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Archive for April, 2019

24 April
Comments Off on ISIS leader confident despite Mosul offensive, urges attack on Turkey

ISIS leader confident despite Mosul offensive, urges attack on Turkey

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi expressed confidence in victory, in his first message after U.S.-backed Iraqi forces started an offensive to take back Mosul, the last major city under control of his group in Iraq.

He also called on Islamic State fighters to invade Turkey.

“This raging battle and total war, and the great jihad that the state of Islam is fighting today only increases our firm belief, God willing, and our conviction that all this is a prelude to victory,” he said in an audio recording released online by supporters on Thursday.

WATCH: Civilians flee villages near Mosul by truck

The authenticity of the 31-minute-long recording could not be verified.

The previous message purportedly coming from Baghdadi was from December 2015, an audio recording that reassured followers and supporters that airstrikes by Russia and the U.S.-led coalition had failed to weaken the group in Syria.

WATCH: ISIS video purports to show Russian helicopter blown up

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Baghdadi, an Iraqi whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai, called on the population of Mosul’s Nineveh province “not to weaken in the jihad” against the “enemies of God.”

He also called on the group’s suicide fighters to “turn the nights of the unbelievers into days, to wreak havoc in their land and make their blood flow as rivers.”

READ MORE: US military says Iraq forces have retaken 40 villages from ISIS in Mosul

The battle that started on Oct. 17 with air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition is shaping up as the largest in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.

Mosul still has a population of 1.5 million people, much more than any of the other cities captured by Islamic State two years ago in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

WATCH: At least 8 dead in Turkey bomb blast

Baghdadi told Islamic State’s fighters to “unleash the fire of their anger” on Turkish troops fighting them in Syria, and to take the battle into Turkey.

“Turkey today entered your range of action and the aim of your jihad … invade it and turn its safety into fear.”

Islamic State has been retreating since last year in both Iraq and Syria, in the face of a myriad of different forces.

In Iraq, it is fighting U.S.-backed Iraqi government and Kurdish forces, and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi’ite militias.

WATCH: Iraqi army helicopters flew over the town of Hamdaniyah on Thursday as Iraqi government and allied forces seek to rout Isamic State militants from their last urban stronghold in Mosul.

In Syria, it is fighting Turkish-backed Syrian rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters as well as Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian army units loyal to Assad and foreign Shi’ite militias.

Baghdadi told his followers to launch “attack after attack” in Saudi Arabia, targeting security forces, government officials, members of the ruling Al Saud family and media outlets, for “siding with the infidel nations in the war on Islam and the Sunna (Sunni Muslims) in Iraq and Syria.”

Islamic State’s leader also said “the caliphate was not affected” by the death of some of its senior commanders, mentioning Abu Muhammad al-Adnani and Abu Muhammad al-Furqan, both killed earlier this year in U.S. airstrikes.

24 April
Comments Off on Hillary Clinton tops Donald Trump in Google searches following FBI announcement

Hillary Clinton tops Donald Trump in Google searches following FBI announcement

On October 28th at 2 p.m. ET, the number of people searching ‘Hillary Clinton’ on Google spiked. Of course that ties in with the news the FBI was once again looking into Clinton’s handling of emails while secretary of state.

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Since that spike, Clinton has seen more search activity on Google than Donald Trump which bucks the trend of the Republican nominee dominating search activity for pretty much the whole past year. The one other exception is on Sept. 12, 2016, which was around the time of Clinton’s fainting/pneumonia incident which was caught on camera.

After the first presidential debate, Clinton was searched more than Trump in every state south of the border, a trend which was reversed after the second and third debate.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Google Trends issued a tweet saying Clinton was searched in more states than Trump.

Now all of this amounts to zero in the win column either way. Perhaps more telling is what election issues are hot topics amongst Americans.

The five most-searched election topics over the past week were: Immigration, Abortion, Gun control, the Economy and ‘ISIS’, according to Google trends.

To make things even more interesting is where each topic was a hot-button issue.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump unaffected by FBI announcement: poll

Immigration was the number-one searched election topic in Nevada and New York, whereas abortion and the economy dominated most of the map.

Unsurprisingly, traditional Republican strongholds such as Mississippi and Montana were focussed on abortion whereas California, Texas and most of the Eastern Seaboard were focussed on the economy.

Gun control did not lead in any one state, however, ISIS topped the charts in Iowa.

24 April
Comments Off on Not everyone pleased with free entry into Banff National Park for Canada’s 150th

Not everyone pleased with free entry into Banff National Park for Canada’s 150th

Concerns are being raised in Banff National Park about how increased tourism is expected to impact businesses, infrastructure and wildlife in the coming year.

Chuck’s Steakhouse is Banff Hospitality Collective’s 11th establishment in the townsite. It just opened this summer and has already been benefiting from an increase in foreign tourism motivated by a lower Canadian dollar.

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  • Why Banff tourism is booming with a busting economy

    “It has definitely created a more vibrant tourist market, definitely driven by Americans first and foremost,” the CEO of the collective Michael Mendelman said.

    Next year, there’s another bonus expected for Banff businesses. In 2017 entrance will be free to all national parks to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

    “It’s going to encourage our regional market to visit the park more than they otherwise would,” Mendelman said.

    But many have major concerns about the already mounting congestion in Banff, especially in the summer months.

    The mayor has expressed concern about how the town is going to handle the increased traffic along with the pressure on parking and infrastructure.

    Conservationists, meanwhile, worry wildlife and fragile ecosystems will be impacted the most.

    “Campgrounds are full. You start camping in the worst places, leaving garbage all over the place… and start creating trails where there shouldn’t be, fragmenting the habitat,” conservationist Marie-Eve Marchand said.

    READ MORE: Parks Canada seeks to manage free 2017 influx 

    Since 2013, visitation to Banff National Park has increased by 24 per cent. Parks Canada said it’s ramping up its public awareness campaign and is working with the town to deal with congestion issues.

    “We have a meeting with the town and there will be a number of meetings to get that sorted out,” Greg Danchuck with Parks Canada said.

    Mendalman suggests continuing to collect fees and donating the income to a piece of infrastructure would have had a more lasting impact. But overall, he believes the waived fees will be beneficial.

    “If it makes one person in Calgary come experience the park and everything that’s alluring – it may be a good thing.”

    With files from Jayme Doll

24 April
Comments Off on Victoria’s tent city land to be turned into playground

Victoria’s tent city land to be turned into playground

Victoria’s former tent city land will be turned into a children’s playground.

Designs are currently being drawn up for a community playground to be located on the lawn beside the Victoria Courthouse, the former site of a contentious tent city.

The idea proved to be the most popular during discussions with neighbours, according to the B.C. Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services.

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It will be fully accessible for children of all ages and abilities and will include features for adults and seniors, like chess tables and benches.

However, before the playground can be constructed, contaminated soil on the site needs to be removed.

The ministry said the soil contains trace amounts of methamphetamines and other contaminants consistent with minor gas spills.

Minister Amrik Virk said 75 dump trucks full of dirt will be removed, taken to a soil remediation site and then will be built back up again before construction commences.

READ MORE: Province dealing with rat infestation at Victoria’s former tent city site

They will also be using some special consultants when coming up with the playground design.

“We’re going to let children decide what kind of playground they want,” said Virk.

The project is estimated to cost between $150,000 and $200,000, but an anonymous donor is expected to fund a large portion, Virk announced. It is expected to be open by spring 2017.

In August, the government granted an injunction to clear the tent city where dozens of campers had been living since fall 2015.

READ MORE: Province shuts down Victoria tent city, housing offered to all campers

Due to safety concerns including drug use, open fires and violence, the Supreme Court sided with the province in July to grant the injunction, despite advocates claiming the park was a safer option for homeless than the street.

All the people evicted from the park were offered housing options from the province.

The tent city cleanup cost roughly $300,000.

24 April
Comments Off on Warm November in Sask. good news for construction crews, farmers

Warm November in Sask. good news for construction crews, farmers

With temperatures expected to reach the double-digits by Thursday, farmers are rejoicing about the much-needed break in cooler temperatures.

“We got to get that grain off, because snows about to come, and you’re not going to get this weather for very long now,” Landon Hofer of Arm River Colony said.

The weather is also expected to be dry. Hofer said it means he can harvest the rest of his canary seed. He has close to 1,100 acres left to get into the bin.

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  • Snow in southern Sask. will cause harvesting delays for farmers

    “We’re going to start them up, we’re going to hammer down. There’s no more stopping anymore here,” he said.

    Hofer estimates the remaining crops in the field are worth close to $30,000.

    “It’s going to take a big break off our back, right now we’re concerned about it being out there. It’s money we got invested into it.”

    READ MORE: Saskatchewan snow bad news for some farmers

    Global Regina’s weather specialist Tiffany Lizée said temperatures will remain steady in the double-digits, but will drop closer to seasonal averages by mid-November.

    “As we make our way into the middle of November, that’s when we’re going to see temperatures closer to seasonal, and then around the end half of November, we’ll be at the seasonal mark,” Lizée said.

    The City of Regina is also taking advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures, extending some crews to continue repairs and construction work.

    “We’ve actually kept some of our crews on a little later into construction. Normally we would switch over to winter mode November 1st,” director of roadways and transportation Norman Kyle said.

    He said the temperatures are allowing the city to keep the asphalt plant going, making for a nicer job on the repairs and potholes.

    Follow @ChristaDao