possible level,” he said, having specifically mentioned Russian-sourced fake news. [node:read-more:link]

Balloon debris under microscope

U.S. intelligence officials believe that the Chinese balloon shot down by the U.S., and now in the hands of the FBI, is part of an extensive military surveillance program which has conducted at least two dozen missions over at least five continents in recent years. Roughly half have been into U.S. airspace, including the downed “weather” balloon which also entered Canadian airspace after being detected by NORAD. The debris now is being analyzed by FBI engineers in an attempt to learn what kind of intelligence it could have collected as well as how future incursions can be tracked. [node:read-more:link]

Aurora returning from Haiti mission

An RCAF CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft headed back to base in Atlantic Canada today after intelligence gathering flights over Haiti. The aircraft was retasked from a U.S.-led counter-narcotics mission and a Canadian Armed Forces official said the data collected over two days would be used by the government “to further assess the situation in Haiti,” which has requested military help in dealing with endemic gang violence. [node:read-more:link]

Canada contributes to earthquake relief

As the death toll from the weekend’s earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria topped 6,200 today, the Canadian government has committed an initial $10 million to the international relief effort. International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said further aid and potential deployment of disaster response teams are being considered. [node:read-more:link]

EU ban on Russian oil in effect

The European Union’s ban on imports of Russian refined oil products, notably diesel and jet fuel, went into effect February 5. The EU used to be the largest buyer of Russian products, amount to some €70 million daily and while EU industry has built up stocks of diesel in recent months, the long-term outlook is uncertain. [node:read-more:link]


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