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Trudeau says Canada will increase Iraqi trainers, fight climate change with Obama

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Nov 17th, 2015

MANILA, Philippines – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will increase its number of ground troops in Iraq to train local forces as a way of making a bigger military contribution to the coalition fighting Islamic militants.

Trudeau talked about the plan during a wide-ranging, 20-minute press conference aboard his Canadian Forces airliner, several hours before it touched down in the Philippine capital of Manila on Tuesday night for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit.

Trudeau said Canada will have to increase the number of Canadian Forces trainers in Iraq, which currently stands at 69.

He said he has told Canada’s allies it will make a bigger military contribution to the fight against Islamic militants after he ends the air combat mission of Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets in the U.S.-led coalition that is bombing targets in Iraq and Syria.

Trudeau said he’s looking forward to a key meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Manila because the two have a lot in common on the fight against terrorism and on climate change.

Trudeau made his international debut as prime minister earlier in the week at the G20 summit in Turkey.

Diet myths debunked

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Nov 17th, 2015

Think you can cheat on your diet or start over on Monday? Think again! Author Steve Siebold debunks diet myths.

  • Myth: I can cheat on my diet 

Truth: Imagine informing your spouse you’ve been 99% faithful in your marriage.  You wouldn’t be shocked at the incredulous reaction, yet we’ve been brainwashed to believe diets are different.  They’re not!  Success with your diet means 100% commitment, and that’s why most people don’t succeed.

  • Myth: I can start over on Monday

Truth: Start-stop syndrome is a common cause of weight-loss failure.  This instills the belief that time is unlimited, and another opportunity will be available to become healthy.  Tell that to the millions of Americans who have had heart attacks, cancer and diabetes caused by obesity.  Today is all you have.

  • Myth: Diets just don’t work for me

Truth: People don’t work.  People have a difficult time accepting their own behavior so they blame their diet. That’s no different than a college graduate begging for money on the street and then blaming the school for his failure to succeed.  Grow up emotionally and develop the mental toughness to stick to a diet once and for all.

  • Myth: I’m so ashamed to be on a diet

Truth: Dieting is something to be proud of.  In fact, tell everyone you know and shout it from the rooftops.   Part of losing weight is being proud of the discipline it requires to become fit and stay that way.  Don’t be brainwashed by the thinking of the masses.  Think for yourself and be proud of declaring war on poor eating habits.

  • Myth: I look good with a little meat on my bones

Truth: If you want to successfully lose weight, it’s time to become brutally honest with yourself.  When you want to become better at something, look at it through the eyes of objective reality, the way it really is, and don’t let emotion cloud your judgment.  Take a good look in the mirror and stop lying to yourself.  If you’re going to win this battle, you have to identify the enemy, and the enemy is you.

Social media book of condolences

Breakfast Television | posted Monday, Nov 16th, 2015

Add your condolences below to sign in tribute to those killed in Paris and to stand in solidarity.

You may add your name or publish anonymously.

Suspected mastermind of Paris attacks identified: French official

The Associated Press | posted Monday, Nov 16th, 2015

A French official says the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks was also linked to thwarted train and church attacks.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is Belgian, is believed linked to thwarted attacks on a Paris-bound high-speed train and Paris area church, a French official said.

The official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, was not authorized to be publicly identified as speaking about the ongoing probe.

Seven people are in custody in Belgium suspected of links to the attacks. An international arrest warrant was issued for Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old man born in Brussels, believed to be involved in the attacks. There are conflicting reports Monday on whether police have arrested Abdeslam.

This undated file photo provided by French Police shows 26-year old Salah Abdeslam, who is wanted by police in connection with recent terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. POLICE NATIONALE.
This undated file photo provided by French Police shows 26-year old Salah Abdeslam, who is wanted by police in connection with recent terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. POLICE NATIONALE.

The Paris prosecutor’s office says two more suicide bombers involved in the deadly attacks have been identified.

Prosecutors said Monday that one suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Bataclan music hall Friday night was Samy Amimour, a 28-year-old Frenchman charged in a terrorism investigation in 2012. He had been placed under judicial supervision but dropped off the radar and was the subject of an international arrest warrant.

Prosecutors say three people in Amimour’s family entourage have been in custody since early Monday.

France’s prime minister says there have been “over 150 police raids” overnight in France.

Manuel Valls spoke on French radio RTL Monday morning, reaffirming President Francois Hollande’s declaration that “we are at war” against terrorism following Friday’s attacks in Paris.

Valls also warned that more attacks could hit “in the coming days, in the coming weeks.”

Tips for talking to your kids about the Paris attacks

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 16th, 2015

How do you discuss a global tragedy with your kids? That’s a question that parents faced this weekend following the terror attacks in Paris. Kids will be coming home with even more questions after school. Parenting expert, Dr. Karyn Gordon, shares her tips.

Elementary school-aged (if your kids don’t know the details about what happened)

Tip #1:  Ask What They Have Heard

  • Ask if your kids have heard anything about world issues / current events. If not, let them know if they hear anything to come and ask you about it

Tip #2:  Answer The Questions They Have

  • Answer the questions they have (but do not over-share)
  • Listen carefully to what they know – make sure the information they have is accurate
  • Gently correct their information if it’s not accurate

Tip #3:  Simplify The Information (If They Have Asked) and Reassure

  • The world is filled with loving, peaceful people but some people choose to hurt others / use evil behavior
  • Some people (called terrorists) killed 127 people in Paris
  • The police and countries are doing what they can to stop this.
  • We live in a great and safe country!

Questions elementary school-aged kids are asking their parents

Q:           Why are people so angry (Age 9)?

A:            People express anger when they are hurting and they don’t know a better way to express it.

Q:           Could this happen to me / you (Age 10)?

A:            What they really mean is “Is this likely to happen to me?”  Anything is possible – but this is very unlikely. We live in an amazing and safe country!

Middle and high school (or kids who know what happened)

Tip #1:  Don’t Dismiss Their Concerns, Ask For Their Perspective, But Re-assure

  • Kids who are old enough to have read and heard about this tragedy are also old enough to start thinking about the realities of life in other parts of the world, and to see how our lives are connected to it.
  • Ask them what they think about it, but re- assure them as well

Tip #2:  Focus On Today – Use Crisis As An Opportunity To Be Thankful

  • The one beautiful thing that happens during a crisis is that the world stops! We pause and think about our families, life, values and purpose!  Use this time to discuss these KEY areas of discussion with your kids.
  • Use this tragedy as an opportunity to love more, be more thankful, and be more compassionate!!

Tip #3:  Focus On What You Can Control

  • We cannot control others but we can control ourselves! Focus on:
  • Being active in our community / voting / being aware of world issues outside our country
  • Showing compassion to our Muslim neighbors / friends / coworkers

Questions older kids are asking their parents

Q:           Our family (teen kids) was considering sponsoring a Refugee family and now all of our neighbors are talking as if all refugees are all ISIS related?

A:            That’s simply not true. They are moms & dads that are trying to survive with their children!

Q:           Should I go out to a concert? Should I go out? Will I be a target if I pass Queens Park? (Age 15)

A:            These events are extremely rare! Live your life in principle not in fear!

World lights up for France after Paris attacks

CityNews | posted Saturday, Nov 14th, 2015

Around the world and in Toronto, landmarks were lit up in blue, white and red to show solidarity with the victims of the Paris attacks.

Countries, cities and tourist attractions changed their lights to reflect those of the French flag after the deadliest attacks in that country since World War II. A few examples can be seen below:

At least 120 killed in series of Paris attacks

The Associated Press | posted Friday, Nov 13th, 2015

French police say they believe all of the attackers involved in the shootings and bombings that rocked Paris are dead.

Micheal Cadot, the head of Paris police said Saturday that while all of the attackers are believed to have died, authorities are searching for possible accomplices in the attacks that left over 120 people dead.

A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed as many as 120 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II. President Francois Hollande pledged that France would stand firm against what he called terrorism.

The worst carnage was at a concert hall hosting an American rock band, where scores of people were held hostage and attackers hurled explosives at their captives. Police who stormed the building, killing three attackers, encountered a bloody scene of horror inside.

Cadot said the attackers at the Bataclan rock venue blew themselves up with suicide belts as police closed in. He said the gunmen first sprayed cafes outside the venue with machine-gunfire, then went inside the concert hall and killed more before the assault by security forces.

Hollande declared a state of emergency and announced that he was closing the country’s borders. The violence spread fear through the city and exceeded the horrors of the Charlie Hebdo attack just 10 months ago.

In addition to the deaths at the concert hall, a police official said 11 people were killed in a Paris restaurant in the 10th arrondissement and other officials said at least three people died when bombs went off outside a stadium.<

All of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named in the quickly moving investigation.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, and no clear picture of how many attackers were involved and if any were on the run. Jihadists on Twitter immediately praised the attack and criticized France’s military operations against Islamic State extremists.

Hollande, who had to be evacuated from the stadium when the bombs went off outside, said in a televised address that the nation would stand firm and united.

“This is a terrible ordeal that again assails us,” he said.

“We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.”

U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters in Washington, called the attacks on Paris “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians” and vowed to do whatever it takes to help bring the perpetrators to justice. He called the attacks a “heartbreaking situation” and an “attack on all of humanity.”

Earlier Friday, two explosions were heard outside the Stade de France stadium north of Paris during a France-Germany exhibition soccer game. A police union official said there were two suicide attacks and a bombing that killed at least three people.

The official, Gregory Goupil of the Alliance Police Nationale, whose region includes the area of the stadium, said explosions went off simultaneously near two entrances and a McDonalds.

An Associated Press reporter in the stadium Friday night heard two explosions loud enough to penetrate the sounds of cheering fans. Sirens were immediately heard, and a helicopter was circling overhead.

The attack comes as France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks. Hollande cancelled a planned trip to this weekend’s G-20 summit in Turkey, which was to focus in large part on growing fears of terrorism carried out by Islamic extremists.

Emilio Macchio, from Ravenna, Italy, was at the Carillon restaurant that was targeted, having a beer on the sidewalk, when the shooting started. He said he didn’t see any gunmen or victims, but hid behind a corner, then ran away.

“It sounded like fireworks,” he said.

France has been on edge since January, when Islamic extremists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had run cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and a kosher grocery. Twenty people died, including the three attackers. The Charlie Hebdo attackers claimed links to extremists in Yemen, while the kosher market attacker claimed ties to the Islamic State group.

This time, they targeted young people enjoying a rock concert and ordinary city residents enjoying a Friday night out.

One of at least two restaurants targeted Friday, Le Carillon, is in the same general neighbourhood as the Charlie Hebdo offices, as is the Bataclan, among the best-known venues in eastern Paris, near the trendy Oberkampf area known for a vibrant nightlife. The California-based band Eagles of Death Metal was scheduled to play there Friday night.

The country has seen several smaller-scale attacks or attempts since, including an incident on a high-speed train in August in which American travellers thwarted an attempted attack by a heavily armed man.

France’s military is bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq and fighting extremists in Africa, and extremist groups have frequently threatened France in the past.

epa05023834 Police officers gather outside the Bataclan concert venue in Paris, France, 13 November 2015, where a gunman has reportedly taken people hostage. At least 26 people have died in attacks in Paris on 13 November after reports of a shootout and explosions near the Stade de France stadium.  EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Police officers secure the  Stade de France stadium during the international friendly soccer France against Germany, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 in Saint Denis, outside Paris. Two police officials say at least 11 people have been killed in shootouts and other violence around Paris. Police have reported shootouts in at least two restaurants in Paris. At least two explosions have been heard near the Stade de France stadium, and French media is reporting of a hostage-taking in the capital. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

French authorities are particularly concerned about the threat from hundreds of French Islamic radicals who have travelled to Syria and returned home with skills to stage violence.

Though who was responsible for Friday night’s violence remained a mystery, the Islamic State is “clearly the name at the top of everyone’s list,” Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert and senior adviser to the president of RAND Corp., said.

Jenkins said the tactic used – “multiple attackers in co-ordinated attacks at multiple locations” – echoed recommendations published in extremist group’s online magazine, Dabbiq, over the summer.

“The big question on everyone’s mind is, were these attackers, if they turn out to be connected to one of the groups in Syria, were they homegrown terrorists or were they returning fighters from having served” with the Islamic State group, Jenkins said. “That will be a huge question.”

Trudeau offers support to France after Paris attacks

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Nov 13th, 2015

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered “all of Canada’s support” to France on Friday night in the wake of “deeply worrying” terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 120 people.

“Our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to our French cousins in this dark and terrible time,” Trudeau said Friday, moments before boarding a plane to attend the G20 summit in Turkey. “We have offered all of our help and support to the government of France.”

Trudeau also said he was taking steps to ensure the security of Canadians was safeguarded.

“I’ve been speaking with our national security team to ensure everything is being done to keep people safe,” he said.

The co-ordinated attacks in Paris killed prompted a state of emergency in the French capital. Some Canadians were uncomfortably close to the violence.

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