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5 things you absolutely must know today

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Syrian rebels advance on Idlib, new IS video released

Syrian rebels and other militant groups have attacked the government stronghold of Idlib, killing dozens of officials and advancing as far as the governor’s office, said members of the Nusra Front. The Syrian government responded with helicopter gunships, forcing the insurgents to retreat. The rebel groups attacked the city from all sides, beginning at dawn on Monday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Idlib has been under government control since 2012, when it was taken back from the rebels two years into what is now a four-year-old civil war. Also, a video allegedly produced by IS showing abducted British journalist John Cantlie in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane has been released. In the video, Cantlie claims, reading from a script, that Islamic State militants are close to having fully seized the town. Kobane is a key, border town, Kurdish troops on the ground and the international community from the air, are fighting to keep from IS control.  [Source: BBC]

Lava oozes toward Hawaiian village

A bubbling, oozing, slowly advancing flow of lava from the Kilauea volcano has crept to within 70 yards of a residential area of Pahoa village on Hawaii’s Big Island, forcing occupants out of their homes. The lava is moving at about five to 10 yards per hour. This particular pool of lava from the continuously-erupting volcano came to a standstill in late September, but has since resumed its slow trudge, having moved about 275 yards since Sunday. The village is home to about 800 people. [Source: Reuters]

Winnipeg filmmakers Janelle and Jérémie Wookey win Best Short Documentary award

Winnipeg filmmakers and siblings Janelle and Jérémie Wookey have won the Best Short Documentary award at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival last weekend. Their winning entry, Treading Water: Plight of the Manitoba First Nation Flood Evacuees, chronicles the plight of the 2,100 people displaced when floodwater from the Assiniboine River was funneled to Lake St. Martin, a move that destroyed many First Nation’s homes and forced residents into hotels and temporary housing units throughout Manitoba. Three years later, many of those displaced remain in interim housing. “While we are thrilled and honoured to receive the award this weekend, the most satisfying thing was seeing a real response to the film’s ‘call to action,’” Janelle Wookey said in a media release. “One woman approached us at the end of the screening in tears asking if there was anything she could do to help evacuees. I can’t tell you how touched we were by this gesture.” [Source: Brandon Sun]

Russia to recognize controversial election in Ukraine

Russia is digging in its heels against Ukraine and western-government opposition to the Nov. 2 election in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine has granted the eastern areas limited self rule, but is claiming a Nov. 2 election is not the agreed upon date. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the press the results of the controversial election will be recognized. Western countries are criticizing Russia’s endorsement, claiming the country is providing arms support to the pro-Russian separatists. A Ukrainian diplomat speaking with AFP news said to go ahead with the vote would “undermine the peace process.” A ceasefire between the pro-Russia and pro-west groups took effect on Sept. 5, but the truce has proven only nominal. There have been many reports of gunfire and continued violence. [Source: BBC]

Pressure mounting for Premier Greg Selinger to resign

A source inside Premier Greg Selinger’s nest said the embattled NDP leader likely has until Christmas to decide whether or not to step down. The statement comes amid mounting pressure for Selinger to resign. Municipal Affairs Minister Stan Struthers and Finance Minister Jennifer Howard said the premier needs to deal with the internal, party divisions that have festered and grown since the NDP raised the PST one percentage point last July, setting party morale on a downwards trajectory. The party’s poor showing in recent polls, and career NDPer Judy Wasylycia-Leis’s failure to secure the mayoralty have only widened and further codified rifts. “The people of Manitoba don’t trust the premier, and they believe that he betrayed them when he said in the election that he would not raise their taxes and then he did raise the PST,” said a member of the NDP’s provincial executive Becky Barrett. “In the 18 months since then, the premier has not been able to regain the trust of the people of Manitoba.” [Source: Winnipeg Free Press]

Honourable mention: John Tory wins Toronto’s mayoral race, putting a stop to the scourge that was Ford Nation.  [Source: Toronto Star]


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