Canada is sending six CF-18 fighter jets to eastern Europe to help NATO respond to mounting tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Additionally, Canada will send up to 20 officers to the NATO headquarters in Brussels, to bolster its command presence, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday. The jets, and the associated staff, will be based in Lask, Poland, at an airbase. “This is in response to the situation that is developing there and frankly more generally to the concern that we have on what really is expansionism and militarism on the part of Russia under the presidency of Mr. (Vladimir) Putin,” Harper said. The United States, Britain, Denmark, Poland, Portugal and Germany have already pledged aircraft to aid the NATO forces. Harper’s announcement came as a surprise, as he usually consults with Parliament before deciding to put Canadian Forces members into a potentially dangerous situation.
Rob Ford officially launches campaign bid tonight. Toronto’s most famous politician is making things officially official at his campaign launch party Thursday evening. It’s gonna be “history in the making” promised campaign manager/brother/Councillor Doug Ford. It’s possible Rob Ford could have quite the turnout. He used a robo-call last week to personally invite pretty much all of Toronto and, to sweeten the deal, robo-call Rob Ford promised free T-shirts to the first 1,000 people through the door. In other Toronto political news, Ford brothers foe and current Toronto Coun. Adam Vaughan says he’s running for the federal Liberals in the byelection in Trinity-Spadina, the riding vacated by former NDP MP Olivia Chow when she launched her Toronto mayoral bid. Vaughan, one of the most vocal Toronto councillors, has to win the riding nomination before becoming the official candidate. With former Chow campaign manager Joe Cressy confirmed as the NDP’s candidate, the race for this downtown Toronto riding just got a whole lot more interesting.
Surprise! It’s Edward Snowden talking to Vladimir Putin. NSA whistleblower Snowden made a guest appearance via video message during Putin’s weekly call-in show for the nation, asking the Russian president, in English, whether Russia collected communications data on its citizens, much as the U.S. does. Putin was able to easily answer that one, saying the country only uses surveillance when the law permits it, and that it doesn’t have the budget for mass surveillance anyway. Yeah, right, say security experts. Snowden has been hiding out in Russia since he leaked information about the National Security Agency collecting data on average American citizens without their consent.
Arrest made in Amanda Todd case, according to reports. A Dutch media outlet is reporting that a 35-year-old man from the Netherlands has been arrested in connection with the death of Canadian teen Amanda Todd. Todd’s case made headlines in 2012 after the 15-year-old Port Coquitlam, B.C. girl posted a heartbreaking video of herself on Youtube detailing her online harassment and bullying. She then took her own life.
Kepler telescope sees a planet about the same size as Earth that could hold water. Using the Kepler telescope, scientists have spotted a planet that could potentially support life. Kepler-186f, as the planet is known, is about 500 light-years away. It is within its star’s habitable zone, an area where any water on the planet wouldn’t be perpetually frozen or boil away into gas. It’s also about the size of Earth, meaning its atmosphere could be conducive to supporting life.