23. 11. 2018
JPMorgan investigating possible cyber attack – National

JPMorgan investigating possible cyber attack – National

NEW YORK – JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s biggest bank by assets, is working with law enforcement officials to investigate a possible cyberattack, said a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity, though the bank isn’t currently seeing any unusual fraud activity at the time.

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Jamie Dimon, the bank’s CEO, said in this year’s annual report to shareholders that despite spending millions on cybersecurity, JPMorgan remained worried about the threat of attacks. By the end of this year, the bank estimates that it will be spending about $250 million annually on cybersecurity and employing 1,000 people in the area.

The FBI said in a statement Wednesday that it was working with the Secret Service to determine the scope of recent cyberattacks against “several American financial institutions.” The agency did not name the companies that had been targeted.

Major U.S. banks said that they had been unaffected by the attacks.

READ MORE: PlayStation network back online after cyber attack

Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm said the bank had not seen any unusual activity regarding cyberattacks. Citigroup had no information to suggest that it was the victim of an attack, said a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity. Wells Fargo said in a statement that it had not been seen an impact from the attacks.

Banks face “thousands” of attempted attacks on their computer systems every day, though the majority of incidents remain unreported, said Avivah Litan, a cyber security expert at Gartner.

“There are lots of bad guys out there, continually probing bank networks, trying to get in,” Litan said.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the BlackShades malware

The perpetrators of the attacks range from financial hackers, who are typically based in Eastern Europe and Russia, to “hactivist” groups such as Anonymous, who are trying to make social and political statements, she said. Countries such as China also engage in cyberattacks in an attempt to steal intellectual property.

Customers who notice any suspicious activity on their accounts should contact the bank, said JPMorgan spokesman Michael Fusco. He also noted that JPMorgan customers are protected against losses from fraud.

©2014The Canadian Press

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23. 11. 2018
New school zone speed limit could save lives: Edmonton Traffic Safety – Edmonton

New school zone speed limit could save lives: Edmonton Traffic Safety – Edmonton

Watch above: When students head back to class on Tuesday, drivers will be required to slow down around elementary schools. Kendra Slugoski explains the difference 20km/h can make.

EDMONTON – It’s back-to-school for most Edmonton students next week, and with it will come a significant change outside elementary schools for drivers.

The new school zone speed limit of 30 km/h will take effect around Edmonton’s elementary schools on Tuesday, and the city is reminding motorists to be aware of the bylaw.

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Traffic Safety Supervisor Dennis Tetreault says the lowered speed limit could save lives.

“We know that braking distances for a car at 30 kilometres are 12 metres versus 50 kilometres are 28 metres. Basically, you’re cutting your braking distance in half,” he explains.

According to Tetreault, the survival rate for pedestrians who are hit by a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h is about 45 per cent. That number jumps up to 95 per cent when a vehicle is travelling at 30 km/h.

“Then it’s all about inertia, so the faster a car is travelling the more damage it can cause to a pedestrian.”

Watch: ‘Why 30′ school zone video

Councillor Dave Loken says the city’s growing population and added distractions for drivers have made it necessary for the reduced speed limit.

“People are so busy and people aren’t paying attention like they used to. We’re busy rushing from one point to another.”

Student Nicholas Kolber agrees with the councillor. He’s witnessed the dangerous habits of drivers as a school patroller.

“You’re holding out your hand for the point, just to kind of let the drivers know that you’re trying to cross, and they’ll speed right through your hand. They won’t even pay any attention or anything,” says Nicholas.

Read More: 30 km/h school zones coming to Edmonton

Councillor Bev Esslinger hopes the reduced speed limit will encourage more parents to allow their children to walk to school.

“‘When you ask parents ‘why don’t your children walk to school?’ They don’t feel safe,” says Esslinger.

The city has left the door open for potentially reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h around all schools.

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23. 11. 2018
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Canada’s first Nordstrom store

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Canada’s first Nordstrom store

CALGARY – It’s just three weeks until American retailer Nordstrom opens their first store in Canada, but there’s still lots of work to be done.

Shelves in the 140,000 square foot retail space at Chinook Centre remain bare, as hundreds of newly hired employees work to assemble racks and get familiar with the high-end merchandise they’ll soon be selling.

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Officials with the upscale fashion merchant offered media a sneak peek inside their soon-to-open Calgary location on Thursday, touring through the two floors previously occupied by Sears.

Over 500 people were hired to work at the Chinook Centre location, and hundreds were gathered in the store on Thursday for training in various departments.

Calgary’s Nordstrom location opens at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, September 19th, although representatives say there will be no actual ‘ribbon cutting’ due to superstition.

Spokesperson John Bailey explains that they know they have a long road ahead, and they don’t want to jinx their potential success.

Nordstrom could be exercising caution during their Canadian expansion due to the struggles American retailer Target has seen during their move up north. Target suffered a lukewarm opening, and has been victim of critical online reviews and complaints since it opened.

In fact, Target’s chief financial officer John Mulligan recently admitted the retailer “bit off way too much, too early,” and should have opened fewer stores in their first year.

During the tour on Thursday, media were assured that officials with Nordstrom hope to get prompt feedback from customers as soon as they open, and know the store won’t be perfect until they do.


The store features new design concepts, different than that at other locations. For example, the Calgary location will offer a single-surface floor with no carpet, so that departments can grow and move depending on the feedback from customers.

Officials have also made an attempt to incorporate natural light throughout the southwest location.

Nordstrom at Chinook Centre will feature eight personal stylists whose services are complimentary and don’t require a minimum purchase, as well as beauty stylists in the cosmetics area.

The store will also offer certified bra fitters and shoe fitters to help people find the perfect fit.

Patrons who are hungry or thirsty can stop for a bite to eat at Bazille, the store’s full-service (and licensed) restaurant on the second floor, or grab a coffee and sandwich at Ebar.

GALLERY: Calgary’s Nordstrom location at Chinook Centre

Inside Calgary’s Nordstrom location

Global News

The children’s area will feature a playhouse with interactive TV

Global News

Empty shelves inside Calgary’s Nordstrom location will soon be packed with merchandise.

Global News

Empty shoe racks in the back of Calgary’s Nordstrom location – which will soon old thousands of shoes.

Global News

Empty shelves inside Calgary’s Nordstrom location will soon be packed with merchandise.

Global News

Bazille, Nordstroms eatery at their Calgary location.

Global News

Inside ‘the apartment’ – the change rooms in the junior apparel section

Global News

Calgary’s Nordstrom location

Global News

Employee training at Calgary’s Nordstrom location.

Global News

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23. 11. 2018
Want to get rid of U.S. citizenship? Fee just quadrupled – to $2,350 – National

Want to get rid of U.S. citizenship? Fee just quadrupled – to $2,350 – National

Renouncing your U.S. citizenship will set you back a cool $2,350(US) starting Sept. 6, when the fee will more than quadruple – up from $450.

The State Department, which announced the change this week, claims the new fee is the real cost of processing an application to lose citizenship.

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“Demand for the service has increased dramatically, consuming far more consular officer time and resources,” Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy wrote. “Documenting a U.S. citizen’s renunciation of citizenship is extremely costly, requiring American consular officers overseas to spend substantial amounts of time to accept, process, and adjudicate cases.

“The Department believes there is no public benefit or other reason for setting this fee below cost.”

That’s a policy change from 2010, when the State Department explained it had decided to set the $450 fee lower than the cost of handling a renunciation “in order to lessen the impact on those who need this service and not discourage the utilization of the service, a development the Department feels would be detrimental to national interests.”

In the latest memo, Kennedy describes the process as involving a “minimum of two intensive interviews.” That’s not what Patricia Moon went through when she renounced her citizenship at the Toronto consulate in 2012.

“The questions are minimal and I didn’t spend more than 15 minutes at the window either time. It’s not intensive. They ask you: ‘Are you aware of the ramifications of your actions?” And ‘Are you doing this of your own accord?'”

The Toronto consulate has since switched to a one-interview system. In 2011, officials there held the first meeting in a group format to cope with demand.

Global News reported that the waiting list to renounce U.S. citizenship at the Toronto consulate stretched into late January of 2015. The backlog swelled after Ottawa signed a deal obliging Canadian banks to give the personal information of American clients to the IRS.

But the memo suggests the State Department expects applications to drop after the fee is implemented: to about 2,700 from the current 3,000 a year.

“We can’t speculate on the reasons potential renunciants choose to renounce citizenship,” a department spokesperson said in an email. “We can’t speculate on whether the backlog for renunciation appointments will ease” as a result of the fee increase.”

A department spokesperson said the fee hike is not meant as a deterrent.

READ MORE: How to get rid of U.S. citizenship

“It’s supposed to be a cost recovery change, and not a tax or revenue generator,” said Toronto-based cross-border tax accountant Kevyn Nightingale, who specializes in tax advice for people giving up U.S. citizenship.

“Having watched the process with so many of my clients, I have trouble believing that it really costs $2,300 apiece.”

The notice published this week estimates consular officers’ time at US$135 an hour, Nightingale points out.

“That means that they feel they’ve got almost 20 hours for each person who is expatriating, and that seems like a lot of time to process the paperwork. I have trouble believing that it’s 20 hours of time. This is, like most government fees, an arbitrary amount. I don’t think you can say much more about it.”

But the change isn’t so arbitrary for the people who’d have to pay it.

One elderly woman in Southwestern Ontario – who wouldn’t give her name because she’s “terrified” of being tracked by the IRS – says the new fee puts renouncing U.S. citizenship “totally out of reach”.

Originally from Boston, she immigrated to Canada in the 1970s and became a dual citizen in the 1990s.

“I live on a fixed income,” she said.”I don’t have the money to be [U.S. tax-]compliant, let alone pay this fee. … It puts my ability to renounce, to get out of this, a year or two away for me to save that kind of money.”

A south-central Ontario man scheduled to get rid of his U.S. citizenship in January says he’ll come up with the extra money but is “outraged”.

Born in New Jersey to Canadian parents, he came to Canada as a toddler. He also asked not to be identified, saying he’d “rather not bring that trouble on myself and my family”.

“I think it incredibly exploitative,” he said. “It’s a huge sum of money to pay for an internal U.S. process that none of us asked for. I’ve never chosen U.S. citizenship, I’ve never taken advantage of U.S. citizenship – until three years ago I didn’t even know that I had U.S. citizenship.”

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23. 11. 2018
Lawyers for accused in Lac-Megantic disaster want charges dropped

Lawyers for accused in Lac-Megantic disaster want charges dropped

MONTREAL – Criminal charges against two men accused in the Lac-Megantic tragedy should be dropped, their union and lawyers argued Thursday.

Train engineer Tom Harding, railway traffic controller Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, the manager of train operations, are each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death — one for each victim of the July 2013 train derailment.

A conviction carries a maximum life sentence.

Harding and Labrie are members of the United Steelworkers union, while Demaitre is not unionized.

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READ MORE: Quebec police take Lac-Megantic probe to U.S.

Union spokesman Daniel Roy and lawyers for Harding and Labrie say the charges should be dropped in light of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s final report into the tragedy.

In last week’s report, the TSB criticized the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic railway for its “weak safety culture” and also targeted Transport Canada for its poor oversight of railways, particularly amid a booming oil-by-rail industry across the continent.

“It should now be obvious that the charges against each of these workers no longer have their place,” said lawyers Thomas Walsh and Marc-Antoine Cloutier.

“To continue along this path would not serve the public interest and would in no way help prevent such an incident from happening again.”

Walsh is representing Harding, while Cloutier works for a legal clinic that is defending Labrie.

Walsh also called for a public inquiry into the tragedy, going so far as to say it would be more important than the long-running Charbonneau Commission looking into corruption in the construction industry.

Roy, meanwhile, took particular aim at federal cabinet ministers for their reactions to the TSB document.

“Transport Minister Lisa Raitt hadn’t even finished reading the report, which blamed her department, and she was already trying to deflect attention by reminding people that criminal charges had been laid,” he said.

“While she and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney shy away from their responsibilities, it’s average workers who are taking the rap.”

The TSB report said Harding applied an insufficient number of hand brakes on the train — seven — and conducted an inadequate test before he left the convoy unattended and retired to a local inn for the night.

WATCH:  Lawyer Thomas Walsh defends accused in the tragic train derailment.

Before he left the scene, Harding called MMA’s rail-traffic controller to report mechanical problems on the locomotive and thick smoke belching from its exhaust. They agreed he could leave the engine for the night.

Later that night, a fire broke out on the locomotive. Firefighters called to the scene shut down the locomotive, which gradually disengaged the engine’s air brakes.

An MMA track foreman with no background in locomotives met the firefighters at the scene and, after consulting the rail-traffic controller, they left without restarting the locomotive. Eventually, the train started rolling toward Lac-Megantic, where it derailed and exploded.

TSB chair Wendy Tadros has said, however, that the underlying causes of the accident go well beyond the number of hand brakes applied and the engineer’s actions that night.

The three accused were arraigned in Lac-Megantic last May. At the time, Walsh said Harding intended to plead not guilty to the charges and that the defence asked the court for a jury trial in the devastated community.

Several locals who watched the suspects enter the courtroom said they hoped authorities would eventually lay charges against railway and government officials.

The next court appearance in the case has been set for Sept. 11.

Quebec provincial police said recently the investigation remains active, which could lead to more arrests.

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23. 10. 2018
Hurricane Cristobal making its way toward Atlantic Canada

Hurricane Cristobal making its way toward Atlantic Canada

TORONTO – After soaking parts of of the Caribbean this week, Hurricane Cristobal has its sights set on Atlantic Canada.

Cristobal’s path takes the central part of the storm off the eastern coast of Newfoundland. And while the storm won’t make landfall, the island will feel its effects.

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READ MORE: Cristobal strengthens into hurricane, heading toward Bermuda

To complicate things, a cold frontal trough is moving southward across Atlantic Canada and is expected to stay in place as Cristobal nears. This will bring heavy rainfall to the region. By Friday morning the two systems will merge into one giant system that will bring high winds and rain.

“The front’s not moving anywhere while that hurricane is present,” said the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s Chris Fogarty. “So you get a stalled front and rainfalls that are occurring over the same spot for hours on end.”

On Thursday, at 1:50 p.m. EDT  the Canadian Hurricane Centre said Cristobal was about 700 km south-southeast of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The storm’s maximum sustained winds were 130 km/h, making Cristobal a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale used to measure the strength of tropical storms.

The path of Hurricane Cristobal will keep it offshore of Newfoundland, though effects will be felt.

Global News

Wind and rain unrelated to the hurricane are expected to move in overnight into early Friday. The hurricane centre anticipates gusts of 50 to 80 km/h and anywhere between 50 mm and 75 mm of rain.

There are several rainfall warnings across Newfoundland, including the Avalon Peninsula, Bonavista Peninsula and St. John’s.

High winds and ocean swells of up to three metres are a concern with the incoming Cristobal, so those in the northern Grand Banks should be prepared.

READ MORE: Hurricane season forecasts tied to El Nino

“There’s also a possibility of some rapid false tide-like fluctuations,” Fogarty said. He explained that sometimes, when hurricanes move offshore, they trigger water-level changes several hours after they pass.

“We’ve seen in the past when hurricanes move over the Grand Banks that they can disturb the ocean surface in a way that leads to these very strange, rapid tidal fluctuations in some of the eastern bays of Newfoundland. So you might be looking at the water level and then 15 minutes later it’ll be way down low and then another 15 minutes later, it could come up quite a ways. They’re very hard to predict.

“We just ask people to be on the lookout, because if it comes in high tide, then you can get water topping some of the docks.”

This is the third tropical storm to affect the area this season.

To get real-time weather for your area, download the Global News Skytracker weather app.

Follow @NebulousNikki

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23. 10. 2018
Ministry Seizes Okanagan Children

Ministry Seizes Okanagan Children

KELOWNA – A Kelowna foster family is speaking out after having their two foster sons seized by the ministry for children and family development Wednesday morning.

After a 2 year long battle, the ministry seized the 11 year old boy and his 14 year old foster brother and moved them from the only home they’ve ever known.

“Their mind is made and I mean the children will leave and we said we accept that, we don’t agree nor do we understand it,” says Klemens Koester

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Koester and his mom Eva have been caring for the two boys since they were infants.

The two boys are both severely disabled.

Family and friends say Eva Koester is the only mom the boys have ever known.

They say she’s tended to the boys every need for years, even sleeping beside the younger boy who needs to be rotated throughout the night.

“Everyone is feeling very broken. Eva is distraught. They just destroyed a family,” says the younger boy’s aunt Nancy Ross.

“You can say bye to kids when they go off to college but can’t say bye to kids when they are being ripped from their homes and hearts. It is definitely a tough day, tough day,” says Ross.

The ministry arrived Wednesday morning to seize the boys but shortly after arriving on scene, they left without the boys.

Ministry staff refused to execute the seizure in front of our Global Cameras but came back when we left the property.

The whole ordeal started a couple of years ago when behavioral problems with another adoptive son prompted Klemens Koester to ask the ministry for help.

That adoptive son made allegations against the Koesters.

While they were cleared of any wrongdoing, the ministry decided to go ahead and remove their special needs foster kids.

This was their home for their whole life. There was no reason to stop that. There is no reason why they could not remain here. I mean they left them here for so long if they were in danger they could have removed them a long time or should have at least,” says Klemens Koester.

The family says the ministry has made a huge mistake but there is no recourse.

“No one overseas their decision, no one questions the decisions,” says Ross.

While they know it’s too late for them, they say they will fight to bring changes to the system so that other families don’t have to endure the pain they have.

“There can’t be just one sole power to have the right to make all those decisions. When they say they use an independent review they use someone who works in ministry and if they make a report not favoring the ministry, they won’t be used in the future,” says Koester.

As for the boys, the family says the youngsters don’t understand they have been seized from their home-at least not yet.

“Oh definitely not but will they understand by the time they go to bed tonight. I believe so because their whole world has been turned upside down,” says Ross.

An investigation concluded the seizure was warranted but the family says that review was biased because they say it was conducted by a former ministry worker, and they believe it was only done as an attempt to appease the family.

The Ministry says the placement of a child in the care of the Ministry occurs only after thorough assessments of all available options and decisions are made based solely on their best interests, including their need for permanency.

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23. 10. 2018
New West Partnership commits to easier trade between provinces

New West Partnership commits to easier trade between provinces

REGINA – The premiers of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia are forging ahead with changes to the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) that will make trade in the west more open.

Currently, the NWPTA agreement provides the most open trading environment in Canada and the premiers are asking ministers to make further improvements. Specifically, ministers are to:

Implement a bid protest mechanism by November 2014Review exceptions to determine if these are other possible improvements to liberalize trade, particularly in the area of occupational health and safety by March 31, 2015.

“While exceptions can be important in areas like occupational health and safety, it makes sense to review these from time to time to harmonize those that create unnecessary barriers to trade,” said B.C. premier Christy Clark.

“For example, if we can all adopt the highest standard among our jurisdictions for things like first aid kits that will make trade across the region easier.”

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The New West Partnership has undertaken significant work to make it easier for business to operate across the region by harmonizing truck rules and regulations,” Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said. “In today’s businesses environment companies and workers often cross provincial borders.”

“We all have a strong interest in ensuring worker health and safety and it makes sense to have a common set of rules for businesses and workers to uphold these safety objectives.”

“The New West Partnership is the model for eliminating unnecessary barriers to trade,” said Alberta premier Dave Hancock. “We continue to break down barriers to the benefit of citizens in each of our provinces.”

The three premiers noted the federal government also has a keen interest in internal trade.

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23. 10. 2018
Woman pushed from vehicle, run over: police – Winnipeg

Woman pushed from vehicle, run over: police – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Police say the woman killed in a vehicle-pedestrian crash Wednesday had actually been pushed out of the vehicle that hit her, part of a dispute with her male common-law partner that turned violent.

Jennie Lynda Lee Graves, 35, died later Wednesday in hospital.

The accused, Keith Ryan Thompson, 35, was arrested at the scene of the crash near the corner of St. Anne’s and St. Mary’s Roads at 2:30 in the morning Wednesday.

Winnipeg police say Thompson and Graves were driving in a vehicle, which Global News has learned is a moving company cube van, when an argument escalated and turned physical.

Graves was allegedly pushed out of the moving vehicle. After falling onto the road, police say Graves was struck by the back wheels. She was taken to hospital where she later died of her injuries.

Winnipeg police  closed the intersection of St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s roads Wednesday morning to investigate the tragic incident where Jennie Lee Graves was killed.

Gage Fletcher / Global News

According to police, the driver stopped a few blocks away and a witness who followed the vehicle brought the suspect back to the scene of the crash.

Charges against Thompson include:

Causing Death by Criminal Negligence
Driving While Ability Impaired Causing Death
Fail or Refuse to Provide Sample when Involved in an Accident Causing Death
Dangerous Operation of Motor Vehicle Causing Death
Fail to remain at the scene of an accident and exchange particulars

Keith Thompson


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Police responded Thursday to questions from reporters about whether officers considered homicide charges in this case.

“Something like this the Crown (prosecutor) would be consulted. At this point these have been deemed to be the appropriate charge. That may change in the future, it’s always a possibility depending upon if any further evidence comes to light,” said Cst. Eric Hofley.

The cube van belonged to Popeye’s Moving, the firm where Thompson works.

“This was not work related, it was on personal time,” Owner Mark Routley told Global News, expressing shock at news of the charges. “This is a sad day for all of us around here, it’s very tragic”

Facebook quickly filled up with posts reacting to Graves’ death.

“I cant believe it………My best buddie is now in heaven……I cant stop crying thinking of her 4 beautiful babies….. I will miss you forever my girl,” said one.

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23. 10. 2018
Canadian fighter jets edge closer to Russian airspace – National

Canadian fighter jets edge closer to Russian airspace – National

OTTAWA – Canadian fighter jets will be patrolling the edge of Russian airspace next week as part of NATO’s response to the unravelling situation in Ukraine.

At least four of the six CF-18s sent overseas by the Harper government earlier this year have arrived at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, where they will fly air policing missions over the Baltic states.

The formal handover of responsibility is expected to take place early next week.

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  • Ukraine accuses Russia of sending tanks, armoured vehicles onto its territory

  • Ukraine crisis: Government-held town in east Ukraine hit by shelling

The Canadian jets will be working alongside fighters from Portugal, Germany and Belgium, which will be carrying out flights from bases in another Baltic state.

The missions are meant to reassure European allies unnerved by Russia’s seizure of the Crimean Peninsula, as well as the military action currently unfolding in eastern Ukraine.

READ MORE: Ukraine says 2 columns of tanks from Russia have entered strategic town

The jets, which had been based in Romania on a training exercise, are tasked with defending Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian airspace because those countries are unable to do so on their own.

The deployment comes against the unfolding backdrop of heavy fighting and an apparent Russian invasion, and brings Canadian fighters as close to Russian territory as they’ve been since the crisis began.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an urgent session of the national security council on Thursday after two columns of Russian tanks reportedly entered the country’s southeast earlier in the day.

“Destabilization of the situation and panic, this is as much of a weapon of the enemy as tanks,” Poroshenko told the security council, according to the Interfax news agency.

Russia’s latest escalation is an outrage that will have repercussions, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said as he called on President Vladimir Putin’s regime to halt its apparent invasion, as well as the flow of arms to separatists.

The Harper government will review what further sanctions and other measures can be taken, Baird said, but he stopped short of specifics about what sort of response could be expected.

Last spring, Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the annexation of Crimea as a “slow-motion invasion” of Ukraine. Baird said the events of the last few days indicate the Russians have accelerated their efforts.

READ MORE: Government-held town in east Ukraine hit by shelling

“This is absolutely unacceptable, irresponsible and absolutely reckless,” he said in a conference call from Zagreb, Croatia.

“It is also deeply and shamelessly dishonest. While Russian President Putin talked about ceasefires with President (Petro) Poroshenko in Minsk, his military was busy fighting on Ukrainian soil.”

NATO estimates that as many as 1,000 Russian troops are fighting inside Ukraine with an additional 20,000 clustered on the border as support – or reinforcements.

“Over the past two weeks we have noted a significant escalation in both the level and sophistication of Russia’s military interference in Ukraine,” said Dutch Brig.-Gen. Nico Tak.

“We have also detected large quantities of advanced weapons, including air defence systems, artillery, tanks, and armoured personnel carriers being transferred to separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine.”

The military alliance also released a series of satellite images supporting its claim.

Major U.S. banks, meanwhile, reported they were the target of a massive cyberattack that defence officials suggested may have originated in Russia.

Defence analysts expressed little surprise at that revelation, noting Russia’s military strategy involves the use of cyberwarfare to disrupt and cripple adversaries.

Baird called the recent events a “significant provocation” in advance of next week’s NATO summit in Wales, where the alliance’s leaders are expected to hold a special meeting with Poroshenko.

Asked to characterize the latest developments, Baird described Russia’s move as an “incursion” and an “invasion,” but stopped of short declaring it an act of war.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, unlike other eastern European nations; the alliance is not automatically obliged to come to its defence.

©2014The Canadian Press

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