NATO researcher warns of Russian interference in 2019 Canadian election

first_imgOTTAWA – A leading NATO researcher says Canada should assume Russia will attempt to interfere in the 2019 federal election because that would serve the Kremlin’s purpose of helping destabilize the military alliance.The allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as its attempts to disrupt votes in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, among other countries, makes Canada a natural target, Janis Sarts, the director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence said in an interview.Russia is attracted to Canada because destabilizing it would “undermine the cohesion” of the broader NATO alliance. Moreover, it could serve to undermine Canadian policy in Europe, he said.It would also allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to project strength inside his country by showing that “other countries are afraid of Russia,” said Sarts, who testified last year at the U.S. Senate intelligence committee about Russian interference.“The moment somebody can question the integrity of the elections and the election result, democracy is in trouble,” Sarts said.The federal government has tasked Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould with shoring up the electoral system against foreign meddling.“We are closely following how our allies are addressing these challenges in their countries to see what solutions may be right for Canada,” Gould’s spokeswoman Jordan Owens said.“The government of Canada continues to closely monitor foreign threats, including those that may impact the 2019 election and are working hard to ensure that Canadians can continue to trust in our democratic institutions.”The government wants to bring “greater transparency” to the funding of political parties and political advertising and fundraisers, said Owens.The government wants social media companies to “address issues related to foreign interference in elections,” she said.“They have taken some initial positive first steps, but more needs to be done.”Relations between Canada and Russia are at a low ebb with the Canadian Forces commanding a NATO battle group in Latvia, part of the alliance’s anti-Moscow deterrent in Eastern Europe following the Kremlin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and the ongoing turmoil in eastern Ukraine.Russia has threatened unspecified retaliation against Canada for its passage of anti-corruption legislation named in honour of the Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky.The Kremlin has also placed Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on a list of people banned from travelling to the country because of her writing about Putin during her former career as a journalist.But there’s one positive in Canada-Russia relations: The Trudeau government and the Kremlin view the Arctic as an area of co-operation.That contrasted with the view of the previous Conservative government, which viewed Russia’s motives in Arctic with suspicion after it planted a flag on the North Pole seabed in 2007.The Russian embassy and Global Affairs Canada co-hosted a conference at Carleton University in Ottawa on Arctic issues in November 2016. It was part of the Liberal government’s plan to re-engage with Russia in what it saw as an area of shared interest.Both countries say they need to work together because thawing Arctic ice will mean greater ship traffic, which will increase the potential for oil and gas exploration, as well as potential threats on the environmental and security fronts.Sarts suggested Russia’s co-operative overtures on the Arctic can’t be taken at face value, despite some very public positive vibes between the two countries.“Take a look at narrative on the Arctic within Russia itself. There is a more or less the notion of ‘that’s ours’,” said Sarts.“Co-operation is not the word you hear much.”The NATO communications centre, headquartered in Riga, Latvia, was established in 2014 to combat Russian misinformation in the wake of its annexation of Crimea.It is one of three NATO research organizations, separate from its military command, that aim to counter Russian cyber warfare, along with the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats based in Finland, and NATO’s cyber defence centre in Estonia.last_img read more

I REALLY LIKED THE SOO SAID KYLE MACLACHLAN OF NEW FILM GIANT

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Twitter Facebook Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img We caught up with MacLachlan, who plays a gay father estranged from his son (Josh Wiggins), the latter who’s bullied at school after rumours he’s also gay, in Giant Little Ones, when he was in town for TIFF last September.It feels like Giant Little Ones feels is such a small project for you after your multiple performances (Dale Cooper, Dougie Jones, Mr. C) in 2017’s critically acclaimed Twin Peaks: The Return series?It doesn’t really matter. I follow the quality of the material.What about Giant Little Ones drew you in?I thought it would be kind of fun to do. And I had a great couple of conversations with (writer-director) Keith (Behrman) to talk about what he was trying to do. Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan says making the Canadian coming-of-age drama, Giant Little Ones— opening Friday (March 29) in Toronto and Vancouver — in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., felt like going home.“I really liked the Soo,” said MacLachlan, 60, who hails from Yakima, Wash. “It was beautiful. It reminded me, kind of weirdly enough, a little bit of my hometown which is in eastern Washington. The neighborhoods. And the style of the houses. The sounds were similar and the smells of the asphalt and the vegetation. Even down to the colour of the bricks of the homes. I was like, ‘Wow, this is sort of like Yakima.’” L to R: Josh Wiggins as Franky and Kyle MacLachlan as Ray in GIANT LITTLE ONES, courtesy of Mongrel Media Login/Register With:last_img read more

No trial in five years victims still suffer

first_imgFire broke out at Tazreen Fashion factory on 24 November 2012. File Photo Many victims of the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions suffer from various health complications even after five years, but those responsible for the tragedy are yet to be brought to justice.As many as 111 garment workers were killed and over 100 injured in the fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital on 24 November in 2012.Jarina Begum jumped from the third floor of the factory when the fire broke out. Although she survived, her right leg and backbone were broken. Despite undergoing treatment for long, she couldn’t return to normal life.Her right hand became numb last week. She has been undergoing treatment for three days at CRPC in Savar.Speaking to Prothom Alo lying on the hospital bed, Jarina said, “I can’t sleep at night. When I recollect the fire incident, I get frightened. I will never ever be able to forget that devastating fire.”The case filed in connection with the fire incident is under trial at the additional and sessions judge’s court in Dhaka.The CID submitted the charge sheet in the case in December of 2013. A total of 13 people, including managing director of Tazreen Mohammad Delwar Hossain, his wife and chairman of the factory Mahmuda Akhtar, engineer M Mahbubul Morshed, administrative officer Dulal and store in-charge Hamidul Islam were made accused in the case. Of them, four are on the run and others are out on bail. Implicating those 13, the court fixed 3 September 2015 the date for taking deposition. The state extended time several times for failing to produce witnesses. Out of 104 witnesses, the state produced only two.Speaking to Prothom Alo, defense lawyer ATM Golam Gaus said the state couldn’t produce the witnesses, which delays the trial.Executive director of Centre for Workers’ Solidarity Kalpana Akhtar said, “There is little possibility of getting justice.””Things are crystal clear. The evidence is available. If the state wants the trial to take place, it can be finished within five months. It does not require five years.”The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and the Tazreen Claim Administration Trust have handed over the compensation to the families of the deceased workers and the injured.A total of 582 affected people have got around Tk 167.40 million as compensation. The family of each deceased or missing worker got up to Tk 3.10 million while the minimum compensation was Tk 1 million.An injured worker has got Tk 1.80 million as compensation while the minimum amount is Tk 150,000.Injured Jarina Begum has got Tk 250,000. She has repaid loans of Tk 150,000 and her husband has taken away the rest of the amount. Jarina along with her two children lives at her sister’s house in Mymensingh.Alenoor worked at the factory as a helper. When fire broke out, she jumped from the fourth floor through a window and fell on a tin-shed house adjacent to the factory. She sustained injuries on her head and the backbone.Alenoor lives with her in-laws at Payrabandh of Rangpur. Her husband Hamiduzzaman said on Thursday that his wife now feels better. She has to take medicine worth Tk 65 everyday. She falls sick if she does not take it.Hamiduzzaman said all their savings have been spent on her treatment.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.last_img read more

Pope ends Asia tour dominated by Rohingya crisis

first_imgPope Francis wrapped up a high-stakes Asia tour Saturday after meeting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in a highly symbolic gesture of solidarity with the Muslim minority fleeing violence in Myanmar.The Catholic leader flew out of Dhaka after visiting a hospital run by the order of Mother Theresa and addressing thousands of students on the final day of a visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar that has been dominated by the plight of the Rohingya.Pope Francis is known for championing the rights of refugees and has repeatedly expressed support for the long-suffering Rohingya, describing them as his “brothers and sisters”.The usually forthright pontiff walked a diplomatic tightrope during his four days in Myanmar — the first papal visit to the country — avoiding any direct reference to the Rohingya in public while appealing to Buddhist leaders to overcome “prejudice and hatred”.In Bangladesh he addressed the issue head-on, meeting a group of Rohingya refugees from the squalid camps in southern Bangladesh in an emotional encounter in Dhaka.Among them was a 12-year-old girl who told him she had lost all her family in a Myanmar army attack on her village before fleeing across the border earlier this year.”Your tragedy is very hard, very great, but it has a place in our hearts,” he told them.”In the name of all those who have persecuted you, who have harmed you, in the face of the world’s indifference, I ask for your forgiveness.”- ‘Clear message’ -The pope referred to the refugees as Rohingya, using the term for the first time on the tour after the archbishop of Yangon advised him that doing so in Myanmar could inflame tensions and endanger Christians.The word is politically sensitive in the mainly Buddhist country because many there do not consider the Rohingya a distinct ethnic group, regarding them instead as interlopers from Bangladesh.He had faced criticism from some rights activists and refugees for failing to address the issue publicly.He did not visit the refugee camps, where only a handful were aware that one of the world’s most high-profile leaders was championing their cause just 300 miles (around 500 kilometres) away.One refugee expressed gratitude that the pope had finally uttered the word Rohingya, and said he believed the meeting would have a big impact.”It is the first time that a great world leader has listened to us,” 29-year-old Rohingya teacher Mohammad Zubair told AFP.”This meeting will send a clear message to global leaders.”But Yangon-based analyst David Mathieson said the tour would “do nothing dramatically to alter the humanitarian disaster of Rakhine” in Myanmar, where the violence against the Rohingya has unfolded.”I think the Pope’s strategy for his visit to Bangladesh was (to) keep international attention focused on the immense humanitarian crisis… and provide some inspiration for the Christians of Myanmar,” he said.More than 620,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh since a militant attack on police posts in late August sparked a deadly crackdown by the Myanmar military.They have given consistent accounts of mass rape, killings and villages deliberately burned to the ground by soldiers and Buddhist militia.The two countries last month signed an agreement to begin repatriating refugees, but rights groups say they are concerned about plans to house them in camps away from their former homes — many of which have been destroyed.During his tour the pope led well-attended open-air masses in Bangladesh and Myanmar, which both have small Christian populations.In the morning he was greeted by hundreds of Bangladeshi nuns at the Mother Teresa House clinic in Dhaka, all dressed in the blue-and-white habit favoured by the woman who dedicated her life to the region’s poorest.Earlier he paid tribute to the works of Catholics in Bangladesh, where schools and clinics run by the church provide a lifeline for poor communities.”I am sure if the pope touches my head and prays for me, I’ll be cured,” Ananda Hira, a kidney patient who receives dialysis at the clinic, told AFP ahead of the visit. “God listens to his prayers.” Pope Francis looks on before departing after his three-day visit to Bangladesh, in Dhaka on 2 December, 2017. Photo: AFPlast_img read more

HC for legal action against CocaCola

first_imgHigh CourtThe High Court on Thursday issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain as to why directives should not be given for taking legal action against beverage company Coca-Cola for using ‘offensive Bangla words’ in its advertisement.The HC bench of justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and justice KM Kamrul Kader issued the rule following a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Chandan Chandra Sarkar on February 27, seeking a restriction on the use of the offensive words in Coca-Cola’s advertisement.The bench issued another rule asking the authorities concerned to explain as to why the use of offensive words in the advertisement should not be declared illegal.The secretaries to the Ministers of Information, Industries, Cultural Affairs, Law, Education, Home and the director general of Bangla Academy, IGP and managing director of International Beverages Private Limited (Coca-Cola) have been made respondents to the rule which is returnable in four weeks.Lawyer Maniruzzman Rana, who stood for the petitioner, said the Bangla words, which are used in Coco-Cola campaign, are objectionable and children are also getting used to these words.last_img read more