Here are five of the top stories making headlines this afternoon:
ISIS militants release video of a second beheaded American journalist. Steven Sotloff is the second American journalist to be beheaded by ISIS militants in Syria. SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S. terrorism watchdog, today reported on the existence of the video of Sotloff’s murder, which contains the message that “our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people” unless the U.S. halts air strikes on the group in Iraq. A spokesperson for Sotloff’s family confirmed that they knew of his death. Sotloff, 31, had been reporting in Syria when he was kidnapped in August 2013. News of Sotloff’s death comes just after ISIS killed another kidnapped journalist, James Foley, in a similar fashion. U.S. officials say they are working to verify the authenticity of the video of Sotloff’s death.
Students head back to school, but not in B.C. Students at B.C.’s public schools didn’t go to class today, with the first day back cancelled as teachers continue to strike. There is no hope for an immediate resolution, either. Teachers have been striking since June and a mediator walked away from talks over the weekend, saying the two sides were too far apart. No new meetings have been scheduled. Key sticking points remain wages and class sizes.
Justin Bieber is arrested, charged over the long weekend. More proof that Bieber is just a regular Canadian kid getting into trouble on the long weekend. Police in Bieber’s hometown of Stratford, Ont. say the 20-year-old star was charged with dangerous driving and assault after an ATV collided with a minivan in a rural area outside Stratford Friday afternoon. Police say the driver of the van and the driver of the ATV then got into an altercation. Before the alleged incident, various gossip websites had published pictures of Bieber and girlfriend Selena Gomez riding on an ATV in the area. Bieber will appear in court to face the charges on Sept. 29. The Biebs has another Canadian court date to meet before then, however. He is facing another assault charge in Toronto on Sept. 8, relating to an alleged assault against a Toronto limo driver.
Stephen Harper heads to the NATO summit, where he may be pressured to increase spending. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a very vocal critic of Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine, but will he put his money where his mouth is? The Canadian PM started his travels to the NATO summit in Wales, where the U.S. and Britain are expected to ask Harper to increase defence spending to meet the NATO benchmark of two per cent of GDP. Canada spends closer to one per cent currently, and the Department of National Defence will be under pressure to reduce its budget next year as the federal government aims for a balanced budget in 2015.
Putin says he could “take Kiev in two weeks.” When the NATO summit gets underway tomorrow, leaders are sure to be talking about comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin who, according to a report published in an Italian newspaper and now in the New York Times, said he could “take Kiev in two weeks.” The Kremlin has not denied the statement, but did say it was taken out of context. Meanwhile, NATO countries are expected to approve at least 4,000 troops and equipment to head to eastern Ukraine, in a move that could force Putin to readjust his estimate of how long it would take to reach Ukraine’s capital.