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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.

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

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.

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

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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2020 Election

Will Trump peacefully vacate the Oval Office if he loses the presidential election in 2020? A lesson from 1800

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As primary season heats up in the United States, the Democrats are anxiously debating the best path to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. But the question of how to beat Trump is perhaps less urgent than the issue of whether he will accept defeat.

Trump has already questioned his loss of the 2016 popular vote with baseless accusations of voter fraud. He has also repeatedly toyed with the idea of extending his presidency beyond the eight-year limit enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even trumpeting Jerry Falwell Jr.’s assertion that his first term be extended by two years to compensate for the Russia investigation. Perhaps most ominously, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned while testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February 2019:

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Something is killing galaxies — and science is on the case

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In the most extreme regions of the universe, galaxies are being killed. Their star formation is being shut down and astronomers want to know why.

The first ever Canadian-led large project on one of the world’s leading telescopes is hoping to do just that. The new program, called the Virgo Environment Traced in Carbon Monoxide survey (VERTICO), is investigating, in brilliant detail, how galaxies are killed by their environment.

As VERTICO’s principal investigator, I lead a team of 30 experts that are using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) to map the molecular hydrogen gas, the fuel from which new stars are made, at high resolution across 51 galaxies in our nearest galaxy cluster, called the Virgo Cluster.

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Trudeau in blackface: A symptom of Canada’s widespread anti-Black racism

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The news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau performed in blackface when he was a student and a teacher has once again made blackface the topic of the day — this time in the middle of a Canadian election campaign.

The revelation that, as a 29-year-old teacher, Trudeau appeared in blackface at an “Arabian Nights” fundraiser at his school has made news around the world. Other images subsequently surfaced that showed a young Trudeau performing in blackface at high school talent shows.

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