In Digest

New Cold War.org Information Bulletin, Vol 2 #7, Jan 16, 2017

Ukraine-Russia-Europe:
Russia calls for thorough investigation into firebombing of Russian Orthodox church in Kyiv, TASS, Jan 16, 2017

Canada’s mainstream media joins ‘Russian hacking’ comic show: ‘Maybe’ Canadian elections were hacked, too!, story on CTV News, based on interview by CTV program host Evan Solomon with the former head of Canada’s spying agency, Jan 15, 2017

… Richard Fadden, who directed CSIS from 2009 to 2013 and served as National Security Advisor to Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau until last March, told CTV’s ‘Question Period’ host Evan Solomon that although “he doesn’t know” it happened [hacking of a Canadian election], he “would be very surprised if some attempt hadn’t been made, either through a cyberattack or through some other means.”

[CTV host Evan Solomon is a former top journalist at Canada’s state-run broadcaster CBC. He was fired by CBC in June 2015 after a Toronto Star investigation revealed he was using his journalist connections to sell art to wealthy contacts.]

Canada’s Globe and Mail daily voices ‘Russia hacking everywhere’ fantasy, by G&M columnist Konrad Yakubuski, Globe and Mail, Jan 16, 2017

… Hence, Mr. Putin’s plan to undermine NATO really runs through Europe. The U.S. election was merely a dry run for an influence campaign he has now embarked on as France and Germany, as well as the Netherlands and potentially Italy, go to the polls this year. Destabilizing the continent’s leading democracies, where Euroskeptic parties are on the rise, is job one for Mr. Putin in 2017…

UK Labour Party MP says he is ‘absolutely certain’ that British politicians have been ‘targeted by Kremlin’ for smear campaigns, The Observer (Guardian on Sunday), Jan 15, 2017

A former Foreign Office minister has claimed that senior British politicians are being targeted by the Kremlin for potentially compromising details about their private lives that might be used to discredit them. Labour MP, Chris Bryant, a former minister for Europe and ex-chair of the all-party parliamentary group for Russia, said he had been a victim of such tactics himself, and was “absolutely certain” [emphasis added] that high-profile government figures…will have been investigated by individuals linked to Russia or employed directly by Moscow.

The claim follows the publication of an intelligence file containing unverified allegations that Russian security officials possess compromising material on Donald Trump…

Russia, Trump and flawed intelligence, commentary by Masha Gessen, New York Review of Books, Jan 9, 2017  [Writer Masha Gessen refers to the elected government of Russia as “an aggressive dictatorship”. All the more compelling, then, is Gessen’s NYRB essay which dismisses the credibility of the January 6, 2017 report by the U.S. Office of National Director of Intelligence on ‘Russian activities and intentions in recent U.S. elections’.]

… On Friday [January 6], when the report appeared, the major newspapers came out with virtually identical headlines highlighting the agencies’ finding that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” to help Donald Trump win the presidency—a finding the agencies say they hold “with high confidence.”

A close reading of the report shows that it barely supports such a conclusion. Indeed, it barely supports any conclusion. There is not much to read: the declassified version is twenty-five pages, of which two are blank, four are decorative, one contains an explanation of terms, one a table of contents, and seven are a previously published unclassified report by the CIA’s Open Source division…

‘We’ll supply you with bricks,’ Kaliningrad governor offers as Lithuania announces plan to build ‘anti-aggressor’ border fence, RT.com, Jan 16, 2017

Turkey-Syria-Middle East and Caucasus:

Syrian and Russian gov’t officials have held ‘intensive meetings’ with Kurdish forces in Syria, reports FARS news agency

Syrian and Russian officials hold intensive meetings with Kurds to narrow down differences, FARS News Agency (Iran), Saturday, Jan 14, 2017

TEHRAN – Kurdish sources disclosed on Saturday that a set of intensive meetings have been held between the Kurdish commanders with the representatives of Syrian government and Russian officials to boost mutual understanding between Damascus and Syrian Kurds…

The sources valued the meetings as positive and voiced optimism about the conclusion of an agreement between the Kurds and Damascus officials…

Syrian reconciliation official shot dead after leaving meeting near Damascus with anti-gov’t militants, RT.com, Jan 15, 2017

Return to Aleppo: A squandered legacy, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, Jan 12, 2017

This is the second in a series of stories from Al-Monitor correspondent Fehim Tastekin, who is traveling in Syria.

Turkey faces financial disaster, by Cengiz Çandar, Al-Monitor, Jan 13, 2017

Turkish prosecutor drops torture complaint saying police have impunity under state of emergency laws, Turkish Minute, Jan 15, 2017

Turkish deputy of Armenian origin takes punishment over his 1915 genocide remark to top court, Turkish Minute, Jan 16, 2017

Turkey’s war on Syrian Kurds under scrutiny, by Eyaz Ciziri and Ehmed Sawes, ARA News,  Jan 8, 2017

United States:
Chicago Police Routinely Trampled on Civil Rights, Justice Dept. Says, New York Times, Jan 13, 2017

World:
China again rejects Trump’s suggestion to negotiate Taiwan, by Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press, Jan. 15, 2017

Beijing to Trump: ‘One China’ principle non-negotiable, RT.com, Jan 14, 2017

The ‘One China’ principle acknowledging that there is only one Chinese government is non-negotiable and the ultimate basis for U.S.-China relations, China’s Foreign Ministry said in response to recent comment by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

The Chinese ministry also called on “relevant parties” in the U.S. to recognize the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue in a statement that came as a response to the remarks Trump made in the interview with the Wall Street Journal. In an hour-long interview on Friday, Trump said that he may consider ending the long-standing agreement with China on relations with Taiwan. “Everything is under negotiation, including ‘one China,’” Trump said during the interview…

UN report: ‘Glaring’ accountability gaps over sexual abuse by UN ‘peacekeepers’, report by Alex Boutilier, Toronto Star, Jan 14, 2017

The United Nations is grappling with “glaring gaps” in accountability for peacekeepers accused of sexually abusing people they’ve been sent to protect, internal Canadian government documents suggest…

The documents raise more questions for Canada, which in recent years has documented five cases of alleged sexual abuse by Canadian peacekeepers in Haiti, and is preparing for a significant new mission in Africa this year…

Quebec coroner blames aboriginal suicides on Canada’s ‘ancient apartheid system’, by Michelle Lalonde, Montreal Gazette, Jan 15, 2017

And related: ‘Apartheid system’ of reserves to blame for Innu suicides: Quebec coroner, CBC News, Jan 14, 2017

[The government of the Canadian province of Quebec called a public coroner’s inquest following five suicides in a nine-month stretch in November 2015 in an Innu aboriginal community in northern Quebec. Canada’s population of app. 1.5 million First Nations and Metis people has a youth suicide rate five to six times higher than the non-Indigenous population. All health and economic indicators in Canada show gross disparities between Indigenous and non-indigenous people.]

Seven years after the 2010 earthquake: Haiti in an unprecedented humanitarian, food, and climate crisis, by Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Jan. 12, 2017

To mark the 7th anniversary of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a number of organizations belonging to the Haiti Advocacy Working Group released the following statement…

Up to 100 feared dead as migrant boat capsizes off Libya coast, Associated Press, Jan 14, 2017

Global warming:
Warsaw grapples with gloomy, gray smog
, by Jonna Berendt, New York Times, Jan 14, 2017

… An eerie gray mist with a pervasive odor of fumes wreathed Warsaw and dozens of other Polish cities, bringing a global problem more associated with Beijing and New Delhi into the heart of Europe. It took less than half a day, on Jan 8, for the smog levels to break all records set in the 10 years since Poland, following a directive from the European Union, put in place an air pollution monitoring system…

The surge in pollution came shortly after a report by the World Health Organization said that 33 of the European Union’s 50 most polluted cities are in Poland, which relies heavily on its cherished national coal industry and bluntly refuses to invest in renewable energy sources that might supplant coal, known here as black gold.

WHO releases country estimates on air pollution exposure and health impact, World Health Organization press release Sept 27, 2016

GENEVA – A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits*. Information is presented via interactive maps, highlighting areas within countries that exceed WHO limits…

… Some three million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together.


New Cold War.org Information Bulletin is posted daily (or every several days) to the New Cold War.org website as a complement to the feature articles published or re-produced in full. It is included in the daily newsletter emailed to website subscribers. As of Nov 22, 2016, the ‘search’ function on the website will be needed by readers to find many of the items by published title or author. Articles that are published exclusively on New Cold War.org will continue to be published in their entirety and tagged in the relevant subject category. As well, articles from other publications will be selectively re-posted here in their entirety, tagged by category, sometimes as ‘editor pick’. As always, the weblink to the original source will be provided. Comments in square brackets [ ] are those of New Cold War.org editors. Comments and suggestions welcome; find email address under ‘Contact’ on main website page.

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