DECLASSIFIED: Memo to PM on Ottawa Attack

This “Secret” Memo — almost completely redacted — is the only document the Privy Council Office released in response to an Access to Information request filed by the National Post for copies of all briefings Prime Minister Harper received in the aftermath of the Oct. 20 and 22 attacks in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa. The blocks of information were withheld on grounds of security, international affairs and defence, and solicitor client privilege. An additional four pages were completely withheld because they were deemed “personal information.”

Cutting crimson: Kicking off the Student Center’s Grand Opening

ribbon cutting

Members of the UH Board of Regents, student representatives and alumni cut a ribbon marking the grand opening of the new Student Center. | Corina Carrizales/The Cougar

Alumni, students and members of the UH Board of Regents emitted warm, positive energy as they gathered outside for an intimate ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the Student Center’s Grand Opening, voicing appreciation to all who made the vision of the Student Center a reality.

From Student Transformation Project chair Erica Tat to President Renu Khator, all emphasized that none of the SC would have been possible without the students.

The student body has been a part of the process from the beginning, voting with 77 percent approval of a new center, a tuition increase and decisions on details as small as the lounge chairs. Less than three years after the ceremonial ground-breaking, the University was able to present a finished product.

In spite of gloomy weather, the SC was buzzing with activities, prizes, food and drink. Generous giveaways and discounts also attracted students to the SC, with much of the excitement focusing on the abundance of new spaces for hanging out.

“It opened up more of a relaxed study space,” said communications freshman Ninrah Baig, who was enjoying lunch with her friends.

The modern look of polished glass, steel and beige wasn’t wanting for attention either.

“It just looks so classy,” said biology freshman Sebrin Abdu of the SC’s appearance.

The Open House had students wandering to the SC North, a chance to familiarize themselves with many of the student organizations it houses. By getting a form stamped at several of the major organizations and learning what they do, students were able to obtain a free T-shirt.

Now that the SC is complete, it seems that one semester spent in a building still enduring finishing touches was worth it. After seeing the volume of students crowding the halls, chairs and dining areas, it’s clear the SC has definitely made itself the place to be.

Cutting crimson: Kicking off the Student Center’s Grand Opening” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

Borscht Belt: Will Israel Spurn America For Russia?

The emergence of a Moscow-Jerusalem axis in the next decade, may not occur, but it cannot be ruled out and would dramatically remake the politics of the Middle East, most likely making that region a more violent part of the world where the U.S. has even less influence. This is not good for the U.S., and not an ideal scenario for Israel either. The only real winner would be Russia. There are many good reasons for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and millions in both countries that badly want to see that relationship become even stronger over time. Looking at what Israel would do if forced to find another patron, only makes that even more apparent.

Alaska brings ‘Buy America’ fight with Canada to an abrupt end, kills B.C. ferry project

JUNEAU, Alaska — The state of Alaska on Wednesday cancelled bids for a ferry terminal update that the Canadian government threatened to block because of a dispute over the use of American steel.

The Canadian government issued an order Monday that would have blocked the state from doing the project on land it leases at Prince Rupert, British Columbia, unless a resolution was reached.

The dispute centred on “Buy America” requirements for steel, iron and manufactured products used in projects funded by the Federal Highway Administration.

Much of the construction funding for the project was to come from the federal agency, with the rest coming from the state. The cost of the ferry terminal replacement project was estimated at between $10 million and $20 million.

Canadian officials called the requirement to only use U.S. steel on Canadian soil unacceptable. They suggested that the state seek a waiver from the federal government of the “Buy America” provision, but Gov. Bill Walker said he had not seen a need for one. Another option would have been for the state to fund the project itself, but Alaska faces multibillion-dollar budget deficits because of the fall in oil prices.

It was not immediately clear what Wednesday’s action will mean for the project in the long run. The Prince Rupert terminal is part of the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Patricia Eckert, the associate director for international trade within the governor’s office, said by email late Wednesday that the state transportation department can maintain normal operations at the port “over the next several years until this is sorted out.”

The ferry system signed a 50-year lease with Prince Rupert in 2013, she said.