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As government prepares response to calls to bring ISIS members to justice, some walk free – National

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On Facebook, the Pakistani-Canadian described himself in a recent post as a “Mujahid residing in Dar al Kufr” — a jihadist fighter in the land of disbelief.

But more than two years after flying back to Toronto and telling reporters he had served in the brutal ISIS police in Syria, he has not been arrested.

“No kafir can touch me,” he said in a recent text message to a former friend, who shared it with Global News. Kafir is an Arabic term for nonbeliever.

The government was to respond Tuesday to a House of Commons motion that called for “a plan to immediately bring to justice anyone who has fought as an ISIS terrorist or participated in any terrorist activity.”

WATCH: A motion tabled by the Tories calling for a government strategy for returning ISIS members passes 280-1.






Although introduced by the Conservative opposition, the Liberals and NDP supported the Oct. 22 motion, which specifically urged action against those “who are in Canada or have Canadian citizenship.”

It’s unclear what the government will put forward to address an issue that set off fiery parliamentary debate: Several Canadians who have joined, or tried to join, ISIS and other jihadist groups have not been charged with terrorism.

According to terrorism researcher Prof. Amarnath Amarasingam, only four of the at least 19 Canadians he has identified as having returned from Syria and Iraq have been charged. Five others were subjected to terrorism peace bonds that have now expired.

At least a half-dozen Canadians allegedly affiliated with ISIS, meanwhile, have been captured by U.S.-backed forces in Syria and want to return to Canada, including women from Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Another Canadian is being held in Turkey.

WATCH: Mike Armstrong looks at why Kurdish officials are worried about foreign fighters and what Canada is prepared to do about it






One of the captives, Muhammad Ali, told Global News in an exclusive interview he had been a member of an ISIS sniper unit. But neither he nor the others detained abroad face charges in Canada.

“Why are some people charged with terrorism-related offences while others are not?” asked an internal government document obtained by Global News under the Access to Information Act.

“Terrorism investigations are complex and resource intensive, and are some of the most challenging investigations the RCMP conducts,” the document disclosed by the RCMP continued.

“Often, they require evidence of an individual’s activity in foreign conflict zones, or rely on information provided by partners that we are not authorized to disclose in court. The RCMP also faces challenges in collecting digital evidence, including access to encrypted online communications.”


READ MORE:
‘I just want to go back’: Canadian ISIS fighter captured in northern Syria speaks out

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service director, David Vigneault, said in a speech last week that few of the roughly 100 extremists who left Canada to fight in Syria and Iraq had returned.

“Despite the collapse of Daesh [ISIS] in Syria and Iraq, we have not seen a surge in foreign fighters attempting to return to Canada,” Vigneault told the Economic Club of Canada.

That is partly because so many have died. Almost two dozen have been killed in combat and airstrikes, including four ISIS fighters wanted by the RCMP, Amarasingam said.

Ten of the 19 identified by Amarasingam as having returned never actually made it to Syria or Iraq; they were turned back before crossing the border. Two of them, Pamir Hakimzadah and Rehab Dughmosh, are awaiting trial on terrorism charges.

Ahmad Waseem, an ISIS fighter from Windsor, Ont., with Mohamed El Shaer, who travelled with him to Syria but has since returned.

But jihadist fighter Ahmad Waseem was able to come home to Windsor, Ont., receive hospital treatment for a gunshot wound and then return to fight with ISIS until he was shot again, this time fatally.

The friend who signed his passport application and travelled with him to Syria, Mohammed El Shaer, was subjected to a terrorism peace bond upon returning to Windsor but was not charged with terrorism offences.

The lack of charges against some of those who have come back has meant they faced no legal consequences for having participated in terrorist groups responsible for horrendous atrocities.

It is also a potential security risk.

A photo on the Facebook page of the Pakistani-Canadian showed rows of shoes. “Other guy goals,” the caption read. Below it was a photo of a cache of military-style firearms. “My goals,” read the post by the man, who identified himself in his profile as “Abu Huzayfa.” He has since deleted the post.

A new-deleted post on the Facebook page of a Toronto-area man who says he was a member of the ISIS religious police.

The “right to enter” Canada is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights. “Therefore, even if a Canadian engaged in terrorist activity abroad, the government of Canada must facilitate their return to Canada,” said a briefing note prepared for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

The RCMP works with Canadian officials posted overseas to identify high-risk travellers, who may approach diplomatic posts for new passports. Their return is managed by a High-Risk Returnee Interdepartmental Taskforce and the RCMP’s National Security Joint Operation Centre.

“Once RCMP is made aware of a possible returnee, they exchange what information they have through the NSJOC and existing mechanisms and make an assessment of what risk they may pose,” the briefing note said.

“Following that, the Taskforce will meet to discuss as a community, what measures can be taken to control the return of the individual. There are standard operating procedures in place for this process, including what measures can be put in place to address returnees.”

“For instance, RCMP may use undercover officers to engage with the HRT to collect evidence, or to monitor them during their flight home. They could also be subjected to secondary customs screening and in some cases, or detention by police, when they reach Canada.”


READ MORE:
‘I’m going to die here’: Wives of ISIS fighters want to return home to Canada

WATCH: ISIS fighters’ Canadian wives want to return home






Depending on the risk, police have several options: criminal charges; peace bonds to “mitigate the threat”; or having an “intervention team work with the returnee’s family to open up dialogue with the individual and to help support the returnee’s disengagement from their radical ideology and past behaviour.”

Professor Stephanie Carvin, a national security and terrorism expert at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, said the approach outlined in the documents was “good on paper.”

“But we do not really have a good idea of how it is working in practice. The government must respect privacy concerns, but we really don’t have any concrete data to say whether or not the RCMP’s approach is being implemented well.”

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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