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Justin Trudeau set for awkward dynamic with Saudi crown prince at G20 – National

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OTTAWA – Canada will face a central question in Buenos Aires this week as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with G20 leaders – how will it handle the tense dynamic with Saudi Arabia and the presence of its crown prince Mohammed bin Salman?

The trip, which marks a high-profile overseas journey for the crown prince following the October murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is expected to open an opportunity for international pushback following the killing.

Canada, for its part, expects the issue to be raised during talks among leaders of the world’s top economies gathered in Argentina for the G20.

READ MORE: Canada was courting Saudi Arabia for billions in new business before ill-fated tweet

The group meets annually to discuss how to enhance global economic stability. International trade will figure prominently, especially because of concerns about U.S. tariffs, as well as tensions between the United States and China. And Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are expected to sign a revamped version of NAFTA after many months of intense negotiations.

But the mere presence of the crown prince guarantees human rights will grab some of the leaders’ focus.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is attending the summit, reiterated late Tuesday that Canada “very much” does not consider the Khashoggi case closed, despite suggestions to the contrary by U.S. President Donald Trump.

WATCH: Freeland says Khashoggi affair is not ‘closed’ despite U.S. response







The Canadian government has called for full accountability for those responsible for the killing and a transparent and credible investigation, she added.

“We do not believe that either of those things has yet happened,” Freeland said, but she did not indicate whether Canada would have any direct meetings with Saudi Arabia at the G20.

Khashoggi’s death last month placed new strains on the relationship of the two countries amid public outcry in Canada over a $15-billion arms deal with the regime.

READ MORE: Saudi crown prince in Argentina for G20 summit, faces protests over Khashoggi killing

It will be vital, said Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, to seek alliances with other countries gathered in Buenos Aires and form a united front to make it more difficult for the crown prince to ignore or dismiss concerns.

“Clearly we would not want this to be a time when, in any way, Canada starts to back away,” he said.

Canada only has so much influence with Saudi Arabia, he added, pointing out that the kingdom officials demonstrated this summer they are willing to bat the Trudeau government’s concerns aside when they don’t like the message conveyed.

WATCH: U.S. Senate votes to consider ending military support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen







In August, Saudi Arabia lashed out at Canada after Freeland took to Twitter to call on the regime to immediately release detained human-rights activists.

Saudi Arabia froze new trade, expelled Canada’s ambassador, recalled its envoy from Ottawa, pulled medical students out of Canadian universities and cancelled flights to Toronto.

Neve said he is particularly interested in the content of any exchanges that play out between Canada and Saudi Arabia at the G20.

READ MORE: Canada and the West caving to Saudi ‘blackmail’ with refusal to act in Khashoggi murder, says journalist

Human rights organizations have been pushing for an international investigation to seek justice in the Khashoggi murder, and also want to see greater action to address grave treatment of women’s rights activists and human rights activists in Saudi prisons as well as war crimes in Yemen.

Canada has also faced calls to sanction those connected to Khashoggi’s death.

It is important for Canada to send a message and sideline the crown prince at the summit, said Bessma Momani, a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a professor at the University of Waterloo specializing in Middle Eastern foreign policy.

WATCH: Mattis says no link between Khashoggi killing, Saudi crown prince







Bin Salman will be on a quest to show off that he is in charge, she said, adding he will likely want to be seen with every leader willing to give him time.

“I am looking for the Kodak moment,” she said. “I think the big thing to watch for us will be how should Trudeau handle this?”

READ MORE: Saudi non-profit deletes Twitter image depicting Air Canada plane flying towards CN Tower

It is unlikely Trump will have trouble shaking his hand, Momani added.

“He’s done everything to defend him,” she said. “We’ve seen the Saudis lower oil prices recently. That has made Trump giddy, quite literally, on Twitter.”

Trump has also defended his country’s ties to the kingdom following Khashoggi’s murder.

WATCH: Trump ‘hates’ Khashoggi killing, but calls Saudi Arabia ‘important ally’







The president has been accused of ignoring U.S. intelligence that concluded, according to a U.S. official, that it was likely the crown prince ordered the killing.

Several lawmakers have asked the CIA and other top intelligence agencies to publicly share what they told the president about Khashoggi’s death at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

-with files from Mike Blanchfield and Associated Press

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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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Anglais

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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