After months of brutal political infighting in Congress, President Joe Biden today signed into law a bill to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling for two years. “If we had failed to reach an agreement on the budget, there were extreme voices threatening to take America, for the first time in our 247-year, into default on our national debt,” Biden said. “Nothing would have been more irresponsible.” Without the legislation, the U.S. would have been in default June 5 and most federal programs would have been affected.
Amazon has agreed to pay a $25 million penalty to settle U.S. Federal Trade Commission allegations it violated a child privacy law and deceived parents by retaining voice and location data recorded by its Alexa voice assistant. The Seattle-based company will refund $5.8 million to customers for alleged privacy violations involving its doorbell cameras.
The U.S. State Department said June 1 that it will stop notifying Russia about missile and launch locations as required by their moribund 193 nuclear arms treaty and has revoked visas for Russian inspectors and aircrews. It said the decision is a “countermeasure” to Russian “violations” of the accord.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security advisor, Jody Thomas, acknowledged today that the government needs to improve its intelligence management and that officials are addressing communication breakdowns. Testifying before a parliamentary committee looking into foreign interference in Canadian politics, she declined to speculate what happened before she was appointed in January 2022.
Former Governor-General David Johnston, the prime minister’s special rapporteur on foreign interference in Canadian politics has “respectfully” dismissed an opposition call May 31 for him to stand aside. NDP Leader Jagmeet said today that “with all due respect to the service of Mr. Johnston and his previous public service, I believe that his response to the vote on our motion is tone-deaf.”
Some social media platforms have been erasing posts about potential human rights abuses I what one executive has acknowledged may be an “overcautious” policy of deleting offensive content. YouTube and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, say they try to balance the duties to bear witness while also blocking possibly harmful posts.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that the government is considering more protection for cabinet members and other MPs as threats against them increase. “We are looking into real measures,” he replied May 31 when a Quebec MP pointed out in the House of Commons that ministers in his province have bodyguards.
Former Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who is retiring from federal politics this summer, said May 30 that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has told him he was the target of Chinese interference intended to discredit him and promote false narratives about his policies before and during the 2021 general election. He also faulted the agency and the government for not warning him ag the time.
A Quebec company, Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology, has agreed to pay some $10.5 million in a case involving attempted bribery of Philippines officials as it sought police contracts. This is according to a statement of facts about a court-approved deal with prosecutors to avoid prosecution in Canada, only the second deferred prosecution deal since the Criminal Code was amended in 2018 to address corporate malfeasance. Charges against four executives have been conditionally stayed.
Measured as gross domestic product, the Canadian economy expanding by an annualized 3.1% in the first quarter, increasing the odds for another Bank of Canada interest rate hike. Statistics Canada said today that the quarterly surge exceeded expectations not only of the central bank but also private-sector economists.