Fights break out as more migrants arrive on Greek island

Written by admin on 26/07/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿网

WATCH ABOVE: Turmoil in the Middle East and Africa is prompting thousands of people to leave to Europe. Many of the migrants are arriving in Greece. It’s putting pressure on the bankrupt country’s ability to address the crisis. On Wednesday the EU once again said it stands ready to help – but will it? Emily Elias reports.

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    KOS, Greece – Fights broke out among migrants on the Greek island of Kos Tuesday, where overwhelmed authorities are struggling to contain increasing numbers of people arriving clandestinely on rubber dinghies from the nearby Turkish shore.

    Hundreds of protesting migrants demanding quick registration began blocking the main coastal road in the island’s main town, staging a sit-in.

    “We want papers, we want to eat!” they chanted.

    Hundreds of people arrive on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands daily, many after fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan. Authorities, locals and charity groups are struggling to provide registration, food and shelter to the new arrivals, many of whom are children.

    Many of those on Kos, a popular tourist destination, had been camping in the main town’s parks and squares.

    WATCH: Fights break out as Syrian woman’s epic tirade sheds light on reality migrants face

    An attempt to have them relocated to a stadium for registration degenerated, with fights breaking out among some of the roughly 1,500 people gathered in a long, crowded queue in the stadium.

    Police, who had a force of just a handful of officers to maintain control and carry out the registration, tried to impose order on the crowd by spraying the jostling migrants with fire extinguishers and using batons. Hundreds fled in panic.

    Similar protests and tension have occurred on several of the islands bearing the brunt of the migrant influx in recent weeks, including Lesbos, where the majority of new arrivals land.

    Greece’s coast guard said they had rescued 329 migrants in seven separate search and rescue incidents in the 24 hours from Monday morning off the coast of Lesbos and Kos.

    Those figures do not include the hundreds more who reach shore themselves in their inflatable dinghies from Turkey, making their own way to the islands’ main towns for registration.

    Greece has been overwhelmed by the number of migrants arriving, with at least 124,000 people reaching the eastern islands in the first seven months of this year alone. The figure represents a staggering 750 per cent increase on the same period last year, according to figures from the United Nations’ refugee agency, the UNHCR.

    In all, Greek police said Monday that 156,726 migrants had been arrested for entering or remaining in the country illegally from January through July 2015, compared to 32,070 for the same months in 2014.

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Mayor John Tory says controversial pick-up artist Roosh V has ‘no place’ in Toronto

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WATCH ABOVE: Toronto Mayor John Tory is joining a chorus of voices demanding the cancellation of a planned weekend show by a controversial American pick-up artist who goes by the name Roosh V. Caryn Lieberman has the story.

TORONTO —; Toronto Mayor John Tory is speaking out against anti-feminist blogger and controversial pick-up artist Daryush Valizadeh, a.k.a. Roosh V., saying that his “hate speech” has “no place in our city.”

[email protected] doesn’t reflect the values of Toronto and his statements about women are demeaning and unacceptable,” Tory tweeted late Monday. “His hate speech [has] no place in our city and should have no platform here either.”

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Vancouver gamer shares $6.6 million prize after winning international Esports championship

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WATCH: Humans are capable of amazing achievement – sometimes in the most likely of pursuits. A Vancouver man is giving parents across the country a headache because of what he’s just done. He plays video games, sometimes for 10 hours a day. And it’s paid off big time. Robin Gill reports.

Twenty-two-year-old Kurtis Ling from Vancouver and his team Evil Genius earned a multi-million dollar prize after winning a video game championship in Seattle.

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Beating out dozens of gamers during the week-long International Dota 2 Championships, Ling and his team took home a $6.6 million prize.

Ling, also known as Aui_2000, is ranked as Canada’s highest paid professional gamer, and the 13th highest paid gamer in the world.  He earns a living playing video games, winning competitions around the world, and earning tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars at tournaments.

“Its my passion, my hobby – it’s still something I really enjoy doing, ” says Ling. “That it’s apparently turned into my job now too, is great for me.”

The former UBC student decided to leave school in his third year to be a professional gamer.

“I just decided to take a year off to try to pursue gaming full time. Monetarily … it made a lot more sense to try to go professional in gaming than it did to complete my degree,” he told The Ubyssey back in March.

Gaming goals

Ling is part of the Esports scene that has exploded in the past couple of years. Multi-player video game tournaments, also known as Esports, have become a global sensation that attracts thousands of spectators to live events held at arenas and other venues around the world.

WATCH: It might seem like vindication for the millions of young people who spend countless hours playing video games. A Vancouver twenty-something recently turned his skills into a million dollar payday. But as Julia Foy reports, his advice to aspiring gamers might surprise you

Ling first started playing Dota 2′s predecessor, DotA,  in grade 9. His was introduced to competitive gaming by joining UBC’s Starcraft Club when he started university in 2010.

READ MORE: UBC Esports team wins $180,000 scholarship in ‘March Madness’ of video game competitions

Talking about his early days as a competitive gamer, Ling recalls that the highest prize pool tournament he competed in with DotA back in 2010 was $500 for first place.

Sponsors for Esports tournaments include corporate titans such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. Prize money for these competitions are set in the millions of dollars, as eSports increasingly resembles traditional sporting events with live events attracting tens of thousands of spectators, professional commentators providing play-by-play and analysis. The tournaments are even livestreamed to millions of viewers.

The total prize pool for the International Dota 2 Championships was a staggering $18.4 million. Evil Geniuses beat team CDEC from China, who still walked away with $2.8 million.

Each of the four members of the Evil Geniuses, including Ling, are now millionaires, having won the international championship.

When asked what it felt like to win, an ecstatic Ling said, “It’s still really surreal for me. We aim for this tournament all year round, and winning it is the goal for every single one of us as gamers. To have achieved that goal is just amazing.”

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One in five U.S. kids has unhealthy cholesterol levels: CDC

Written by admin on 25/09/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿网

One in five American children and adolescents has unhealthy cholesterol levels, according to American health officials. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examined cholesterol levels in children and adolescents aged six to 19 from 2011 to 2014.

Teenagers were the most concerning: nearly 27 per cent of 16- to 19-year-olds had the worst cholesterol levels.

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There are two kinds of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”).

Unhealthy levels of LDL are a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke when this cholesterol joins with fats and other substances to build up in the inner walls of arteries. The arteries can become clogged and narrow, and blood flow is reduced.

HDL carries harmful cholesterol away from the arteries and helps protect from heart attack and stroke.

Health officials are concerned as younger and younger Americans and Canadians are showing high LDL cholesterol levels.

Also worrisome in the study was low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol.  HDL cholesterol helps to remove bad cholesterol, so not having it increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

READ MORE: Preschoolers’ eating habits linked to future heart health risks, Canadian study suggests

The authors write, “one out of five children and adolescents (21 per cent) had at least one abnormal cholesterol measure (high total cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high non-HDL cholesterol).”

Dr. Julie Brothers, a preventive cardiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, spoke with NBC News on how to prevent or manage cholesterol levels in youth.

“I look at things like what they are drinking throughout the day. The majority are drinking a lot of sugar drinks,” she said.

Cutting back on sugary drinks can help, she’s found. So can adding exercise.

“The sugary drinks are a huge thing,” she said. “Then I work on fibre.”

The Heart and Stroke Foundation offers these tips for lowering and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels:

If you have high cholesterol, you can get your numbers back on track by being active (30 to 60 minutes most days), achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, becoming smoke-free and making some dietary changes.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet of whole, minimally processed food.

This includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein from a variety of sources (eg. beans and lentils, nuts, lower-fat dairy and alternatives, lean meats, and fish). Minimally processed foods are foods with only small changes to their original form and have no nutrients removed (e.g. brown rice, bagged carrots, frozen fruits and vegetables).

Limit your intake of highly processed foods.

These foods are a major source of saturated fat in the Canadian diet. Saturated fat is one risk factor for bad (LDL) blood cholesterol levels. Highly processed foods have many ingredients, are usually in a package and need little preparation.

Other tips:

Limit serving sizes of lean meat and poultry to two to three servings per day (a serving is 75 g or 2 ½ oz, about the size of a deck of cards)Choose fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines or trout at least twice a week.Include meat alternatives such as legumes or soy protein substitutes as part of your weekly meal plan.Limit your whole eggs to no more than two per week. Replace a whole egg with two egg whites in baking.Use non-hydrogenated margarine and oils such as canola or olive oil. Reduce the amount of solid fats used in cooking such as butter or lard.Buy foods with little or no trans fat.Select lower fat food items including milk products.Include vegetables and fruit at each meal and snack.Select whole grain products most often.

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No, Wu-Tang Clan and Bill Murray can’t steal back elusive rap album

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The “most hated” man in America, Martin Shkreli, bought an elusive Wu-Tang clan album for US$2 million on Wednesday. (The New York rap collective revealed last year that it had recorded only one copy of a 31-track double-album entitled “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” kept in a vault with a leather-bound 174-page lyric book, waiting for a buyer.)

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Shortly after news spread of the pharmaceutical tycoon’s buy, an alleged “clause” in the contract agreement appeared on the internet — which has been revealed as a hoax — that stated “Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray” have the legal right to “plan and attempt to execute one (1) heist or caper to steal back ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,’ which, if successful, would return all ownership rights to the seller.”

The clause was crafted in jest out of the general public consensus about Shkreli’s character, and was an attempt to inject humour into the situation. It turns out the internet en masse is none too pleased that Shkreli has $2 million to spend on the special album.

Wu-Tang member RZA even poked a bit of fun at Shkreli on 广州蒲友:

Shkreli joked (sort of) about honouring the hoax clause:

MORE: Turing reneges on cutting $750-a-pill drug’s price

The 32-year-old executive teased Wu-Tang Clan fans about his purchase, writing on 广州蒲友 that he “may play something special.”

The agreement forbade Shkreli from reselling “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” but gave him the right to stream it for free online.

The entrepreneur is best known to the public after his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, in September decided to raise the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat HIV-positive people, from $13.50 to $750.

“No one — including Martin Shkreli — should have the power to price-gouge American families,” Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said at the time, with Republican candidate and fellow tycoon Donald Trump calling Shkreli “a spoiled brat.”

One of Shkreli’s favorite ways of self-expression is a livestream of himself on YouTube, in which he speaks about chemical molecules or surfs dating sites.

MORE: Sticker shock: How the prices of life-saving drugs skyrocket overnight

“It’s good because people get to see what I’m like, and most people are like, ‘Oh, you’re not as bad as I thought’,” he said in November.

The Wu-Tang Clan — which has fashioned itself as socially conscious, despite frequent feuds with other rappers — found itself on the defensive after Shkreli was revealed as the buyer.

“The sale of ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s (sic) business practices came to light,” RZA, generally seen as the leader of the ensemble, said in a statement.

“We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”

With files from The Associated Press

Mr. Martin Shkreli Compensation Over Time | FindTheCompany

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UPDATED: Grenada police believe body found is Linnea Veinotte, positive ID pending

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The Royal Grenada Police Force say they believe the body found Friday morning is that of missing Linnea Veinotte based on information received during the course of their investigation.

But they also warned in a release late Friday that they had not positively identified the body, and that has to be done before they give final confirmation.

“The police will continue to work speedily to resolve this matter and will keep the public informed accordingly,” the release stated.

But on Friday afternoon, the university Veinotte worked for offered condolences to her family.

“It is with great sadness that I’m sharing with you some tragic news concerning Dr. Linnea Vienotte,” St. George’s University president G. Richard Olds writes in a 广州桑拿网 post.

“Dr. Vienotte’s body has been found.”

The statement issued by the president of St. George’s University to the family of Linnea Vienotte.

St. George's University/广州桑拿网

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It was shortly after 11 a.m. Friday morning that Supt. Sylvan McIntyre confirmed to Global News a body had been found.

READ MORE: Person of Interest in missing Linnea Veinotte case turns himself in

McIntyre said the person of interest in Veinotte’s case, Akim Frank, turned himself in overnight Thursday. He was wanted for questioning in Veinotte’s case and remains in police custody.

Police said Frank surrendered without incident.

Veinotte went missing after going for a run in Coral Crescent., Lance aux Epines, Grenada, Sunday morning. The 36-year-old mother of two was born in New Denmark, N.B.

READ MORE: Family of Linnea Veinotte, missing in Grenada, beg for information leading to her whereabouts

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U.S. report cites 241 close encounters between pilots, drones

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WASHINGTON – There have been at least 241 reports of close encounters between drones and manned aircraft that meet the government’s definition of a near midair collision, including 28 in which pilots manoeuvred to get out of the way, according to a report released Friday.

Ninety of the close encounters involved drones and commercial jets, the majority of which had the capacity to carry 50 people or more.

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Two aircraft must fly within 500 feet of each to meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s definition of a near midair collision. In 51 of the incidents, the drone-to-aircraft proximity was 50 feet or less, according to the report by Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone in Annandale-On-Hudson, New York.

The report is based on an analysis of government records detailing 921 incidents involving drones and manned aircraft between Dec. 17, 2013, and Sept. 12, 2015. Researchers cautioned that when flying at high speeds it can be difficult for a pilot to judge the distance between themselves and another object.

The majority of the incidents, 64.5 per cent, were sightings of drones in the vicinity of other aircraft with no immediate threat of collision.

READ MORE: Researchers use drones to monitor killer whales as El Niño threatens food source

The FAA has previously released data on reports of drone sightings, but the Bard report is the first comprehensive analysis of the sightings by researchers outside the aviation community. Its findings are likely to fuel more debate over how much of a threat drones are to manned aircraft as the government struggles with how to reap the benefits of unmanned aircraft without undermining safety.

Most of the sightings analyzed in the report occurred within 5 miles of an airport and at altitudes higher than 400 feet even though the FAA prohibits flying most drones near airports or over 400 feet.

The locations with the most incidents were New York/Newark, New Jersey, 86; Los Angeles, 39; Miami, 24; Chicago, 20; Boston, 20; San Jose, 19; Washington, DC, 19; Atlanta, 17; Seattle, 17; San Diego, 14; Orlando, 13; Houston, 12; Portland, Oregon, 12; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, 11, and Denver, 10.

There have been no confirmed collisions between drones and manned aircraft in the U.S. thus far. Government and industry officials have expressed concern that if a drone – much like a bird – is sucked into an aircraft engine, smashes a cockpit windshield or damages a critical aircraft surface area, it could cause an air crash.

“With sufficient speed, bird strikes have been known to penetrate the cockpit,” the report said. “It’s entirely possible, then, that a drone could also break through into a cockpit, potentially causing serious harm to the pilots or other occupants.”

READ MORE: B.C. wants drone regulations strengthened

Helicopter blades are considered especially vulnerable. Thirty-eight of the near collisions identified by researchers involved helicopters.

Aircraft engine manufacturers currently test the ability of engines to withstand bird strikes by firing dead birds at the engines at high velocities. The FAA hasn’t yet said when it will require engine makers to conduct tests with drones, but officials have unofficially acknowledged they are working on the issue, the report said.

The report cited research by engineers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, that used data on bird strikes to create computer simulations of drones striking planes in order to identify the riskiest impact locations. They concluded that hobby drones weighing between 2 and 6 pounds “can potentially cause critical damage.”

The FAA is in the process of finalizing rules for the use of commercial drones weighing less than 5 pounds. The agency is also expected to shortly issue rules requiring the registration of small drones, including those used by hobbyists, in an effort to help create a “culture of responsibility” among drone operators. The agency is trying to get the registration rules in place before Christmas.

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NATO increasing military forces to confront Russia

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NATO appears to be on a collision course with Russia as the Western military alliance expands, and Moscow warns of grave consequences to that expansion.

The latest example came last week, after the small Balkan country of Montenegro was offered membership in NATO.

“The continuing expansion of NATO and the military infrastructure of NATO to the east cannot fail to lead to actions in response from the east – that is, from Russia,” said a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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READ MORE: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the West: The next Cold War?

While NATO maintains it exists only for defensive purposes, Russia has long objected to expansion close to its borders. Montenegro will be NATO’s 29th member, including former republics of the Soviet Union: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said last month Montenegro’s addition to NATO would be “another blow to European security and to relations between Russia and NATO.”

However, much of NATO’s recent expansion appears to be tied to rising aggression from Putin’s government, starting with the invasion of Georgia in 2008, and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula last year.

“What I think he wants, what he likes, is destabilized states close to him that he can draw into his orbit and make part of a new sort of Russian empire,” says University of Toronto Russia expert Randall Hansen.

Russia has been building up military forces along its eastern borders, and earlier this year, Putin announced the addition of 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles to his country’s nuclear stockpile.

“Well, I absolutely believe it’s a credible threat,” says Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commander of the United States Army’s European forces. “I mean, Russia has told Denmark, Romania, Sweden, that they are nuclear targets if they display any sort of a ballistic missile defence.”

In response to threats from Russia, NATO turned what was planned as a routine military exercise in Europe last month into a major show of force. “Trident Juncture” was expanded from 10,000 troops to 36,000 after Russia invaded Crimea.

“Nobody here wants a conflict with Russia, but in order to make sure that doesn’t happen, there has to be a demonstrated deterrent capability,” Hodges told 16×9.

Canada sent more than a thousand troops to participate in “Trident Juncture”. But NATO also announced this year it is tripling its Response Force to 40,000 troops, including a high readiness force code named “Spearhead”, which can be deployed to Eastern Europe within 48 hours. Canada has also committed staff officers to help run new NATO headquarters in six member countries, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where it’s feared Russia could invade next.

“This nuclear saber-rattling of Russia is unjustified. It’s destabilizing and it’s dangerous,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in June. “This is something which we are addressing, and it’s also one of the reasons we are now increasing the readiness and preparedness of our forces.”

“It’s absolutely right that NATO is building up troops,” Hansen told 16×9. “NATO’s the easy part. If Putin moves on the Baltic States militarily, we will be at war.”

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Seeing a bobcat is rare, getting glamour shots is an even bigger treat

Written by admin on 25/08/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿网

HALIFAX – Catching a glimpse of a bobcat in Nova Scotia is quite unique, so imagine being able to be get video of one walking along the side of the road from just 20 feet away.

That’s just what videographer Cory McGraw caught on camera this week in Nine Mile River.

Bobcats are not uncommon in the province, but the mammals are rarely spotted and there is hardly ever video taken of them.

“Seeing a cat up that close is a bit on the unusual side,” said Andrew Hebda, zoologist with the Nova Scotia Museum.

Unlike the lynx, bobcats aren’t endangered, but Hebda says the mammals are sly and very rarely spotted. Making an encounter like the one we had even more memorable.

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“You can see it was concentrated on feed but it knew you were there, it was staring right at you and poking out at you from beyond the grass so that shows you that animal has not been habituated to people,” Hebda told Global News.

The Department of Natural Resources records all bobcat sightings in the province.

“Some years, it’s as low as 10. The last two, it was around 20,” said Michael Boudreau, Human-Wildlife Conflict Biologist with DNR.

Boudreau says seeing a bobcat out in broad daylight is a little unusual.

“They don’t typically like to be around people, so when there’s a lot of activity they’ll kind of stay in the shadows or use low activity to go and use that same area.”

There are only about 20 recorded sightings of bobcats in Nova Scotia annually, most of which occur during February and March.

WATCH: Rare, up-close footage of a bobcat prowling in tall grass near Nine Mile River in Nova Scotia.

It’s believed the bobcat in this video is young and may have been searching for food.

Last year’s harsh winter was devastating for bobcats and other predators. Hope for Wildlife took in eight starving bobcats suffering in the harsh conditions, something they have never seen before.

They say it’s too soon to see how this winter will be for the cats.

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5 challenges faced by Syrian refugees arriving in Canada

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OTTAWA – The first government flight dispatched to bring Syrian refugees directly to Canada left on Thursday carrying about 160 people to Toronto. They are the vanguard of 25,000 expected by the end of February.

READ MORE: Trudeau greets 1st wave of Syrian refugees in Toronto

Here’s a look at five challenges the newcomers will face:

Getting to know Canada

Normally, refugees are given detailed orientation sessions abroad before they board flights to Canada. The programs are run by the International Organization for Migration and cover everything from how to dress for winter to making a household budget. But the nature of this programs means very little of that is happening before the refugees arrive in Canada and they’ll have to learn as they go. In the case of the first flights, all the Syrians have private sponsors who will be responsible for much of the teaching.

Canada getting to know them

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In the case of refugees who have private sponsors, they’ve likely been in touch in recent weeks. Many exchange photos and videos and the sponsors also have a case file on their new charges that gives details such as ages, education and sometimes religion.

READ MORE: Ontario sponsors cheer arrival of Syrian refugee families at Toronto airport

But in the case of government-sponsored refugees, the government has statistics and basic information, but not much else. The language barrier – many will only speak Arabic – will be one of the first hurdles to overcome.

Finding a place to live

Again, private sponsors are responsible for finding suitable accommodation for the refugees they bring in. Many rent apartments or houses and cover that cost at least for the first year. But in the case of government-assisted refugees, the hunt is now on for thousands of shelter spaces. Some landlords and real estate companies have offered space at reduced rates. In the very short term, some refugees may find themselves living in military barracks until more permanent homes are available.

Finding a job

Members of groups who are sponsoring two Syrian refugee families hold up signs welcoming their charges as they wait for the families to arrive at Toronto\’s Pearson Airport, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

As with most new immigrants, employment is likely to be top of mind for many Syrians. And like other newcomers, they’ll be up against barriers including getting credentials recognized by regulatory bodies in Canada. The Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce are working on a campaign to encourage employers to hire a Syrian refugee. There are concerns that this may be difficult in places with already high unemployment.

READ MORE: As Canada welcomes Syrians, other refugees still lack health care

Finding a doctor

Health clinics are bracing for the arrival of many new patients, some with complex health requirements that are part of the reason they’ve been selected for resettlement to Canada. As permanent residents, the Syrians will be entitled to a range of health-care coverage from medication to mental-health services. Mental health in particular is a matter of concern – many people have escaped traumatic situations that they are still grappling with.

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John Sopko’s war: The watchdog of waste

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History will note that Afghanistan was the longest, and one of the most expensive, wars in modern history. Also, arguably, one of the most futile, since the Taliban seems fully intact and the Islamic State group are making important inroads, now that the West has handed the fight over to the Afghan military.

Fourteen years of fighting, thousands of military casualties, civilian deaths higher than ever this year, and possibly as much as $1 trillion spent. The numbers are staggeringly depressing.

READ MORE: Losing Afghanistan: A close-up look at the plight of women caught in a cycle of violence

And then you meet John Sopko, and the news gets even more surreal. Sopko is the watchdog of Afghanistan “rebuilding.” His full title is U.S. Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction, and his job is to make sense of the numbers, and report on waste, incompetence and corruption.

Here are some of the things that keep Sopko awake nights:

The United States sent 16 military transport planes worth $390 million to Kabul where they sat on the tarmac for more than a year, before they were torn apart for scrap metal, and sold for six cents a pound, or $32,000. The reason: The Afghans had no use for them.A $43-million natural gas filling station was built in the country’s far north. It was never used because there was no demand for the fuel.The Marine Corps built a $36-million warehouse that never warehoused anything.The U.S. spent $8.4 billion on counter-narcotics programs in Afghanistan over the years, yet there are today a half million acres of opium fields under production.

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The stories of epic waste multiply. So who’s being held to account?

“I dare you to find anybody who’s been fired in Afghanistan for losing the taxpayers millions of dollars,” Sopko told correspondent Mellissa Fung, as she was researching a story for 16×9.

READ MORE: Losing Afghanistan: The worst place in the world to be a widow

Canada spent more than $18 billion on its combat mission in Afghanistan, and another $2 billion or so in development projects—much of that on schools, health centres and women’s programs. But we have no independent auditor, such as Sopko, for those projects so it’s not known how we stand in the waste index.

However, there have been some questions raised about the claims made for new schools and school attendance in Afghanistan. As Sopko tells it, Afghanistan’s president , its CEO, the minister of education, parliamentarians and others have all talked about so-called “ghost students, ghost schools, ghost clinics even.” With all this Western money sloshing about, there’s a good chance somebody has been cooking the books.

“The Afghans know about the ghost workers or ghost students or whatever,” Sopko said. “The Afghans see the bridges that fall down. They see the clinics in which there are no doctors. The Afghans know what’s going on.”

READ MORE: Losing Afghanistan: Kabul Diary

Sopko, who reports to the U.S. Congress, is carefully vague on the question of where incompetence ends and corruption begins. He allows his listeners to draw their own conclusions. But what he does say is that the Western coalition has built in Afghanistan an economy that Afghans simply cannot afford.

“We never really thought about sustainability,” he says. “This is the cruelest joke played on the Afghans. You give them a building or a clinic or a road or a highway or a program that they don’t have the money or technical capabilities or political will to actually finish or sustain.”

Or the ability to protect. When the Taliban swept into the provincial capital of Kunduz in late September, they routed Afghan army units and destroyed schools, clinics and other infrastructure built with Western money. With a resurgent Taliban sweeping through the country, what does this mean for the future of schools and other reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, Sopko asks? The prospects are not good.

It’s something that countries like Canada and the U.S. need to consider carefully when thinking about foreign policy objectives, he says, because Afghanistan is “a little petri dish of reconstruction for the future.”

Sopko has one more story that illustrates the folly of reconstruction during an active shooting war: the Kajaki Dam in southern Afghanistan. He calls it “the longest public works project in the history of the world”— begun in 1950 and meant to provide power to the important city of Kandahar.

“Now here’s the dirty little secret about Kajaki,” he says, “Even after we finish it, we still gotta get the power from the dam to the city. That goes through the terrorist [Taliban] controlled territory. Up until now, the only reason they’re not blowing up pylons is because the insurgency gets part of their electricity from it.”

It’s a story only Kafka could have imagined: A hydroelectric project, financed by Western money, that is only sustained because the enemy draws power from it. That, in a nutshell, is the absurdity of Afghanistan.

16×9’s “Losing Afghanistan” airs Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 at 7pm.

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Ford, Volkswagen to unveil new electric models in 2016

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DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford Motor Co. says it will introduce 13 new electrified vehicles worldwide by 2020, including an updated Focus sedan that will go on sale late next year.

The new Focus will have fast-charging capability and an estimated 100-mile range, up from 76 miles in the current electric Focus.

Ford also plans to introduce the Mondeo hybrid sedan and the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid in China next year.

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Ford currently sells electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of its Focus, Fusion, C-Max and Lincoln MKZ sedans. Ford CEO Mark Fields says the company wants 40 per cent of its global offerings to come in electric versions by 2020, up from 13 per cent now.

Ford says it will spend an additional $4.5 billion to meet its electrification goals by 2020.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is also set to unveil an all-electric concept car at the Consumer Electronic Show in January.

According to a press release from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the electric vehicle will be unveiled January 5 when Volkswagen passenger cars CEO Herbert Diess delivers a keynote speech focused on how electric vehicles are driving the automotive business.

The concept car is said to “illustrate the synergy between the Internet of Things and the automotive industry.”

Focusing on electric might be a good PR move for VW – the company is still reeling from the fallout of cheating on U.S. emissions tests. 

In September, the company admitted it had installed software designed to defeat tests for nitrogen oxide emissions for four-cylinder diesel engines on 11 million cars worldwide, including almost 500,000 in the U.S. It has already set aside 6.7 billion euros ($7.4 billion) to cover the costs of recalling those vehicles – and analysts expect the emissions scandal to cost the company much more than that.

Here’s how much an electric car will cost you in Canada:

The BMW i3, which has a range of 130-160 km per charge, starts at CAD$45,300.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Ford Focus Electric, which has a range of 122 km per charge, starts at CAD$31,249.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Nissan LEAF, which has a range of 135 km per charge, starts at CAD$31,998.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

The Smart fortwo electric drive, which has a range of 426 km per charge, starts at CAD$102,620.

Shane Kalicharan / Global News

The Chevrolet Spark, which has a range of 131 km per charge, will be available in 2016.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which has a range of 155 km per charge, starts at CAD$27,998.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Smart fortwo electric drive, which has a range of 110 km per charge, starts at CAD$27,280.

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

The Kia Soul, which has a range of 150 km per charge, starts at CAD$34,995.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

With files from Global News

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Willow Smith releases surprise album, ‘Ardipithecus’

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Fresh on the heels of her brother Jaden Smith announcing that he’s coming out with a book of philosophical essays, Willow Smith has released a surprise music album entitled “Ardipithecus.”

The first single, “F Q-C #8,” (pronounced “frequency”) is a moody, sparse song, difficult to define in any specific genre.

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Willow is credited as the sole songwriter on 14 of the 15 tracks, and sole producer on 10 of them. Willow’s older brother Trey Smith (Will Smith’s first-born son) also had a hand in the creation of three tracks on the album.

MORE: Pics of Willow Smith in bed with 20-year-old actor spark furor

In an email to The Fader, Willow explained the title of her album, as well as her intentions with her new music:

“Ardipithecus Ramidus is the scientific name of the first hominid bones found on earth. I wanted to name my musical compilation after it because, while I was making these songs I was in such a transitional state. Digging deep in the soil of my heart and finding bits and pieces of my ancient self that tell stories, which end up being the lyrics to the songs. ‘Ardipithecus’ is my first album in my entire career and it makes me feel so blessed to be able to share my evolution with the LightEaters as I continue excavating my inner worlds…”

“I have an ongoing list of ‘F Q-C’ songs,” she continued. “These songs were created through characters I have developed within my mind.”

MORE: Jaden Smith writing a collection of philosophical essays

It sounds like there’s more to come from the 15-year-old. She’s come a long way since “Whip My Hair.”

Take a listen to the first single (and watch the video), “F Q-C #8,” above.

Willow Smith | PrettyFamous

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