Infrastructure Protection

Poland breaks up spy ring

Six foreign nationals “from across the eastern border” have been charged by Poland with preparing acts of sabotage and spying for Russia. “Their tasks included recognising, monitoring and documenting weapons transports to Ukraine,” says Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski. “The suspects were also preparing sabotage actions aimed at paralysing the supply of equipment, weapons and aid.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada empowering Ukraine

repair the country’s battered power grid which continues to be targetted by Russian forces. They are being delivered through a European Union response group that helps to coordinate disaster relief. [node:read-more:link]

Getting ahead of climate change?

British Columbia ostensibly will be better prepared to deal with natural disasters related to climate change though a program announced by Premier David Eby. “The last few years have taught us a hard lesson,” he said, citing wildfires, floods, a lethal heat wave and infrastructure damage. Accordingly, his government is adding $180 million to its Community Emergency Preparedness Fund. [node:read-more:link]

No Tik-Tok on federal devices

Effective February 28, all federal government mobile device will be banned from using Tik-Tok. Confirmed the decision today, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier said there is an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security” and the Chinese-owned social media app’s data collection leaves users vulnerable to cyberattacks. [node:read-more:link]

Brazil arrests security chief

Anderson Torres, formerly the public security chief in Brasília, has been arrested by Brazil’s federal police. Torres ostensibly was in charge when thousands of rioters stormed key government buildings in the capital January 8. He is accused of failing to act against the rioters and beind in collusion with them. [node:read-more:link]

Sweden contemplates civil conscription

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced today that his government is preparing to reintroduce conscription of civilians for its emergency services. His Civil Defence Minister, Carl-Oskar Bohlin, said the focus will be on deploying appropriately trained civilians within the municipal rescue services and bolstering their capabilities to respond in a state of emergency or to any potential attack. [node:read-more:link]

Election denial erupts in Brazil

Things began to return to normal today in Brasilia after massive crowds breached Congress, the Supreme Court and other buildings, protesting that last October’s election which ousted Jair Bolsonaro was fraudulent. His successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has promised to prosecute protesters for their “barbaric” behaviour which mirrored the similar assault on the U.S. Capitol two years ago by supporters of Donald Trump. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian nuclear plant protection urgent

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi met in Moscow December 21 with officials from the military and Rosatom, the state nuclear energy, to continue his push for a protection zone around a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Rosatom officials called the talks “substantial, useful and frank” but indicated the need for more. Grossi said “it’s key that the zone focuses solely on preventing a nuclear accident” and he is continuing efforts “with a sense of utmost urgency.” [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa police prepared for protest anniversary

Indications that organizers of last winter’s trucker blockade of Ottawa are planning an anniversary visit have prompted Police Chief Eric Stubbs to flatly reject the idea. “The Ottawa Police Service will not allow for the conditions that led to the unlawful protests seen in February 2022,” he said December 19. “Vehicle-based protests will not be allowed to enter the downtown core or in areas of national significance and we will take appropriate action to preserve public safety.” [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine promised infrastructure help

NATO allies agreed today to assist Ukraine in repairing energy infrastructure heavily damaged by Russian artillery and missile bombardments and Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg decried Russia’s use of winter as “a weapon of war.” Russia has acknowledged targetting infrastructure but denies seeking to harm civilians. NATO foreign ministers wrapped up a two-day summit in Bucharest with a statement that “Russia's . . . persistent and unconscionable attacks on Ukrainian civilian and energy infrastructure, is depriving millions of Ukrainians of basic human services.” [node:read-more:link]

Fracking in Alberta problematic

TransAlta, a Calgary-based electricity producer, concerned that petroleum industry fracking near a decades-old hydroelectric dam, is suing the Alberta government and its regulator. Two companies have applied for permits to use the injection technology with five kilometres of the dam despite evidence that the practice can cause seismic activity. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine loses nearly third of electricity

The destruction by Russian forces of some 30 per cent of Ukraine’s power stations in little more than a week has led to “massive” blackouts, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said October 18. He also said there is “no space left for negotiations” with Russia. [node:read-more:link]

Nord Stream pipelines hit by explosions

Danish officials say “powerful explosions” in late September were responsible for “extensive damage” to the twin Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. Four leaks were confirmed in international waters but within the Danish and Swedish offshore economic zones. Sweden had already said its investigators had found evidence “serious sabotage.” [node:read-more:link]

Infrastructure fund oversubscribed

Managers of an $11.3-billion federal fund set up in 2018 to support provincial and municipal disaster-resilient infrastructure projects are struggling with overload. Infrastructure Canada says that while only $2.2 billion had been assigned to 72 projects as of September, it has received more requests for support than the fund can accommodate. [node:read-more:link]

Another Nord Stream leak confirmed

Amidst speculation about sabotage, Sweden said today that its coast guard had found a new leak in the Russian natural gas pipelines which supply the European Union. Denmark and Sweden had reported other leaks this week. NATO says they were “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage” but Russia calls the suggestion that it had caused the leaks “predictable and stupid,” saying they had occurred in “zones controlled by American intelligence.” [node:read-more:link]


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