5 must-reads from CBCNews.ca you may have missed

This week, BlackBerry launched its new smartphone to mixed reviews, Cairo correspondent Nahlah Ayed wrote about a new group of protesters opposed to Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a navy spy had his sentencing hearing in Halifax, the CBC's Patrick Brown looked at China's upcoming leadership change, and Washington correspondent Neil Macdonald took aim at Scientology.
Neil Macdonald offers his thoughts on the Church of Scientology, after the release of a book on the religion that's garnering a lot of attention. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

This week in the news, BlackBerry launched its hotly anticipated new BB10 smartphone to mixed reviews, the CBC's Cairo correspondent Nahlah Ayed wrote about a new group of protesters who have joined the fight against Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a navy spy had his sentencing hearing in Halifax, the CBC's Patrick Brown wrote about China's leadership change coming in March, and Washington correspondent Neil Macdonald took aim at Scientology.

Spy games

Naval Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle was in a Halifax courtroom for his sentencing hearing this week after pleading guilty in October to selling sensitive documents to Russian for more than four years.

Paid about $72,000 for his efforts, Delisle is the first Canadian charged under the Security of Information Act, passed by Parliament in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Canadian government has tried to downplay the impact of the breach, while CSIS officials have testified in court that the damage could go as far as the potential loss of life.

One of Canada's most experienced journalists and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the University of Toronto, Brian Stewart argues there is more spying today than at the height of the Cold War, a threat that means Delisle's deceit could have a lasting impact on Western intelligence for years to come.  

Read the storyBrian Stewart: More espionage now than during the Cold War 

Protests in Egypt

The second anniversary of Egypt's popular uprising has sparked a new wave of violent and deadly clashes between government forces and protesters trying to oust Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

As many as 60 people have died in recent clashes, and dozens more injured, as thousands rallied in the Suez Canal provinces, Tahrir Square, and outside Morsi's presidential palace in Cairo.

Opposition forces, including the National Salvation Front, have called for a national dialogue and claim Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are unable to manage the country. 

On the streets, the protesters have their own demands, and a small group known as the Black Bloc is garnering attention from as high up as the presidential palace.

In Cairo, the CBC's Nahlah Ayed reports on the idealistic origins of the Black Bloc, a group which has been called everything from a militia to revolutionary heroes.

Read the story: Nahlah Ayed: Who are Egypt's mysterious Black Bloc?

Macdonald on Scientology

A lot has been written on the cult-like religion Scientology whose followers include several notable celebrities, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta. 

But fresh off reading Lawrence Wright's new investigative book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, the CBC's Washington correspondent Neil Macdonald weighs in on an organization that’s "wrapped itself in a religious cloak: assault, conspire, burgle, forge, perjure, spy, bully and intimidate anyone who gets in its way."

Never one to shy away from controversy, Macdonald puts forth his own opinions in light of Wright’s book, saying his "usual indifference has given way to concern" when it comes to Scientology.

"The trouble almost always begins when people begin to think that divine laws supersede those of their fellow human beings," Macdonald concludes.

Read the story: Neil Macdonald: Scientology and the cloak of religion 

Want the BB10?

Investors and consumers alike had anxiously counted down the days to this week's BlackBerry launch of the new Z10 smartphone.

In his review, science and technology reporter Peter Nowak critiques the touch-screen phone that could make or break the company that has changed its name from Research In Motion to BlackBerry.

"It's slick, fast and good looking, with only a few noticeable holes," says Nowak.

Among the goodies is a 4.2-inch screen with more pixels per inch than competing devices, as well as fast loading speed for browsing the web and reading emails.

Read the storyBlackBerry review: The good and bad of the new Z10 

Changing of the guard

A new era in China's leadership is only a month away as current vice-president Xi Jinping prepares to officially take over as the country’s president and leader of the Community Party of China.

Exiting the top of China's political scene is Hu Jintao, and by comparison as the CBC's Patrick Brown writes, Xi is "refreshingly human and forthright, on one issue in particular: corruption."

At the root of Xi's surprising promise seems to be the fact that more than "564 million Chinese are online, and more than a billion have cellphones" creating work for China's internet censors when officials become the target of scandals.

"Across China, officials are being brought low by pictures of their luxury watches, their mistresses and their real estate holdings," says Brown.

In November, censors stepped aside after a five-year-old sex tape involving Bo Xilai surfaced online.

But is the incoming president's dialogue a turning point in Chinese politics, or rather, an attempt to regain popular support for the 'China dream,' and therefore communism?

Read the story: Patrick Brown: Testing the limits of China's new leaders