True North Initiative News Scan 03 14 2018


Former Winnipegger convicted of terror gets 45-year sentence in New York court

A former University of Manitoba student whose fingerprints were recovered from a massive unexploded bomb outside a U.S. military base in Afghanistan was sentenced Tuesday to 45 years in prison. Muhanad Al Farekh was sentenced in a Brooklyn, N.Y., court for supporting the militant group al-Qaeda and helping to prepare a 2009 truck bomb attack on the base. It was less than the life sentence sought by prosecutors. The 32-year-old had been found guilty by a jury in September of the charges of conspiring to murder Americans, using a weapon of mass destruction and supporting a foreign terrorist organization. Al Farekh will appeal both the verdict and sentence, said Sean Maher, one of his lawyers. (CBC) (Washington Post)

Jagmeet Singh attended Sikh separatist rally in 2015

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh took part in a separatist Sikh homeland rally in San Francisco in June of 2015 that venerated a violent Sikh religious leader who was killed in the Indian army assault on the Golden Temple in 1984. Mr. Singh, then an NDP member of the Ontario Legislature, was invited to speak at a “sovereignty rally” where speakers denounced India and called for an independent Sikh state known as Khalistan. (Globe and Mail)

Poor issues management plaguing Trudeau’s team, say strategists

Mr. Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) and his team are prone to self-inflicted wounds and not responding fast enough to nip an issue in the bud before it gets worse, say political strategists. This is evident not only from reaction to the over-the-top outfits and invitation to a man convicted of attempted murder to an exclusive reception in India, but also poorly executed tax reforms, and ethics violations levelled against Mr. Trudeau and his finance minister. (Hill Times)

Montreal Sewage Dump Given Green Light By Environment Minister Catherine McKenna

Montreal can begin dumping eight billion litres of untreated sewage into the St. Lawrence River if certain risk-mitigating conditions are met, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Monday, calling the situation "less than ideal" but the best solution to the city's waste water crisis. Before the city can dump the sewage into the river it needs create an emergency plan for unintended problems, keep a close watch on the discharge and deploy measures to clean up affected areas, McKenna said during a media conference call from Paris. (Huffington Post)

Iranian regime beefing up security ahead of Persian Festival of Fire to subvert political uprising

The Iranian New Year is coming, and with it, the Festival of Fire, celebrated to introduce spring. For the Iranian regime, however, this festival brings a chance of uprising, one that the regime does not want to have to deal with. They are instituting security measures to prevent any potential protests. Seyyed Naser Atabati, the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of the province of Ardebil who addressed a meeting on risk assessment for Chaharshanbeh Suri with security officials, said, "If there is any trace of disturbing public order, there will be no negligence on the part of judiciary, and we will act accordingly to arrest and prosecute those who cause it." (Merinews)


The healthy 64-year-old Kavous Seyed-Emami was a sociology professor and well-known environmentalist who ran the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation from Tehran. Well-liked among his colleagues and students, he had launched projects to track rare and endangered animals, such as the Persian leopard, while he conducted research on environmental issues. (Newsweek)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canadian economy has room to grow before inflation becomes a problem: Poloz

Canada's economy still has plenty of untapped capacity that will help keep inflation in check and interest-rate hikes gradual, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz says. The jobless rate is lower than it's been since Statistics Canada started tracking unemployment in 1976, with wages perking up and many companies running flat-out. (Globe and Mail)

Notley's former chief of staff investigated by privacy commissioner

Alberta’s privacy commissioner is investigating Premier Rachel Notley’s former chief of staff over the role he played in a 2016 freedom of information request made by the opposition. The investigation into John Heaney will include an oral hearing, and commissioner Jill Clayton expects to issue notices compelling staffers to attend and produce records. (Edmonton Sun)

Doug Ford readies agenda, with eye to expanding pot, alcohol sales and dropping foreign buyers’ real estate tax

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford says he is open to greater privatization of alcohol and marijuana sales in Ontario and scrapping the foreign-buyers tax on real estate as he looks to streamline his party’s priorities before the June election. Ontario’s Official Opposition will have a new and greatly simplified platform, he said on Tuesday, confirming that he is ditching the 78-page election document the party adopted only a few months ago under former leader Patrick Brown. (Globe and Mail)

Florida teen stabs 3 people, killing 1, 'because of his religious beliefs': Police

A Florida teen is accused of stabbing three people, one fatally, "because of his religious beliefs," police said. Corey Johnson, 17, was attending a sleepover at his friend Kyle Bancroft's home in Palm Beach Gardens when the attack occurred, according to Clint Shannon, Palm Beach Gardens' interim police chief. (ABC)

Wannabe jihadist, 21, who called himself 'Allah' pleads guilty to planning to build a pressure cooker bomb and 'kill as many people as possible' in New York City in the name of ISIS

A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to planning to build a pressure cooker bomb to detonate in New York City in the name of ISIS. Gregory Lepsky, 21, admitted attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, and now faces up to 20 years in prison. The Point Pleasant man answered basic yes-or-no questions during Tuesday's appearance in federal court in Trenton. (Daily Mail)

Tillerson out at State, to be replaced by CIA chief Pompeo

U.S. President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday and said he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him, in a major staff reshuffle just as Trump dives into high-stakes talks with North Korea. Trump announced the change in a tweet early Tuesday just four hours after Tillerson returned to Washington from a trip to Africa. Word of Trump’s dissatisfaction with Tillerson and plans to replace him had circulated for months, even as Tillerson insisted he didn’t plan to leave. (Macleans)

Rex Tillerson: Secretary of state fired by Trump in Russia warning

Sacked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned of Russia's "troubling behaviour and actions" in a parting statement after being fired by President Donald Trump. He pointedly failed to thank Mr Trump or praise his policies. The former ExxonMobil chief had a series of public rifts with the White House after being appointed last year. (BBC)

Russian Nikolai Glushkov found dead in London ‘with strangulation marks’ is linked to killer of Alexander Litvinenk

A FORMER KGB agent accused of poisoning Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko was last night linked to a Russian businessman found dead in London. Russian airline mogul Nikolai Glushkov, 68, was found with "strangulation marks" at his home in New Malden by his daughter Natalia on Monday night. (

Britain and Russia brace for showdown over nerve attack on ex-spy

Britain braced for a showdown with Russia on Wednesday after a midnight deadline set by Prime Minister Theresa May expired without an explanation from Moscow about how a Soviet-era nerve toxin was used to strike down a former Russian double agent. The United States, European Union and NATO voiced support for Britain after May said it was “highly likely” that Russia was behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter with Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military. (Reuters)


It’s been six months since the #MeToo movement first took off. For half a year now we’ve had a regular drip-feed of stories drawing attention to the apparent suffering of women at the hands of men. So when this weekend’s Sunday Mirror revealed the shocking abuse experienced by hundreds of women and girls in Telford we might have expected the outrage to find a new focus. The news that girls, some as young as 11, were drugged, beaten and raped by gangs of mainly Muslim, Asian-heritage men could have provided further fuel to campaigners. We might have expected shows of solidarity, reminders of the importance of believing the victim, and offers of financial support. (Spiked-online)

Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said. The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time. (BBC)

Philippines drugs war: Duterte to withdraw from ICC

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said he plans to withdraw his country from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it began examining the country's drugs war. "It is apparent that the ICC is being utilised as a political tool against the Philippines," Mr Duterte said. (BBC)



Tarek Fatah: Four Lefties for Doug Ford

For all of their adult lives, the four men in the room had been ‘leftists’. Before coming to Canada from Pakistan, they had all suffered at the hands of the fascist ‘religious right’ with scars they carried with pride. All four had voted for the NDP (and at times Liberal) since arriving in Canada, but on that night in Richmond Hill — north of Toronto — the four were wondering whether they should go to an event hosted by Doug Ford, who was running for the leadership of the supposedly ‘right-wing’ Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: Trump's arrogant axing of Tillerson bad news for Canada too

Firing one of your senior cabinet secretaries via Twitter, as U.S. President Donald Trump allegedly did Tuesday with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is at least classless. And probably clueless, too. I often admire anti-establishment leaders — Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Ralph Klein, Mike Harris, Brad Wall. But Trump isn’t just anti-establishment, he’s anti-intellect, too. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Wynne, not Ford, is the scary one

It’s the financial record of Ontario’s Liberal government over the past 15 years, first under Dalton McGuinty and now Kathleen Wynne. Under their leadership, Ontario has become the most indebted sub-sovereign (non-national) borrower in the world, with a current debt of $312 billion, 125% higher than the $139 billion the Liberals inherited from the PCs in 2003. The Liberals have already broken Wynne’s election promise to run a balanced budget next year, now saying they will add up to $8 billion to the debt, consistent with their dismal performance of achieving only three balanced budgets from 2003 to 2017 while doubling provincial spending. (Toronto Sun)

Vivian Bercovici: Canada joins in on some one-sided Israel bashing for no apparent reason

More than two years on, we are beginning to discern what the Trudeau government believes should be its foreign policy. It seems to have everything to do with opportunism and little, if anything, to do with principle or a serious world vision. Which brings us to the peculiar manner in which this government has been aggressively critical of a recent Israeli policy regarding that country’s treatment of asylum seekers who have entered the country illegally since 2005. Approximately 37,000 individuals from Eritrea and Sudan have fled extreme hardship in their home countries and survived treacherous journeys across the Sinai desert to reach relative safety in Israel. (National Post)



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