News Highlights – 20 Jun 11

  • Why is the Defence Minister issuing a statement for Fathers’ Day (full text at here if link doesn’t work)?  Considering I missed seeing any such message for Mothers’ Day for May 8.  And I’m hoping the Minister also wanted to thank the dads keeping family together and sorted out while mom’s deployed, too.  I’m also hoping whoever writes these things keep that in mind next time.  Meanwhile, a belated salute to all dads, deployed or waiting for someone deployed to come home.
  • Afghanistan (1)  Buh-bye Zangabad“The road to Zangabad is lined with graves and for many years was littered with mines, but for Canadian troops it is now memory lane. The place they fought hard for over so many years, a place they occupied for the first time last fall, was quietly handed over to the Americans on Sunday as the withdrawal of the Canadian army from Kandahar hit full stride. Alpha Company 1st Battalion Royal 22e Regiment, which rolled into the notorious Taliban redoubt as part of NATO’s major offensive last year, pulled back to Kandahar Airfield as a first step on the long journey home. “Au revoir, Zangabad,” the radio crackled on Sunday morning as the last Canadian light armoured vehicles rolled out the gate of the region’s main forward operating base ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  As Canada leaves the killing fields of Panjwaii over the next few weeks, the last commander to be responsible for formerly Taliban-held territory to the west of Kandahar City says that what has been accomplished should be measured in the number of villages and clusters of compounds visited, the number of meetings held with village elders and the huge advances made by Afghan security forces. “There was a constant shift from what is contested or in the hands of the insurgents to less contested or in the hands of the ANSF,” said Lt.-Col. Michel-Henri St. Louis, during a long interview reflecting on what his 1 Royal 22e Regiment battle group had achieved during its tour. “This month is significantly less violent that the same month last year. There are fewer casualties. Locals feel more secure. This is true from the district governor down to the people in the bazaar.” ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch:  40+ claimed killed, wounded in alleged attacks in Kandahar, Zabul.
  • Nathan Hornburg, 1983-2007, R.I.P.:  Armoured recovery vehicle named in honour of fallen.
  • The Canadian military is trying to understand why female personnel in their early 40s were more than twice as likely to die from suicide as their civilian counterparts. Groundbreaking research by the Canadian Forces, Statistics Canada and Veterans Affairs has shown a statistically significant increase in the number of suicide deaths in female service members between the ages of 40 to 44. The Canadian Forces Cancer and Mortality Study also found a similar increase in women of the same age who have been released from the military. “We’re a little bit surprised,” Col. Colin MacKay, director of Force Health Protection and co-chair of the study’s advisory committee, said in Ottawa. “This was information we hadn’t had before and is very important information…because we can now start to look at it more carefully.” Researchers can’t explain the increase for that age group, but MacKay cautions it involves a small number of women over a 35-year period ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  The “Who Builds the Big Honkin’ Ships” sweepstakes heat up. “Jobs and Innovation Minister Pat Bell is not revealing details of any B.C. backing for Seaspan’s shipbuilding bid for fear of tipping off competitors in other provinces. “We anticipate being involved in extensive training programs, as well as some creative opportunities to make sure we support Seaspan and that we provide them with a bid that is certainly competitive across Canada,” Bell said in a briefing on Friday. As for specifics, “We don’t want to reveal that information” to others vying for the work, he said. North Vancouver-based Seaspan is one of four shortlisted companies competing for one of two federal shipbuilding packages worth a total of $33 billion. Seaspan owns Vancouver Shipyards, Vancouver Drydock and Victoria Shipyards in Esquimalt ….”  More from The Canadian Press here.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2)  150,000 tubes of cam paint – specs available here (via

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