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16 coffee table books that could make a great holiday gift

NEW YORK – Coffee table books are always great gifts for just the right enthusiast, and they’re plentiful at holiday time as quick grabs or advance buys.

A few suggestions, based on interest area:


“Harper’s Bazaar: Models,” by Derek Blasberg: Christy, Naomi, Linda, Kate, Gisele and more. In all, the magazine’s editor in chief, Glenda Bailey, and editor at large, Blasberg, have selected 28 famous faces, with essays, covers and interviews. Abrams, $65.

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“Curves,” photographs by Victoria Janashvili: Portraits focused on body esteem for women, all women 鈥?short, tall, big and bigger. Janashvili ends with a nude self-portrait to, she writes, “see myself as a beautiful one 鈥?like all the women that I photograph.” Self-published, $51 at Curvesthebook长沙桑拿.

“Creating the Illusion: A Fashionable History of Hollywood Costume Designers,” by Jay Jorgensen and Donald L. Scoggins: The people behind movie fashion get their due in long essays accompanied by production shots, illustrations and behind-the-scenes candids. From the silent era of Greta Garbo to Johnny Depp’s pirate. Running Press, $65.

“Peter Lindbergh: Images of Women II,” designed by Juan Gatti, text by Werner Spies, Wim Wenders and Peter Handke: The German photographer’s work spanning 2005 through 2014, black and white from the worlds of fashion, society and film. Portraits and nudes include Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton and Kate Winslet 鈥?and a few famous men. Schirmer/Mosel, $99.95.


“Schatz Images: 25 Years,” by Howard Schatz: A stunning, two-volume box set from the award-winning photographer spanning portraits of murderers and athletes, dancers and models, pregnant moms and “interesting nobodies,” as the publisher puts it. A limited-edition retrospective. Glitterati Inc., $365.

“Fellini: The Sixties,” by Manoah Bowman: Focused on the director’s most iconic work, including “Dolce Vita,” ”81/2,” ”Juliet of the Spirits” and “Fellini Satyricon.” Includes some never-before-seen archive photos, along with stills and essays from an array of contemporary writers. A collaboration between Turner Classic Movies and Running Press, $65.

“Nextinction,” by Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy: A follow to the cartoonist’s wild collection of extinct birds. The 192 here, in Steadman’s trademark trippy style, are alive but endangered, including the giant ibis, the kakapo and the spoon-billed sandpiper. Steadman and Levy have dubbed themselves the “gonzovationists.” Portion of proceeds to BirdLife International. Bloomsbury, $50.

“Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History,” by Michael Klastorian and Randal Atamaniuk: Marking the 30th anniversary of the original movie, hundreds of images from all three in the time-travel trilogy. Concept art and storyboards are also included, along with cast and crew interviews. Harper Design, in conjunction with Universal Pictures, $50.


“Dr. Who: Impossible Worlds,” by Stephen Nicholas and Mike Tucker: For the hard-core fan, this volume offers a 50-year history of the show in art and design. Extras at the back include sketches, schematics and full-colour sets on cards tucked into an envelope. Harper Design, $45.

“Blue’s Hands,” by Joseph A. Rosen: The photographer chronicles his own 30-year love affair with blues music focusing on the working hands of some of the greats. In full colour close-ups, from juke joints to concert halls and luxury liners, Rosen sticks to his mission of letting the hands tell the story, with nugget bios of each artist at the back. Schiffer Publishing, $29.99.

“Bob Dylan All the Songs,” by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon: This is the story behind every track. That’s 492 songs. Along with exhaustive notes on players, lyrics and production, the two have included bites of backstory for true “Dylanologists.” Photos of the man and his famous friends and collaborators abound. Black Dog & Leventhal, $50.

“Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting,” by Eilon Paz: One need not be a vinyl head to appreciate this book, but one does need a healthy appreciation of music. This gem reads like “Humans of New York” of the crate-digging scene. Paz first self-published his ode to vinyl collectors, beginning in New York but spreading to collectors from Portugal to Japan to his native Israel and back again to Brooklyn. In all, he tells the stories and lovingly photographs the collections of more than 130 people, including Acid Jazz record label co-founder Gilles Peterson, among other notables. Ten Speed Press, $50.


“Passage to Cuba,” by Cynthia Carris Alonso: The photographer has spent 20 years shooting Cuba. At a time of openness for American visitors, she captures street scenes, historic moments and beautiful landscapes, from Havana to the sparkling blue shoreline of Varadero Beach. In thoughtful but spare text, she explains the Spanish architecture of Old Havana, poses the dancers of Cuba’s water ballet team and shares her shots of a rally celebrating the return of Elian Gonzalez. Skyhorse Publishing, $45.

“John Baeder’s Road Well Taken,” by Jay Williams: Nobody captured “diner consciousness” quite like the realist painter Baeder. In this volume, Williams creates a full account of Baeder’s life, including interviews with the artist and nearly 300 images of his collectable diner paintings, watercolours, vintage photos and memorabilia. The Vendome Press, $45.

“The National Parks: An American Legacy,” photographs by Ian Shive: The National Park Service marks its 100th anniversary in 2016. From a portrait of a golden-mantled ground squirrel in Glacier National Park to a serene sunset at Denali, this book includes more than 200 never-before-seen images. A bald eagle guards prey in Olympic National Park, the stark dunes at White Sands create a wind pattern and the sunrise turns peaks yellow in Death Valley. Insight Editions, $50.

“Revolution: Mapping the Road to American Independence, 1755-1783,” by Richard H. Brown and Paul E. Cohen: 60 detailed, full-colour maps tell the story of the American Revolution. Many document decisive battles, accompanied by essays putting them into context. Geeks of the period will revel. W.W. Norton & Company, $75


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Calgary dayhome owner pleads guilty to manslaughter in toddler death

CALGARY – A Calgary dayhome owner accused in the 2012 death of a toddler pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Monday.

Caitlin Jarosz was originally charged with second-degree murder after Mackenzy Woolfsmith’s lifeless body was found in her private MacKenzie Towne day home on May 2.

Jarosz told emergency responders that Woolfsmith had fallen down two steps of carpeted stairs and flipped in the air. She was rushed to the Alberta Children’s Hospital suffering from brain and spinal cord injuries but died the next day.

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After consulting with the medical examiner and other experts, investigators determined Woolfsmith actually died as a result of multiple blunt force trauma.

According to an agreed statement of facts heard in court, Jarosz was the only adult in the home at the time. She was arrested in July 2013.

“She was remorseful the first day I met her and she came into my office,” said Jarosz’s defence attorney Alain Hepner on Monday. “It’s tough, I mean this is a young girl, no record, running a day home. It’s very difficult. She’s an ordinary girl with no past history at all in the courts so it’s very difficult.”

Jarosz’s murder trial, which began on Monday, was scheduled to last two weeks.

She is set to be sentenced in the spring of 2016.

– With files Carolyn Kury de Castillo

Caitlin Jarosz was arrested on July 16, 2013 in connection with the death of Mackenzy Jane Woolfsmith in May 2012.

Jim Wells/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

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Sask. Premier calls on PM to suspend Syrian refugee plan

REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to suspend the federal government’s plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year, citing potential security concerns.

“If even a small number of individuals who wish to do harm to our country are able to enter Canada as a result of a rushed refugee resettlement process, the results could be devastating,” Wall wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister dated Monday, November 16.

READ MORE: Trudeau pledges active role in terror fight

Wall describes Trudeau’s desire to help those “fleeing violence and bloodshed” as “noble,” but raises concerns about how a firm, end-of-year deadline could impact the screening process.

“Surely, we do not want to be date-driven or numbers-driven in an endeavour that may affect the safety of our citizens and the security of our country,” Wall wrote.

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READ MORE: Frenchman and man with Syrian passport among attackers in Paris

Speaking to reporters Monday morning Wall was not entirely critical of the federal government’s plan, and made a point of highlighting the work being done by public safety minister Ralph Goodale.

“I have a great deal of comfort with Mr. Goodale on this particular file,” Wall said. “I hope he’s talking to the Prime Minister on it because he’s obviously a veteran in the cabinet.”

On the weekend, Goodale told The West Block’s Tom Clark that “a key part of (accepting refugees) is to ensure that the appropriate security checks are done.”

Wall said that his opposition to the federal government’s timeline is not just a security issue, but a settlement issue as well.

“We’ve been talking to the groups that do the settlement in the province of Saskatchewan, we’ve been talking to the mayors of our major cities – they also have concerns,” Wall said.

So far this year Saskatchewan has accepted 334 refugees, 28 of those from Syria, but Wall said he still hasn’t heard what the 25,000, end-of-year commitment would mean for the province.

“That’s part of the issue, by the way, we’re 45 days away and there are not answers to questions,” he said.

Wall also said he believes Canadians would be forgiving of a change in policy and would not necessarily see it as a broken election promise.

Meanwhile, NDP leader Cam Broten took issue with Wall’s comments, and suggested that denying entry to those fleeing violence only “compounds the damage terrorism is doing to our world.”

“I don’t think it’s wise for Mr. Wall to attempt to stir up fear in order to slam the door shut on families that are desperate to flee the tyranny of ISIS,” Broten said in a statement.

Wall, and other Canadian premiers, are scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister on November 23 in Ottawa.

Watch the full scrum with Premier Brad Wall below:

Read the full letter below:


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Help support the Toronto Fire Fighters’ Toy Drive

Global News has partnered with the Toronto Fire Fighters for a ninth year in a row to support the annual Fire Fighters’ Toy Drive.

On Friday, Dec. 4, Global News hosted the annual Toy Drive LIVE at CF Shops at Don Mills from 5 to 8 p.m.

The family-friendly event featured a live broadcast by Global News at 5:30pm. Global’s Anchor Alan Carter broadcasted live from the square and was joined by Global News personalities Rosey Edeh, Susan Hay and Chief Meteorologist Anthony Farnell.

Toy Drive: Global News has a special surprise for you at this year’s annual toy drive event


Toy Drive: Global News has a special surprise for you at this year’s annual toy drive event


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Toy Drive: A $5,000 donation to this year’s annual event


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Toy Drive: The lighting of the Christmas tree


Help support the Toronto Fire Fighters’ Toy Drive

The evening culminated with fire fighters collecting over 2000 toys for children in need thanks to the generosity of event goers.

The evening included an official tree lighting ceremony, a meet and mingle with Santa and his friends, holiday music brought to you by The Oakville Children’s Choir, and activities including: face painting, balloon art, an opportunity for kids to try on fire fighter bunker gear and play with Spin Master’s newest toys.

There was also free food and refreshments on hand.

All in support of the Toronto Fire Fighters’ Toy Drive!

The Toronto Fire Fighters’ Toy Drive is brought to you by Global News and sponsored by Spin Master.

How you can help support the Toronto Fire Fighters’ Toy Drive:

Donate a Toy

Donate a toy at your local Toronto fire hall.

For an interactive map of fire halls in your neighbourhood, click here.

Make a Monetary Donation

Don’t have time to drop off a toy? Make a charitable monetary donation to the Toronto Fire Fighters’ Toy Drive through CanadaHelps长沙夜网

Get your office Involved

Your office can get involved to make the holidays brighter for many children in need.

Contact us at [email protected]长沙夜网 to find out how you and your colleagues can donate toys and make a difference this holiday season!

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‘We are all in the same boat’ says French-born Muslim after two sisters gunned down by ISIS attack

Khaled Saadi was working at La Belle Equipe restaurant, where his sister was celebrating her birthday, when his family and his life were shattered.

Gunmen stormed the Paris cafe, first aiming at those enjoying a balmy Friday night at the sidewalk tables, then spraying the interior.

“There were three birthdays including my sister’s one. So the terrace was crowded,” Saadi told The Associated Press. “And at half past nine, I was inside, they came and started shooting on everyone inside and outside on the terrace.”

“They killed everybody. My two sisters, my friends and my sister’s friends that were there.”

Khaled hit the ground. After a minute that felt like an eternity, the guns fell silent.

He stood, and found two of his sisters, friends and colleagues in pools of blood.

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His 35-year-old sister Halima died on the spot.

His other sister, 36-year-old Hodda was severely wounded and barely breathing, and Saadi did everything he could to try to save her, but in vain.

“I moved her with a friend of hers named Sam. We moved her to another restaurant nearby and then I left to get my other sister,” Khaled explained. “I left with the same person towards the restaurant. And then I left Sam with Hodda so he could talk with her and keep her awake and tell her that we were there because she was still breathing.”

In this photo taken on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, Khaled Saadi, 27, left and Abdullah Saadi, 38, listen during an interview with the Associated Press.

(AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

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She died upon arrival at a Paris hospital treating some of the at least 350 people wounded in Friday’s attacks.

Halima and Hodda were among at least 129 people killed.

Hodda was the manager of ‘La Belle Equipe’ and her sister Halima was on a one week visit to Paris before heading back to Dakar, Senegal where she lived.

Khaled Saadi is tortured by memories of the night, thinking of all the people he couldn’t save, and why he survived but his sisters didn’t.

He took the reservations for three birthday parties the cafe was hosting that night.

A French-born Muslim of Tunisian origin, Khaled Saadi and his brother Abdallah worry about a backlash against moderates like them.

“The people that do this, they kill Muslims, they kill everyone. Our sisters are gone, and 128 persons together with them. So many people are wounded,” Abdallah said. “I hope that the French people won’t mix up everything. We are born in France, in Bourgogne precisely, we have always worked, unlike what some stupid people may think. We are just citizens as anyone else, loving our families and the people in general and we lost two sisters.”

“My parents are in an absolute distress. We were eight brothers and sisters and we became six, in one evening.”

They lament the attack on a Paris neighborhood that embodied the idea of living together in diversity, saying attackers targeted everyone indiscriminately.

“We are all inhabitants of this planet and we need to fight one for the other and help each other,” Abdallah continued.

“There were black people, Arabic people, Jewish people there, all of us were hit. So we are all in the same boat.”

Cafe owner Gregory Reibenberg is Jewish, and a friend to Khaled Saadi and his deceased sisters.

Reibenberg also lost his wife and the mother of his daughter in the attack.


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Edmonton taxi drivers rally at Legislature before ride-sharing bylaw debate

EDMONTON — Local taxi drivers gathered at the legislature Monday afternoon to voice their support for what they call a fair and safe vehicle-for-hire industry.

Approximately 100 taxi drivers and their supporters turned out for the rally at the Alberta legislature, hoping the province will wade into the debate.

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“We want to remind people that this isn’t just a municipal issue in Edmonton,” said Pascal Ryffel, a spokesperson for Driving for Equality Campaign, Alberta Taxi Group. “It’s something that affects people right across Alberta.”

The group would like to see the industry municipally and provincially regulated.

He said the biggest concern is safety.

“The bylaw as it stands before council still does not address all the safety issues,” said Ryffel. “If you take a taxi, you are protected. There are safety cameras and panic buttons, and safety shields, but none of that would be required if Uber was to operate in Edmonton under the proposed bylaw.”

“It would essentially create a free for all.”

The proposed bylaw would make Edmonton Uber drivers very similar to taxi drivers. It would require Uber drivers to have a city license, undergo a criminal record check, have their vehicle inspected annually and pay for commercial insurance.

READ MORE: Report on proposed Edmonton vehicle-for-hire bylaw released

Uber said the fee structure would shift costs from ride-sharing drivers to ride-sharing companies, making its business unsustainable in the city.

“As it’s written, the fee structure is actually the most expensive in the entire world for ride-sharing.

“And as a result, it’s completely unsustainable to continue ridesharing in Edmonton,” said Ramit Kar, Uber general manager for Alberta.

The ride-sharing company said several amendments need to be made to avoid a forced shutdown.

READ MORE: Edmonton cabbies urge city to crack down on Uber 

The taxi industry also remains leery of the proposed bylaw, citing concerns about safety for the public and drivers. Also at issue: the number of drivers able to operate within city limits.

“If you have a completely open system, where there are an unlimited amount of drivers, it becomes impossible to have full-time, professional drivers in the city,” said Ryffel. “That makes it very unreliable.”

Taxi drivers have a list of amendments they would like to see made to the proposed bylaw when council discusses it on Tuesday.

In a statement Monday, Uber said a petition supporting the company has nearly 15,000 signatures.

“Riders love Uber because it connects them to a safe, reliable and affordable ride at the push of a button, drivers love Uber because it provides them a flexible earning opportunity and cities love Uber because it gives residents and visitors a reliable ride when they need one, reduces congestion and decreases impaired driving,” said Jean-Christophe de le rue. “Yet Edmonton city staff have chosen to look backwards and proposed bylaw revisions that will force Uber to shut down in Edmonton.”

“On Tuesday, we hope that city council will support innovation, ride sharing and Edmontonians,” he added.

Tuesday’s debate is expected to draw a large and potentially emotional crowd, so much so that in a rare move media members interested in attending have been asked to obtain accreditation.

READ MORE: Taxi drivers break out in angry protest at Edmonton city council meeting meeting

In September taxi drivers packed council chambers, yelling and protested when councillors discussed changes to the bylaw. Some people even started banging the walls on the concourse of council chambers.

At least one driver took off his shirt, saying it was a symbol of Mayor Don Iveson trying to take the shirt of his back.

RAW VIDEO: Taxi drivers break out in angry protest at Edmonton city council

Uber currently operates in 40 cities across Canada.

The company has been in Edmonton for just under a year. Those looking for a ride use a mobile app to connect with a Uber driver, who picks them up with their personal vehicle.


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After the Paris attacks, two friends stand in solidarity with their Muslim roommate

MONTREAL – If you were too busy looking at your phone or reading the paper as you passed through Berri-UQAM metro Monday morning, you may have missed it: A show of solidarity by three young men with a message.

New Yorker Matt Dajer standing tall, hand in hand with his two roommates, Ammar Kandil from Egypt and Thomas Brag, from France.

“We’re roommates and best friends and we wanted to show support for all cultures suffering at the hands of terrorism,” Dajer told Global News.

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They stood with a sign that read, “He is my roommate and best friend. These are my brothers. They cannot separate us.”

Their act was a simple one, but their message was strong.

“We realized that this is their [ISIS’] goal…to make us fear each other,” he said.

“We realized that by standing in solidarity with each other and publicly announcing [this], we’re refusing to play their game.”

Dajer admitted the last three days were an extremely difficult time in their apartment.

“It [the Paris attack] was very rough. Thomas’ friend was shot at the Bataclan,” he said.

“All of our friends from there are still terrified.”

Brag’s friend, police officer Arnaud Beldon, 38, remains in critical condition.

“He’s in coma, so it’s uncertain at the moment,” Dajer told Global News.

“He was shot in the spine three times protecting his wife.”

WATCH: Generation Y Not stands together

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Weapons recovered after vehicle almost hits Saskatoon police cruiser

SASKATOON – Two women are facing numerous charges after a Saskatoon police vehicle was nearly hit early Saturday morning. The women were in a vehicle that ran a red light at the intersection of 22nd Street West and Avenue T at a high rate of speed and almost hit the patrol vehicle.

The vehicle continued westbound on 22nd Street. Police said they did not give chase on the ground, but the air support unit spotted the vehicle entering the city on 33rd Street.

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Officers deployed stop sticks at Lisgar Avenue and Diefenbaker Drive in an attempt to disable the vehicle. At that point, one person fled on foot while the driver continued her attempt to evade police.

She eventually crashed into a parked car on Douglas Crescent.

Both women were taken into custody with the help of a police dog.

READ MORE: Man charged with committing multiple armed robberies in Saskatoon

Police said they recovered a sawed-off shot gun and a sawed-off rifle that had been thrown from the vehicle while the women were attempted to evade police.

The two Saskatoon women, 22 and 23, are facing over 20 charges including evading police and weapons-related offences.


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French Muslim students condemn Paris attacks in moving video

A group representing thousands of Muslim students in France released a powerful video in the wake of several coordinated attacks in Paris Friday night.

The Etudiants Musulmans de France (EMF), or Muslim Students of France,  posted a video to its website condemning the horrific events and expressing its ‘dismay, sadness, and emotion in the aftermath of the tragedy.”

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In the video, the EMF students hold signs simply reading ‘#NousSommesUnis’ – or ‘#WeAreUnited’ – while a narrator reads a monologue.

“They think they are fighting Crusaders, and they invoke the Qur’an, and quote its verses. But shedding the blood of an innocent has no justification… not in Islam or anywhere,” a narrator says.

“They wanted France to be weak, they made our French hearts strong.”

IN PHOTOS: As France mourns, Europe holds moment of silence in honour of Paris victims

Muslim groups around the world have condemned the attacks, but there is concern they could become targets in retaliation.

Police are investigating in Peterborough, Ontario after a fire at a mosque on Saturday that investigators are calling arson. Police said it is unclear if the fire was at all connected to the deadly attacks in Paris, but Muslim groups are calling for authorities to treat the fire as a potential hate crime.

READ MORE: Campaign raises more than $57,000 for mosque ravaged by fire in Peterborough

“In our experience, following these kinds of tragedies or when Islam or Muslims are portrayed negatively in the media, we do tend to notice a spike in the number of hate crimes and hate incidents that are reported to NCCM,” Ihsaan Gardee, with the National Council of Canadian Muslims, told the Canadian Press on Sunday.

“Obviously it’s challenging in terms of being able to draw a direct causal effect, to make a causal connection between the two, but there certainly seems to be a correlation.”

In the wake of the January attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Muslim-owned businesses were burned and mosques attacked.

WATCH: Obama says ‘slamming the door’ on refugees would be a ‘betrayal of our values’

The deadly attacks have also strengthened Republican opposition in the U.S. to accepting thousands of Syrian refugees. Michigan, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana have all said they will not accept any Syrian refugees following the tragedy in France.


President Barack Obama said Monday while speaking in Turkey that it’s wrong to equate attacks like those that happened in Paris with Islam. He challenge the Muslim community, especially Muslim leader, to do more to push back against extremism

He added that it was “shameful” for political leaders to call for imposing a religious test on refugees.


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Obama says Paris attacks a ‘terrible and sickening’ setback in fight against ISIS

ANTALYA, Turkey – President Barack Obama on Monday conceded that the Paris terror attacks were a “terrible and sickening setback” in the fight against the Islamic State, but forcefully dismissed critics who have called for the U.S. to change or expand its military campaign against the extremists.

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“The strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that is ultimately is going to work,” Obama said during a news conference at the close of two days of talks with world leaders. “It’s going to take time.”

The president grew irritated amid repeated questions about whether he had underestimated the strength of the Islamic State, which now appears to be focusing on targets outside its base in Syria and Iraq. In addition to the terror spree in Paris, the group has claimed responsibility for attacks in Lebanon and Turkey, as well as the downing of a Russian airline in Egypt.

WATCH: U.S. President Barack Obama calls the Islamic State “the face of evil” 

The president said most of his critics are simply “talking as if they’re tough” and offering no real ideas. And he brushed aside those who call for sending U.S. ground troops into the region, saying that “would be a mistake” and wouldn’t work unless the U.S. was committed to being a permanent occupying force in the region.

“This is not an abstraction,” Obama said. “When we send troops in, those troops get injured. They get killed.”

While Obama did not single out his critics by name, some Republican presidential candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have called for sending U.S. forces into Syria. Bush has also suggested that any U.S. assistance to refugees fleeing the Middle East should be primarily focused on Christians, another idea that rankled Obama.

WATCH: Presidential candidates discuss how to deal with ISIS, threat of terrorism to US

“That’s shameful,” Obama declared. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are.”

Republicans and also some Democrats have challenged Obama’s approach to the Islamic State, saying he lacks a clear strategy. The president’s approach centres largely on airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, as well as programs to train and equip moderate opposition forces. He’s also sent more than 3,000 troops to Iraq to assist that country’s security forces and recently announced plans to send up to 50 Americans into Syria.



Obama says international community needs to do more to combat threat of ISIS



Obama says putting U.S. troops on the ground to combat ISIS would be a ‘mistake’



Obama says ‘slamming the door’ on refugees would be a ‘betrayal of our values’



President Obama: This is not just an attack on Paris, it’s an attack on humanity



President Obama comments on Paris attacks at G20

Obama said he envisioned escalating that strategy, not overhauling it. And he called on other nations to step up their involvement in the fight against the extremists.

France has already ramped up its response following the attacks that killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds. In its heaviest strikes yet, French military bombarded Raqqa, the Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria, in hopes of killing Islamic State organizers and trainees

Obama announced a new effort to share intelligence with France following the co-ordinated terror spree across Paris that killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds. Officials said the U.S. was already using intelligence to help France identify targets for the airstrikes.

ISIS Targets Destroyed By American Air Strikes | FindTheBest

The Islamic State’s increasing focus on targets outside the military has raised questions about whether Obama underestimated the group. He once referred to the extremists as a “JV team” and said shortly before the Paris attack that their capacity in Iraq and Syria had been contained.

The president conceded there were challenges in defeating the Islamic State given that its fighters have a “willingness to die.”

“If you have a handful of people who don’t mind dying, they can kill a lot of people,” he said.

While officials say the U.S. had been aware of the Islamic State’s desire to strike targets outside the Middle East, Obama said he had not been briefed on any intelligence that indicated an attack in Paris was likely.

“I’m not aware of anything that was specific,” he said.

WATCH: NATO general Adrian Bradshaw has pledged that the organization of nations is ‘ready and determined’ to provide needed support after the Paris attacks.

Obama’s comments followed a two-day meeting with leaders from the Group of 20 rich and developing countries. The meeting in the seaside city of Antalya, just a few hundred miles from the Syrian border, was planned before the Paris attacks, but the carnage there ratcheted up the urgency in the talks.

The discussions about the Islamic State came amid a glimmer of progress in efforts to end the Syrian civil war, which created the chaos that allowed the extremist group to thrive. A foreign ministers’ meeting in Vienna over the weekend resulted in a new diplomatic plan that envisions negotiations between Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and opposition groups starting by Jan. 1.

Still, sharp differences over Assad’s future and disagreements about what militant groups in Syria should be considered terrorists have dampened hopes for a breakthrough.

Obama voiced optimism about the plan, saying he had “some degree of hope” that the plan would provide a path forward. But he added, “We are very clear eyed about the very, very difficult road ahead.”

©2015The Associated Press

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