True North Initiative News Scan 01 23 18

TOP STORIES

Top secret CSIS reports shed light on tracking homegrown jihadists

The issue of homegrown jihadists abroad is such a concern for Canada’s top spy agency that they’ve been running internal reports on the extremists’ whereabouts on as much as a weekly basis. Documents marked “top secret” and “secret” obtained via access to information and made available to the Sun reveal the frequency with which CSIS was updating its tally of foreign fighters. The weekly reports, which span most of 2016 and early 2017, track those “currently in Turkey/Syria/Iraq” and those “returned to Canada from Turkey/Syria/Iraq”. (Toronto Sun)

Tsunami warning issued for B.C. coast after large earthquake hits near Alaska

Tsunami warning sirens went off in Tofino and other coastal communities on British Columbia's west coast Tuesday morning after a powerful earthquake struck off Alaska. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck at about 1:32 a.m. PST and had a preliminary reading of 8.2, which it later revised to 7.9. It struck 278 kilometres southeast of Kodiak at a depth of about 10 kilometres. Emergency Info BC says the tsunami warning covers the Juan de Fuca Strait coast, the outer west coast of Vancouver Island, the central coast and northeast Vancouver Island, and the north coast and Haida Gwaii. (CTV)

Somali asylum seeker deported for previous 'serious criminality'

A Somali asylum seeker charged with assaulting a Canadian border guard last April has been deported — but it wasn't those charges that had him removed. Ahmed Adan Ali was deemed inadmissible to Canada because he had been earlier convicted of grand theft auto in the U.S. It's considered "serious criminality" under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. If the crime had been committed here, it would have had been punishable by at least 10 years in prison. (CBC)

Liberal MP says abortion clause in summer jobs program 'not right'

Newfoundland MP Scott Simms says he is petitioning his own government to reverse a clause in a student summer jobs program that requires groups applying for grants to attest to abortion rights. The Liberal MP said its unfair that churches and Christian groups are being asked to violate their fundamental beliefs in order to receive funding for jobs and programs that are non-political, or unrelated to reproductive rights. (CBC)

In Tokyo meeting, officials forge ahead with TPP even as Canada wavers

The chief negotiators of the 11 remaining signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership met Monday in Tokyo to work on getting the free trade pact signed without the United States. The focus of the two-day meeting is on whether members can get Canada onboard for an early signing, with Australia, Chile and Japan pushing to hold the official ceremony by March. They agreed on core elements of the pact in November in Vietnam but left some matters for further negotiation. (Japan Times)

Canada rejects angry American NAFTA criticism, says it has tabled extensive text

Canada is shooting back at American criticism that it is being inflexible and unconstructive at the North American Free Trade renegotiation that has resumed this week in Montreal. Canadian officials are taking direct aim at the narrative that its negotiators are being inflexible -- or even obstinate -- when it comes to discussing the controversial U.S. proposals to raise continental content on automobiles, scrap the dispute resolution mechanism, and institute a five-year sunset clause. (CTV)

Brave Iranian woman vanishes and is feared arrested after standing on Tehran pillar box waving her hijab in protest

A BRAVE Iranian woman who hit out at her homeland's strict religious dress code by waving her hijab in public is said to be missing and feared arrested, a lawyer claimed. The 31-year-old mum has not been seen in public since she stood on a pillar box along one of Tehran's busiest street without a headscarf, a campaigning lawyer told AFP. She had taken off her white hijab and tied it to a stick in an apparent reference to the "White Wednesday" protests against clothing restrictions on women in Iran. (Sun.co.uk) (Daily Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

MP supports Iranian protesters

Speaking to political unrest in Iran, Genuis said Canada should support the protestors — not the current government regime. The political protests started in late-December 2017, with national media outlets referring to the public displays as the largest in Iran since 2009, with protests circling issues of a struggling economy, rampant political corruption, and rising costs of goods including fuel and food. A federal member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, Genuis said what’s happening in Iran matters in Canada, citing security reasons, before also noting that Iran is a key player behind the destabilization of the Middle East. Genuis also made claims such as the Iranian government promoting terrorism abroad rather than caring for its own people. (Sherwood Park News)

Canada and rest of Trans-Pacific Partnership agree to revised text: reports

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement, according to several international media reports early Tuesday. The reported deal follows two days of high-level talks in Tokyo and the 11 remaining TPP economies are now expected to work toward signing the agreement by early March. Word of the deal came just hours after a federal government official said Ottawa was optimistic that a revised TPP pact would be reached as early as Tuesday. (CTV)

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to visit India from February 17 to 23

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit India from February 17-23 with the aim to strengthen bilateral strategic partnerships in key areas of counter-terrorism, energy and trade.  He will visit Agra, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Mumbai and New Delhi. Trudeau will visit on the invitation of his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. Cooperation in security and counter-terrorism, as well as exchange of views on global and regional issues of mutual interest, will form important components of the visit, the ministry said. (Indian Express)

Fewer than half of Canadians hold an open view of the world, poll on populism finds Canada’s reputation as a nation with an open and optimistic world view that flies in the face of rising pessimism and nationalism elsewhere is being challenged by new research suggesting many Canadians hold views acutely in line with some of those darker forces. Fewer than half of Canadians appear on the “open” side of an index devised by EKOS Research and The Canadian Press to gauge populist sentiment here, and the remainder either have a closed-off view of the world or are on the fence — a potentially volatile swing group. (Toronto Star)

U.S. govt shutdown enters third day after senators fail to reach deal on ‘Dreamers’

A U.S. government shut down entered its third day on Monday as Senate negotiators failed to reach a deal late on Sunday on Democrats’ demand for legislation protecting “Dreamers,” young people brought to the country illegally as children. The Senate set a vote for 12 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Monday on advancing a measure that would provide temporary government funding through Feb. 8 and allow thousands of federal employees to return to work. (Global)

Terrifying forecast for North Korea’s nuclear arsenal

CIA director Mike Pompeo says nuclear North Korea is only a “handful of months” away from being able to strike the US, according to a new report. “North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is continuing to expand, advance, become more powerful, more capable, more reliable,” he told “CBS This Morning.” (NY Post)

Syrian regime suspected of another poison gas attack on children

Rescue workers in a Syrian rebel-held enclave near Damascus accused government forces of launching an attack with chlorine gas Monday that affected at least 13 people, according to reports. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, quoting local medical and other sources, said “gases” released during a dawn rocket attack caused “cases of suffocation,” Reuters reported. (NY Post)

Senior Qaeda leader calls for killing Jews, Americans over Jerusalem

A senior Al-Qaeda leader has called on Muslims "everywhere" to rise up and kill Jews and Americans in response to US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. In a video released Monday, Khalid Batarfi said Trump's decision was "a declaration of a new Jewish-Crusader war" and every Muslim had a duty to "liberate" the holy city, the SITE Intelligence monitoring group reported. "No Muslim has the right to cede Jerusalem no matter what happens," said Batarfi, a top commander with the group's powerful Yemen-based branch. "Only a traitor would give it up or hand it over." (AFP)

Blind ISIS Fighter Rallies Jihadists in New Video

Nearly a month after a one-legged ISIS fighter told jihadists that a disability was "no excuse" for not fighting, the Islamic State featured a visually impaired jihadist in a new video calling for attacks. The video filmed in Deir Ezzor, Syria, in the Euphrates river valley al-Khayr province near the Iraq border, focuses on Kazakh jihadists just days after President Trump and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met at the White House. (PJ Media)

Germany halts arms exports to Saudis, others at war in Yemen

The German government has announced it is suspending arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other countries waging war in Yemen, a measure that sets a new bar for Western countries selling to Riyadh and puts pressure on Canada to follow suit. Human rights advocates have accused Saudi Arabia of war crimes over its conduct in Yemen, where more than 5,200 civilians have been killed and 8,800 injured since Riyadh began a military campaign there in 2015 against Houthi rebels aligned with Iran. (Globe and Mail)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Toronto Sun: Drop the progressive trade schtick

We’re coming up for the seventh round of talks, this one taking place in Montreal. Long before the holidays, there was hope we’d have a deal before the end of the year. So much for that. If the talks do sour, it won’t be that much of a surprise. Donald Trump campaigned on tearing up the trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. He claimed it was the “worst deal ever,” even if he did give us the runaround by later promising to only “tweak” the deal. (Toronto Sun)

Danielle Smith: Conservatives aren’t welcome at Women’s March

I betrayed my gender this weekend. I didn’t go to the Women’s March. In fact, I didn’t even consider going to the Women’s March. There’s lots of reason why, which I’ll get to in a minute, but let’s say I wasn’t surprised to hear other women felt the same. I was a bit surprised at the dogpile on Sonia Kont for tweeting out her thoughts on it. (Global)

Charles Adler: Whatever happened to Trudeau the tolerant?

Justin Trudeau is hoping to change the channel this week in Switzerland. At the economic summit he’ll share a stage with world leaders and he will look good doing it. Yet for all the importance that is attached to these meetings by the chattering classes, by the time the story gets retailed to the public, they will see only rich and powerful celebrity influencers congratulating each other for being at the top of the economic food chain. (Global)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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