True North Initiative News Scan 11 14 2017


GTA's secret world of polygamy

"I cried for six days straight. Lost my appetite, ignored the kids, even had to start taking antidepressants," said Rigby, 35. "What I couldn't understand was how such a thing could happen in Toronto, my hometown, where polygamy is supposed to be illegal." It was easy. He simply found an imam willing to break a Canadian law, in exchange for upholding an Islamic one. "Polygamy is happening in Toronto; it's not common, but it's happening," said Hindy, imam at Salahuddin Islamic Centre. Hindy, hardly a stranger to controversy, is well known for his friendship with the family of Omar Khadr, the young Canadian detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and his outspoken views on the implementation of Islamic law. In the past five years, Hindy said he has officiated or "blessed" more than 30 polygamous marriages; the most recent was two months ago. Even some imams in the GTA have second wives, he added. (Toronto Star)

Trudeau says he had 'firm and frank' talk with Philippines' Duterte about human rights abuses

After pleas from Filipino activists, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the issue of human rights violations with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit Tuesday, a conversation Trudeau described as "cordial." Human rights activists the world over, including some lawmakers in the European Union, have urged Duterte to end his bloody crusade against alleged drug dealers and addicts that rights groups say has left at least 7,000 dead. (CBC) (Global)

Vancouver imam urges sending weapons to Palestinians to fight 'Zionists'

The imam of a Vancouver mosque is under fire for calling on Muslims to send “money, weapons and expertise” to Palestinians to fight “Zionists” in Israel. B’nai B’rith Canada, a Jewish organization, on Tuesday released videos in which an imam at a Kingsway mosque, Tarek Ramadan, is seen referring to Israelis as “an impure gang” and Zionists as the “worst of mankind.” Recorded this summer, the video shows Ramadan calling on his congregation to “fight, by any means necessary” against Zionists in a jihad, or holy struggle. “We are not going to be shy or wishy-washy about it.” (National Post)

Raped, beaten and tortured: Former ISIS sex slave on her journey to new life in Canada

By the time she was 25 years old, Adiba* had been bought and sold six times by Islamic State militants in Iraq. The first was in August 2014. A month later, she was bought by another ISIS militant who waited just three months before selling her to another man who tortured and raped her. The five months Adiba spent in his captivity was the longest amount of time the Yazidi woman was with any of her captors. (CTV)

Liberal government spends over $555,000 on Canada Post building wrap

The red and blue Canada 150 banner that wraps around the Canada Post building on Sparks St. in Ottawa cost taxpayers $555,272.10, according to an Access to Information and Privacy document obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Aaron Wudrick, the federal director of the CTF, drew attention to the cost of the banner on Twitter Monday. (IPolitics)

Surrey Christmas Bureau already seeing high demand as holiday season approaches

Bureau helping more refugees than ever with grocery gift cards and Christmas presents for children. It's only November, but families are already lining up around the block each morning to register at the Surrey Christmas Bureau. Inside, the shelves are bare as the group of mostly volunteers begins another holiday season. (CBC)

Retired generals say peacekeeping no longer exists

With Canada set to announce its next role in a peacekeeping mission this week, two retired Canadian generals say there’s actually no such thing as peacekeeping anymore. Retired major-generals Lewis MacKenzie and David Fraser say given that there are very few regions of the world with peace agreements in place, there’s very little peace to keep. (IPolitics)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Syrian refugees bump N.S. population to record high — but will they stay?

Instead of a bouquet of flowers, Rouida Khalaf arranges lettuce leaves in a vase, poking skewers through cherry tomatoes so they look like rosebuds. She and her daughter had also spent hours hand-rolling two heaping platters of glistening, stuffed grape leaves, which they set on a long table loaded with other Syrian delicacies. It was important to Khalaf to feed the guests from CBC at her Halifax home. The table spoke of a family, which includes six children, eager to share their happiness with others. It was all so different 16 months ago. (CBC)

Canada's Trudeau Plays Trump Foil With Criticism of Duterte

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underscored the diverging political paths of the U.S. and its northern neighbor after raising human rights issues in a meeting with the Philippine president. Trudeau said after a closed-door meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday in Manila that he raised concerns about extrajudicial killings and other alleged abuse associated with the Philippines’ drug war. The exchange came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump sidestepped the issue in his own talks with Duterte on the sidelines of a regional summit. (Bloomberg)

Filipinos urge Trudeau to take out Canadian trash still festering in Manila

Justin Trudeau's visit to the Philippines brought him within a short walk of a Canadian controversy that has lingered in the Port of Manila for years: about 100 stranded containers crammed with thousands of tons of rotting trash from Canada. The case of the rancid Canadian garbage, festering in Manila for about four years, is well known in the Philippines — it's made headlines and led to protests by environmental and public-health activists. (CBC)

How Justin Trudeau And Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto Allied To Turn The TPP Deal Their Way

From the outside, it looked like yet another bilateral meeting between Justin Trudeau and his continental ally, Enrique Pena Nieto, on the sidelines of yet another leaders' summit. But this time, the Canadian prime minister had a somewhat atypical agenda for his face-to-face chat with the Mexican president. (Huffington Post)

Appeals court allows partial enforcement of Trump travel ban

On the same day a federal appeals court allowed part of U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban to take effect, advocacy groups filed a new lawsuit Monday challenging the administration's related efforts to restrict or ban certain refugees from entering the U.S. The developments came as lawyers on both sides of the issue are preparing for yet another round of appeals court arguments next month. They're the latest sign that after nearly 10 months, the battle over the president's travel restrictions -- and whether they represent the "Muslim ban" he promised during his campaign or a legitimate effort to improve national security -- is far from over. (CTV)

YouTube has removed thousands of videos from extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

Up until his death at the hands of US forces in 2011, Anwar al-Awlaki was a major voice for Islamic extremists, advocating for war and attacks against the US, and helped to inspire numerous terrorist attacks around the world. YouTube recently took the unusual step of removing tens of thousands of videos of the cleric, according to a report in The New York Times. (Verge)

Iran earthquake survivors plead for help as death toll rises

Iranians living outdoors in bitterly cold temperatures after an earthquake are making desperate pleas for help. About 440 people were killed and about 7,000 injured when the quake hit near the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday.The government is scrambling to get aid to the worst-hit Kermanshah province, where hundreds of homes were destroyed. (BBC)

North Korea defector who crossed DMZ 'was shot five times'

A North Korean who defected at the heavily guarded Demilitarised Zone was shot at least five times and is in a critical condition, South Korea says. The soldier crossed to the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the village of Panmunjom on Monday. (BBC)

ISIS in DIRECT threat to Trump as US President arrives in ‘new home of jihad’

Jihadis have been circulating propaganda featuring the a picture of the US President covered in bullet holes as they urge fighters to kill him. The threats come as Trump this evening flies into the Philippines in the final stop of his tour of Asia. Security forces in the Philippines have been battling the threat of jihadis for years, with the city of Marawi being to reduced to rubble by ISIS. (Daily Star)

Tension mounts in Lebanon as Saudi Arabia escalates power struggle with Iran

In Beirut’s southern suburbs, where buildings scarred with wars of old blend with posters of the latest dead, talk of another conflict has taken hold. A fight on a scale not seen before may be brewing, say locals like Hussein Khaireddine, a barber who says he and his family in the Shia suburb of Dahiyeh have grown used to tensions over decades. (Guardian)

Rabid Anti-Trumper Arrested in Calif. after Threatening to Go on Killing Spree

Have you ever heard of David Kenneth Smith? Chances are you haven't — he's a rabid anti-Trumper, thus his story didn't fit any convenient narrative. News of his arrest was treated as a local story with no national significance. However, if this freak had been a right-wing activist, he'd have been a front-page story in every paper in the country. Smith, 39, was arrested in Orange County, Calif., on Nov. 2 following an investigation involving the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He was charged with one felony count of making criminal threats after threatening a university professor through emails and posting threatening YouTube videos — in one he talked about going on a "killing spree." (PJ Media)

Venezuela just defaulted, moving deeper into crisis

Venezuela, a nation spiraling into a humanitarian crisis, has missed a debt payment. It could soon face grim consequences. The South American country defaulted on its debt, according to a statement issued Monday night by S&P Global Ratings. The agency said the 30-day grace period had expired for a payment that was due in October. (CNN)

The five most peaceful countries in the world

93 countries recorded higher levels of peace in 2017, resulting in a slight improvement in world peace according to the annual Global Peace Index report. Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, this 11th Global Peace Index report found that while 93 countries recorded higher levels of peace, 68 deteriorated. The improvement in peace was mainly driven by lower levels of state-sponsored terror, extra-judicial killings and torture – and the prior withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan by all but four of the 50 countries that provided military assistance. Read the Global Peace Index 2017 report here and view the Global Peace Index interactive map here. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Vision of Humanity)

Alaska, China sign natural gas pipeline project deal

The state of Alaska took a major step toward realizing a long-sought pipeline to move natural gas from the North Slope to Asia, siding with interests from China after major oil companies stepped back from the project. The agreement Alaska Gov. Bill Walker signed Thursday in Beijing with Sinopec, China Investment Corp. and the Bank of China does not guarantee a pipeline will be built, but it gives the lingering liquefied natural gas project a jolt of life. (CBS)

U.N. official says will raise sexual violence against Rohingya with ICC

Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary- General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, also said around $10 million is needed immediately to deliver specialist services for survivors of gender-based violence. Patten was speaking in the Bangladeshi capital after a three-day visit to the Cox’s Bazar region, near the border with Myanmar. There she met women and girls who are among hundreds of thousands of Rohingya that have sought refuge in Bangladesh following a crackdown by Myanmar’s military on the predominantly Muslim minority. (Reuters)



Mark Bonokoski: Holy Survey, Batman! You’ve lost the Midas touch

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, basking today in rock-star adoration in Manila — with screaming fans among both onlookers and the international media — strolls down the stairs in the House of Commons to reveal a Superman T-shirt under his bespoke threads. Hilarity ensues. It’s Halloween, after all. Who else would Trudeau think his alter-ego is, what with his penchant for flying around the world like a caped crusader for free and fair trade, equality and feminism? (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Liberals blowing hot air in Bonn

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to divert public attention away from the embarrassing reality Canada is far behind fulfilling his 2015 Paris climate accord commitments to reduce our industrial greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions linked to climate change. That’s why Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is declaring a “war on coal,” in conjunction with the U.K., at this week’s annual United Nations’ gabfest on climate change in Bonn, Germany. (Toronto Sun)

John Trent: Immigration is good – but only if we deal with it correctly

Don’t get me wrong. My wife is noted for helping to integrate countless refugees and immigrants over the past 40 years. So we are not against Canada receiving more immigration. What worries us is the way we treat them. There are two enormous problems: We confirm to prospective immigrants that there are great opportunities waiting for them in Canada, then we stop them from getting adequate jobs. We knew one doctor, who had specialized training in the United States and practised in Columbia for 15 years, who was forced to go back to the beginning of his studies in Ontario. Another doctor from Australia, who specialized in England, was never allowed to specialize in British Columbia. My neighbour just bought a car from a microbiologist from Burundi who trained at Laval University, a refrigerator from a researcher who did his studies in Europe, and a table from an engineer from Turkey. (Ottawa Citizen)

Andrew Coyne: Why did Trudeau miss the TPP meeting? None of the reasons seem creditable

So to be clear: it is not true that Justin Trudeau skipped a meeting of 11 world leaders planned to close the deal on a remodelled Trans Pacific Partnership, the only one to do so, or that by refusing to sign held up the agreement. All that happened was that the prime minister declined to attend a meeting of the TPP 11 — it was 12, before the United States pulled out — on the grounds that, as he later explained, “we weren’t ready” to sign, and that as a result the agreement in principle that was to be announced at the meeting was put off for further negotiations. (National Post)



-       N/A