2 National Security Reports Allege China Funded Liberals
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that he was never briefed on the matter, and his security adviser dismissed it out of hand, but 2 high-level national security reports released before and after the 2019 election indicate that he was warned that Chinese government officials were funneling money to Liberal political candidates.
The two National Security reports, dated 2019 and 2022, raise concerns about what senior federal officials knew about the alleged funding by a foreign interference network and how seriously the Trudeau government took the warnings.
The first is a “Special Report” prepared by the Privy Council Office for the Trudeau administration and dated January 2022. The memo was also finalized, implying that it was intended for Trudeau and his senior aides to read.
According to Global News, Chinese officials in Toronto disbursed money into a covert network tasked with interfering in Canada’s 2019 election.
“A large clandestine transfer of funds earmarked for the federal election from the PRC Consulate in Toronto was transferred to an elected provincial government official via a 2019 federal candidate’s staff member,” according to the PCO report.
The Intelligence Assessment Secretariat compiled this document from 100 Canadian Security Intelligence Service reports. The IAS is a division of the PCO that issues national security alerts to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet regularly.
According to a national security official who explained the report to Global News, the finalized memo was about intelligence gleaned from an ongoing, high-level investigation in the Greater Toronto Area that began in January 2019.
Global News granted anonymity to Intelligence sources, who requested it because they face prosecution under the Security of Information Act.
According to intelligence sources, the provincial official implicated in the alleged clandestine transfer from the Toronto consulate is a member of Ontario’s legislature.
When asked if CSIS Director David Vigneault had briefed Trudeau, his staff, or cabinet on the allegations of covert funding, a CSIS spokesman said, “There are important limits to what I can publicly discuss given the need to protect sensitive activities, techniques, methods, and sources of intelligence.”
“Regarding specific briefings on foreign interference, Director Vigneault committed to working with the Privy Council Office on a consolidated response to parliamentarians during committee proceedings last week,” CSIS spokesman Eric Balsam wrote.
According to Global News, a bipartisan panel of parliamentarians issued an earlier, high-level warning about clandestine funding of China’s “preferred candidates” two months before the 2019 election.
The information came from Parliamentary Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Committee, which reviews national security issues and promotes “government-wide accountability.”
Trudeau established it in 2017, and it reports to the Prime Minister.
This is the same panel Trudeau appointed on Monday to investigate allegations of Chinese election meddling, which Global first reported in November.
However, Trudeau’s appointment of NSICOP and a “special rapporteur” did not address mounting calls from national security experts for a public inquiry into the allegations.
According to the 2019 NSICOP review of foreign interference, “foreign states clandestinely direct contributions to” Canadian politicians.
According to the report’s subtitle, “Targeting the Political Nomination Process and Preferred Candidates,” “targeting frequently begins during the nomination process.”
Following the nomination process, “foreign states clandestinely direct contributions to and support for the campaigns and political parties of preferred candidates,” according to the review.
While the document did not examine specific interference activities aimed at the 2019 federal election, it did provide several examples of alleged Chinese election interference involving candidate targeting and funding from 2015 to 2018.
“A [People’s Republic of China] Embassy interlocutor established the ‘tea party,’ a group of community leaders, to hand-pick candidates that it would support and eventually publicly endorse,” it says.
It said a “former PRC Commercial Consul informed PRC businesses of the rules governing Canadian political contributions and urged specific business leaders to donate through Canadian subsidiaries and acquisitions.”
Global News examined an unredacted copy of the NSICOP review, which had not previously been made public.
According to its chair, MP David McGuinty, NSICOP conducted a special review of the threat of foreign interference to Canada and Ottawa’s response to it as part of its mandate.
“The Committee heard testimony from dozens of officials from Canada’s security and intelligence communities, reviewed thousands of pages of documentation, both classified and open source, and deliberated at length,” McGuinty said in a March 2020 statement, adding that the reports “were submitted to the Prime Minister on August 30, 2019.”
While the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed to Global News on Feb. 7 that Trudeau received and reviewed the NSICOP document, spokeswoman Alison Murphy said Tuesday that Trudeau was unaware of Beijing directing funds to political candidates.
“We have no information on any federal candidates receiving money from China, as the Prime Minister stated last fall,” Murphy said.
Global News was the first to report in November on intelligence from the January 2022 “Special Report,” which alleged a sophisticated election interference network orchestrated by the Chinese consulate in Toronto to interfere in the October 2019 election.
According to reports, the group included at least 11 candidates and 13 or more aides. According to sources, an Ontario MPP was also involved, and the group included both witting and unwitting Liberals and Conservatives.
According to sources, this “clandestine transfer of funds” allegedly involved the consulate using a regime-friendly group to act as an intermediary to disburse about $250,000 to a staff member of a 2019 federal candidate. The funds were then allegedly transferred to alleged network members by the aide.
According to Global’s sources, the January 2022 briefs did not mention the network’s alleged clandestine methods or the amount of money involved.
When asked in December if Global News got anything wrong in its earlier reporting, Trudeau denied knowledge of the alleged Chinese disbursements, saying, “I never got briefings on candidates receiving money from China in all the briefings and all the serious briefings I got.”
Jody Thomas, Trudeau’s national security and intelligence adviser, was questioned by the National Defence Committee late last year about alleged Chinese funding of candidates.
“The news stories about interference that you’ve read are just that — news stories,” Thomas said in December. “I’ll just say it: we’ve never seen money go to 11 candidates.”
Last Thursday, MP Michael Cooper followed up on Thomas’s specific remark at a Parliamentary committee on Foreign Interference hearing.
“You stated that no money was exchanged during the 2019 election, and we have seen no money go to 11 candidates, period,” Cooper said. “Could you please confirm that those were your words?”
“I’m not sure if that was my exact quote,” she said. “However, the link between 11 candidates and $250,000 was incorrect.”
To watch the video, click here: ‘For a very long time,’ Canadian national security agencies have dealt with foreign interference.
In response to Global’s questions about her testimony and her knowledge of the January 2022 “Special Report,” Privy Council Office spokesman Stephane Shank said, “Ms. Thomas will not comment on information that was improperly obtained.”
Shank cited Thomas’ December testimony, “during which the NSIA stated, ‘we have not seen money going to 11 candidates.'”
The 2019 NSICOP memo review and the 2022 PCO Special Report aren’t the only high-level warnings the Prime Minister’s office issued about foreign funding schemes. According to a PCO memo delivered to the PMO four months after the 2019 election, China secretly transferred money to preferred candidates, as Global reported in December.
“Community leaders facilitate the clandestine transfer of funds and recruit potential targets,” according to the report.
“Its extensive network of quasi-official and local community and interest groups allowed it to obfuscate communication and the flow of funds between Canadian targets and Chinese officials,” according to the report.
Furthermore, according to the document, community leaders and “co-opted” political staffers “under broad guidance” from the Toronto consulate served as intermediaries between Chinese officials and the politicians Beijing sought to influence.
According to the document, the result of these operations is that “staff of targeted politicians provide advice on China-related issues” to the Chinese consulate.
According to the document, other network operators handle funding and attempt to recruit Canadian politicians. It also warned that such influence operations would be “more persistent and pervasive in future elections.”
Bill Blair, the former public safety minister, is the only senior Liberal government official who has acknowledged receiving the February 2020 PCO memo.
Blair, now the Minister for Emergency Preparedness, acknowledged receiving “certain information” from the 2020 memo but declined to elaborate. “I’m not able to share the details of that,” Blair, the only minister to admit it, said.
During last week’s parliamentary hearing on foreign interference, Thomas confirmed that Trudeau and members of his cabinet had received numerous briefs and memos on Chinese election interference schemes in 2019 and 2021 since January 2022.
When asked if Trudeau had been briefed on the February 2020 Privy Council Office memo, Thomas stated that she believed several of Trudeau’s members would have received it, but she did not say whether the Prime Minister had.
Government officials have long maintained that foreign interference will not jeopardize the overall integrity of the elections in 2019 and 2021.
CSIS Director Vigneault agreed with this assessment last week but suggested that Canada establish a registry that tracks foreign agents engaged in political activity to mitigate election interference.
On Monday, Trudeau reiterated the government’s earlier promise to begin consultations on establishing such a registry.
Meanwhile, the PCO’s January 2022 “Special Report” warns that China’s attacks on Canadian democratic institutions go far beyond interference in the 2019 and 2021 elections.
“We assess that Canada remains highly vulnerable to Chinese foreign interference efforts,” according to the 2022 PCO document. “We base this decision on intelligence that reveals deep and persistent Chinese Communist Party interference attempts over a decade.”
Source: Global News
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Some ‘Diablo IV’ Players Report Invalid License Error Message After Early Access Launch
Washington, D.C. The highly anticipated action role-playing video game “Diablo IV” launched its early access on Thursday night. However, there were some delays, particularly for PlayStation players.
While many players who pre-purchased eligible “Diablo IV” editions experienced no problems with the early access launch, some PS5 users reported getting an invalid licensing error message. After initially stating that a server-side balance update had been implemented, Blizzard acknowledged the problem.
A software upgrade known as a hotfix focuses on a single problem and normally does not cause service interruptions.
The most recent game in the Blizzard “Diablo” series, which debuted in 1996, is titled “Diablo IV” and was released in May 2012. This is more than ten years after “Diablo III”‘s debut. Although the game’s early access began on Thursday, the launch is set for the following week.
Diablo’s general manager, Rod Fergusson, referred to “Diablo IV” as “our most brutal vision of Sanctuary,” the make-believe setting for the game. He continued, saying that it incorporates “the darkness of the original game” and expands on significant elements from other games in the franchise.
Activision Blizzard, the parent business of Blizzard Entertainment, announced in April that its net sales for the first quarter of 2023 increased to $2.38 billion from $1.77 billion. Activision reported that “Diablo IV” presales were robust, indicating that the game had undergone successful public testing.
What you need to know about “Diablo IV’s” upcoming official release and early access launch on Thursday is provided here.
WHEN DOES DIABLO IV COMMENCE?
Depending on your local time zone, “Diablo IV” will be formally published on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. The game will begin in the United States on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT).
Although “Diablo IV” is set to be on sale next week, early access started a few days earlier, on either Thursday or Friday, depending on where you are. Players who pre-purchased the game’s digital deluxe or ultimate edition were expected to have early access.
Additionally, some devices allow players who have previously purchased “Diablo IV” to pre-load the game. According to Blizzard, pre-loading is possible for Windows PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
DIABLO IV “UNABLE TO FIND LICENCE”?
Although early access appeared to open without incident for the majority of gamers, some PS5 users reported receiving an error message that stated, “unable to find a valid licence for Diablo IV,” according to posts on Blizzard’s community forums and social media. Players on the PS5 appeared to be the ones most affected by the problem, but some other users said they also received the notice on Xbox and other platforms.
In a forum post late Thursday night, Blizzard recognized the PlayStation customers’ complaints. Adam Fletcher, director of global community development, later claimed that “Diablo IV” had received a server-side balance update implemented across all platforms.
How many early access players were affected by the problem is unknown. On Blizzard’s forum, some angry customers reported that they were still having access issues as of Friday morning.
The Associated Press requested statements from Blizzard and PlayStation on Friday morning.
WHAT CLASSES DO DIABLO IV CHARACTERS FALL INTO?
“Diablo IV” reportedly takes place decades after the events of “Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.” The angel Inarius and the demon Lilith have started a battle and are at odds.
In “Diablo IV,” players can choose from one of five classes: Druids, Rogues, Sorceresses, Barbarians, or Necromancers.
At launch, “Diablo IV” will support couch co-op and cross-platform play on Windows PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4, among other platforms.
Financial results for Activation for 2022, Microsoft Deal
In 2022, Activision, the company behind “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush,” and “World of Warcraft,” recorded net revenues of $7.53 billion, a decrease from the $8.8 billion reported in 2021.
Microsoft revealed plans to buy Activision in January 2022, but the historic transaction is doubtful more than a year later. Last month, the European Union authorized the $69 billion purchase, but British regulators halted it due to concerns about competition. Authorities in the US are also attempting to block the merger.
Regulators worldwide have scrutinized the agreement because of concern that it will give Microsoft and its Xbox platform control of popular s. PlayStation maker rival Sony has led a ferocious opposition.
Activision and Microsoft have appealed to a tribunal about the U.K. ruling. Liam Deane, a gaming industry analyst at digital research and consultancy firm Omdia, previously told The Associated Press that if the appeal is unsuccessful, Microsoft would be compelled to either cancel the arrangement or carve out the U.K. as a distinct market, which appeared to be an impractical choice.
SOURCE – (AP)
Passenger Train Derails In India, Killing At Least 50, Trapping Many Others
NEW DELHI — At least 50 people were killed, and hundreds more were trapped inside more than a dozen damaged rail cars when two passenger trains in India crashed on Friday, according to officials.
According to officials, the disaster occurred in eastern India, around 220 kilometers (137 miles) southwest of Kolkata, and about 400 people were sent to hospitals. The cause was being looked into.
Amitabh Sharma, a spokesman for the railway ministry, reported that ten to twelve coaches of one train derailed, and pieces of some of the damaged coaches fell onto an adjacent track.
According to Sharma, a passenger train traveling the other way struck the debris, and up to three coaches of the second train also derailed.
According to the Press Trust of India news agency, a third goods train was reportedly apparently involved, but there was no immediate confirmation from railway authorities.
Television photos from the aftermath showed rescuers scaling the rubble to pry open doors and windows and use cutting torches to free trapped survivors.
A passenger train traveling the other way struck the debris, and up to three coaches of the second train also derailed.
Vandana Kaleda, a passenger, said to the New Delhi Television news station that she “found people falling on each other” as her carriage shook erratically and deviated from the lines. She claimed that her survival was fortuitous.
Another survivor, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that the impact woke him up while he was asleep. He claimed to have observed other people with damaged faces and shattered limbs.
At least 50 persons were reported dead, according to Balasore district’s senior administrator Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde. At least 70 people had died, according to The Press Trust.
According to Pradeep Jena, the state’s chief executive officer of Odisha, there were close to 500 police officers and rescue personnel at the scene, along with 75 ambulances and buses.
Rescuers were working to release 200 individuals who were thought to be trapped in the rubble, according to Shinde.
The Coromandel Express, which derailed, was traveling from Howrah in West Bengal state to Chennai, the state capital of southern Tamil Nadu, according to The Press Trust.
Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, expressed sympathy for the deceased families.
Having spoken with the railway minister, Modi tweeted, “May the injured recover soon,” adding that “all possible assistance” was being provided.
Several hundred incidents happen annually on India’s railways, the world’s largest train network with single management, despite government efforts to increase rail safety.
The deadliest train catastrophe in Indian history occurred in August 1995 when two trains crashed close to New Delhi, killing 358 people.
Human mistakes or out-of-date signaling equipment are the main causes of trains accidents.
Every day, 14,000 trains carrying more than 12 million passengers traverse India’s 64,000 kilometers (40,000 miles) of railway.
SOURCE – (AP)
Tommy Prine, 27, Doesn’t Dodge His Father’s Legacy But Makes His Own Way
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Tommy Prine spoke about his father’s passing in front of a crowded audience in The Basement, one of Nashville’s most intimate music venues.
During a recent sold-out performance, he observed, “It stinks to lose a parent at any age — in my case, when he was the world’s greatest songwriter.”
Singer-songwriter John Prine, Prine’s father, passed away in April 2020 at 73 due to coronavirus complications. Even for a period when grieving had grown commonplace, his death sparked a flood of global mourning.
In the music industry, the heartbreak was especially severe. The bonds John Prine formed with his music were only strengthened by his generosity to budding musicians. Many others tried to digest the unthinkable by expressing their sadness through memorial songs.
It turns out that Prine’s own family was experiencing a similar situation.
Last year, Tommy Prine published “Ships in the Harbour,” a song about his father that is as heartfelt and open-hearted as ever. It resists the urge to curl up in the fetal position rather than flee from what he lost. It gets the closest of any song to properly expressing the immense weight of grief brought on by the pandemic.
Tommy Prine, now 27 years old, is set to release a whole album of songs that deal with growing up, love, and grief. The film “This Far South,” which will be released on June 23, is daring in how it faces his father’s passing head-on and how the son of a legend handles the inevitable concerns that arise from working in the same field.
Tommy Prine keeps going and works hard on a risky project. He created a unique album, and it is captivating.
According to Prine, “honestly, even if my Dad wasn’t who he was, I feel like I would’ve made the same record,” he stated in an interview with The Associated Press. Because of who he is, “I didn’t include these songs, but I also didn’t shy away from them.”
Writing songs enabled Prine to process everything he had lost. His father’s legendary position feels almost incidental to the intimacy of that journey.
“I’m Tommy Prine, and I lost my Dad in the pandemic, and that’s going to be the focal point of what I’m trying to get across,” he said. And while I am aware that it was a fairly public event and that most people will be aware of the background, I believe that they are optional.
I believe people may just listen to it from the viewpoint of a young man who lost his father unexpectedly.
The few allusions, such as the card games and talks they avoid, are vivid without ever becoming cloying. In a lovely song called “By the Way,” he discusses the singular sensation of occasionally hearing his father’s voice.
Prine sings, “I don’t want to talk about the day you slipped away.” The tunes we used to sing still make it difficult to hear your voice.
But Tommy also has other weaknesses and is more or less influenced by those who aren’t his biological father. For instance, the anthemic flourishes and introspective lyrics on the album show co-producer Ruston Kelly’s influence. The song “Reach the Sun” begins with a manic episode in the middle of the night but eventually soars to resemble Kelly’s best work, including the excellent album he recently published.
In an interview conducted after Kelly’s performance with Prine at The Basement, Sufjan Stevens was named another artist who influenced both. Prine heard a sound that matched the wistful desperation he wanted to express while listening to Stevens’ “Carrie & Lowell” album, which Kelly had directed him towards.
Tommy spoke about his father’s passing in front of a crowded audience in The Basement, one of Nashville’s most intimate music venues.
It was “probably the last thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” according to Prine, but it ended up being a “saving grace” for him as he dealt with the hardship of losing his father.
Listeners would do well to consider how they would react if they weren’t aware that this album was produced by the legendary John Prine’s son, given the darkness that hangs over anyone named Prine who dares to try his hand at making original music. Social media and other modern methods of music distribution make it plausible, if not probable, that Prine’s music will reach a brand-new audience. His father may not be well-known to some listeners his age or younger, but these songs will draw comparisons on their own.
But everyone who pays attention will hear the promise of a creative person who bravely followed his heart. Fans of John Prine may recognize elements of the album’s disarming honesty, but they will also hear a new voice presenting intense music that crackles.
Tommy claims that although having considered it, he rarely worries about the legacy issue. But that’s simply another thing he has arranged in its appropriate position.
“I’m just making the music I want to make, and music that is a representation of who I am as a person,” he stated. I have my tale to share because I had quite different childhood experiences than my father.
SOURCE – (AP)
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