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Max Forte

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  • ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf killed in Syria, U.S. says

     
     

    Miltant's wife captured during commando raid, enslaved woman freed

     

        The Associated Press    Posted: May 16, 2015

  • In a rare ground attack deep inside Syria, U.S. Army commandos killed a man described as the Islamic State's head of oil operations, captured his wife and rescued a woman whom American officials said had been enslaved.

     

    A team of Delta Force commandos slipped across the border from Iraq under cover of darkness Saturday aboard Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Osprey aircraft, according to a U.S. defence official knowledgeable about details of the raid. The official was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

  • The Americans intended to capture a militant identified by U.S. officials as Abu Sayyaf. When they arrived at his location, a multi-storey building, they met stiff resistance, the U.S. official said, and a firefight ensued.

     

    Abu Sayyaf was killed, along with an estimated dozen ISIS fighters, U.S. officials said. There were no American casualties.

     

    Before the sun had risen, the commandos flew back to Iraq where Abu Sayyaf's wife, Umm Sayyaf, was being questioned in U.S. custody, officials said. The goal was to gain intelligence about ISIS operations and any information about hostages, including American citizens, who being held by the group, according to Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for the U.S. National Security Council.

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  • Analysis 

    EU's response to migrant crisis all too familiar: Margaret Evans

     
     

    Scale of current situation, fed by fallout of Arab Spring, far greater than in 1990s or 2000s

     

        By Margaret Evans, CBC News    Posted: May 15, 2015

  • About 15 years ago, I met a young man named Innocent on the tip of northern Africa. He was from Ghana and after four years of hard toil, he'd finally made it overland to the Spanish city of Melilla, a former penal colony and now a fortified enclave on Morocco's Mediterranean coast.

     

     

    "Is it Europe?" he kept asking me, as if trying to talk himself into the truth of it.

     

     

    "I feel Melilla is Europe. Is it Europe?"

     

     

    And indeed it was, in a manner of speaking. He still had to travel from the enclave across the narrow Strait of Gibraltar to continental Europe, but getting inside Melilla's city walls meant Innocent could make an asylum claim that would oblige Spanish authorities to offer him some fundamental rights.

  • Needless to say, those Spanish authorities were already doing everything they could to make sure other Innocents didn't breach Melilla's walls, the outermost edge of Fortress Europe.

     

     

    Those who couldn't get into Melilla or its sister enclave, Ceuta, would take their chances on smugglers and rickety boats.

     

     

    So perilous was the journey and so steady the stream of people willing to risk it that Médecins Sans Frontières used to station people along Spain's southern beaches to assist refugees if they made it ashore.

     

     

    "They are horrified because many of them have never seen the sea in their life," one of the doctors told me at the time.

     

     

    Sound familiar? 

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  • Pope Francis: Palestinian President Abbas 'an angel of peace'

     
     

    Compliment comes days after the Vatican recognizes 'state of Palestine' in treaty

     

        Thomson Reuters    Posted: May 16, 2015

  • ​Pope Francis praised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an "angel of peace" during a meeting Saturday at the Vatican that underscored the Holy See's warm relations with the Palestinians as it prepares to canonize two 19th-century nuns from the region.

     

    Francis made the compliment during the traditional exchange of gifts at the end of an official audience in the Apostolic Palace. He presented Abbas with a medallion, explaining that it represented the "angel of peace destroying the bad spirit of war."

  • Francis said he thought the gift was appropriate since "you are an angel of peace." During his 2014 visit to Israel and the West Bank, Francis called both Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres men of peace.

     

    Abbas is in Rome for the canonization Sunday of two 19th-century nuns from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. The new saints, Mariam Bawardy and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas, are the first from the region to be canonized since the early days of Christianity.

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  • ISIS takes control of Ramadi, Iraqi troops flee

     
     

    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi orders forces to stand ground across Anbar province

     

        The Associated Press    Posted: May 17, 2015

  • ISIS seized control of the city of Ramadi on Sunday, sending Iraqi forces racing out of the city in a major loss despite the support of U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the extremists. 
  • Online video showed Humvees, trucks and other equipment purportedly speeding out of Ramadi, with some soldiers gripping onto their sides. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered security forces not to abandon their posts across Anbar province, apparently fearing the extremists could capture the entirety of the vast Sunni province that saw intense fighting after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country to topple dictator Saddam Hussein.

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  • ISIS fighters hiding among migrants bound for Europe, Libyan adviser says

     
     

    Militants often sat separately from other migrants while crossing Mediterranean

     

        CBC News    Posted: May 17, 2015

  • ISIS is smuggling extremists into Europe using boats carrying migrants across the Mediterranean from North Africa, an adviser to the Libyan government has said in an interview.
  • Abdul Basit Haroun told the BBC that militants with the group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are hiding among refugees who, for a number of years, have been boarding boats in Libya destined for the Italian coast.

     

    Haroun said he gathered information from conversations he had with the smugglers themselves. He said ISIS has used the boats believing "European police don't know who is from [Islamic State] and who is a normal refugee or not."

     

    These militants often sat separately from the other migrants, he said.

     

    If the claims are true, they represent a significant challenge for law enforcement agencies.

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  • Amanda Deer, non-native boyfriend driven from Kahnawake home by protesters

     
     

    Criminal record of man is reason for protest on Mohawk territory, says Grand Chief Mike Delisle

     

        CBC News    Posted: May 18, 2015

  • Tensions remained high Monday on a Quebec reserve after a mixed-race couple and an 11-year-old boy were driven out of their home by protesters a day earlier. 

     

    There are conflicting views as to why some residents of the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal wanted Amanda Deer and her non-native boyfriend to leave. 

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  • Harper is hyping the threat we face from the Islamic State: Editorial

       

    Any threat Canada faces from the Islamic State falls well below the global scourge the Conservative government is fond of invoking.

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper never tires of playing up the dire threat the Islamic State poses to this country. On a recent morale-boosting visit with Canadian troops in Kuwait, he spared no rhetoric developing that theme.

     
     
     

    The Islamic State is an “extraordinarily dangerous enemy,” he said. “An evil that knows no borders” that “will spread like the plague” if left unchecked. Its violent leaders dream of leading a “global jihad, an orgy of terrorist violence around the world,” and “a war of enslavement and extermination,” he said. They would like nothing more than to “despoil our home and native land.”

  • It was rousing stuff, calculated to play well with Harper’s military audience and with the Conservative party’s grassroots as the country heads to the polls in the fall. The Conservatives hope it will give them a leg up over the New Democrats and Liberals who don’t share their enthusiasm for Mideast combat missions. The government has also invoked the Islamic State threat to justify legislation granting our spy agencies sweeping new powers.

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  • Greece debt crisis: IMF suggests debt relief as referendum campaign begins

     
     

    Finance minister says he will resign if there is a Yes vote in Sunday referendum

     

        The Associated Press    Posted: Jul 02, 2015

  • The battle for Greek votes went into full swing today ahead of a crucial weekend referendum that could decide whether the country falls out of the euro, but the IMF suggests the next step might be negotiating debt relief, a key demand by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

     

    Greeks face massive uncertainty, while for many, particularly the elderly, the daily struggle is to get cash for living expenses.

     

    Greece's creditors have halted any negotiations on a new financial rescue program until after the popular vote on whether to accept proposed reforms in exchange for bailout loans.

     

    In a statement released Thursday, the International Monetary Fund said Greece is officially in arrears on its debt, but its policy is to work collaboratively with members to clear their arrears. Greece missed a $1.6-billion euro payment ($2.2 billion Cdn) on 21.2 billion euros ($29.5 billion) in total debt to the IMF.

     

    The IMF said being in arrears means Greece can no longer borrow from the IMF. But an analysis created before Greece missed its payment deadline and released today suggested the country may need 50 billion euros and widespread debt relief over the next three years to help it turn around its economy.

  • Pointing to Greece's failure to reform its finances over the past five years, the IMF explained to European creditors that Greece may need a 20-year grace period on debt and said any bailout package would have to include debt relief, as well as a new reform package for the economy.

     

    Ashoka Mody, a visiting professor in international economic policy at Princeton University, responded to the IMF study by saying debt relief should have been on the table from the start and the release of this report seems to indicate the IMF was not negotiating in good faith when it drew a hard line in debt talks.

     

    Tsipras has staunchly advocated a No to the referendum, saying it would put the country in a stronger negotiating position with creditors. But European officials and the Greek opposition have warned such an outcome could be tantamount to a decision to leave the euro.

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  • Fair Elections Act critics seek injunction, arguing new ID rules block voting

     
     

    Proof of address requirement would make voting difficult for seniors, students, aboriginal groups

     

        By Michelle Ghoussoub, Trinh Theresa Do, CBC News    Posted: Jul 02, 2015

  • The Ontario Superior Court is hearing arguments today and Friday from a coalition of groups seeking an injunction against a couple of key elements of the Conservative government's Fair Elections Act.

     

    The group, comprised of the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and three private voters, wants to restore the ability of Canada's Chief Electoral Officer to allow the use of voter information cards as proof of address, and reinstate vouching provisions that would allow electors to prove their identity. 

     

    The applicants filing the motion say they are concerned that provisions in the Fair Elections Act will systematically affect the ability of certain groups to vote, including youth, seniors, indigenous people, the homeless and people with disabilities. 

  • "We know that youth historically have low voter turnout and so we want to see changes to elections law that encourage students and youth to vote," said Jessica McCormick with the Canadian Federation of Students. 

     

    "The Fair Elections Act did the opposite," she said in an interview with CBC News.

     

    The group has also filed a lawsuit against the legislation, arguing that the act violates section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the "right to vote in an election of the members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein."

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  • April 20, 2015 
       
     
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    America's Star is Setting
     

    Another Idiotic Plan to Hurt Russia

     
    by MIKE WHITNEY
  • “The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests…..We must, however, be mindful that…Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.”
  • -The Wolfowitz Doctrine, the original version of the Defense Planning Guidance, authored by Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992

     

    “For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia…and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.”

     

    -THE GRAND CHESSBOARD – American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, page 30, Basic Books, 1997

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  • Who Is Stereotyped Now?

        
     
           
      May 18, 2015
        
     
       

    By

         
  • For the last week, many in academe have been debating comments made on Twitter by Saida Grundy, a new faculty member at Boston University, in which she said, “Why is white america [sic] so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” Amid the debate, some have speculated about what would happen if a white professor made generalizations about black students. Would such a person immediately lose his job, or would he suffer no more than some criticism?

      

    It turns out that as Grundy was facing scrutiny, many students and academics at Duke University were finding and becoming appalled by comments posted to a New York Times discussion board by a Duke political science professor, Jerry Hough.

  • In response to a New York Times editorial about racism's lingering impact on Baltimore, Hough rejected the analysis. After talking about political trends regarding issues of urban poverty, he wrote: "I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost nonexistent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white. It was appropriate that a Chinese design won the competition for the Martin Luther King state [sic]. King helped them overcome. The blacks followed Malcolm X.”

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  • Quebec to table anti-radicalization bill after 10 teens arrested at Trudeau airport

     
     

    Parent's tip led to arrests of 10 Quebec teens allegedly seeking to join jihadists

     

        CBC News    Posted: May 20, 2015

  • The Quebec government says it will soon table legislation designed to fight the radicalization of the province's youth in the wake of 10 arrests over the weekend.

     

    Police believe the teens, who were arrested but not charged, were trying to leave Canada to join jihadists fighting in Turkey and Syria.

     

    Four of the 10 teens arrested were students at Montreal CEGEP Collège de Maisonneuve.

  • "We always are concerned about this, given the fact that it seems to be our youth — born here — in our learning institutions," said Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard on Wednesday. "That is why we will come very soon with a policy that is going to be broad, that will also include the prevention, detection and also other measures from the legislative point of view." 

     

    The government did not elaborate on any details about the proposed legislation, but said it plans to table its bill before June 12.

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  • Stephen Harper puts focus on anti-terrorism at Montreal's Trudeau Airport

     
     

    There is 'no legitimate reason...to become a violent jihadist' in Canada, prime minister says

     

        CBC News    Posted: May 21, 2015

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper outlined plans to devote money and resources to fighting terrorism at an announcement this afternoon at Montreal's Trudeau Airport.
  • The government is planning to give the RCMP $150 million over five years beginning in 2015-16, saying the money would enhance the organization's "capacity to conduct criminal investigations related to terrorism."

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  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will hold its closing events in Ottawa between May 31 and June 3, 2015. The TRC was established in 2008 as a part of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement in order to inform Canadians about the history and legacy of such schools. For more than 130 years, the institutions were operated by the government and by Canadian churches on the government's behalf. A second portion of the TRC mandate is to inspire a process leading toward reconciliation within Aboriginal families, and between Aboriginal peoples and non-Aboriginal communities, churches, governments -- and Canadians in general.
  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will hold its closing events in Ottawa between May 31 and June 3, 2015. The TRC was established in 2008 as a part of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement in order to inform Canadians about the history and legacy of such schools. For more than 130 years, the institutions were operated by the government and by Canadian churches on the government's behalf. A second portion of the TRC mandate is to inspire a process leading toward reconciliation within Aboriginal families, and between Aboriginal peoples and non-Aboriginal communities, churches, governments -- and Canadians in general.
  • Here are some facts about residential schools that shouldn't be forgotten:

    • In 1879, politician Nicholas Flood Davin visited the U.S. to observe residential schools and recommended them for Canada.

    • In 1883, Canadian government minister Hector Langevin said, "In order to educate the [Indian] children properly we must separate them from their families."

    • Also in 1883, the Canadian government began to provide funding to church-run residential schools.

    • 132 residential schools in total were created.

    • Residential schools did not exist in Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

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  • Putin's signature puts 'undesirable' law into effect

     
     

    Prosecutors given power to shut down foreign organizations that 'threaten' Russian security

     

        The Associated Press    Posted: May 23, 2015

  • President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law Saturday giving Russian prosecutors the power to declare foreign and international organizations "undesirable" and shut them down.

     

    Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the measure as part of an "ongoing draconian crackdown which is squeezing the life out of civil society."

  • The law is part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle dissent that intensified after Putin began his third term in 2012.

     

    His return to the presidency had been accompanied by mass street protests that Putin has accused the United States of fomenting. Russian suspicions of Western intentions have been further heightened because of tensions over Russia's role in the conflict in Ukraine.

     

    The new Russian law allows prosecutors to declare an organization undesirable if it presents a threat to Russia's constitutional order, its defences or its security.

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    Julie Lalonde sees backlash after complaint about Royal Military College cadets

     
     

    Nasty emails bombard sex-assault prevention educator after complaint about cadets

     

        CBC News    Posted: May 25, 2015

  • A sex-assault prevention educator says she's receiving a backlash of nasty and abusive emails and tweets after publicly complaining that she was verbally abused by Royal Military College officer cadets she had been invited to speak to last fall.

     

    "If me talking about having been harassed compels you to write me an email telling me that I am human garbage and deserve to die, I think you're proving my point," Julie Lalonde told CBC News.

  • Lalonde said she had been asked to speak to approximately 1,000 undergraduate students in groups of about 250. All of the students had been ordered to give up a weekend day off to attend the session.

     

    The cadets were the most hostile audience she had faced in a career of speaking about sexual assault prevention, Lalonde said. 

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  • Weekend Edition May 22-24, 2015 
       
     
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    Imperial Omissions
     

    The Not-So Nordic Bernie Sanders

     
    by PAUL STREET
  • Speaking to George Stephanopoulus on ABC News’ “This Week” three weeks ago, the recently declared Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders identified himself with the “the democratic socialism” of Scandinavia. In Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, Sanders told Stephanopoulos, politics and society are “very democratic…health care is the right of all people…college education, graduate school is free…retirement benefits, childcare are stronger than in the United States of America. And in those countries, by and large, government works for ordinary people and the middle class, rather than, as is the case right now in our country, for the billionaire class.”
  • “I can hear the Republican attack ad right now,” Stephanopolous said, “He wants American to look more like Scandinavia.” Sanders shot back: “And what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong when you have more income and wealth equality? What’s wrong when they have a … higher minimum wage than we do, and they are stronger on the environment…? Look…we can learn from other countries. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth, at the same time as we are seeing a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires. Frankly, I don’t think that is sustainable. I don’t think that’s what America is about.”

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  • RCMP conduct Montreal raids linked to radicalization investigation

     
     

    Police seen removing boxes and computers from home in St-Leonard borough

     

        CBC News    Posted: May 26, 2015

  • RCMP and Montreal police carried out several raids around the city today linked to a radicalization investigation.

     

    At least two of the raids were connected with the 10 Montreal youth recently arrested on suspicion of trying to leave the country to join jihadists in Turkey and Syria, the RCMP confirmed. 

  • Police officers were seen removing boxes and computers from a home in the borough of St-Leonard, in the city's east end.

     

    Investigators obtained a search warrant, but did not say what they are looking for. RCMP said it was the first time they had raided the residence.

     

    Alberto Teixeira, a longtime resident in the area, said he woke to the sight of several RCMP officers on his street knocking on an apartment door.

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  • NORAD jets train in Arctic as Russian flights close to North America increase

     
     

    'This is probably the most active they've been since the end of the Cold War'

     

        By Bob Weber, The Canadian Press    Posted: May 28, 2015

  • U.S. and Canadian fighter jets are to practise intercepting foreign aircraft high over the Arctic in the coming days as Russian military flights up to the edge of North American airspace increase.

     

    "This is probably the most active they've been since the end of the Cold War," said Maj.-Gen. David Wheeler, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division and the officer overseeing his country's role in exercise Amalgam Dart.

  • U.S. Admiral William Gortney, commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, said the Russian military is far better equipped than its Soviet precursor and is being used to send other countries a message.

     

    "It's not just the frequency, it's where they're flying, (although) they're adhering to international standards," he said Thursday.

     

    Gortney said that at the same time a Malaysian airliner was shot down over Ukraine last summer, the Russians had military aircraft flying down the English Channel and in the Arctic off Alaska and Yukon.

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