True North Initiative: News Scan 04 04 17

TOP STORIES

Suicide bomber suspected after blast on St. Petersburg subway train kills 11

It was 2:40 p.m. on Monday, a lull before the evening rush hour in Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, where the subway normally carries two million people a day. The train had just entered a tunnel between stations, on its way out of a sprawling downtown hub, when the bomb exploded. The homemade device, filled with shrapnel, tore through the third car, killing 11 people, wounding more than 40 — including children — and spreading bloody mayhem as the train limped into the Technology Institute station. (Toronto Star)

Man charged in Saskatoon bombing allegedly called police to say he would 'finish the job at the courthouse'

A man has been charged after an improvised explosive device was set off at Saskatoon's provincial courthouse last week. Rodney James Wilkie, 44, is facing several charges, including intent to cause an explosion to cause serious bodily harm or death or property damage, recklessly cause damage by explosion, threats to cause damage, and obstruction of justice. (CBC)

Malala Yousafzai to receive honorary Canadian citizenship, address Parliament

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai will receive her honorary Canadian citizenship in Ottawa next week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office says the presentation will take place April 12, when the 19-year-old Pakistani woman will also address Parliament. Former prime minister Stephen Harper was to have presented the award in Toronto on Oct. 22, 2014. (CTV)

British airports and nuclear power plants on terror alert: Spies warn hackers have found a way to bypass electronic safety checks

British airports and nuclear power plants have been ordered to tighten security over fears terrorist hackers could have found a way to bypass electronic safety checks. Over the last 24 hours, spies have given a series of warnings terrorists might have discovered means of bypassing scanners in airports and security at nuclear facilities. There are fears Islamic State terrorists could put bombs in mobile phones and laptops that would not be picked up by screening, The Sunday Telegraph reported. (Daily Mail)

Someone is spying on cellphones in the nation's capital

A months-long CBC News/Radio-Canada investigation has revealed that someone is using devices that track and spy on cellphones in the area around Parliament Hill. The devices are known as IMSI catchers and have been used by Canadian police and security authorities, foreign intelligence and even organized crime. (CBC)

Tories accuse Harjit Sajjan of lying about allies' reaction to CF-18 withdrawal

Despite assurances to the contrary, the Iraqis did not quietly, nor happily, accept Canada's withdrawal of CF-18 jet fighters from combat against the Islamic State, new documents reveal. In fact, Khalid Obaidi, the country's defence minister, argued for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to change its mind in a high-level meeting prior to the suspension of the bombing campaign. (CBC)

U.S. to Review U.N.’s Peacekeeping, Human Rights Functions, Haley Says

United States Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday that the U.S. would closely scrutinize two prominent U.N. functions—peacekeeping and human rights—as the U.S. assumes the Security Council’s rotating presidency this month. In her first news conference at the U.N., Ms. Haley appeared softer in tone and more praising of the U.N. and its core mission in her one-hour long press encounter than when she arrived in January pledging to overhaul the world body. (Wall Street Journal)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

'Lesson learned' says permanent resident who had to walk into Canada

A Canadian permanent resident learned a hard lesson that when travelling between the United States and Canada, there is no room for error. David Thomas, of Nova Scotia, has a British passport and has been a Canadian permanent resident for 45 years. He and his spouse, Livia Anthes, booked a flight to Las Vegas Feb. 3 to celebrate Thomas's 50th birthday. Anthes is also a permanent resident with a valid card. (Yahoo)

With more refugees pouring in, Toronto advocates ringing alarms about federal funding

Amid a rise in refugees crossing the Canadian border, Toronto refugee advocates are raising red flags about a drop in federal funding for legal aid in Ontario. "There's going to be insufficient money to fund counsel to represent refugee claimants," said ​Maureen Silcoff, a Toronto immigration and refugee lawyer, during an appearance on CBC's Metro Morning. (CBC)

Aga Khan reimbursed for cost of staffer stay on Bahamas island during Trudeau trip

Some of the money taxpayers paid as a result of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial Bahamas vacation went to a billionaire Trudeau has described as a close family friend. Money listed in documents tabled in the House of Commons as "per diems" for a tour technician who accompanied the prime minister was actually paid to the Aga Khan who owns Bell Island. (CBC)

Conservative leadership race still a toss-up: party officials

An informal survey of Conservative riding association presidents in all regions of the country suggests no candidate is heading toward the May 27 vote with an obvious path to victory. Throughout Canada, businessman and TV star Kevin O’Leary is the most polarizing figure. He has lots of Conservatives talking and predicting victory against the Trudeau Liberals, but he has yet to persuade many others that he would be a good fit to succeed Stephen Harper. (Globe and Mail)

No seats change hands in byelections, Tories and NDP come on strong in Ontario

Upstart Conservative and New Democrat candidates gave their heavily favoured Liberal rivals a bit of a scare Monday in a pair of byelections in Ontario where some of Justin Trudeau’s policies and promises played a central role. In the Toronto-area riding of Markham-Thornhill, Liberal candidate and former PMO staffer Mary Ng defeated Ragavan Paranchothy by a margin of nearly 2,500 votes after a stronger than expected early showing by her Conservative rival. (City News)

153 arrested in South Texas during 12-day ICE operation targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives

Federal officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 153 criminal aliens and others throughout South Texas during a 12-day enforcement action which ended Friday. The operation began March 20 and ended March 31. ERO officers made arrests in the following San Antonio Field Office cities:  Austin/Waco (24), San Antonio (62), Laredo (29) and Harlingen (38). Of those arrested, 138 were men; 15 were women. (ICE)

People who read the news more likely to be Islamophobic, study finds

People who read the news are more likely to feel angry towards Muslims, a new study has found. Whether liberal or conservative, researchers found more avid news consumers showed both increased anger and reduced warmth towards members of the Islamic faith. The findings, based on responses from 16,584 New Zealanders from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS), were published in leading international science journal PLOS ONE. (Independent.co.uk)

Syria conflict: 'Chemical attack' in Idlib kills 58

At least 58 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria, a monitoring group says. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke. (BBC)

US teen pleads guilty to IS-inspired plot to kill pope

A New Jersey teen pleaded guilty Monday to a plot allegedly inspired by the Islamic State group to kill Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to the United States. The US Justice Department said Santos Colon, 15 years old at the time, sought to recruit a sniper to shoot the pope as he celebrated mass in Philadelphia on September 27, 2015. Colon also allegedly planned to set off explosives. (Yahoo)

CALIFORNIA SENATE OKS STATEWIDE IMMIGRANT SANCTUARY BILL

California lawmakers gave initial approval Monday to a measure that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, a measure that proponents said rebukes President Donald Trump for his immigration crackdown. (AP)

U.S. withdraws funding for U.N. Population Fund

The State Department said on Monday it was ending U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund, the international body's agency focused on family planning as well as maternal and child health in more than 150 countries. In a letter to U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, the State Department said it was dropping the funding because the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) "supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." (Yahoo)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: Let’s have a national conversation about Canadian values

As our country's 150th birthday celebrations get underway, we owe it to ourselves to have a mature and non-partisan discussion about Canadian values. The topic is right up there now at centre stage. It would be a missed opportunity of the greatest magnitude if we let it slip away. Yet this is what too many Canadians, particularly those in the chattering classes, seem content to let happen. (Toronto Sun)

David Krayden: ‘Open Borders’ Canada Deports Refugees Back To China, Which Tortures Fugitives

Despite its reluctance to send back the illegal refugees entering Canada from remote border crossings in the United States, the Trudeau government is deporting hundreds of people who are seeking asylum from communist China, The Globe and Mail reports. Though Canada and China do not share an extradition treaty specifically because of long-standing concerns over human rights abuses in China, that hasn’t stopped Canada from sending people back to China, where they are almost certain to be imprisoned and tortured — perhaps even killed. (Daily Caller)

Mark Bonokoski: Another day, another bomb; All in 0.85 seconds

An explosion on Monday tore through a subway train in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, hometown of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin, killing at least 11 people and injuring scores of others. Other than that, what else is new? The city of 5 million, often cited as one of the most beautiful in the world, is the country’s most popular destination for tourism. (Toronto Sun)

Don Pittis: Bombardier reminds us how easy governments make it to forget taxpayer investments

Gigantic pay packages for corporate executives always come with an intricate set of justifications, especially after they've generated public outrage. "Today, Bombardier is a $16-billion high-technology company on a growth path to $25-billion by 2020," Jean Monty, head of the group that decides how much Bombardier executives deserve, declared Sunday. Monty himself raked in multimillion-dollar salaries at Nortel and Bell Canada so his opinions are not exactly those of the common working stiff. (CBC).

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterday to meet with Immigration Consultants and for committee business (Public)

-       The Standing Committee on National Defence meet later today for committee business (Partly Public) (3:30pm EST)

-       The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet later today for committee business (In Camera) (10:00am EST)