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Families want government to bring back 16 Canadians held by Kurdish forces in Syria – National

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An organization representing the families of extremist group members is demanding the government repatriate 16 Canadians it says are being held in detention camps in northern Syria.

Families Against Violent Extremism said in a statement obtained Wednesday by Global News that nine of the captives were adults and seven were infants and children under age six.

U.S.-backed Kurdish forces have captured several Canadians who were allegedly fighters in the so-called Islamic State, the wives of ISIS foreign fighters as well as their children.

Debate over what to do with them has captivated the House of Commons, which passed an opposition motion on Tuesday, giving the government 45 days to table a strategy for bringing ISIS members to justice.


READ MORE:
MPs approve motion calling for government strategy on returning ISIS members

But the statement by the families group said none had been charged, their indefinite detention was a violation of international law and the fate of the children was a particular concern.

“Winter is drawing in, leaving these children in tents in the bitter cold,” it said. “The children go hungry, lack adequate clothing, and are traumatized by violence. Many are sick without adequate medical care, and lack basic educational opportunity.”

FAVE refuted the government’s claim that there was no safe way to get the Canadians out of Syria, noting it had worked to facilitate the return of an American woman and her four children to Indiana in August.

The group has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday on Parliament Hill, where it says it will “announce plans to likewise help Global Affairs fulfill their duty to provide support to Canadians in dire straits abroad.”

WATCH: EXPERT SAYS CANADA SHOULD BRING BACK WIVES, CHILDREN OF ISIS FIGHTERS






Meanwhile, a pro-ISIS group issued a statement about the capture of Canadian ISIS member Muhammad Ali, warning foreign fighters they face a “harmful destiny” if they stray from the group.

The release acknowledged that Kurdish forces had captured “three of our brothers,” including Ali, and cautioned “not to leave the lands of the Caliphate for any reason in such difficult times.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute, which obtained the English-language release by the Al-Muhajireen Foundation, said it could signal that ISIS was concerned about mounting desertions.

“This new warning, along with other material recently released by ISIS media outlets, may indicate that the organization is facing a wave of defections, mutiny and desertions, in particular among its contingent of foreign fighters,” MEMRI wrote.

WATCH: CAPTURED CANADIAN ISIS SNIPER SAYS HE WANTS TO RETURN TO CANADA






A 28-year-old from Mississauga, Ali told Global News in an exclusive interview in northern Syria that he was captured by Kurdish fighters four months ago while trying to cross into Turkey.

His appeal to be returned to Canada has ignited debate in the House of Commons, with the Conservatives demanding the government ensure returning ISIS members do not walk free and the Liberals insisting officials are doing what they can.

The Al-Muhajireen Foundation is not an official arm of the so-called Islamic State but rather disseminates “fanboy” propaganda supporting the terrorist group on the social media platform Telegram.

In an Oct. 16 release, it said “Abu Turaab Al-Kanadi and two others” had been arrested by Kurdish fighters who “continue to follow our brothers, wherever they go.” Abu Turaab was Ali’s ISIS name.


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It also said the three captives had been misrepresented “in the unbeliever’s media in a way that does not align with the truth of the Caliphate’s soldiers or the Islamic State.”

“Despite our continuous warnings to our brothers (especially al-muhajireen [foreign fighter] brothers) not to leave the lands of the Caliphate for any reason in such difficult times, some of them chose this path which only leads to a harmful destiny,” it said.

MEMRI interpreted the message as evidence of desperation amid growing losses by ISIS. Kurdish forces say they have captured almost 900 foreign ISIS fighters, 500 ISIS wives and 1,000 children.

“Distributed in both Arabic and English, the poster reiterates the message issued by the media group warning fighters, and in particular foreign fighters, against leaving areas under ISIS control for any reason,” MEMRI wrote.

 

Photo released April 4, 2018 by the Kurdish YPG shows Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

YPG

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, have said Ali was captured along with a German and a Turkish national “as a result of special operations conducted by our Anti-Terror Units.”

“The terrorist named Muhammad Ali, who is a Canadian citizen, was a one of the ISIS number one snipers,” the YPG said in a statement. “He trained thousands of terrorists in Hasakah, Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor and participated himself in dozens of criminal acts.”

It added that “via his social media accounts, he was encouraging people to join ISIS” and that following the “atrocious attacks” that killed two Canadian soldiers in 2014, he “called for increasing terrorist assaults, declaring that civilians or security personal (sic) should be killed as ‘infidels.’”

Ali does not yet face any charges in Canada.

The propaganda release contradicts Ali’s claim he had left ISIS and was on his way to Turkey when he was captured. Instead, it said that he and others were heading for Idlib, a city in northeast Syria where the last anti-regime rebels were fighting Russian-backed Syrian forces.

Abdulkarim Omar, a foreign affairs official in the self-administration that controls northeast Syria, said Kurdish forces wanted to send the foreign ISIS captives they are holding back to their own countries.

But he told Global News that, while there had been talks with Canadian diplomats months ago, “the Canadian government stopped this process and we don’t know why.”


READ MORE:
Goodale says Canadian ISIS fighters will face consequences, officials won’t be put in danger to help

He said three Canadian ISIS fighters, two women and five children were being detained. “And the number might increase because the campaign to liberate the last pocket of ISIL in Deir ez-Zor is ongoing.”

“Some of them are citizens from both, [they] have Canadian and British citizenship,” he said, likely referring to Jack Letts, dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British press.

Global News has confirmed the identities of three Canadian men and three women with seven children. All are being held at makeshift prisons and detention camps in Syria’s northeast corner.

Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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