Iranian Missile Brought Down Airliner, Says Canadian PM

Minister of National Denfence Harjit Sajjan (C) and Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance (R) listen as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) speaks during a news conference on January 9, 2020, in Ottawa, Canada. DAVE CHAN / AFP

 

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday multiple intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 onboard, including 63 Canadians.

Trudeau’s comments came as video emerged that appeared to show the moment the airliner was hit.

That and other footage posted on social media increasingly pointed to a catastrophic mistake by Tehran’s air defense batteries in bringing down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 early Wednesday.

The video, which The New York Times said it verified, shows a fast-moving object rising at an angle into the sky before a bright flash is seen, which dims and then continues moving forward. Several seconds later an explosion is heard.

Citing information from allies as well as Canada’s own intelligence, Trudeau said the plane appeared to have been hit by an Iranian surface-to-air (SAM) missile.

“We know this may have been unintentional. Canadians have questions, and they deserve answers,” Trudeau told reporters.

He was backed by other Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said mounting evidence supported a missile strike, which “may well have been unintentional.”

US President Donald Trump indicated that Washington officials believed the Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was struck by one or more Iranian missiles before it ditched and exploded outside Tehran.

The US National Transportation Safety Board late Thursday said it had received formal notification of the crash from Iran and would send a representative to join the crash probe.

Iran’s foreign ministry earlier invited the US planemaker Boeing to “participate” in the inquiry.

The flight went down in the dark just minutes after takeoff, with no radio message from the pilot to indicate distress, according to the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization.

It was carrying 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three Britons.

With tensions high between the United States and Iran, the disaster unfolded just hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles towards bases in Iraq housing US troops.

Iran retaliated for the January 3 US drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general.

The Iranian government said the missile strike scenario made “no sense,” however, arguing that several internal and international flights had been sharing approximately the same airspace.

Tehran later asked Ottawa to share its information with Iranian investigators.

‘Canadians want answers’

Trudeau said Canada was working with allies to ensure a credible probe.

“The families of the victims want answers, Canadians want answers, I want answers,” he said.

“This government will not rest until we get that.”

Canada’s transportation safety board on Thursday said it had accepted an invitation from Iran’s civil aviation authority to join the inquiry.

Britain’s Johnson called Thursday for a full, transparent investigation.

‘I have my suspicions’

Trump would not directly confirm what US intelligence was saying privately.

“I have my suspicions,” Trump said, adding that “somebody could have made a mistake.”

But unnamed officials told US media that satellite, radar, and electronic data indicated Tehran’s air defense units downed the aircraft.

ABC News reported that an unnamed official said it was “highly likely” the plane was brought down by two SAMs.

Black boxes

Ukraine called for United Nations support for a broad investigation and sent 45 crash investigators to Tehran to take part in the inquiry led by Iranian authorities.

Investigators are pursuing several possibilities, including engine failure, a missile strike or an act of terror.

“If any country has information that can help conduct a transparent and objective investigation into the tragedy, we are ready to receive it and cooperate in further verification,” the Ukraine presidency said in an English-language statement.

Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s civil aviation organization and deputy transport minister, said Iran and Ukraine were “downloading information” from the aircraft’s black boxes retrieved from the crash site.

“But if more specialized work is required to extract and analyze the data, we can do it in France or another country,” he said.

Analysts were examining photographs posted online of the wreckage and a private video apparently taken of the flight when it was struck for evidence that it was downed by a missile.

“I think this has a very good possibility of being accurate,” John Goglia, a former US aviation safety expert on the National Transportation Safety Board, said of the missile theory.

“Airplanes that have just taken off and have made a climb to 8,000 feet, that’s entering the safest period of time in the flight. So even an engine failure at that altitude should not cause the type of event we’ve just observed,” he told AFP.

The Ukrainian airline crash brought back memories of another tragedy, involving a US military error.

In 1988, an Iran Air flight was mistakenly shot down over the Gulf by a surface-to-air missile fired from the US warship USS Vincennes.

All 290 people aboard, most of them Iranians, were killed.

Cross River To build Canadian International School

Cross River, Canada, Ayade, international schoolThe Cross River State Government has concluded paper work with the Canadian Government in Ottawa, Canada to enable the takeoff of a Canadian international school.

The school will provide learning facilities for primary, secondary and a tertiary institution in Calabar.

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade disclosed this upon arrival at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport following his trip abroad to acquire practical knowledge on how the state can develop in some sectors.

Answering questions from pressmen at the airport, Ayade said that the state decided to partner Canada owing to the fact that the country is rated the best in terms of education in the world.

The Governor said that his administration would stop at nothing in giving the educational sector a face lift which will in turn birth new study system that will encourage learning in schools as practiced in developed countries.

Ayade added that, a builder’s school will also be built in the state to encourage local talents gain international recognition as the state sets to build new cities.

Being away for more than three weeks, the Governor said, he was happy to be back to the state to put into practice all he learnt abroad.

In June 2016, the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and the Cross River State Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on education in Ottawa, Canada.

The MoU signing came barely 24 hours after the Canadian Government and Cross River State concluded a deal on trade and investment.

The President of CBIE, Kate Mebride, signed on behalf of her bureau while Governor Ben Ayade signed for Cross River State Government.

 

Canada, Cross River Sign MoU on Education

Cross River, Canada, AyadeThe Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and the Cross River State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on education in Ottawa, Canada.

The MoU signing came barely 24 hours after the Canadian Government and Cross River State concluded a deal on trade and investment.

The President of CBIE, Kate Mebride, signed on behalf of her bureau while Governor Ben Ayade signed for Cross River State Government.

Speaking at the ceremony, Governor Ayade said that the intent and import of the MoU “is to create a new celebration for the Cross River State Government to ensure that all citizens and indeed, all Nigerians have quality education that is akin to the Canadian Standard”.

During the 2016 Children’s Day celebration, the Governor had announced plans by his administration to build a model school of Canadian standard in each of the three senatorial districts in the state.

He said that the signing of the MoU was therefore, an opportunity to expand the scope to include the builders’ school, a reconstruction of academics to improve hands-on experience learning.

Before the MoU signing ceremony, the Governor was given a tour of some technical schools in Ottawa, Ontario.

Canada Train, Bus, Collide In Ottawa, At Least Five dead

A passenger train collided with a double-decker city bus in Ottawa on Wednesday, killing at least five people, an emergency official said.

Television images showed a heavily damaged red double-decker bus, with firefighters and ambulances at the scene. The front of the bus appeared to be sheared off by the collision.

Ottawa Fire Services spokesman Marc Messier told CTV News the initial estimate is that five people have been killed.

VIA Rail, which operates the national passenger service in Canada, confirmed the crash and said there were no major injuries reported on the train. The crash occurred in the west end of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

Canada’s two big railroads – Canadian National Railway Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd – are reviewing safety standards after a deadly train crash on July 6 that killed 50 people and destroyed the center of a small Quebec town.

Channels Book Club Features Journalist Turned Academic Don, Otiono

This edition of Channels Book Club features distinguished Nigerian journalist, Dr. Nduka Otiono, who was recently appointed assistant professor at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, hence becoming the first appointee at the University’s new found Institute of African studies.

He discussed a wide variety of subjects including his personal experiences, his writings and why Nigeria must focus on encouraging knowledge production institutions and initiatives.

About Dr. Otiono

Dr. Nduka Otiono obtained his Ph.D in English from the University of Alberta where he won several awards including the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, and was nominated for the Governor General’s Gold Medal for academic distinction.

He is the author of The Night Hides with a Knife (short stories), which won the ANA/Spectrum Prize; Voices in the Rainbow (Poems), a finalist for the ANA/Cadbury Poetry Prize; Love in a Time of Nightmares (Poems) for which he was awarded the James Patrick Folinsbee  Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing.

He has co-edited We-Men: An Anthology of Men Writing on Women (1998), and Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria (2006).