Saudi Arabia execution and beheaded 50 people Terrorists

Rider News - Authorities in Saudi Arabia are preparing to behead 50 men convicted on charges of terrorism, the BBC Reported.

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The individuals sentenced to death range from purported al-Qaeda militants Accused of trying to seize the government to Shi'ite Muslim Activists from the eastern town of al-Awamiyah, a crucible of discontent over anti-Shi'ite discrimination.
Three of the Shi'ite detainees were Arrested before they turned 18, the Independent reports.
Amnesty International has spoken out against the planned executions, citing the "Macabre spike" in Saudi executions in 2015 - at least 151 so far this year, the highest figure in two Decades - and what it says is the dubious judicial process that led to them ,
"These executions must not go ahead and Saudi Arabia must lift the veil of secrecy around its death penalty cases, as part of a fundamental overhaul of its criminal justice system," James Lynch, deputy director of Amnesty program centered on the Middle East and northern Africa, said in a statement.

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European countries cannot accept any more refugees, the French prime minister has been quoted as saying

Rider News - Manuel Valls said stricter control of the EU's external borders would determine the bloc's fate, in comments published by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung

Mr Valls
 Europe's border controls have come under renewed scrutiny since the attacks in Paris on 13 November.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has said that the Schengen agreement is "partly comatose".

Several EU countries have imposed border controls in recent week - despite the Schengen system of passport-free movement - amid the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of whom are fleeing Syria and Iraq.

Some countries imposed new restrictions after a forged Syrian passport was found next to the body of one of the perpetrators involved in the Islamic State attacks on the French capital.

Prime Minister Valls told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung Europe had been stretched beyond its limits by the migrant crisis.

"We cannot accommodate any more refugees in Europe, that's not possible," he said, adding that tighter control of Europe's external borders was needed.

"If we don't do that, the people will say: 'Enough of Europe'," Mr Valls warned.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has meanwhile stressed the importance of a controversial plan to redistribute asylum seekers based on quotas, according to Reuters.

She said the future of the Schengen agreement would be determined by the relocation scheme.
Increased strain

The International Organization of Migration reported a "drastic decrease" in the number of migrants arriving in Greece over the weekend.

But the UN's refugee agency told Reuters that talk of a decline may be "premature" amid indications that numbers climbed again on Monday and Tuesday.

Most of the migrants land in Greece by boat and then travel through Europe to more affluent countries, mainly Germany and Sweden.

Balkan countries, including Macedonia and Croatia, sparked human rights concerns last week by imposing new border restrictions - only allowing passage to people fleeing countries affected by war.

Hundreds of migrants stuck at the Greece-Macedonia border have staging protests, including by sewing their lips together.

Speaking during a debate on the Paris attacks in the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker said commitment to the Schengen agreement must be revived.

"Yes, the system is partly comatose," he said.

"But those who believe in Europe - those who believe in its values, its principles, and its freedoms - must try to breath new life into the spirit behind Schengen."

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The Liberal government says Canada will complete the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees two months later than anticipated

Rider News - The Liberal government says Canada will complete the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees two months later than anticipated, conceding that such a massive program could not be carried out with 37 days left until the end of the year

The government announced on Tuesday it will identify all 25,000 refugees by its self-imposed deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, but only 10,000 will arrive by year's end. The rest will arrive by March 2016.

"They will include a mix of privately sponsored and government assisted refugees," said Health Minister Jane Philpott in Ottawa on Tuesday.

"The remaining 15,000 — mostly government-assisted refugees — it is our goal that they be resettled in Canada in January and February of 2016."

"Full medical exams and security screening will be completed overseas prior to arriving in Canada," said the health minister, adding that "further screening for communicable diseases will be done upon arrival, as is the usual process for all travellers to Canada."

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum said the extra time was needed to give host communities more time to prepare to receive the refugees.

"There are a lot of moving parts here," said McCallum, "so we are happy to take a little more time because that allows us to be more prepared … with places for them to live, more prepared to transfer them almost immediately to places where they can be in the longer term."

The military will be assisting the government here and abroad, said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

The Department of Defence will assist immigration officials with the screening and processing of refugees overseas prior to their arrival to Canada.

"More specifically, said Sajjan, "we will be assisting with medical screening and with the processing of applications including assistance with the collection of biometrics."

Syrians will be coming to Canada from refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Sajjan said the air force is preparing to airlift refugees to Canada every 48 hours if needed.

Other highlights of the plan include:

Flying Syrian refugees to Toronto and Montreal largely on privately chartered aircraft, with the military providing airlifts if necessary.
Resettling the refugees to 36 cities across the country, 13 in Quebec and 23 in the rest of Canada. The government did not provide a list.
The Canadian Armed Forces will temporarily lodge up to 6,000 refugees on bases in Ontario and Quebec.
Refugees will include complete families, women at risk, gays and lesbians, and single men identified as vulnerable due to membership in the LGBT community or those who are accompanying parents as part of a family.
Applicants must be registered with the UN Refugee Agency or the government of Turkey.

Thousands of applicants now being processed for privately sponsored refugees will be included as part of that commitment, but they are in addition to the 3,089 Syrians who have already arrived in Canada between Jan. 1, 2014, and Nov. 3, 2015.
'Robust' security screening

With security concerns emerging here at home and south of the border following the recent attacks in Paris and elsewhere in the world, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the country's security would not be compromised.

Goodale said Canada's "robust, multi-layered approach" to security would see various federal departments working in conjunction with the country's security and intelligence agencies.

Canadian officials will interview every refugee and check their identity against Canadian and U.S. databases.

"Before anyone gets on a plane to come to Canada, the security screening will be … fully completed overseas," said Goodale. "If there is any doubt about an application or an interview or any of the data, the file will simply be put aside and held for further consideration at a later time."

Goodale said the Canada Border Services Agency will screen the refugees upon arrival, as it does with the estimated 270,000 travellers that come to Canada on any given day.

The resettlement program and integration supports will cost an estimated $678 million over six years, over the $250 million the Liberals budgeted in their election platform.

Tories take credit for 'head start'

The year-end deadline was an election campaign promise from the Liberal Party, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had been under pressure from provincial and federal politicians to slow down the process to allow time for proper screening.

The Opposition Conservatives welcomed Trudeau's decision to slow the pace of resettlement and took some credit for initiating the flow of Syrian refugees that will arrive here by year's end.

"Approximately 10,000 refugees had either been processed or were in the final stages of processing. That work gives the current government a tremendous head start in aiding Syrian refugees," said immigration critic Michelle Rempel, following the government's announcement.

Government officials told reporters in a briefing today that the bulk of the 10,000 refugees set to arrive here by year's end will be privately sponsored.

Rempel said the Conservatives would push the government for answers on a number of issues including "plans for caring for the refugees upon arrival and, specifically, the real costs of the plan, impacts on provincial governments, and the involvement of the Canadian Armed Forces."

"It's one thing to inspire Canadians, it's another thing to be accountable to them," said Rempel. "I think it's more than a smile, it's more than hope and it's more than unicorns. You need to have plan and that's what we'll be holding the government to account on."

Rempel said the Conservatives would also continue to call on the Liberals not to pull out of the air campaign in the U.S.-led mission against ISIS.

The NDP's immigration, refugee and citizenship critic, Jenny Kwan, issued a statement Tuesday saying the Liberal plan calls for 10,000 fewer government-sponsored refugees than promised during the election campaign.

The NDP also has concerns about "picking and choosing refugees," as well as the growing costs of the plan that have now grown to "more than three times" what the Liberals promised during the campaign.

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Iran's top leader said the United States is using money and sexual attractions

Rider News - Iran's top leader said Wednesday the United States is using money and sexual attractions to try to infiltrate the Islamic Republic and warned Iranians not to fall into the "enemy's trap.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Revolutionary Guard commanders that authorities should take concerns about "infiltration" seriously and political factions should not use the issue against each other.

"The enemy sets up a network within a nation and inside a country mainly through the two means of money and sexual attractions to change ideals, beliefs and consequently the lifestyle," he said in comments posted on his website and broadcast on state TV.

His comments appeared to lend support to a recent wave of arrests of pro-Western writers and journalists, which hard-liners in the judiciary and security services have said is necessary to prevent Western infiltration.

Iran's moderate President Hassan Rouhani criticized the arrests earlier this month, saying hard-liners are "exaggerating the issue" and misusing Khamenei's warnings as an excuse for the detentions.

The recent arrests of pro-Western writers, journalists and filmmakers are widely seen as part of a backlash by hard-liners in the wake of the landmark nuclear agreement reached with the U.S. and five other world powers last summer. Hard-liners fear the deal could lead to a broader rapprochement between Tehran and Washington that would undermine and ultimately end the Islamic Republic.

Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state, said that "if some are making factional use of this (infiltration), it's a mistake. But these words should not lead to ignoring and forgetting the main issue of infiltration."

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Manhattan Judge Valerie Caproni will not meet with Sheldon Silver

Rider News - Manhattan federal court Judge Valerie Caproni won’t privately meet with a juror in the Sheldon Silver trial, saying Wednesday the law prohibits her from doing so

Sheldon Silver
“The law generally does not allow me to meet with a member of a deliberating jury because the secrecy of jury deliberations is a cornerstone of our jury system,” Caproni told the dozen jurors Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, a “stressed out” female juror sent a note two hours into deliberations in the disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker’s corruption trial.

“I am wondering if there is any way I can be excused from this case, because I have a different opinion/view so far in this case and it is making me feel very, very uncomfortable . . . I’m feeling pressured, stressed out . . . told that I’m not using my common sense, my heart is pounding and my head feels weird,” she wrote.

“I am so stressed out right now that I can’t even write normally. I don’t feel like I can be myself right now! I need to leave!”

The juror then asked a judge later in the day if she could meet privately.

Caproni reminded the panel to remain respectful as they continue to weigh the evidence.

Jurors will deliberate until noon Wednesday before court breaks for Thanksgiving.
Silver, 71, allegedly traded taxpayer cash and political favors for legal work he supplied to two law firms that paid him nearly $4 million in referral fees, prosecutors said.

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Argentina President-elect Mauricio Macri is planning to push through economic reforms

Rider News - Difficult negotiations with the US hedge fund is suing the state over unpaid government debt.

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The pro-business Macri, who narrowly won Sunday's presidential election, vows to get the stalled economy moving again but needs to settle a decade-long legal battle with the holdout creditors before he can return to global credit markets.

"We want to bring policy solutions that give us time to establish a framework for a tough negotiation so that we can defend the rights of Argentines," Macri told the Clarin newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.

That will mean finding a quick way to bolster the central bank's dwindling foreign currency reserves, which have fallen to a nine-year low below $26 billion as outgoing President Cristina Fernandez battles to prop up the peso currency.

A further drop in hard currency holdings could complicate Macri's plans to start dismantling capital controls and trade restrictions, which he says are needed to spur growth, beat down double digit inflation and narrow a gaping fiscal deficit.

Macri's opponents warn his proposal to lift quickly controls on the currency and unify the exchange rate will trigger a "mega-devaluation", while his plans to eliminate export taxes on wheat and corn will dent dollar flows into the state coffers.

Economist Ricardo Delgado estimated Macri would need to have credit lines worth $10 billion in place "to soften the cost of the corrective reforms".

Macri is scheduled to hold talks with leftist Fernandez in a closed-door meeting later Tuesday and seek an orderly transition before he takes office on Dec. 10.

The meeting occurs a day after Macri called on the central bank's leadership, including its president, Alejandro Vanoli, to step aside so his government could appoint a team it trusted.

Macri's advisors say his reforms would restore investor confidence and bring dollars into the hard currency-starved economy, reducing the need for a swift debt deal with the funds led by billionaire Paul Singer's Elliott Management.

The debt battle plunged Latin America's No. 3 economy back into default last year. The holdouts rejected sharp haircuts, or reductions, in the face value of their bond holdings after Argentina's record 2002 default, and they demand full repayment.

Many Argentines supported leftist Fernandez's unflinching stance against the creditors and the U.S. judge who ruled in their favor, and Macri has said he will haggle hard in talks.

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When Pope Francis begins his inaugural papal trip to Africa

Rider News - he'll bring a message of hope and peace to a rapidly growing Catholic population facing its own challenges

The Pope's visit starts Wednesday in Kenya, followed by stops in Uganda and the Central African Republic -- the latter a lawless conflict zone as Christian and Muslim gangs attack civilians for a second year.

His visit, which takes place despite the instability, highlights the Catholic Church's explosive growth in Africa and how crucial the region is to the church's future, experts say.

Africa's Catholic population is growing faster than any other in the world, and is expected to skyrocket in the coming years, said Bill O'Keefe, a vice president at Catholic Relief Services, a church-affiliated U.S. humanitarian group that does work in Africa. 

"The Catholic population there (Africa) has grown by 238% since 1980 and is approaching 200 million," he said, attributing the numbers to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

"If the current trends continue, 24% of Africans will be Catholic by 2040," he added.

'Unifying gesture'

Aside from visiting a region that will shape the face of the Catholic Church, the Pope's plan to stop at a mosque in the Central African Republic sends a powerful message, experts say.

"The Holy Father is intentionally reaching across religious lines that have been used by elites and factions in the Central African Republic to try to divide the population," said O'Keefe.

How Pope Francis is shaking up the church

"It is a unifying gesture to visit mosques and a way of modeling behavior for Central Africans of all faiths."

In the Central African Republic, a Muslim rebel group overthrew the Christian president two years ago, prompting reprisal attacks against civilians by both Christian and Muslim militia. Those attacks continue to this day, and have displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Kenya and Uganda have also had their share of religious extremism. Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab attacked a Kenyan university in April, killing nearly 150 people, mostly Christians. In 2010, militants aligned with the same group attacked Uganda, killing dozens.

The Pope's visit with different religious leaders is a major boost to the assorted groups working to restore peace.

"He is putting his stamp of support for the work of Catholic, Islamic, and Protestant leaders in the Central African Republic, who have courageously worked together to dampen down interfaith tensions and build social cohesion among communities," O'Keefe said.

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