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1,500 copies of latest Charlie Hebdo issue available in Canada on Friday

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January 14, 2015 - 8:25 AM

TORONTO - The Canadian distributor for the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo says 1,500 copies of the latest issue — which features a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover — will be available in different parts of the country Friday.

Louis-Philip Vermeersch, director of sales for LMPI, says that's up from the 100 issues that are usually delivered for distribution each week.

But he says the increased production likely won't be enough to meet demand for the issue from those Canadians who want to see the latest copy of a magazine at the centre of an international tragedy.

Charlie Hebdo is usually only available in Quebec and one store in Toronto, but Vermeersch says distribution will be more widespread this time.

Copies will be available at five Toronto stores, one in New Brunswick, one in Nova Scotia and a handful in Vancouver in addition to its usual Quebec-based retailers.

Last week, two gunmen stormed the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris, killing 12 people.

The irreverent publication had faced repeated threats for depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims believe all images of the Prophet are blasphemous.

Surviving Charlie Hebdo staff held a press conference in Paris on Tuesday to showcase the cover of the coming issue. It depicts a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad weeping and holding a sign reading "I am Charlie" with the words "All is forgiven" above him.

The latest issue also skewers other religions and features a double-page spread illustrating Sunday's march in Paris that drew more than a million people to condemn terrorism.

"For the past week, Charlie, an atheist newspaper, has achieved more miracles than all the saints and prophets combined," reads the lead editorial in the new issue. "The one we are most proud of is that you have in your hands the newspaper that we always made."

Charlie Hebdo's publisher has indicated that it's increasing production of this week's issue to an unprecedented three million copies worldwide, but Vermeersch said there is no guarantee any of the additional copies will make there way to Canada.

"This is just supply to meet domestic demand in France," Vermeersch said in a telephone interview. "We are trying to get another run, but we have no confirmation whatsoever at the moment."

Vermeersch said he expects the magazine to be on newsstands by noon on Friday.

The attack on the magazine marked the beginning of three days of terror that saw 17 people killed in separate incidents. The three gunmen responsible, all of whom claimed ties to Islamic extremists in the Middle East, were killed by security forces.



OTTAWA - One of the co-chairs of the advisory group looking at security in the wake of the Oct. 22 shootings says last week's attack in Paris won't change the plans for Parliament Hill.

Conservative Sen. Vern White, a former police chief, says the new security plan will consider a range of scenarios — from a "lone wolf" incident to a co-ordinated, well-planned assault like the one on Charlie Hebdo last week.

"We are reacting and considering all possibilities," White said Tuesday during a lunch-hour panel program on Ottawa radio station CFRA.

Everyone knows Michael Zehaf Bibeau's bloody rampage in Ottawa could have been much worse, and security planners recognize the need to protect against better-armed, more co-ordinated attackers, he added.

White said that ought to include reinforcing Parliament Hill's outer perimeter, which extends at least the length of a full city block away from the front doors of the Centre Block, the iconic building that includes the Peace Tower.

"To be blunt, you need to kill them at the gates, you need to kill them on the lawn, you need to kill them outside the building," he said.

"You can't afford to let them get inside the building. So, whatever the plan looks like to make that reality is what you have to work towards."

Improved security at the edge of the property could involve RCMP officers restricting the number of access points to three from five and conducting searches at those entrances, White suggested.

He said he's proud of the fact Parliament Hill is so publicly accessible, but noted there are lots of opportunities to improve security without disrupting the public's access to the country's seat of democracy.

Last November it was announced that the House of Commons and Senate security officers would patrol the parliamentary precinct under a single command. Members of the unified parliamentary security team have been trained to carry firearms.

Following the fatal shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial on Oct. 22, Zehaf Bibeau ran up the eastern driveway of Parliament unchallenged before he hijacked a minister's waiting car and drove the rest of the way to the front doors.

After running into the Centre Block, Zehaf Bibeau was shot and killed by Kevin Vickers, the Commons sergeant-at-arms, and RCMP security.

House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer ordered a full security review immediately following the attack.

Other interim security measures were imposed, including putting security posts outside the Centre Block to screen visitors and ensuring public tours don't take place while party caucus members are having their weekly meetings.

Scheer, who co-chairs the advisory committee with White, also said at the time to expect more changes.

At the end of November, the speaker asked the Ontario Provincial Police to investigate not only the shooting of Zehaf Bibeau in the Centre Block, but also the gunman's approach from Wellington Street to the doors of the building.

It is standard practice for an outside police agency to investigate when a police force is involved in a fatal shooting, but the second review — ordered a month after the first — suggests questions are being asked about how the perimeter was breached.



PARIS - In an emotional act of defiance, Charlie Hebdo resurrected its irreverent and often provocative newspaper Tuesday, featuring a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover that drew immediate criticism and threats of more violence.

The newspaper unapologetically skewered other religions as well, and bragged that Sunday's turnout of a million people at a march in Paris to condemn terrorism was larger "than for Mass."

"For the past week, Charlie, an atheist newspaper, has achieved more miracles than all the saints and prophets combined," it said in the edition's lead editorial. "The one we are most proud of is that you have in your hands the newspaper that we always made."

Working out of borrowed offices, surviving staff published an unprecedented print run of 3 million copies — more than 50 times the usual circulation.

It was to appear on newsstands Wednesday, one week to the day after the assault by two masked gunmen that killed 12 people, including much of the weekly's editorial staff and two police officers. It was the beginning of three days of terror that saw 17 people killed before the three Islamic extremist attackers were gunned down by security forces.

Before the new edition was even released, one of Egypt's top Islamic authorities had warned Charlie Hebdo against publishing more cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Dar al-Ifta, which is in charge of issuing religious edicts, called the planned cover an "unjustified provocation" for millions of Muslims who respect and love their prophet and warned the cartoon would likely spark a new wave of hatred.

Indeed, criticism and threats immediately appeared on militant websites, with calls for more strikes against the newspaper and anonymous threats from radicals, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based terrorism monitor.

The latest cover shows a weeping Muhammad, holding a sign reading "I am Charlie" with the words "All is forgiven" above him. Zineb El Rhazoui, a journalist with the weekly, said the cover meant the journalists are forgiving the extremists for the attack.

Renald Luzier, the cartoonist who drew the cover image under the pen name "Luz," said it represents "just a little guy who's crying."

Then he added, unapologetically: "Yes, it is Muhammad."

Speaking at a news conference in which he repeatedly broke down crying, Luzier described weeping after he drew the picture.

"I wrote 'everything is pardoned', and I cried," he said, adding that at that moment the staff understood the drawing would be the cover.

"It is not the cover that the world wanted us to do," he said, tearfully putting his head down on the table at one point as colleagues embraced him in a group hug.

Charlie Hebdo had faced repeated threats and a firebombing for depictions of the prophet, and its editor and his police bodyguard were the first to die. Many Muslims believe all images of the prophet are blasphemous.

The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo maintained the intentionally offensive tone that made the newspaper famous in France. The first two pages included drawings by the slain cartoonists: One showed a well-known late French nun talking about oral sex; another showed Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders dividing up the world.

The lead editorial laid out a vigorous defence of secularism, and of the newspaper's right to lampoon religions and hold their leaders accountable — and ended with a critique of the pope.

But most of the controversy centred on the cover and its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.

Around the world, news organizations took different approaches to illustrating stories about the Charlie Hebdo cover. In the United States, CBS programs and The New York Post ran images of the cover, while the ABC network didn't. The New York Times also didn't publish it, but included a link to it. CNN didn't show the cover online or on the air. The Associated Press had not run previous Charlie Hebdo cartoons showing Muhammad, and declined to run the latest one as well, based on its policy to avoid images designed to provoke on the basis of religion.

In Europe, Spain's leading daily newspapers published the image online and the state broadcaster showed it on news bulletins. In Britain, The Times of London, the Guardian and the Independent went with the image, while The Daily Telegraph didn't. The BBC showed the new cover on news programs. Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Der Spiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung all used it on their websites.


Associated Press writers Thomas Adamson and Elaine Ganley in Paris; David Bauder in Pasadena, California, Jorge Sainz in Madrid, Jill Lawless in London, and Frank Jordans in Berlin, contributed to this report.

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