China Condemns Canada’s ‘Groundless’ Huawei 5G Ban

The logo of Chinese company Huawei is seen on the screen of a Huawei mobile phone held in the photographer's hand in London on July 14, 2020. - Britain on Tuesday ordered its telecom providers to stop purchasing 5G equipment from China's Huawei giant from the start of next year, and to strip out all of its equipment by 2027. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)
The logo of Chinese company Huawei is seen on the screen of a Huawei mobile phone held in the photographer’s hand in London on July 14, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)




China on Friday hit out at Ottawa for blocking Chinese telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE from Canadian 5G networks, describing the ban as “groundless” ban and based on spurious security risks.

Canada’s long-awaited move follows the United States and other key allies, and comes on the heels of a diplomatic row between Ottawa and Beijing over the detention of a senior Huawei executive on a US warrant, which has now been resolved.

“China is firmly opposed to this,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters of the 5G block, adding Beijing would “take all necessary measures” to protect Chinese companies.

“This move runs counter to market economy principles and free trade rules,” he added.

Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne made the announcement on Thursday, citing their “intention to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canada’s telecommunication systems.”

The United States has warned of the security implications of giving Chinese tech companies access to telecommunications infrastructure that could be used for state espionage.

Both Huawei and Beijing have rejected the allegations, while Beijing warned of repercussions for nations placing restrictions on the telecoms equipment provider.

Wang on Friday accused the Canadian government of “seriously damaging the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”

Canada Bans Huawei And ZTE From 5G Networks

This file photo taken on May 31, 2021 shows a Huawei logo at the flagship store in Shenzhen, in China's southern Guangdong province. STR / AFP
This file photo taken on May 31, 2021 shows a Huawei logo at the flagship store in Shenzhen, in China’s southern Guangdong province. STR / AFP


Canada will ban Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE from its 5G wireless networks due to national security concerns, officials said Thursday.

The long-awaited move follows the United States and other key allies, and comes on the heels of a diplomatic row between Ottawa and Beijing over the detention of a senior Huawei executive on a US warrant, which has now been resolved.

The United States has warned of the security implications of giving Chinese tech companies access to telecommunications infrastructure that could be used for state espionage.

READ ALSO: China Condemns Canada’s ‘Groundless’ Huawei 5G Ban

Both Huawei and Beijing have rejected the allegations, while Beijing warned of repercussions for nations placing restrictions on the telecoms equipment provider.

The company did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment on Canada’s ban.

Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino made the announcement at a news conference.

“Today, we’re announcing our intention to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canada’s telecommunication systems,” Champagne said.

“This follows a full review by our security agencies and in consultation with our closest allies.”

Canada had been reviewing the 5G technology and network access for several years, repeatedly delaying a decision that was first expected in 2019.

It remained silent on the telecoms issue after China jailed two Canadians — diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor — in what observers believed was in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wangzhou in Vancouver in December 2018 at the request of the United States.

All three were released in September 2021 after Meng reached a deal with US prosecutors on the fraud charges, ending her extradition fight.

Champagne said Canadian telecommunications companies “will not be permitted to include in their networks products or services that put our national security at risk.”

“Providers who already have this equipment installed will be required to cease its use and remove it,” he said.

‘Hostile actors’

Huawei already supplies some Canadian telecommunications firms with 4G equipment.

Most, if not all, had held off using Huawei in their fifth-generation (5G) wirelesss networks that deliver speedier online connections with greater data capacity, or looked to other suppliers while Ottawa hemmed and hawed.

Mendicino said 5G innovation “represents a major opportunity for competition and growth” but “also comes risks.”

“There are many hostile actors who are ready to exploit vulnerabilities” in telecom networks, he said.

The United States, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Japan and Sweden have already blocked or restricted the use of Huawei technology in their 5G networks.

The US government considers Huawei a potential security threat due to the background of its founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese army engineer who is Meng’s father.

The concern escalated as Huawei rose to become the world leader in telecoms networking equipment and one of the top smartphone manufacturers, and following Beijing’s passage of a 2017 law obliging Chinese companies to assist the government in matters of national security.

Canada’s two spy agencies had reportedly been divided initially over whether or not to ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G networks — one favouring a ban while the other argued risks could be mitigated.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment had been tasked with conducting a cybersecurity review to evaluate the risks as well as the economic costs to Canadian telecoms and consumers of blacklisting the equipment supplier.

Huawei was already prohibited from bidding on Canadian government contracts and core network equipment such as routers and switches.

Macron Battles Far-Right Le Pen For French Presidency

In this file photo taken on May 3, 2017, the French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party, Marine Le Pen (L), and the French presidential election candidate for the En Marche! movement, Emmanuel Macron pose prior to the start of a live broadcast face-to-face televised debate on the French public national television channel France 2, and French private channel TF1 in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, as part of the second round election campaign. Eric Feferberg / POOL / AFP


French voters began casting their ballots Sunday for the presidential run-off between centrist incumbent Emmanuel Macron and his challenger Marine Le Pen, after a fractious campaign that has seen the far-right come its closest yet to winning power.

Macron went into the election with a stable lead in opinion polls, an advantage he consolidated in the frenetic final days of campaigning, including a no-holds-barred performance in the pre-election debate.

But analysts have cautioned that Macron, who rose to power in 2017 aged 39 as the country’s youngest-ever modern leader, can take nothing for granted given forecasts of low turnout that could sway the result in either direction.

He must above all hope that left-wing voters who backed other candidates in the first round on April 10 will back the former investment banker and his pro-business, reformist agenda to stop Le Pen and her populist programme.

READ ALSO10 Dead, 16 Missing In Japan Sightseeing Boat Accident

Voting stations will close at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT), when preliminary results will be released that usually predict the final result with a high degree of accuracy.

Some 48.7 million French are eligible to vote.

To take account of the time difference with mainland France, polls opened earlier in overseas territories, home to almost three million French.

The first vote in the election was cast midday on Saturday, Paris time, by a 90-year-old man in the tiny island territory of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, off the northern coast of Canada.

Polls subsequently opened in France’s islands in the Caribbean and the South American territory of French Guiana, followed by territories in the Pacific and then the Indian Ocean.

 Turnout Key 

Macron himself repeatedly made clear that the complacency of stay-at-home voters precipitated the shocks of the 2016 elections that led to Brexit in Britain and Donald Trump’s election in the United States.

Analysts say abstention rates could reach 26 to 28 percent, though the 1969 record for a second-round abstention rate of 31.1 percent is not expected to be beaten.

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who scored a close third-place finish in the first-round vote, has pointedly refused to urge his millions of followers to back Macron while insisting they should not vote for Le Pen.

Another factor is that elections are being held in the midst of the Easter school break in much of France.

According to Martial Foucault, director of the CEVIPOF political studies centre, a high abstention rate will narrow the gap between Macron and Le Pen, describing this as a “real risk” for the president.

Early turnout indications will be closely watched from the overseas territories, where average incomes are lower than in mainland France and which generally backed Melenchon in the first round.

In New Caledonia, for example, turnout at midday was just 18.2 percent. In mainland France, the first turnout estimation will be published at 12:00 pm.

High Stakes

The stakes are huge for both France and Europe, with Macron pledging reform and tighter EU integration while Le Pen, who would be France’s first female president, insists the bloc should be modified in what opponents describe as “Frexit” by another name.

Macron has also opposed Le Pen’s plan to make it illegal to wear the Muslim headscarf in public, though her team has walked back on the proposal ahead of the vote, saying it was no longer a “priority.”

They have also clashed on Russia, with Macron seeking to portray Le Pen as incapable of dealing with the invasion of Ukraine due to a loan her party took from a Russian-Czech bank.

Macron would be the first French president to win re-election in two decades since Jacques Chirac in 2002.

If elected, he is expected to address supporters on the Champ de Mars in central Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

Polls have shown Macron with a lead of around 10 percentage points, a much closer outcome than in 2017, when the same two candidates faced off and Macron carried the day with 66 percent of the vote.


Canada Court Sentences Fake Nurse To Seven Years In Prison

 Ludovic MARIN / AFP



A Canadian woman who spent decades impersonating nurses and other professionals by using fake identities was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for fraud.

Brigitte Cleroux, 50, was arrested in Ottawa last August after her latest deceit was discovered by a colleague seeking to file a complaint against her with a governing body for nurses and an imposter alert popped up.

She pleaded guilty in January to seven offenses including impersonation and assault with a weapon — for administrating medication and injections to 20 patients at a fertility clinic and a dental clinic.

Ontario Court Justice Robert Wadden was quoted by public broadcaster CBC as saying her fraud struck “at the core of the trust our society puts in our health-care system.”

Minus credit for time spent in detention awaiting trial, Cleroux must serve five years and eight months in a federal penitentiary, her lawyer told AFP.

Cleroux had reportedly committed similar frauds throughout her adult life, using forged resumes and fake identity cards with dozens of aliases and accumulating a long criminal record.

When found out, she would sometimes disappear before she could be held accountable.

Cleroux still faces prosecution on separate charges of having posed as a nurse at a British Columbia hospital for a year.

Several patients have also launched a lawsuit against the British Columbia health authority for failing to verify her nursing credentials when employing her.

Canada Adds Putin’s Daughters To Sanctions List

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Saint Petersburg governor at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 1, 2022. Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP


Canada on Tuesday added Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters to its sanctions list, following similar moves by allies, in response to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Those added to the list — which includes the wife and daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and 10 other “close associates of the Russian regime” — face asset seizures and travel bans.

Britain, the European Union and the United States have already sanctioned Putin’s two daughters: Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, born in 1985 and 1986 respectively.

Their mother is the Russian leader’s ex-wife Lyudmila, whose divorce from Putin was announced in 2013.

The Kremlin has kept details of Putin’s daughters’ lives a closely guarded secret.

According to the US Treasury Department, Vorontsova conducts genetic research that has been supported by billions of dollars in Russian state funding, and Tikhonova is a tech executive in Russia’s defense sector.

“We will continue to impose severe costs on the Russian regime in coordination with our allies and will relentlessly pursue accountability for their actions,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement.

“They will answer for their crimes.”

Canada has sanctioned more than 750 individuals and entities from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.


Super Falcons Held To Draw By Canada

Photo of Super Falcons


The Super Falcons were held to a 2-2 draw by Canada in an early kick-off friendly match on Tuesday.

Super Falcons were looking to avenge their  0-2  defeat to their Canadian counterparts last week Friday in the two-game encounter between both sides.

Ifeoma Onumonu and Rasheedat Ajibade filled in for a missing Asisat Oshoala as they locked horns with the sixth-ranked country in the world at the Starlight Stadium, Langford.

Eleven-time African champions were able to rattle the Canadians in the 8th-minute of the first half when a free-kick was converted by NJ/NY Gotham FC striker, Ifeoma Onumonu to give them the lead.

Goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie was called on several occasions to keep the Olympic champions at bay with increased pressure from the home team.

The first half ended with the Super Falcons in a  lone goal lead over the Canadian side.

Photo of the Super Falcons


Randy Waldrum side resumed the second half with the same intensity as the first and almost extended their lead in the 46th- minute from club Tigres UANL forward, Uchenna Kanu, who unleashed a powerful shot from outside the box that was parried by the Canadian shot-stopper, Sheridan.

However, an error from goalkeeper, Nnadozieand and captain Onome Ebi gifted the Canadian side their 48th -minute equaliser.

Rashidat Ajibade was able to restore the side’s advantage with a cross that beat everyone in the near box.

A wave of pressure from Canada finally yielded fruit with an 88th-minute header from Shelina Zadorsky stealing victory from the Falcons to leave the score deadlocked.

The two games against Canada were a huge test for the Super Falcons as they continued to prepare for the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations tournament to hold in Morocco.




Super Falcons Hope To Improve Against Canada in Victoria City

[email protected]_Falcon


Nigeria’s Super Falcons are confident of a better outing against Olympic champions Canada when both teams meet again in the second encounter of their two-match friendly in Victoria City on Monday.

Two second-half goals by Jessie Fleming (50th minute) and Vanessa Gilles (72nd minute) earned the world’s sixth-ranked team victory over the African champions in their first encounter in Vancouver on Friday (Saturday morning in Nigeria).

However, Coach Randy Waldrum prosecuted that game with only 14 outfield players, most of whom arrived on the eve of the match due to the late issuance of visas from their respective bases.

They held on tenaciously in the first 45 minutes but fatigue and injuries saw goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, defender and skipper Onome Ebi, and forward Uchenna Kanu stretchered off at different times during the game. Midfielder Rita Chikwelu also had to be substituted.

However, Nigeria would be able to offer greater tenacity in Monday night’s duel as injured players would have recovered, there would have been more training sessions for greater bonding and understanding, and there is the added impetus offered by the arrival of barnstorming forward Francisca Ordega in Canada on Sunday.

READ ALSOModric, Kroos Rested As Real Madrid Sail Past Getafe

[email protected]_Falcon


In the first match, Waldrum started with goalkeeper Nnadozie, defenders Onome Ebi, Nicole Payne, Ashleigh Plumptre, and Akudo Ogbonna, midfielders Rita Chikwelu, Toni Payne, and Rasheedat Ajibade, and forwards Uchenna Kanu, Christy Ucheibe and Ifeanyi Onumonu.

Onumonu scored the two goals that took the fight out of Cote d’Ivoire’s Lady Elephants in the first leg of their Women AFCON 2022 final round fixture in Abuja on 18th February and was quite active in the return leg in Abidjan, where Esther Okoronkwo’s late goal secured a 3-0 aggregate win for Nigeria.

Monday’s encounter will take place at the Starlight Stadium, and will commence at 7.30 pm Canada time (3.30 am Tuesday in Nigeria).

The two-match tour is part of the NFF’s general plan to prepare the Falcons adequately for the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations finals taking place in Morocco from 2nd – 23rd July this year.

Africa’s four representatives for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Australia/New Zealand will emerge from the tournament.

Pope Apologises To Canada’s Indigenous For Abuse At Church-Run Schools

Pope Francis (C) posing with newly elected Dene Nation National Chief Gerald Antoine (6thR), former national chief of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Phil Fontaine (5thL) and other First Nations delegation members in The Vatican. (Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP)



Pope Francis apologised Friday for abuse committed at church-run residential schools in Canada, telling Indigenous delegations at the Vatican it caused him “pain and shame”.

“I ask for God’s forgiveness for the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church,” he said, following meetings this week with survivors from the First Nations, Metis and Inuit aboriginal groups.

After hearing “stories of suffering, deprivation, discriminatory treatment and various forms of abuse,” Francis said he joined the Canadian bishops “in asking you for forgiveness”.

The pontiff, 85, said he hoped to travel to Canada for the country’s St Anne’s Feast Day on July 26.

“This year, I hope to be with you on those days,” he said.

Francis heard first-hand this week of centuries of abuse committed at the schools and the delegations had pressed him for an apology for a scandal that rocked the Catholic Church.


Newly elected Dene Nation National Chief Gerald Antoine (C), former national chief of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Phil Fontaine (2ndR) escorted by delegation members, address the media on March 31, 2022 at St. Peter’s square in The Vatican, following a meeting with the Pope, as part of a series of a week-long meetings of Canada’s Indigenous elders, leaders, survivors and youth at the Vatican. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)


Some 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were enrolled from the late 1800s to the 1990s in 139 residential schools across Canada, as part of a government policy of forced assimilation.

They spent months or years isolated from their families, language and culture, and many were physically and sexually abused by headmasters and teachers.

Francis slammed Friday the “ideological colonisation” of which “so many children have been victims”.

“Your identity and culture have been wounded, many families have been separated,” he said.

Thousands are believed to have died of disease, malnutrition or neglect. More than 1,300 unmarked graves have been discovered since May 2021 at the schools.

A truth and reconciliation commission concluded in 2015 the failed government policy amounted to “cultural genocide.”


Former national chief of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Phil Fontaine, escorted by delegation members, arrives to address the media on March 31, 2022 at St. Peter’s square in The Vatican. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

Canada Qualify For World Cup After 36-Year-Wait

Canada celebrates a goal with Richie Laryea #22 and Junior Hoilett #10 during a 2022 World Cup Qualifying match against Jamaica at BMO Field on March 27, 2022, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP


Canada qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 36 years on Sunday with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Jamaica in Toronto.

Goals from Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan, Junior Hoilett and Adrian Mariappa’s own goal secured all three points after Canada dominated throughout against a Jamaica side already eliminated from contention in the CONCACAF region’s qualifying tournament for this year’s finals in Qatar.

The win sparked wild celebrations at Toronto’s 30,000-capacity BMO Field, where an expectant sell-out crowd had gathered to watch,

Canada clinch World Cup qualification for only the second time, having last appeared at the 1986 Mexico tournament.

Canada Offers Three Years Of Temporary Residency To Ukrainians

Vartan Davtian, from Brandon, Manitoba, pushes a cart loaded with bags of donated supplies to the check-in counter at Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on March 16, 2022.  (Photo by Daniel Crump / AFP)



Ottawa announced Thursday it is establishing a new immigration program that will offer Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion a temporary Canadian residence permit for up to three years.

Canada, which has a large Ukrainian diaspora, especially in the center and west of the country, said in a statement that “Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality may stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to three years.”

Applicants are required to apply online and provide their biometric data in the form of fingerprints and a photo.

Ukrainian refugees can simultaneously apply for a work and study permit.


Vartan Davtian (L) and Yevgeniya Tatarenko (R) hug as they say goodbye at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on March 16, 2022. (Photo by Daniel Crump / AFP)


Ukrainians and their families already settled on Canadian soil will also benefit from the new measures and can “extend their visitor status or work permit for 3 years, apply for a new work or study permit, or extend their existing permit.”

According to a United Nations count released Thursday, more than three million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the deadly Russian invasion on February 24, more than half of whom have taken refuge in Poland.

Canada Sanctions Belarus Over Russia Attacks On Ukraine

In this file photo the Canadian flag flies above the Canadian embassy in Beijing on January 15, 2019. – (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)


Canada on Thursday unveiled fresh sanctions against 22 Belarus defense department officials for allowing Russia to launch attacks on Ukraine from its territory.

The announcement, Canada’s foreign ministry said in a statement, “sends a clear message to President Putin’s accomplices: those who support violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence will be held accountable.”

Ottawa accused the senior Belarus officials — including the head of its air force, Victor Soyko — of supporting Russia’s attack on Ukraine and “allowing their country to serve as a launch pad for the Russian invasion.”

Canada had already imposed sanctions in 2020 on Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko after he claimed an overwhelming victory in an August election the opposition said was rigged, as well as more recently on members of Lukashenko’s inner circle.

This latest round brings the number of individuals and entities in Russia, Moscow-ally Belarus and Ukraine sanctioned by Canada to more than 500 since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s ‘Brazen’ Attack On Ukraine ‘Will Not Go Unpunished’, Says Canada

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 21, 2022 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP)


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday condemned Russia’s “egregious” and “unprovoked” attack on Ukraine, calling on Moscow to immediately withdraw from the country and saying its aggression “will not go unpunished.”

“Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine,” Trudeau said in a statement issued in the hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of military operations.

The Canadian leader called the “unprovoked actions” a clear further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called on Russia to “immediately cease all hostile and provocative actions against Ukraine and withdraw all military and proxy forces from the country.”

READ ALSO: German Army ‘Limited’ In Russia Response, Says Commander

Trudeau warned of “severe consequences” for Moscow, vowing with allies “to collectively respond to these reckless and dangerous acts,” including imposing more sanctions.

“Russia’s brazen acts will not go unpunished,” he said.

Trudeau was due to join a virtual, closed-door meeting of G7 leaders — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — at 9:00 am (1400 GMT) Thursday.

The G7 meeting is likely to result in more sanctions against Russia, which has long claimed it would not invade Ukraine, despite putting a huge force of tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry on the country’s borders, while insisting that Kyiv abandon its pro-Western ambitions.