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CAD Outlook - Will 2016 Be Another Crushing Year?

Tuesday, 29 December 2015 00:00 Written by

Of all the major currencies, the Canadian dollar was hit the hardest in 2015. The loonie lost over 15% of its value versus the U.S. dollar, Japanese Yen and British pound. We have not seen the Canadian dollar this cheap since 2004 and the weakness was so severe that it drove USD/CAD to a 12 year high.  There's no doubt that 2015 was an extremely difficult year for Canada. The first half was spent in recession and the last quarter at risk of another downturn.  The biggest problem for Canada has and will continue to be oil.  In early 2015, the Canadian economy was hit hard by a sharp fall in oil prices - between June and December of 2014, the price of oil dropped from $107 a barrel down to $55 a barrel. The Bank of Canada tried to preempt recession by cutting interest rates in January but under the heavy weight of falling crude prices, the economy contracted 2 quarters in a row.  It came out of recession in the third quarter after the BoC cut rates one more time in July but with oil prices falling once again, 2016 could be another challenging year for Canada.

Over the past few months we have seen oil prices fall to its lowest level in 6 years and many analysts believe that WTI crude could slip as low as $25 and possibly even $20 a barrel in 2016. Oil is Canada's most important export and as we saw how in early 2015, the economy and the currency can be hit hard when prices of this high value export falls quickly and aggressively. The following chart shows how closely the Canadian dollar tracked oil in 2015.

 

 

Since economic data is released with a lag, we will continue to see the aftermath of lower oil prices in early 2016. The market is only pricing in a 25% probability of easing in March because of BoC Governor Poloz's surprising optimism but those chances will grow as the year progresses.  Poloz believes that stronger U.S. growth, a weaker Canadian dollar and rate cuts delivered in the first half of the year will help the economy recover and avoid the need for unconventional policies such as quantitative easing but disappointing data in the early part of the year should force the Bank of Canada to cut interest rates by another 25bp.

While we agree that a weaker currency will help turn Canada's economy around, the effect may not be seen until the second half of the year and could be diminished if Federal Reserve rate hikes slow U.S. growth. The Bank of Canada may not be looking to take the leap into the world of unconventional monetary tools such as negative rates or QE but they still have more room to ease before those options need to be considered. 

We are looking for USD/CAD to break 1.40 and head towards 1.45 in the first half of 2016.  The oil industry is experiencing its biggest downturn since the 1990s and prices could fall another $10 a barrel before bottoming. While this may not seem large, it would represent another 25% drop from year end levels.  Oil suffers from the issue of supply and demand.  In an effort to push American producers out of the market, OPEC nations are pumping oil aggressively.

Even though prices have fallen 30% in 2015, OPEC nations refuse to cut production and this battle for market share could drive prices well below $30 a barrel.  The end of the U.S. crude oil export ban and the lifting of sanctions on Iran will only add pressure on crude prices.  The other end of the equation - demand is also a problem.  On one hand we have slower European and Chinese growth and on the other, a move towards energy efficiency.

While production levels are starting to fall with companies being pushed out of businesses, it is not declining fast enough and there's more than enough supply to meet any improvements in demand. In order for oil prices to bottom, production needs to be cut and unfortunately there's no indication that will happen soon.  We could see $20 a barrel before $50 and even if a bounce occurs quickly, the initial move lower will most certainly send USD/CAD to fresh multi-year highs.  Of course this won't take much as USD/CAD ends the year within 100 pips of its 12-year high. 

Keep an eye on the U.S. - Canadian yield spread.  While the correlation between USD/CAD and oil has been strong, the spread between U.S. and Canadian yields has also been a leading driver of USD/CAD flows. The following chart shows how closely USD/CAD (white line) followed the yield spread (orange line) this past year with the yield spread oftentimes leading the movements in the currency. If the yield spread makes new highs, we can expect the currency pair to follow suit and if the yield spread peaks that will be the time to start selling USD/CAD.

 

 

We need to turn to the monthly chart to find resistance for USD/CAD. Right now the 12 year high of 1.40 is the most important resistance level.  When this level is broken, the next key level will be 1.43, a level that the currency pair broke down from in 2003, found support in 2000 and resistance at in 1995.  The uptrend in USD/CAD remains intact until the currency pair closely firmly below 1.35. 

 

 

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

 

 

 

 




Ontario court imposes N23m fine on firm over death of worker

Saturday, 19 December 2015 00:00 Written by

 A COURT in St. Catherines, Ontario has ordered a company to pay a fine of $150,000 (N23 million) over the death of its worker.

The court, presided over by Justice of Peace Mary Shelley, last Tuesday gave the order after Ingredion Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to the death of the staff, employed as a process operator.  He died on November 8, 2013.

The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act on the company which produces fructose sweeteners.

The surcharge will be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime, the court said.

By its negligence, the court said that the company contravened the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act Section 25(1)(c), as a result of which the company deserved the punishment specifically as it failed, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 12 of Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) were carried out, in order to ensure safety at work.

The worker was assisting in the movement of a rail car when the tragedy that led to his death occurred, the court was told by the crown.

The court records indicated that the process operator was riding on the fixed ladder on the north side of the rail car and had visual contact with the Trackmobile operator, but as the rail car moved through the building, the worker struck one of the steel posts below the gangway and was squeezed between the post and the rail car.

The worker suffered severe injuries and died 10 days later.

Specifically, the clearance between moving rail cars and the stationary posts of the loading platform in the building was not sufficient to ensure that the safety of workers in the area was not endangered.


The rhetorical brilliance of Trump the demagogue

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 00:00 Written by

Donald Trump’s December 7 Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration has attracted worldwide disdain. Nearly 500,000 Britons have signed a petition asking their government to prevent Trump from entering their country. In the US, Trump’s comments have been denounced by Democrats, Republicans, the media and religious groups.

Yet a recent poll has found that 37% of likely voters across the political spectrum agree with a “temporary ban” on Muslims entering the US.

Trump possesses an arrogance and volatility that makes most voters recoil. So how has he maintained a grip on a segment of the Republican base that – at least, for now – seems unshakable?

And how has his support persisted, despite the fact that some have called him a demagogue and a fascist, or that political observers have found parallels between him and polarizing figures like George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, Father Coughlin – even Hitler?

As a scholar of American political rhetoric, I write about and teach courses on the use and abuse of rhetorical strategy in public discourse. Scrutinizing Trump’s rhetorical skills can partially explain his profound and persistent appeal.

The rhetoric of demagoguery

The Greek word “demagogue” (demos = people + agōgos = leader) literally means “a leader of the people.” Today, however, it’s used to describe a leader who capitalizes on popular prejudices, makes false claims and promises, and uses arguments based on emotion rather than reason.

Donald Trump appeals to voters' fears by depicting a nation in crisis, while positioning himself as the nation’s hero – the only one who can conquer our foes, secure our borders and “Make America Great Again.”

His lack of specificity about how he would accomplish these goals is less relevant than his self-assured, convincing rhetoric. He urges his audiences to “trust him,” promises he is “really smart” and flexes his prophetic muscles (like when he claims to have predicted the 9/11 attacks).

Trump’s self-congratulating rhetoric makes him appear to be the epitome of hubris, which, according to research, is often the least attractive quality of a potential leader. However, Trump is so consistent in his hubris that it appears authentic: his greatness is America’s greatness.

So we can safely call Trump a demagogue. But one fear of having demagogues actually attain real power is that they’ll disregard the law or the Constitution. Hitler, of course, is a worst-case example.

Amazingly, one of Trump’s very arguments is that he won’t be controlled.

On the campaign trail, he’s harnessed his macho businessman persona – crafted through social media and years spent on TV (where he was often the most powerful person in the room) – to make his case for the presidency. It’s a persona that rejects restraints: he speaks of not being constrained by his party, media, other candidates, political correctness, facts – anything, really. In a sense, he’s fashioning himself as an uncontrollable leader.

Using speech to demolish detractors

But most voters would never want an uncontrollable president. So why do so many remain adamant in their support?

First, Trump draws on the myth of American exceptionalism. He depictes the United States as the world’s best hope: there is only one chosen nation and, as president, all of his decisions work toward making America great. By tying himself to American exceptionalism – while classifying his detractors as “weak” or “dummies” – he’s able to position his critics as people who don’t believe in, or won’t contribute to, the “greatness” of the nation.

Trump also uses fallacious and divisive rhetorical techniques that prevent him from being questioned or backed into a corner.

He often uses ad populum arguments, which are appeals to the wisdom of the crowd (“polls show,” “we’re winning everywhere”).

When opponents question his ideas or stances, he’ll employ ad homenim attacks – or criticisms of the person, rather than the argument (dismissing his detractors as “dummies,” “weak” or “boring”). Perhaps most famously, he derided Carly Fiorina’s appearance when she started to go up in the polls after the first Republican debate (“Look at that face!” he cried. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”).

Finally, his speeches are often peppered with ad baculum arguments, which are threats of force (“when people come after me they go down the tubes”).

Because demagogues make arguments based on false claims and appeal to emotion, rather than reason, they’ll often resort to these devices. For example, during his 1968 presidential run, George Wallace declared, “If any demonstrator ever lays down in front of my car, it’ll be the last car he’ll ever lay down in front of” (ad baculum). And Senator Joseph McCarthy resorted to an ad homenim attack when he derided former Secretary of State Dean Acheson as a “pompous diplomat in striped pants with a phony British accent.”

 

Donald Trump’s rhetoric has elicited comparisons to former Alabama governor George Wallace.

 

Trump will also employ a rhetorical technique called paralipsis to make claims that he can’t be held accountable for. In paralipsis, the speaker will introduce a topic or argument by saying he doesn’t want to talk about it; in truth, he or she wants to emphasize that very thing.

For example, in New Hampshire on December 1, he said, “But all of [the other candidates] are weak and they’re just weak – I think that they are weak generally if you want to know the truth. But I don’t want to say that because I don’t want to…I don’t want to have any controversies, no controversies, is that okay? So I refuse to say that they are weak generally, okay?”

Trump’s ultimately fallacy

Let’s return to Trump’s December 7 2015 statement about Muslims to analyze which rhetorical techniques are in play:

Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.

In this statement, Trump immediately makes two things axiomatic (or unquestionable): American exceptionalism and Muslims' hatred for America. According to Trump, these axioms are supported by the wisdom of the crowd (ad populim); they are “obvious to anybody.”

He also defines Muslims in essential terms as people who believe only in jihad, are filled with hatred and have no respect for human life. Trump uses Reification – the treatment of objects as people and people as objects – to link his axioms together and support his case: “Our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad.”

Here, he personifies “our country” by presenting the nation as a person. Meanwhile, he uses “that” rather than “who” to signal that Muslims are not people, but objects.

His underlying logic is that our nation is a victim of these “objects.” Objects need not be treated with the same amount of care as people. Therefore we are justified in preventing Muslims from entering the country.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Trump’s use of evidence is incomplete and biased toward his point of view. His announcement cites a survey of American Muslims “showing 25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified.”

The polling data came from the Center for Security Policy (CSP), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called an “anti-Muslim think tank.” Furthermore, Trump fails to report that in the same survey, 61% of American Muslims agreed that “violence against those that insult the prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an, or Islamic faith” is not acceptable. Nor does he mention that 64% didn’t think that “violence against Americans here in the United States can be justified as part of the global jihad.”

Unfortunately, like a true demagogue, Trump doesn’t seem all too concerned with the facts.


 

Author:  Jennifer Mercieca:  Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Aggie Agora, Texas A&M University

Credit link:  https://theconversation.com/the-rhetorical-brilliance-of-trump-the-demagogue-51984<img alt="The Conversation" height="1" src="https://counter.theconversation.edu.au/content/51984/count.gif" width="1" />

The article was originally published on The Conversation (www.conversation.com) and is republished with permission granted to www.oasesnews.com

 


The rhetorical brilliance of Trump the demagogue

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 00:00 Written by

 

 

Donald Trump’s December 7 Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration has attracted worldwide disdain. Nearly 500,000 Britons have signed a petition asking their government to prevent Trump from entering their country. In the US, Trump’s comments have been denounced by Democrats, Republicans, the media and religious groups.

Yet a recent poll has found that 37% of likely voters across the political spectrum agree with a “temporary ban” on Muslims entering the US.

Trump possesses an arrogance and volatility that makes most voters recoil. So how has he maintained a grip on a segment of the Republican base that – at least, for now – seems unshakable?

And how has his support persisted, despite the fact that some have called him a demagogue and a fascist, or that political observers have found parallels between him and polarizing figures like George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, Father Coughlin – even Hitler?

As a scholar of American political rhetoric, I write about and teach courses on the use and abuse of rhetorical strategy in public discourse. Scrutinizing Trump’s rhetorical skills can partially explain his profound and persistent appeal.

The rhetoric of demagoguery

The Greek word “demagogue” (demos = people + agōgos = leader) literally means “a leader of the people.” Today, however, it’s used to describe a leader who capitalizes on popular prejudices, makes false claims and promises, and uses arguments based on emotion rather than reason.

Donald Trump appeals to voters' fears by depicting a nation in crisis, while positioning himself as the nation’s hero – the only one who can conquer our foes, secure our borders and “Make America Great Again.”

His lack of specificity about how he would accomplish these goals is less relevant than his self-assured, convincing rhetoric. He urges his audiences to “trust him,” promises he is “really smart” and flexes his prophetic muscles (like when he claims to have predicted the 9/11 attacks).

Trump’s self-congratulating rhetoric makes him appear to be the epitome of hubris, which, according to research, is often the least attractive quality of a potential leader. However, Trump is so consistent in his hubris that it appears authentic: his greatness is America’s greatness.

So we can safely call Trump a demagogue. But one fear of having demagogues actually attain real power is that they’ll disregard the law or the Constitution. Hitler, of course, is a worst-case example.

Amazingly, one of Trump’s very arguments is that he won’t be controlled.

On the campaign trail, he’s harnessed his macho businessman persona – crafted through social media and years spent on TV (where he was often the most powerful person in the room) – to make his case for the presidency. It’s a persona that rejects restraints: he speaks of not being constrained by his party, media, other candidates, political correctness, facts – anything, really. In a sense, he’s fashioning himself as an uncontrollable leader.

Using speech to demolish detractors

But most voters would never want an uncontrollable president. So why do so many remain adamant in their support?

First, Trump draws on the myth of American exceptionalism. He depictes the United States as the world’s best hope: there is only one chosen nation and, as president, all of his decisions work toward making America great. By tying himself to American exceptionalism – while classifying his detractors as “weak” or “dummies” – he’s able to position his critics as people who don’t believe in, or won’t contribute to, the “greatness” of the nation.

Trump also uses fallacious and divisive rhetorical techniques that prevent him from being questioned or backed into a corner.

He often uses ad populum arguments, which are appeals to the wisdom of the crowd (“polls show,” “we’re winning everywhere”).

When opponents question his ideas or stances, he’ll employ ad homenim attacks – or criticisms of the person, rather than the argument (dismissing his detractors as “dummies,” “weak” or “boring”). Perhaps most famously, he derided Carly Fiorina’s appearance when she started to go up in the polls after the first Republican debate (“Look at that face!” he cried. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”).

Finally, his speeches are often peppered with ad baculum arguments, which are threats of force (“when people come after me they go down the tubes”).

Because demagogues make arguments based on false claims and appeal to emotion, rather than reason, they’ll often resort to these devices. For example, during his 1968 presidential run, George Wallace declared, “If any demonstrator ever lays down in front of my car, it’ll be the last car he’ll ever lay down in front of” (ad baculum). And Senator Joseph McCarthy resorted to an ad homenim attack when he derided former Secretary of State Dean Acheson as a “pompous diplomat in striped pants with a phony British accent.”

 

Donald Trump’s rhetoric has elicited comparisons to former Alabama governor George Wallace.

 

Trump will also employ a rhetorical technique called paralipsis to make claims that he can’t be held accountable for. In paralipsis, the speaker will introduce a topic or argument by saying he doesn’t want to talk about it; in truth, he or she wants to emphasize that very thing.

For example, in New Hampshire on December 1, he said, “But all of [the other candidates] are weak and they’re just weak – I think that they are weak generally if you want to know the truth. But I don’t want to say that because I don’t want to…I don’t want to have any controversies, no controversies, is that okay? So I refuse to say that they are weak generally, okay?”

Trump’s ultimately fallacy

Let’s return to Trump’s December 7 2015 statement about Muslims to analyze which rhetorical techniques are in play:

Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.

In this statement, Trump immediately makes two things axiomatic (or unquestionable): American exceptionalism and Muslims' hatred for America. According to Trump, these axioms are supported by the wisdom of the crowd (ad populim); they are “obvious to anybody.”

He also defines Muslims in essential terms as people who believe only in jihad, are filled with hatred and have no respect for human life. Trump uses Reification – the treatment of objects as people and people as objects – to link his axioms together and support his case: “Our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad.”

Here, he personifies “our country” by presenting the nation as a person. Meanwhile, he uses “that” rather than “who” to signal that Muslims are not people, but objects.

His underlying logic is that our nation is a victim of these “objects.” Objects need not be treated with the same amount of care as people. Therefore we are justified in preventing Muslims from entering the country.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Trump’s use of evidence is incomplete and biased toward his point of view. His announcement cites a survey of American Muslims “showing 25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified.”

The polling data came from the Center for Security Policy (CSP), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called an “anti-Muslim think tank.” Furthermore, Trump fails to report that in the same survey, 61% of American Muslims agreed that “violence against those that insult the prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an, or Islamic faith” is not acceptable. Nor does he mention that 64% didn’t think that “violence against Americans here in the United States can be justified as part of the global jihad.”

Unfortunately, like a true demagogue, Trump doesn’t seem all too concerned with the facts.


 

Author:  Jennifer Mercieca:  Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Aggie Agora, Texas A&M University

Credit link:  https://theconversation.com/the-rhetorical-brilliance-of-trump-the-demagogue-51984<img alt="The Conversation" height="1" src="https://counter.theconversation.edu.au/content/51984/count.gif" width="1" />

The article was originally published on The Conversation (www.conversation.com) and is republished with permission granted to www.oasesnews.com

 


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Uproar over Trump call for Muslim ban

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 00:00 Written by

Trump is unrepentant even as criticism rained downed from White House and as far as Cairo.

Donald Trump dismissed criticism at home and abroad Tuesday over his "grossly irresponsible" call to bar Muslims from entering the United States, as the White House branded him unfit to lead.

Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, made the provocative remarks — just his latest on a range of topics on the campaign trail — after last week's shooting that left 14 dead in California by a Muslim couple said to have been radicalised.

In an address Sunday from the Oval Office, President Barack Obama called the attack in San Bernardino an "act of terrorism," but stressed there was no "war between America and Islam."

Less than 24 hours later, Trump triggered calls for him to be barred from taking power after he urged a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

The bombastic 69-year-old billionaire real estate mogul was unrepentant Tuesday, even as criticism rained down from the White House and as far afield as Ottawa, London and Cairo, where Egypt's official religious body Dar al-Iftaa denounced his "extremist and racist" comments.

Trump stood his ground. Asked by ABC News whether he regretted calling for the ban, he said "Not at all. We have to do the right thing."

And confronted with the charge that extremists would use Trump's rhetoric as a recruiting tool, the candidate scoffed.

"I'm the worst thing that's ever happened to ISIS," he said.

WHITE HOUSE

The strongest reaction came in the United States, where White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Trump's proposals were unconstitutional and challenged the mogul's fellow Republicans to denounce him.

Earnest was scathing and deeply personal, painting Trump — who has never held elected office — as a "carnival barker" with "fake hair."

"What Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president," concluded Earnest, describing the remarks as "offensive" and "toxic."

Trump, whose comments were extreme even by his populist standards, was similarly lambasted by leading Republicans and campaign rivals.

Trump was the "ISIL man of the year," thundered Senator Lindsey Graham, referring to his belief that Trump was succeeding only in fuelling the radical ideology of the Islamic State group.

"Do you know how you win this war? You side with people in the faith who reject this ideology, which is 99 per cent," Graham told CNN, before invoking Trump's campaign slogan — "make America great again."

"And do you know how you make America great again?" asked Graham, who is lagging badly in the nomination race.

"Tell Donald Trump to go to hell."

Other Republican contenders lined up to reject Trump's proposal.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, said Trump was playing "right into the hands of terrorists" and Rick Kriseman, a Democratic mayor in Florida, tweeted he was "barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps."

EXTREMISTS

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Trump's comments could "lead to the victimization of the innocent" by extremists.

"It is grossly irresponsible, given the aim of these extremists, to play into their hands at the expense of the vast majority of ordinary Muslims."

Muslim leaders in the United States hit out too.

Sohaib Sultan, Muslim Life Coordinator and Chaplain at Princeton University, drew parallels between Trump and the radical ideology of the Islamic State group.

"ISIS is to Islam what Donald Trump is to American values: a complete distortion of everything that we as a country and a society stand for."

But Sultan also lambasted other Republicans.

"A lot of Republican candidates have really been using similar type of rhetoric throughout the election cycle as well," he told CNN.

Trump showed little inclination to back down, instead comparing the proposed ban to actions taken by Franklin Roosevelt against Japanese and German "enemy aliens" during World War II, though he stopped short of advocating internment camps.

Asked by ABC News whether he was concerned about being increasingly compared to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Trump said "No, because what I'm doing is no different than FDR."

Even "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling weighed in, saying he was worse than the notorious villain in her blockbuster books.

"How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad," she tweeted.

The British government was similarly unimpressed.

Prime Minister David Cameron "completely disagrees" with the remarks, which are "divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong," a spokeswoman for the Conservative leader said.

Amid the uproar, Trump announced on Twitter that he would travel to Israel by year's end, but that he would not be visiting Jordan at this time, as earlier reported.


Senior Al-Shabaab leader killed in US strike in Somalia: Pentagon

Tuesday, 08 December 2015 00:00 Written by

A senior leader of the Al-Shabaab died in a US air strike in Somalia last week which also killed two other militants, the Pentagon said Monday.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said removal of Abdirahman Sandhere "is a significant blow to Al-Shabaab and reflects the painstaking work by our intelligence, military, and law enforcement professionals."

Sandhere, "also known as 'Ukash,' a senior leader of the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Al-Shabaab, is dead as a result of a US military air strike in Somalia undertaken on December 2" he said.

The Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 African Union troops.

The group has lost much ground in recent years but remain a threat in both Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, where they have carried out a series of attacks.

The movement is also facing growing divisions with some members shifting allegiance from Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State group.

The United States has led drone strikes in Somalia against Al-Shabaab since 2011.


US issues global travel warning amid 'increased terrorist threats'

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 00:00 Written by

 

The US government has issued a worldwide travel alert - warning its citizens of the risks of traveling because of “increased terrorist threats”.

In a message posted on its website, the State Department warned on Monday evening that people should be more vigilant after recent attacks in France and Mali.

“Current information suggests that (Islamic State), al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions,” it said,

Travel Alert: Authorities believe likelihood of terror attacks will continue as ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria/ Iraq. https://t.co/Ebm8Ny3Bom

“Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  

“Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.” 

The alert from Washington comes after the attacks in Paris that left more than 130 dead and the assault upon a hotel in Mali.

The warning urged people to "exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation"

It added: "Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places.  Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events."


 

Man Executed By Lethal Injection for Setting Fire That Killed His Children

Friday, 20 November 2015 00:00 Written by

 

A Texas inmate Raphael Holiday, was executed on Wednesday for setting a fire that killed his 18-month-old daughter and her two young half-sisters at an East Texas home 15 years ago.
 
According to AP, the 36-year-old Holiday, became the 13th convicted killer put to death this year in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state. It has accounted for half of all executions in the U.S. so far this year.

Asked by a warden if he had a final statement, Holiday thanked his "supporters and loved ones."

He said: "I love y'all. I want you to know I'm always going to be with you."

He also thanked the warden.
 
As the lethal dose of pentobarbital began, he took two deep breaths and appeared to yawn, his mouth remaining open as he wheezed several times. Then all movement stopped.

Nineteen minutes later, at 8:30 p.m. CST, he was pronounced dead.

The punishment was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal seeking to halt Holiday's punishment so new attorneys could be appointed to pursue additional unspecified appeals in his case.

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