International News Desk – At Home: Behind the Canadian Visa – In Foreign News: Spy Satellite Launched by Israel

International News Desk – At Home: Behind the Canadian Visa – In Foreign News: Spy Satellite Launched by Israel

At Home: Behind the Canadian Visa

The CBC website ( has posted profiles of six people who have been refused a visa into Canada. The report offers an unusual glimpse into the immigration and visa process that most of us would usually not give a second thought to. Applying for a visa in most countries is a fairly straightforward process, but despite this I think It’s safe to say that each of us feels a little anxious every time we’re waiting for confirmation on a visa application or when we’re standing in line at the airport customs. In most cases, applications are approved and the passport is stamped when we want to travel; but who exactly isn’t getting this treatment when they try to come to Canada? The six people profiled on the CBC report give us a little glimpse into the various reasons our own visa office won’t grant entry.

Thomas Mapfumo is a singer from Zimbabwe who has made the United States his home; he was denied entry to Canada on the basis that American customs might not let him re-enter the States. This is to be expected, certainly, in some cases, for example that of Mobb Deep, Tony Yayo, Olivia, and M.O.P.; all are part of rapper 50 Cent’s backup group. They were refused entry due to various criminal records, something that the group must have thought about prior to applying to enter Canada in the first place.

Less clear cut are the reasons surrounding the denied entry to Canada of Jacques Edouard Alexis, the former Haitian Prime Minister. He was refused entry in 2006, and although he was issued a personal and formal apology from Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, there has been no actual explanation as to the reasons for refusal. According to the organization Konbit Pou Ayiti, Alexis was ?accused of complicity in the commission of crimes against humanity? (1) in his home country following the deaths of several political opponents at the hands of the police force. The police involved in the matter have been apprehended, though, and, formally speaking, Alexis has been cleared of any wrongdoing. His entry into Canada was eventually granted, but following this clearance he refused to enter until he received a formal apology from a Canadian government official.

Other people refused entry into Canada, according to the report, include Malik Zulu Shabazz, a member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in the United States; Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a woman connected with the kidnapping and death of a young activist; and several people connected with the Outgames, an event for homosexuals that took place in Montreal in 2006.

Shabazz was ousted on the back of a 5-year-old misdemeanour, and the mass protests of the Jewish community in Canada are thought to have made an impact as well; Shabazz is admittedly outspoken against the Jewish faith. Mandela remains uncleared for entry with reference to the kidnapping charges, although her supporters (and they are many) maintain that she is a crucial South African activist, notably the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela. The Outgames, on the other hand, have apparently called up an entire international crop of so-called criminals; they have been labelled as such because of the anti-gay stance of their home countries, in which homosexuality is a crime.

The reasons for non-entry to Canada are most commonly criminal-related, it seems, although the criminality of each act and of each individual could perhaps use some more focused research on the part of Canadian customs and visa.

(1) Konbit Pou Ayiti. ?Haiti Report for June 10, 2006.? Retrieved June 13, 2007, from

In Foreign News: Spy satellite launched by Israel

Israel has launched a spy satellite this week, the latest in the Ofek series: Ofek-7. The satellite was so called because of the Hebrew meaning ?horizon? (1), and this technological advancement follows the research and testing of the rest of the Ofek missile series. The satellite research was put forth to give ?Israel an extended capacity to monitor military developments in the region and also demonstrates its advanced missile ability? (1), and it has been said that the main centres of surveillance will be Syria and Iran.

In conjunction with this project, Israel has also been developing an anti-missile program called Arrow with the help of the United States. The U.S. has been quite forward in its support of the Israeli government and its defence programs, especially following the recent violence between the Israeli state and Lebanon. The American government will have realized that the advancement of Israel’s security and spy technologies will aid in its own surveillance of the Middle East; according to the Jerusalem Post (2), Ofek-7 will reportedly fly over Iran, Iraq, and Syria every 90 minutes.

Israeli engineers and government officials are pleased with the advancements of the entire Ofek series, noting that many of the endeavours outlived their allotted lifespan and that the Ofek 5 satellite is still providing pictures with a clear resolution to researchers. NDTV has said that Israel has discounted claims that it might use the satellite to strike Iran, but admitted it will be used to keep a close eye on the nuclear capabilities being developed by its neighbour.

(1) ?Israel launches spy satellite.? Retrieved June 13, 2007, from

(2) Jerusalem Post online. ?Israel launches Ofek 7 spy satellite.? Retrieved June 13, 2007, from

%d bloggers like this: