Azerbaijan launches military action in Karabakh to disarm Armenians
Azerbaijan has launched "anti-terrorist activities" in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to restore constitutional order and drive out what it called Armenian military formations there, suggesting a potential outbreak of war. Azerbaijan's defence ministry spoke of its intention to "disarm and secure the withdrawal of formations of Armenia’s armed forces from our territories, (and) neutralise their military infrastructure." Armenia, which says its armed forces are not present in Karabakh, said that the situation on its own border with Azerbaijan was stable. The internationally recognised Nagorno-Karabakh region has an overwhelmingly ethnic Armenian population.
Graft accusations dog top Zelenskiy aides
Oleh Maiboroda, the former CEO of Ukrainian construction firm Ukrbud Development, has accused Oleh Tatarov, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, of accepting bribes to approve building projects. Maiboroda claimed that Tatarov used his contacts with law enforcement officials to facilitate the bribes. Tatarov, who has denied any wrongdoing, has previously faced allegations of bribery and corruption, although the cases against him have been closed on procedural grounds. The accusations against Tatarov threaten to undermine Zelenskiy's commitment to fighting corruption, an issue that has long plagued Ukrainian politics and has hindered the country's progress towards EU membership.
Azerbaijan launches new ‘anti-terror’ offensive in Nagorno Karabakh
Azerbaijan has launched military operations in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the country's defence ministry. The ministry stated that the operations were "anti-terrorist activities" and would only target military structures. Armenia, which is in control of Nagorno-Karabakh, denied having military personnel or equipment in the region. Azerbaijan's announcement came just hours after the country's foreign ministry claimed that six people had died in two accidents caused by landmines installed by Armenia's security forces. The region has long been at the centre of tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, leading to two wars for its control.
China tells foreign consulates in Hong Kong to provide personal data of all local staff
China's Foreign Ministry has requested that all foreign consulates in Hong Kong provide personal details of their locally employed staff, including names, job titles, residential addresses, identity card numbers, and travel document numbers. The request comes as Beijing tightens control over Hong Kong following the imposition of a national security law aimed at stamping out dissent. Western governments have criticized the law as a dismantling of Hong Kong's political freedoms and civil society. The US, British, and EU consulates in Hong Kong have not commented on the request.
German interior ministry wants to force 5G operators to slash Huawei use -official
Germany's interior ministry plans to reduce the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment in 5G networks due to concerns over over-reliance on Chinese suppliers. The ministry has proposed a staggered approach to minimise disruption, with operators required to remove critical components from Chinese vendors in their 5G core networks by 2026. The share of Chinese components in radio access networks and transport networks should be reduced to a maximum of 25% by October 2026. Huawei currently accounts for 59% of Germany's 5G radio access networks. The ministry's approach is expected to face resistance due to concerns about its impact on Germany's progress with digitalisation.
Quebec City neighbourhood of Vieux-Limoilou still seeing excessive amounts of nickel in the air
New data shows that air quality in the Vieux-Limoilou neighborhood of Quebec City is still often above government health standards despite authorities announcing that air quality was improving. The level of air-borne nickel in the area has exceeded the provincial standard of 70 nanograms per cubic meter of air on multiple occasions. The government is being criticized for relaxing emission standards to appeal to the battery industry and prioritizing the economy over residents' health. The opposition parties are calling for better access to air quality data and increased enforcement of emission limits.
What we know about the Azerbaijan offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijan has launched "anti-terrorist activities" in Nagorno-Karabakh and demanded the "complete withdrawal" of ethnic Armenian forces as a condition for peace in the disputed territory. Armenia has called on Russian peacekeeping troops in the Armenian-majority region to intervene. The recent aggression could lead to further escalation and the outbreak of a new war between the two sides. The European Union has condemned the escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh and called on Azerbaijan to stop its military activities.
Fighting flares again in a breakaway region in the Caucasus Mountains
The Toronto Star
Azerbaijan has begun military action against Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region of Armenia. Armenian officials have urged Azerbaijan to negotiate, but Azerbaijan has said it will continue until the Armenian military surrenders and the government of Nagorno-Karabakh dissolves itself. Ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said that the region's capital, Stepanakert, and other towns were under heavy shelling. The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office has said that Armenian forces fired on the city of Shusha, killing one civilian. The operation could be an attempt by President Ilham Aliyev to force ethnic Armenians to leave the area, according to Thomas de Waal, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Europe think tank.
Shapps pledges ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine in first meeting with Umerov
UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has pledged the UK's "unwavering commitment" to Ukraine and announced the delivery of tens of thousands more artillery shells to the country. The announcement was made during a meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, which brings together ministers and officials from nearly 50 nations to coordinate international support for Ukraine. The UK has already delivered over 300,000 artillery shells to Ukraine. Shapps also outlined plans for further military support in areas such as air defence and long-range strike capabilities, as well as training. The move comes amid ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
Trudeau’s ‘credible allegations’ against India part of another sordid Canadian chapter in a decades-old conflict
The Toronto Star
The death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh activist from Canada, has sparked tensions between India and Canada. Indian authorities considered Nijjar to be the head of a listed terrorist group and wanted him for involvement in various crimes, including the 2021 murder of a Hindu priest in India. However, in Canada, Nijjar was a free man until his untimely death on June 18. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested that the Indian state may be behind Nijjar’s killing, leading to anger and surprise in India. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has denied any involvement in Nijjar’s death. However, the Indian government’s alleged involvement in an extraterritorial killing would place India alongside countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. The Indian intelligence officer expelled from Canada in response to the incident was identified as the Canadian station chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency. The RAW was created in the late 1960s and has focused on Pakistan, as well as Sikh militants, over the years.
Ottawa didn't inform Saskatchewan of claims against key trade partner India: minister
The Toronto Star
The Canadian province of Saskatchewan has said that it has not been contacted by the federal government about security concerns with India. The statement was made following allegations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the Indian government played a role in the killing of a Canadian citizen. Saskatchewan Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison said that if the allegations were proven, they must be taken seriously. He also criticised Trudeau’s handling of the G20 summit in India, where trade negotiations were suspended due to frosty relations with New Delhi. Saskatchewan makes up approximately a third of Canada’s exports to India, which are worth over $1bn to the province’s economy.
China factories with Asean aspirations are lining up for a look at Vietnam
South China Morning Post
Chinese manufacturers are increasingly looking to move their factories to Vietnam, according to sales executives at the China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Expo. The Vietnam-based Deep C Industrial Zones said it had seen a surge in interest from Chinese businesses, particularly since the start of the pandemic. While Vietnam has long been a favoured destination for manufacturers looking to avoid US tariffs, competition in the region is expected to increase.
The killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar: A timeline of events
The Globe and Mail
The killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia has escalated tensions between Canada and India. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that Canadian authorities have credible intelligence linking Nijjar's killing to Indian government agents. In response, Canada expelled an Indian diplomat, and India retaliated by denying the accusation and expelling a Canadian diplomat. The issue of Sikh activism has long strained relations between the two countries, as Canada is home to a large Sikh population and is a major hub for the Khalistan movement, which seeks to create a Sikh homeland in India's Punjab state. India has outlawed the movement and views it as a threat to national security. The accusation made by Trudeau has further strained relations, with India describing the allegations as "absurd" and accusing Canada of supporting the Khalistan movement. The incident comes after months of escalating tensions between the two countries, including the cancellation of trade talks and a tense exchange between Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit.
Lasers that shoot down drones from armoured trucks to be used by Army for first time
The British Army will use a new high-energy laser weapon system to shoot down drones. The Raytheon system, mounted on an armoured vehicle, uses a separate radar to track unmanned aerial vehicles. Once the target is identified, the system's all-weather targeting camera is used to assess whether it is hostile or friendly. The laser can then be fired at the target, burning holes through it and destroying it in seconds. The system will be used by UK troops next month as part of the Ministry of Defence's Land Demonstrator Programme, which tests new capabilities.
Debby Friday wins Polaris Music Prize
The Toronto Star
Debby Friday has won the 2023 Polaris Music Prize for her album "Good Luck." The Nigerian-born Canadian artist's debut full-length album was selected as the best Canadian album of the year by an 11-member grand jury, based on its artistic merit. "Good Luck" combines industrial sounds with soulful vocals and has been compared to artists such as Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Run the Jewels, and Beyoncé. The Polaris Music Prize is considered one of Canada's most prestigious music awards. Previous winners include Pierre Kwenders, Haviah Mighty, Jeremy Dutcher, and Kaytranada.
China says Britain's plans to disrupt Hong Kong 'doomed to fail'
China's foreign ministry in Hong Kong has criticized a report by Britain on the financial hub, stating that it ignored the "good" societal conditions and stable business environment in the city. The report, covering the period from Jan 1 to June 30, stated that China had extended the application of its national security law beyond genuine concerns. Beijing imposed the law in 2020 after protests in Hong Kong. The ministry said that Hong Kong has had "universal success" in implementing the practice of 'one country, two systems', and criticized the UK's democracy and human rights situation. The British report highlighted attempts to suppress freedom of expression and the politicization of media tycoon Jimmy Lai's prosecution. It also noted that Hong Kong police have issued arrest warrants and bounties against individuals in the UK and elsewhere. The report stated that Hong Kong's legal and judicial systems are at a critical juncture.
Debby Friday wins Polaris Music Prize for 'Good Luck'
The Toronto Star
Debby Friday has won the 2023 Polaris Music Prize for her album "Good Luck." The Nigerian-born Canadian's debut full-length release was selected by an 11-member grand jury as the best Canadian album of the year based on its artistic merit. Friday, who was born Deborah Micho, started her music career as a DJ in the Montreal club scene and later moved to Vancouver to get a master's degree in fine arts. She said all the money from her Polaris win will likely go towards paying off student loans.
India suspends visa processing for Canadians
India has halted visa processing for Canadians "until further notice" amid a diplomatic dispute over the killing of a Sikh separatist in Canada. The move comes after Canada accused India of being involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar near Vancouver in June, a claim that India has called "absurd." Indian visa services company BLS International displayed a notice on its website stating that visa services had been suspended due to "operational reasons." The notice was later confirmed by India's Foreign Ministry, which cited the "security situation" as the reason for the suspension. Canada's High Commission in India said it would reduce the number of diplomatic staff due to threats made on social media.
India suspends visa services for Canadian citizens because of security threats - India foreign ministry
India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens due to security threats against its staff in Canadian consulates, according to India's foreign ministry spokesperson. The decision comes after Canada stated that it was investigating allegations linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia. Tensions between the two countries have escalated as a result of these developments.
To endure a long war, Ukraine is remaking its army, economy and society
Ukraine is preparing for a long war with Russia, making significant changes to its military planning, economy, and society. To build its own capability, Ukraine is rebuilding its arms industry, which has been severely damaged since the Soviet era. The government is encouraging private arms manufacturers and is willing to pay local firms in advance if they can demonstrate their ability to make useful equipment. Ukraine is also focusing on developing its drone industry, hoping to win in a technological war. The country is increasing its production of reconnaissance drones and plans to produce 120 to 150 times more drones than last year. Ukrainian strategists are also adopting new tactics, taking the war inside Russia and targeting military factories and infrastructure to disrupt supply chains and shatter the facade of normality in Russia. Ukraine is also aiming to deter Russian attacks on its own infrastructure. In order to cope with a long war, Ukraine's economy will need a drastic overhaul. The government plans to improve the business climate and foster industry to help the economy grow. Ukraine is also trying to lure back Ukrainians who have left the country by offering startup grants for businesses and subsidised mortgages for those rebuilding homes. However, the exodus of Ukrainians is not only an economic cost but also a social one. An outflow of people from Ukraine could create further economic problems and widen the gap between those who left and those who stayed.