News Highlights – 6 Jun 11

  • Here’s hoping for a full and speedy recovery. Two sailors were injured as a Canadian submarine hit bottom near Nootka Sound, off the west coast of the Island. HMCS Corner Brook, under the command of Lt. Cmdr. Paul Sutherland, struck bottom while conducting submerged manoeuvers during advanced submarine officer training, said Navy spokesman Gerry Pash. “The submarine’s crew, in accordance with their training, brought the submarine to the surface, conducted an internal damage assessment and carried out a series of safety checks. Two sailors suffered some bruising as a result of the incident. No fuel was released into the environment,” Pash said. “The boat is now underway and scheduled to return to Esquimalt tonight for further assessment,” Pash said. An investigation will be ordered to determine the cause of the incident. There were 60 personnel on board at the time of the incident which is a lot for the sub which would normally carry a crew of 49 plus a few trainees, Pash said. They were doing advanced officer training which is probably the most challenging training exercises conducted in submarines because it focuses on developing the skills of potential submarine officers,” Pash said ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  The hockey meme appears, again, in coverage of CF troops overseas.
  • Afghanistan (2)  A bit more history from the early days of the mission from Postmedia News’ Matthew Fisher.
  • Afghanistan (3)  “…. In terms of lasting achievements that can be listed to offset Canada’s cost in blood and gold, the growing strength of the insurgency makes any such tally premature. And however historians record this conflict, as an intervention or a war, in the future, it will not be defined as a “victory” for the US-led allies.”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch:  Almost 20 claimed killed in attacks across Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul.
  • Today’s the anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy landings – message from the Governor General/Commander in Chief here, the PM here, the Defence Minister here and the Veterans Affairs Minister here.
  • Yesterday was Canadian Armed Forces Day – message from the Governor General/Commander in Chief here, the PM here and the Minister of National Defence here.  A bit more on this here.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  Some editorial advice from the East Coast on how shipbuilding contracts should be parcelled out“…. Let’s not rattle on about what we’ll get from the big contract. Let’s make an honest case on what a good deal Canada gets by choosing the Halifax bid. Let’s agree right now the Irving group should win the contract by guaranteeing it can produce the ships on time, on budget and with unassailable quality assurance. Anything short of that is nothing more than special pleading and entitlement. We don’t “deserve” the contract. Arguing that Nova Scotia should get the work because we need it is just as bogus as Duffy’s implication that voting Conservative should make the difference. The Irving shipyard should win the lead contract based on its capabilities, its record of building naval ships, the investment of its owners and their sincere commitment to deliver value for money for Canadians. There is no other fair and just measure by which these contracts should be awarded ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2)  BAE Systems has conducted factory acceptance testing of the first of 14 57mm MkIII naval guns for the Department of National Defense (DND) in support of the Canadian Navy’s upgrade of the Halifax class frigate. The 57 MkIII serves as the main gun for this ship class and the ongoing upgrade program will deliver much-increased versatility against an ever-widening range of threats. Tomas Erlandsson, director integrated systems for BAE Systems Weapons in Karlskog says: “The upgrade from 57 Mk2 to 57 Mk III makes these guns as capable as our highly-advanced 57 Mk3, including the ability to fire the sophisticated 6-mode programmable 3P ammunition. This program, together with the recent contract to build the 57 Mk3 for the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship program, results in a stable foundation for naval gun production.” ….”
  • Russian eyes in Canadian skies. A Russian Federation aircraft will conduct an aerial observation mission over Canada under the Treaty on Open Skies between 7 and 9 Jun 2011.  A Tupolev TU-154M aircraft, which arrived at 8 Wing Trenton yesterday will conduct an unimpeded observation overflight of Canadian territory, in fulfillment of Canada’s obligations as a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies. The Treaty on Open Skies is one example of how Canada exercises its commitment to reducing the threat of armed conflict by increasing trust and confidence though developing greater openness and transparency amongst states. The Treaty on Open Skies, entered-into-force on January 1, 2002. Canada and 33 other nations has exercised its treaty rights in having conducted a number of observation flights over other states, including the Russian Federation, Belarus, Croatia, Georgia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina ….”
  • A Canadian citizen will learn (today) if he will be extradited to France to face murder and attempted murder charges in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue. On Oct. 3, 1980, plastic explosives strapped to a motorcycle ripped through the Paris synagogue on Rue Copernic, killing four and wounding dozens. Witnesses placed a man resembling Hassan Diab at the scene, though his passport put him in Spain at the time of the bombing. But the battle to keep Diab in Canada would appear to have been already lost, thanks to a handful of handwritten words on a hotel card and the nature of extradition law. In February, Judge Robert Maranger ruled admissible a questionable French handwriting analysis that supposedly links Diab to the bombing ….”
  • Tahawwur Rana is a 50-year-old Canadian businessman in a heap of trouble. For the past three weeks, Rana has been on trial in a Chicago courtroom charged with several counts of providing material support for terrorism. U.S. federal prosecutors have presented extensive wiretap and surveillance evidence they allege connects Rana to both the 2008 Mumbai attacks and a plot to murder journalists at Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper. The Danish paper enraged some Muslims by publishing controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. In the coming days, his American lawyers, Patrick Blegan and Charlie Smith, will begin to mount a defence. But Rana’s personal fate is being overshadowed by sensational evidence that threatens to poison Washington’s already troubled relationship with its erstwhile ally Pakistan even further — evidence that appears to show that despite repeated denials, the Pakistani military is secretly training and financing militant groups ….”
  • The prime minister and the president of the United States took time out from the recent G-8 meetings in France to discuss perimeter security. The Deauville talks between Barack Obama and Stephen Harper are the first time the issue has come onto the radar since early February when the two launched a commission to look into the issue -hardly surprising given assorted political distractions like wars and elections. But the government’s throne speech Friday places the issue back on top of the agenda. The topic is vast, complex, and carries massive baggage. How (for instance) are Canada’s immigration interests to be squared with the Americans’ when our domestic workforce is shrinking and theirs isn’t? How does that affect efforts to rationalize approaches to refugee and visa policy? ….”

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