News by Professionals 4 Professionals

British Columbia

Reference Library – Canada – British Columbia

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner took their kids to a five-star Canadian ski resort during Passover in April. According to newly available data from the federal government, the Secret Service costs for hotel accommodations and ski passes during the family s trip to the Four Seasons Resort and Residences in Whistler, British Columbia were at least $66,538.42. Of that amount, government purchase order records show, $59,654 covered hotel costs for Secret Service agents at the resort near Vancouver, while $6,884 paid for “multi-day ski passes.”

A larger group of Trumps, 14 adults and children in all, took a ski trip to the pricey resort town of Aspen[1], Colorado in March. Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric were accompanied by their families and Secret Service agents. Purchase order records show a contracted expenditure for more than $12,000 for the rental of “recreational goods” from a local business, Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club, Inc. But the Secret Service denied the costs were for ski rentals and the store did not respond to an NBC News request for comment. The records do not appear to show a purchase order for hotel rooms for agents during the Aspen trip.

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill Ivanka Trump, with her husband Jared Kushner and their children, depart after President Donald Trump,formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in the President’s Room of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2017. J. Scott Applewhite / AP file [2]

Brian Bulatao, a private equity investor from Dallas, is slated to become the No. 3 official at the CIA, according to current and former intelligence officials. The job has traditionally, but not always, been filled by career intelligence officers. It is not subject to Senate confirmation. The position has long been known as “executive director,” but CIA Director Mike Pompeo is changing the title to “chief operating officer.” The executive director has been called the CIA s “mayor,” responsible for the internal workings of the agency that employs an estimated 20,000 personnel worldwide.

Bulatao is no stranger to Pompeo, the former Kansas congressman who was named director by President Trump. The two were West Point classmates, graduating in 1986, and later business partners, according to officials. Pompeo, first in his class at the academy, graduated from Harvard Law School. Bulatao was an Army Ranger who served as a paratrooper, and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Pompeo and Bulatao were among several West Point alumni who in 1998 founded Thayer Aerospace, a Wichita machining company. The firm received financing from a venture capital company funded by the Koch brothers, according to a 2011 story in the Washington Post. The company was sold in 2006 and Bulatao moved on to executive roles at a packaging company before entering private equity in 2010. He is currently a senior adviser at Highlander Partners, L.P., a Dallas-based investment firm that claims more than $1 billion in assets under management. For the second time in 2017, Houthi rebels have used a remote-controlled boat bomb to attack a Saudi Arabian ship, raising the possibility that the two-year-old conflict between the Yemeni rebels and the Saudi military could also threaten global oil shipments.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said Wednesday its security forces had stopped an attack on an Aramco oil distribution terminal in the Red Sea on the Saudi coast just north of Yemen. Had the attack succeeded, say analysts, it could have shaken the world crude oil market. The explosive-packed skiff was a mile from the terminal’s off-loading buoys when stopped by gunfire. Pictures released by the ministry show the boat heading toward the facility, and then a large explosion in the water after strikes on the target by the Saudi Coast Guard. The ministry stopped short of blaming the Houthis for the incident, but called it a terrorist attack, and issued a veiled warning to the Houthis’ sponsor, Iran.

The statement said Saudi forces will remain vigilant against those standing behind Houthi militias working to threaten the security of waterways and sea facilities. On January 30, a Saudi Navy frigate was attacked by the Houthis, killing two Saudi sailors. Although initial reports suggested a missile or suicide attack, the U.S. Navy later assessed that for the first time the Houthis had deployed an unmanned drone attack boat, and used Iranian technology. A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News a U.S. Navy ship was nearby when the January attack took place.

A prosecutor’s office in New Orleans is sending notices that are stamped “subpoena” but that are not issued by a judge or court to witnesses in criminal cases, according to a new report. Legal experts told The Lens NOLA[3], an investigative news website, that the formal-looking paperwork is unethical and possibly illegal. A spokesman for Orleans Parish Leon Cannizzaro defended the practice, saying, “It’s no different than if we just put a letter out on our letterhead.”

But the “subpeona” letters also come with a threat of arrest. “A fine and imprisonment may be imposed for failure to obey this notice,” they said.

The Lens said it had confirmed three instances in which the notices were used, including the case of slain former NFL player Will Smith.

“There’s no question this is improper,” Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman told the site. The DA’s spokesman, Chris Bowman, said his boss “does not see any legal issues with respect to this policy.”

A Palestinian woman convicted of two bombings in Israel in 1970 pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Chicago courtroom to hiding those offenses when she applied for U.S. citizenship years later. Rasmea Odeh, now 69, was sentenced to life in prison in Israel for two bombings, one of which killed two men at a Jerusalem supermarket. She was released in 1979 during a prisoner swap between Israel and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. When she applied for a U.S. visa in 1994, she didn’t disclose her criminal record, and again failed to disclose the conviction when she applied for citizenship in 2004 while living in Michigan. A guilty verdict in her first trail was overturned on appeal, and she then accepted a plea deal rather than be retried.

Odeh will be deported to Jordan or another country at some point after a court appearance in August. As part of her agreement with federal prosecutors, she will spend no time in prison.

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill Rasmea Odeh outside the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit on April 25, 2017, is expected to agree to be deported for failing to disclose her conviction for bombings in Israel in the late 1960s. Max Ortiz / AP [4]

Two New York City men have been charged with selling a killer dose of heroin to a 41-year-old woman trying to kick her addiction in a hospital rehab clinic. Anthony Dodaj and Duane Martinez face up to life in prison if convicted of federal charges for the New Year’s Day delivery to Ivy Katz, who was later found unconscious in her room with a needle in her arm, prosecutors said. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said the two men “will now be held to account for their role in fueling the tragic overdose death crisis in New York City.” The defendants’ attorneys could not be reached for immediate comment.

According to a criminal complaint in the case, Katz was a heroin addict who sought treatment at a Manhattan hospital in mid-December. Less than three weeks later, she used the hospital payphone to call her drug connection, investigators said. On Jan. 1, Dodaj showed up at the facility and signed in as a visitor, the complaint says. Video showed him meeting with Katz, who was found comatose a half-hour after he left. Her family removed her from life support two weeks later. Ret. Adm. James Stavridis made an evocative comparison to an American comedy classic on MSNBC Monday to explain the danger of North Korea’s weapons program.

“I think the real danger is probably 18 months, two years from now, two streams coming together[5],” said Stavridis, the former head of NATO and an NBC News analyst. “One is miniaturizing nuclear weapons, the other is long-range ballistic missiles. It’s like in Ghostbusters, you don’t want those streams to cross[6].”

In the movie, “crossing the streams” may create a “total protonic reversal” that ends life on earth. The streams are going to cross, said Stavridis, “not in the next week, but probably in the next 18 to 24 months. That will be when we’ll be forced to take some level of action. What’s happening now, I think we can manage with, more or less, traditional diplomatic tools without getting into a shooting war.”

The Taliban has claimed credit for a Monday suicide attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan that was once the site of one of the deadliest attacks on CIA personnel in the agency’s history. The bomber blew up an explosive-packed vehicle at Camp Chapman in Khost Province. There are no reports of U.S. casualties, but there were casualties amond the Afghan troops guarding the base. The attack came as U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis was visiting the Afghan capital of Kabul.

In 2009, when the facility was known as Forward Operating Base Chapman, a Jordanian doctor was brought to the camp to deliver valuable information about al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawhari. He was not searched on arrival, and detonated a suicide vest in the middle of the CIA personnel gathered to greet him. He killed seven CIA officers and contractors, a Jordanian intelligence agent and an Afghan CIA employee. Six other CIA officers and contractors were injured. The camp is in territory dominated by a Taliban faction known as the Haqqani Network. It has been attacked by suicide bombers several times since 2009, including in 2012 and 2015. The 2015 attack, at a checkpoint near the main gate, killed 33 people.

[7]

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, who is said to have told the White House that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail, has been invited to testify publicly before Congress. The Republican and Democrat leading the House Intelligence Committee probe of Russian election interference[8] announced Friday they are seeking to schedule public testimony sometime after May 2 by Yates, as well as former CIA Director John Brennan and James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.

All three former officials have insights into what the U.S. intelligence community knows about alleged contacts between Trump associates and Russians. Whether they can discuss any of that in public is another matter. Shortly after Trump took office in January, Yates informed the White House[9] she believed Flynn had misled senior administration officials about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., and warned that Flynn was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials told the Washington Post. Yates was later fired by Trump after she refused to enforce his travel ban directed at Muslim majority countries.

Flynn was ousted after it became clear he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. One of the ISIS leaders who helped plot the New Year’s attack on an Istanbul nightlcub was killed earlier this month in a U.S. ground raid in Syria, the Pentagon announced Friday. Abdul Rahman Uzbeki was a “close associate” of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to CENTCOM spokesperson Colonel John Thomas. Uzbeki was killed in a U.S. military “ground operation” in Syria on April 6. Thomas would not elaborate on the raid or not, saying only that the operation was intended to “eliminate him.”

ISIS took credit for the mass shooting at the Reina nightclub on Jan. 1, 2017, which killed at least 39 people. The alleged gunman, an Uzbek national, was captured in Istanbul a week later.

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill Ambulances transport wounded people after a gun attack on Reina, a popular night club in Istanbul near by the Bosphorus, early morning in Istanbul, Turkey on Jan. 1, 2017. STR / EPA [10]

References

  1. ^ took a ski trip to the pricey resort town of Aspen (www.nbcnews.com)
  2. ^ Ivanka Trump, with her husband Jared Kushner and their children, depart after President Donald Trump,formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in the President’s Room of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2017. J. Scott Applewhite / AP file (media3.s-nbcnews.com)
  3. ^ The Lens NOLA (thelensnola.org)
  4. ^ Rasmea Odeh outside the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit on April 25, 2017, is expected to agree to be deported for failing to disclose her conviction for bombings in Israel in the late 1960s. Max Ortiz / AP (media4.s-nbcnews.com)
  5. ^ two streams coming together (www.msnbc.com)
  6. ^ you don’t want those streams to cross (www.youtube.com)
  7. ^ (www.reuters.com)
  8. ^ probe of Russian election interference (www.nbcnews.com)
  9. ^ Yates informed the White House (www.nbcnews.com)
  10. ^ Ambulances transport wounded people after a gun attack on Reina, a popular night club in Istanbul near by the Bosphorus, early morning in Istanbul, Turkey on Jan. 1, 2017. STR / EPA (media2.s-nbcnews.com)

UK police shoot 1, arrest 6 others in counterterror raids

LONDON (AP) British police said Friday they had disrupted an active terror plot with raids in London and southeastern England. One woman was shot and seriously wounded as heavily armed counterterrorism officers stormed a house in a residential London street. Six suspects were arrested on terrorism-related charges, police said. The injured woman, who is in her 20s, was in serious but stable condition in a hospital. The woman, whose name hasn’t been released, was under police guard but had not been arrested because of her condition, police said.

Armed officers fired CS gas into the house in the Willesden area of northwest London, which had been under observation as part of an anti-terrorism investigation, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said. He didn’t give details of how the woman was shot. In footage shot by a witness, what sounds like several shots ring out as police surround the house. Neighbor Maxine McKenzie said she saw “a lot of frenetic police activity” and a woman being taken out of the house on a stretcher.

“She was sitting upright and had oxygen on I couldn’t tell if she was conscious or unconscious,” McKenzie said.

Police said the raids weren’t connected to an arrest by counterterrorism police near Parliament on Thursday afternoon. A man was detained near the Houses Parliament and the prime minister’s office in Downing Street while allegedly carrying large knives in a backpack. Police said the 27-year-old had been under surveillance. A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak about the investigation, named him as Khalid Mohamed Omar Ali. British media said he grew up in London. He was arrested yards from where an attacker drove an SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on March 22, killing four, before fatally stabbing a police officer inside Parliament’s gates.

Basu said the Willesden raid disrupted an ongoing plot, but did not elaborate. In both the Willesden and Parliament incidents, “we have contained the threat that they posed,” Basu said. Britain’s official threat from international terrorism stands at the second-highest level, “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely.

Counterterrorism police say 13 potential attacks have been foiled in the last four years. Police and security services say they face a challenge monitoring hundreds of people of interest, including Britons who went to join IS militants in Iraq and Syria and have returned. Basu, Britain’s senior coordinator for counterterrorism policing, said there had been “increased activity to combat terrorism over the last two years,” with police “making arrests on a near-daily basis.”

In 2016, British police arrested 260 people on suspicion of terrorism offenses, 96 of whom were charged. In Thursday’s raids, a 20-year old woman and a 16-year-old boy were arrested at the address where the woman was shot, as was a 20-year-old man nearby. A man and a woman, both aged 28, were arrested when they returned to the house later.

A 43-year-old woman in Kent county, southeast of London, was also arrested. Police said the suspects were being held on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts. They were being questioned but had not been charged. Ryan O’Donnell, who saw the Willesden raid, said it was “a bit shocking” to see “police wearing big gas masks and holding guns and stuff.”

“Things are pretty much always going on around northwest London, something criminal, so I didn’t think it was terrorism at the time,” he said. “I thought maybe it is guns or something, or drugs or something. But (it) makes sense why they needed such a force.”

___

Kevin Scott and Paisley Dodds contributed to this story.

‘Forgotten refugees’ want to be recognized in Canada without a hearing

It may seem extreme, but advocates want the federal government to fast-track about 5,600 so-called forgotten refugees who after five years in Canada have still not been given a hearing. The refugee claimants, from all over the world, are what are known as legacy claimants because they filed for refugee status before the new refugee determination regime came into force in December 2012. While under the new system, a claimant must be given a hearing within 60 days or in some cases 30 days the legacy claimants, judged low priority by the Immigration and Refugee Board, have been waiting in limbo for five years.

Families are separated, young people can t pursue their education, no one can get on with their life and there is no resolution in sight, said Loly Rico, the president of the Canadian Council for Refugees. Fairness requires that we give them the opportunity to regularize their status in Canada without delay.

The CCR, along with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, are proposing that rather than wait another five, six or eight years for a hearing on their initial refugee claim, the legacy claimants be given the option of having their status decided on humanitarian and compassionate grounds: on how well they have integrated into their communities in Canada and what hardship they would face if returned to their countries of origin. Instead of a hearing, with all the delays and costs associated with it, an immigration officer would consider a written application, and look at the criminality of an applicant, whether they are working, paying taxes, and have small children, for example, said Mitchell Goldberg, the president of the CARL. As it stands, only 678 legacy claims were finalized in 2016. At this rate, it could take another eight years to hear all the remaining legacy cases before the IRB. And in the meantime, new cases are piling up.

Related

As per the law, refugee claimants must have a hearing scheduled within 60 days. But 60 per cent of the hearings scheduled before the IRB in Montreal, for example, are then cancelled at the last minute or postponed, Goldberg said.

The former government created this mess and everyone we ve spoken to recognizes that the status quo is not acceptable, Goldberg said. If (the government) would rather hire more board members, they should go ahead and do so, but it will be a lot more expensive and other people coming in will wait longer and longer. The situation has taken its toll on one woman from Zimbabwe, who can t reunite with her daughter, now 11, or leave the country to visit her, until she has permanent status in Canada; and on a gay man from the Caribbean, who wants to become a teacher, but as an eternal refugee claimant would have to pay international student fees in Canada. It s also been hard on Ibrahim, who came here from Ethiopia in 2012. A university teacher in his own country, he was also a member of an opposition party and was detained and tortured before he escaped and found his way to Canada.

I m in a safe country, I m physically safe, said Ibrahim, whose real name is being withheld to protect his identity. But mentally or psychologically it s not safe, because I don t know how long I ll be safe and I have no idea about my future.

With the label of refugee claimant, and long bouts of depression and helplessness, Ibrahim says it s difficult to focus on his ambitions and fulfill his potential. So instead he has worked a number of jobs in Canada including as a security guard for three years, and even volunteered to help Syrian newcomers settle in. The Syrians were given permanent residency upon their arrival. Ibrahim has yet to get a hearing.

I m happy for them so they can forget what they ve gone through and they can feel secure and focus on their lives even if it s not happening for me, Ibrahim said. For myself and the other refugees in the same situation our life is on hold.

The backlog at the IRB is a result of several factors, including a growing number of claims from refugees coming over the U.S. border recently. But mostly it s due to inefficiency, said Goldberg. The Harper government mandated short deadlines for a first hearing of 30 or 60 days, depending on the country of origin. But it is often not long enough for the Canada Border Services Agency to complete its security review of the applicant, so the case is postponed. The short timelines also make it impossible for the IRB to develop specialized teams with knowledge of Syria or El Salvador, for example who can reach decisions faster. The IRB has suggested extending the timelines so that a hearing is scheduled 90 to 120 days after a claim is filed. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada did not return a request for comment Wednesday on the special measures being suggested for legacy claims.

The immigration department has attempted to reduce the backlog of cases by allowing claimants from certain countries Syria, Iraq, and Eritrea to be granted refugee status without a hearing. And since the beginning of April, people from countries with an acceptance rate of about 80 per cent or more can be given a shorter hearing, making it possible to hear more claims in the time available. It is not clear whether members have actually started conducting shorter hearings, however.

The CCR and the CARL believe the special measures for legacy claimants would take those claims off the IRB s shoulders, and let the claimants themselves breathe easier.

We keep hoping they ll start reviewing our cases but it s been five years, says Ibrahim. The problem is not knowing how much longer I ll have to wait. We re already victims of our own governments. We just want our cases reviewed. We want the right to a fair trial like everyone else.

Twitter.com/csolyom

References

  1. ^

1 2 3 381