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Canada slows down Syrian refugee resettlement

CANADA -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has slowed plans to settle 25,000 Syrian refugees within months to allay people's security concerns after the Paris attacks.

Trudeau had wanted to resettle 25,000 refugees in Canada by Dec. 31. On Tuesday, his Liberal government said Canada would resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year and another 15,000 by the end of February.

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In London on Wednesday, Trudeau said last week's deadly gun-and-bomb attacks in Paris, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had changed "the perception that Canadians had."

He said people who were previously supportive of the refugee plan "had a few more questions. And we realized that the most important thing is to be able to reassure Canadians that absolutely everything is being done to keep Canadians safe."

In the United States, last week the House passed legislation that would pause the Obama administration's plan to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year.

Lawmakers passed the bill 289-137 with 242 Republicans and 47 Democrats voting in favor. Two Republicans and 135 Democrats voted against the measure.

Proposed in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, the GOP-sponsored bill would require the Homeland Security secretary, FBI director, and director of national intelligence to certify the completion of background checks for all refugees from Iraq and Syria and certify that they they don't threaten U.S. national security.

The bill, sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Rep. Richard Hudson, R-North Carolina, was crafted just this week following last Friday's attacks after authorities said one of the eight terrorists involved had originated in Syria.

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, both said earlier this week that the plan should be halted until the administration strengthens the vetting and verification process for incoming refugees.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is attending a summit of southeast European leaders that focuses on tensions in the region over a surge of asylum seekers and migrants crossing the territory.

Biden's trip Wednesday comes amid a debate in the United States about whether to admit Syrian refugees following the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attack in Paris.

Administration officials say security and humanitarian constraints are concerns for the leaders, with as many 5,000 migrants reaching Europe each day over the so-called Balkan migrant route.

The vice president will also meet with European Council President Donald Tusk to discuss the migration crisis, the fight against terrorism, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, energy and trade.

Biden will also attend bilateral meetings with Croatian and other leaders to discuss the response to the refugee crisis, energy and economic ties.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, many Syrian refugees in the U.S. are preparing for their first Thanksgiving.

Newcomers like 15-year-old Koussay Ghalyoun and 18-year-old Nour Alkunuss fled Homs at the height of the Syrian civil war.

"When I remember my country, I feel like I'm dying," said Ghalyoun. "Because people in my country die everyday."

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