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Police: Canadian Parliament shooting suspect applied for a passport to go to Syria

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The shooter who rampaged through Canada’s parliament was in Ottawa applying for a passport to travel to war-torn Syria and there was no connection to an attack earlier this week, the federal police commissioner said Thursday.

The man’s killing of a soldier at a cenotaph in the city’s downtown and storming of nearby parliament Wednesday were not linked to the deadly attack on a soldier in Quebec two days earlier, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson told a news conference.

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Investigators determined that the suspect in Wednesday’s shooting, identified by Paulson as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, had been in Ottawa since October 2 “to deal with a passport issue.”

“He was… hoping to leave for Syria,” the nation’s top cop said, adding that Zehaf-Bibeau’s travel plans were gleaned from the man’s estranged mother.

“There were concerns at the initial stage of the emergency response that there may have been more than one individual involved,” Paulson said.

But both the RCMP and Ottawa police agreed “that yesterday Zehaf-Bibeau acted alone,” he said.

It remains unclear whether Zehaf-Bibeau “received any support in the planning of his attack,” he added.

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Police are also trying to piece together how he got his hands on a Winchester lever action shot gun, since he was restricted from owning any firearms due to past criminal convictions for drug possession and uttering threats in a mugging.

Paulson dismissed as a coincidence any link to the running over of two soldiers in a Quebec supermarket parking lot on Monday.

“We have no information linking the two attacks this week in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and in Ottawa,” Paulson said.

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Futhermore, “our investigation has not revealed any link between Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture Rouleau,” he added.

Couture-Rouleau, the driver in the parking lot attack, was shot dead by police after crashing his car and brandishing a knife.

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Couture-Rouleau had also sought to travel to Turkey to join the Islamic State group in neighboring Syria, but authorities seized his passport at the airport to prevent him from leaving.

Both the Monday and Wednesday attacks followed the deployment of Canadian fighter jets to join US-led airstrikes on the Islamic State in Iraq.


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In a secluded region in Russia’s Arctic they are rejecting Putin in rare protest

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Lyudmila Laptander, an activist advocating autonomy for her mineral-rich Nenets region in the Russian Arctic, worries authorities are planning to sacrifice its traditions for the promise of economic enrichment.

"If Nenets is merged with another region, I worry that no one will look after our language or our traditions, and that our small villages in the tundra will be forgotten," said Laptander, 61, a member of the Yasavey cultural group.

The autonomous region on the edge of the Arctic Ocean was gripped by protests in May against the government's plans to integrate it with neighbouring Arkhangelsk.

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People are paying to hire this donkey to crash their Zoom meetings

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The coronavirus pandemic has led millions of people to embrace meetings via Zoom, but admittedly, those can be as tedious as in-person conferences.

So one animal sanctuary in Canada, in dire need of cash after being forced to close to visitors, found a way to solve both problems.

Meet Buckwheat, a donkey at the Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, who is ready to inject some fun into your humdrum work-from-home office day -- for a price.

"Hello. We are crashing your meeting, we are crashing your meeting -- this is Buckwheat," says sanctuary volunteer Tim Fors, introducing the gray and white animal on a Zoom call.

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Republican senators are suddenly trying to social distance — from Trump

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There’s something interesting in today’s news:

A number of Republican Senators have said they are skipping the Republican National Convention this year. The convention was originally scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, but at Trump’s insistence was relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, last month. The stated reason was that Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper would not commit to permitting a full convention out of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, but the abrupt switch to Florida, less than 80 days before the convention, still seems odd to me. Regardless, the switch has created a new problem: Florida is in the midst of a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases, setting a record for new cases in a single day during the weekend —11,458—and running low of ICU beds.

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