Aid for US spies: report
Canada allowed the US National Security Agency to conduct widespread surveillance during the 2010 Group of 20 summit in Toronto, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Corp report that cited documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The report by CBC News on Wednesday cited briefing notes it said showed the US turned its Ottawa embassy building into a security command post during a six-day spying operation by the top-secret US agency as US President Barack Obama and other world leaders met that June. Reuters has not seen the documents and cannot verify their authenticity. The report said the operation was no secret to authorities, with an NSA briefing note describing the operation as “closely coordinated with the Canadian partner.”
Storm fears ease for east
A wet and windy storm hit the east coast on one of the busiest holiday travel days of the year, but it was not the disaster that many had feared. Flight cancelations piled up at hubs such as New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia and Newark, and by midday on Wednesday about 250 flights had been canceled, according to the tracking Web site FlightAware.com. That was a tiny fraction of the nearly 32,000 flights that were scheduled to, from or within the US on Wednesday, the Web site said.
Former minister charged
The main investigative agency has filed charges against former minister of defense Anatoly Serdyukov, accusing him of using servicemen and government funds to build a road to a vacation home and do landscaping work on the property. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison. President Vladimir Putin fired Serdyukov a year ago over a corruption scandal, but most military experts believed his ouster reflected a behind-the-scenes power struggle. Serdyukov had overseen a radical defense reform that drastically cut the numbers of officers.
Militant group blacklisted
The Security Council has blacklisted an al-Qaeda-affiliated militant and his network for allegedly being linked to the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. The council’s antiterrorism committee has listed Muhammad Jamal and his Muhammad Jamal Network for running camps in Libya to train foreign militants and for being “reportedly involved in the attack on the US Mission in Benghazi” on Sept. 11 last year, according to Australian ambassador Gary Quinlan, the chairman of the committee. The Security Council reviewed the work of its al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee on Wednesday.
Auction raises ire
A south London council raised millions of pounds on Wednesday after controversially selling Chinese antique ceramic items at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong. The collection, including vases, bowls and boxes, fetched a total of HK$102.4 million (US$13.2 million) for Croydon Council — with a blue-and-white Ming Dynasty moonflask the most expensive item at HK$28.1 million. The auction was opposed by Britain’s Museums Association, which described it as a “breach of the code of ethics.” The council resigned from the Museums Association, which in turn barred Croydon from future membership. Park Sung-hee, a spokeswoman for Christie’s, said the proceeds would be used to improve the borough’s cultural amenities.