EU lawmakers to grill new climate chief on fossil fuels, document shows
The Globe and Mail
Lawmakers in the European Parliament are set to question Wopke Hoekstra, the nominee for the EU's next climate-change chief, on his plans for phasing out fossil fuels and setting a new emissions target for 2040, according to a document seen by Reuters. Hoekstra, a former Dutch foreign minister, has the backing of the Dutch government and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen to become the European Union’s next Climate Commissioner. However, some lawmakers have expressed concerns about his lack of experience in climate policy. Hoekstra must pass a European Parliament hearing before his appointment can be confirmed.
UK considers delaying ban on sale of new petrol, diesel cars -BBC
The UK government is reportedly considering delaying the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars until 2035, five years later than currently planned. The proposed delay is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a speech in the coming days. The government is not expected to change its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. There is concern that the government under Sunak has lost its appetite for implementing difficult climate policies ahead of an expected election next year. Sunak has defended his approach, stating that the UK's record on cutting carbon emissions is better than other major countries.
Cleverly hopes perpetrators of Sikh activist killing in Canada face justice
The UK is continuing with trade talks with India despite allegations that the Indian government was involved in the killing of a Sikh activist in Canada. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated that all countries must respect the rule of law, but did not specifically blame India for the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. British Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch expressed positivity about signing a trade deal with India before the end of the year. The UK government stressed the importance of respecting a country’s sovereignty and international rule of law.
China vows deeper trade, investment with Russia despite Western rebuke
China and Russia have urged increased cross-border connectivity and deeper trade and investment cooperation, despite disapproval from the West over Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year. Chinese Commerce Minister, Wang Wentao, stated that economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has continued to deepen and become more "solid". Russia has turned to China for economic support due to Western sanctions and has benefited from Chinese demand for oil, gas, and grain. The Russian Far East, bordering China and North Korea, has gained strategic significance as a zone of cross-border trade and commerce. China and Russia are also looking to increase grain trading to help bolster China's food security.
What is the Khalistan movement and why is it fuelling the India-Canada rift?
The Globe and Mail
Tensions have risen between India and Canada after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were "credible allegations" linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada. The Khalistan movement, which seeks an independent Sikh state, has caused conflict between the Indian government and Sikh separatists since the 1947 partition of Punjab between India and Pakistan. The movement has little support in India but is backed by some members of the Sikh diaspora in Canada, Britain, Australia and the US. Canada has paused talks on a proposed trade treaty with India and postponed a planned trade mission.
Why Western nations fear India-Canada row
Western powers will be cautious to not let the diplomatic row between Canada and India affect their relationships with India. India is seen as a key player on the geopolitical chess board and is viewed as a potential counterweight to China. Western diplomats will also be wary of countries taking sides in the Canada-India dispute, as it could potentially create divisions among nations. Canada's allies have expressed concern over the allegations made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but are waiting for the investigation to be completed before taking further action.
Singapore's first female president changed perceptions of what Asian leaders should look like
Halimah Yacob, the first female president of Singapore, has completed her six-year term amid hopes that her career will inspire more women to aim high in politics. Halimah was also the country's first female speaker of parliament, and only the second Muslim to hold the role. Although the country's political scene is still dominated by men, with only 27 women among 93 elected members of parliament, Halimah hopes that her term as president will help to change this. She said in her farewell speech that many people had found it uplifting to see a female head of state, particularly one from a minority community. Halimah's term as president was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which she played a significant role in unlocking the country's finances to support workers. Despite holding a ceremonial position, Halimah's term was considered highly industrious, with her attending more than 1,400 community events and making 21 overseas trips, including 12 state visits.
Sunak to water down net zero commitments to ensure they are ‘proportionate’
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to backtrack on a number of green targets, including the phase-out of gas boilers and the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars, in a bid to ensure the measures are “proportionate”. The reported move has been criticised by campaigners and politicians from across the political spectrum. Johnson is scheduled to make a speech this week to outline “an important long-term decision”.
Politics Briefing: Poilievre urges Trudeau to reveal evidence of India’s role in killing of Canadian Sikh leader
The Globe and Mail
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should provide evidence that the Indian government was behind the assassination of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, according to opposition leader Pierre Poilievre. Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada had credible intelligence linking India to Nijjar's killing and expelled the Indian High Commission's top foreign intelligence officer. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied the allegations and responded by expelling a Canadian diplomat. The allegations have resulted in a deterioration in Indo-Canadian relations.
Canada signs $3-billion deal to finance nuclear power in Romania
The Toronto Star
Canada has agreed to finance two new nuclear reactors in Romania in a $3 billion deal. The Romanian Energy Minister, Sebastian Burduja, stated that the purpose of the deal is to diminish Russia's ability to use its energy exports as a weapon. The financing from Canada will be limited to the purchase of equipment and expertise from Canadian companies. The deal is also seen as a way to reduce Romania's reliance on coal for electricity generation and to add new non-Russian energy sources. The two new reactors, in addition to the two already in operation, will increase Romania's electricity supply from nuclear energy to almost one-third. Romania is also in talks to share its non-Russian energy sources with other countries in the region.
Justin Trudeau’s government won’t say if it will help craft a ‘new deal’ for Toronto
The Toronto Star
The Canadian government has not confirmed whether it will accept an invitation from the Premier of Ontario and the Mayor of Toronto to help fix the city's pandemic-hit finances. Toronto's budget gap stands at $1.5bn for next year alone, prompting the Premier and Mayor to call on the federal government for additional financial support. The federal government has not responded to previous requests for help with the city's finances, which have been hit by a drop in revenues and increased costs related to the pandemic.
Japan's top currency diplomat says Tokyo in close contact with US on FX moves
Japanese authorities are in close communication with their US counterparts on currencies and share a mutual understanding that excessive volatility is undesirable, according to Masato Kanda, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs. His comments come in response to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's statement that whether the US would show understanding over another yen-buying intervention by Japan "depends on the details" of the situation. Kanda said that Japan would not rule out any options if excessive moves persist.
Ottawa didn’t inform Saskatchewan of claims against key trade partner India, minister says
The Globe and Mail
The Canadian province of Saskatchewan has accused Ottawa of failing to inform it about alleged security concerns regarding a key trade partner, India, whose government Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested played a part in the murder of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Saskatchewan makes up around a third of Canada’s exports to India, which are valued at over CAD1bn ($800m) to the provincial economy.
Scientists and Pacific activists call on Australia to prevent 'climate annihilation'
The Australia Institute has published a full-page ad in the New York Times calling on the Australian government to halt "over 100 new coal and gas projects" in the pipeline. The open letter, signed by over 200 scientists and experts, called on Australia to accelerate climate action, "not climate annihilation". Australia has been criticised for wanting to be seen as a climate leader while still supporting fossil fuels. Pacific activists are also calling on Australia to increase climate financing in the region. They say Australia needs to "step up your work in the Pacific" and plan together with the first nations people of the Pacific. Australia is currently behind on its climate goals and has been referred to as a global climate laggard. The Australia Institute said that Australia had the resources to be a Pacific leader on climate change, but it was yet to prove itself.
UN General Assembly: Erdogan, Netanyahu meet for first time as relations thaw
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in person for the first time in years, signaling a thaw in their strained relationship. The two leaders discussed political, economic, and regional topics, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian issue. They also discussed opportunities for energy cooperation, particularly in natural gas exploration, production, and trade. This meeting marks a significant milestone in the slow improvement of ties between Turkey and Israel. Turkey has also been working to repair relationships with other regional rivals, including Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
Justin Trudeau’s ‘credible allegations’ against India part of another sordid Canadian chapter in a decades-old conflict
The Toronto Star
The history of tensions between India and Sikhs advocating for a separate homeland is marked by political, religious and geographical divisions. Sikhs advocating for a separate homeland have found support in Canada, Britain, Australia and the United States. Indian authorities have tried to suppress this sentiment, but have been frustrated by a lack of cooperation from other countries, particularly Canada. The recent suggestion by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the Indian state may have been behind the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil has been met with anger and surprise in India. Nijjar was considered a wanted fugitive from justice in India and the head of a listed terror group. Indian authorities have denied involvement in Nijjar's death. Trudeau's accusations place India in a group of countries that have carried out extraterritorial killings, such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Israel and the United States. Canada has not provided any evidence to support these allegations, but it is reported that they shared evidence with close allies before going public. The Indian official ordered to leave Canada was the Canadian station chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, India's foreign intelligence agency. India's Ministry of External Affairs has denied any involvement in Nijjar's death.
Tunisia hit by rare nationwide power blackout
Electricity supplies were cut off across Tunisia for two hours on Wednesday, but the reason for the nationwide outage remains unclear. The state electricity company, STEG, and residents were unable to provide any explanation for the blackout. The country's Interior Minister, Kamal Feki, is investigating the cause of the outage.
'Everything is known as shame': Why some First Nations teens are finding it hard to discuss the Voice
Young Indigenous people in Australia are feeling ashamed about their culture, which is stifling open discussions about the Voice, according to teenagers at a recent community event. The Voice is a proposal for an Indigenous advisory body that would provide input on policies and legislation that affect Indigenous people. The teenagers said they wanted other young people to realise they should never feel ashamed about their culture and that having a voice is about more than just talking. They believe that if Australians vote "yes" in the upcoming referendum on the Voice, it would have a positive impact on how young Indigenous people feel about themselves and their culture.
Sunak accused of axing policies that never existed in fiery interview
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been accused of watering down Britain's net zero plans after claiming to have scrapped green policies that did not exist. In an interview with the BBC, Sunak was questioned about proposals to tax meat, restrict car travel and force households to have seven different bins. He cited a report by the independent Climate Change Committee as the basis for the measures, but was accused by journalist Nick Robinson of pretending to halt "frightening proposals that simply do not exist". Sunak claimed former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would have supported his actions.
Japan eager to build tighter trade relations with Canada
The Toronto Star
The Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan, Nishimura Yasutoshi, recently visited Ottawa to strengthen economic ties between Japan and Canada. He highlighted the similarities and complementarity of the two countries, as well as the importance of their partnership in the Indo-Pacific region. Japan imports energy and mineral resources from Canada, while Japanese automakers have production facilities in Canada. The two countries are also exploring co-operative relationships in areas such as battery supply chains and advanced technologies like AI and quantum computing. Minister Yasutoshi emphasized the need for like-minded countries to act in co-operation in the face of global instability.