Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – January 5, 2013

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  • The Royal Canadian Navy has acknowledged that HMCS Athabaskan was damaged during its voyage from Ontario to Nova Scotia last week, though officials would not say how or when it happened or discuss the extent of the damage.  The Iroquois-class destroyer, which is currently berthed in North Sydney, broke loose from its tow line last week and went adrift near Scatarie Island off the northeast coast of Cape Breton.  “At this time, we acknowledge that there appears to be some damage,” said Cmdr. Matthew Coates. “We’ve seen the pictures. We have a team from Maritime Forces Atlantic, some experts, who have gone to Sydney to do an assessment of that perceived damage.  “The objective at this point is to assess the damage, determine when the ship will be safe to return to Halifax, and obviously that is contingent upon that assessment as well as weather conditions.” ….” – more here.
  • More Mali  Mali:  the next Afghanistan?  “…. for American diplomats, Mali is a national tragedy, not to mention a flagrant foreign policy failure on many levels. It shows the inability to recognize a threat and be honest about it. It represents another domino fallen to the Islamists. And yet despite a quarter-million Malian refugees, the dynamiting and bulldozing of priceless treasures of African culture in Timbuktu and environs, young women machine-gunned for making eyes at their boyfriends, Mali at best makes the world news briefs, deep inside the paper ….” 
  • More than 1,500 Canadian Army reservists are taking part in a large scale exercise at Fort Pickett in Blackstone.  The Virginia National Guard says the 34th and 35th Canadian Brigade Groups are validating months of training during the exercise that began Wednesday and runs through Jan. 9.  During the Noble Warrior exercise, infantry, artillery, armored, engineer and support units will test their skills against a simulated opposing force during a four-day battle.  Officials say that the Canadian soldiers have trained on weekends throughout the fall to reinforce their knowledge, technique and capacity to work in platoon size up to company level ….”
  • Afghanistan  More video from “Requiem for a Generation” from – enjoy!
  • Way Up North  Russia’s hegemony over Arctic shipping routes is bound to strengthen as long as Canada and the U.S. fail to co-operate over the Northwest Passage, according to a recent policy paper.  “We’re probably a decade behind what the Russians are doing,” said John Higginbotham, a former Transport Canada assistant deputy minister who is now a scholar at Carleton University, and an author of the brief. “It’s something Westerners should be concerned about: giving complete hegemony over this particular commercial route to the Russians.”  In June, Higginbotham and several academics backed by the Centre for International Governance Innovation brought together politicians from Canada and the U.S. for an invite-only workshop in Ottawa focused on Arctic shipping corridors.  Their conclusions were dire: traffic over Eurasia is growing while remaining stagnant in North America, meaning Canada could lose out on any increased Arctic shipping without a massive investment in public infrastructure. That would require high-level talks with Alaska and the U.S. mainland, something that isn’t happening, said Higginbotham ….”
  • Christie Blatchford on present-day reality and comparing it to Douglas Bland’s Uprising  “…. It’s not that Canadians should fear their native brothers and sisters. What we all ought to be afraid of is that awful status quo.”
  • “The first man known to be on Canada’s no-fly list has been denied government funding to fight his legal challenge.  Hani Al Telbani, a Concordia University engineering student, was at Montreal’s Trudeau airport about to board an Air Canada flight to Saudi Arabia in 2008 when he was stopped. He was shown a copy of an emergency direction from the Minister of Transport declaring he “posed an immediate threat to aviation security.”  Mr. Al Telbani’s case sparked debate over racial profiling, civil liberties, public safety and national security and brought legal challenges that continue to be argued in court. He denied being a danger and claimed in court filings that the government unjustly associated him with terrorism.  But, in a recent decision, the Federal Court of Appeal has rejected his plea to have the government pay his legal costs in advance ….” – more here
  • In a moving ceremony that took place at the Canada Science and Technology Museum on Nov. 21, 2012 in Ottawa, J.A.D. McCurdy, Canada’s first pilot and the first man to fly in Canada, was inducted into the prestigious Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame.  Mr. McCurdy graduated from the University of Toronto in 1906 in mechanical engineering where he was the youngest student to be admitted to the university.  Capping a brilliant career in aviation, Mr. McCurdy was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1947-1952. Known as one of the principal fathers of Canadian aviation when he died on June 25, 1961, in Montreal, Que., he was the world’s oldest living pilot.  Mr. McCurdy was buried in his birthplace, Baddeck, N.S., with full military honours facing the waters of Bras d’Or Lake from where he made his historic flight in The Silver Dart on February 23, 1909 ….”

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