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Bataclan Aftermath, Old East Asia, Spying Barbie

FINAL BATACLAN ATTACKER IDENTIFIED

The last of the three suicide attackers at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, where 90 people were killed on Nov. 13, has been identified as Foued Mohamed-Aggad, a 23-year-old man from Strasbourg, in eastern France, Le Parisien quotes French authorities as revealing Wednesday.

  • Mohamed-Aggad had reportedly left for Syria in Dec. 2013 with his brother and a group of friends, France 24 cable news network reports. While most of the group returned to France in 2014, and were subsequently arrested, Foued Mohamed-Aggad had stayed in Syria.
  • The terrorist was identified last week after his mother contacted French police after she'd received a text message from a Syrian phone number saying her son was a "martyr" from the Bataclan attack. Investigators then compared his DNA with that of his family members' to confirm.
  • In an interview with Le Parisien, Foued Mohamed-Aggad's father said: "If I had known, I would have killed him before."
  • On Tuesday, members of the Californian rock band Eagles of Death Metal returned to visit the Bataclan for the first time since their Nov. 13 concert. The group, which joined U2 on stage at another Paris venue on Monday, says it wants to be the first to play at the Bataclan when it reopens. Photo: Maxppp/ZUMA

TALIBAN KILL 22 IN AFGHAN AIRPORT, HOLD HOSTAGES

Taliban fighters killed at least 22 people after storming the Kandahar airport compound in southern Afghanistan Tuesday evening and were holding hostages Wednesday morning, Al Jazeera reports. According to the BBC, victims include military personnel as well as civilians. The airport compound is used by NATO and the Afghan military and the attack is seen as a huge blow to the joint security mission. Officials said gunfire could still be heard around the airport Wednesday and that civilians were being held hostage in a building. This attack comes as key negotiations aimed at reviving negotiations with the Taliban were underway in neighboring Pakistan. Speaking from Islamabad, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reacted to the attack: "I strongly reiterate our commitment to lasting and just peace within which all movements that resort to arms convert themselves to political parties and participate in the political process legitimately."


U.S. REVIEWS ALLEGED IRAN MISSILE TEST

The United States is seeking to confirm reports that Iran launched a medium-range ballistic missile on Nov. 21, in violation of United Nations resolutions, Reuters quoted the U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power as saying Tuesday. If this is confirmed, she added the U.S. would look for appropriate action before the UN's Security Council. Iran is prohibited from carrying out any kind of missile tests under a 2010 Security Council resolution.


211 MILLION

The East Asia Pacific region, which includes Myanmar, western China, Japan, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands, is now home to some 211 million people aged over 65, or a third of the world's seniors. This means the region is aging faster than any other region in history, anywhere on the planet, a report published by the World Bank Wednesday warns. This record is likely to have significant negative impacts on both the region's public services and economic growth.


IRAQI FORCES CLOSE IN ON RAMADI

After a months-long offensive, Iraqi military forces have retaken a part of the western city of Ramadi from ISIS, in what is seen as a significant victory in the country's fight against the terrorist group, The Washington Post reports. Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's largest province of Anbar, had been captured last May by ISIS and is a strategic city in the organization's control of what it considers its caliphate. According to Ramadi residents quoted by Reuters, ISIS fighters are increasingly using civilians as human shields and treating them like prisoners.


ON THIS DAY


John Malkovich has been John Malkovich for 61 years today. This, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.


DOUGLAS TOMPKINS DIES

U.S. conservationist and North Face Inc. founder Douglas Tompkins died Tuesday in a kayaking accident, in his adopted country of Chile. Read more about it on Le Blog.


SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTERS BORROWED $28.5K

The couple who last week killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in what is being investigated by U.S. authorities as an act of terrorism, had borrowed $28,500 from an online lender just two weeks before the attack, the New York Post reports. Investigators believe the married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, may have used the funds to stockpile weapons and reimburse neighbor Enrique Marquez, who purchased two .223-caliber assault rifles used during the shooting.


BRAZIL PRESIDENT IMPEACHMENT PROCESS SUSPENDED

Brazil's supreme court has suspended the special committee in charge of examining impeachment moves against President Dilma Rousseff, Folha de S. Paulo reports. The committee, stacked the president's opponents, had been appointed earlier by the lower house of Brazil's congress. Scuffles broke out on the floor of the legislature as supporters of the president attempted to physically block the ballot, smashing an electronic voting unit and unplugging others. The supreme court later suspended the creation of the committee until a judgment is issued on the legality of the vote.


VERBATIM

"That kind of crap is not going to work in the United States of America," Democratic candidate Bernie expand=1] Sanders responds to Donald Trump's scapegoating of Muslims. The Pentagon has also warned that the Republican presidential candidate's rhetoric was a threat to U.S. national security, stating it "bolsters" ISIS' narrative.


AUSTRALIAN POLICE RAID REPORTED BITCOIN FOUNDER'S HOME

Australian police raided the Sydney home and business premises of a man believed to be the founder of Bitcoin, the daily ABC reported Wednesday. A statement from the Australian Federal Police said the searches were related to a tax investigation.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Up on the French hillsides of Banyuls-sur-Mer, just north of the border with Spain, Rémi Barroux reports for Le Monde on one of the unexpected effects of climate change: "Yvon-Berta Maillol, 78, bushy mustache and beard, can't imagine that his vineyard, one of the oldest in the region dating as far back as 1611, could disappear. Still, he can't help but notice that many things have changed. ‘We never used to harvest before Sept. 15-20, now we often start from the very first days of September,' he says. When he took over the 36-acre family vineyard in 1975, heat waves didn't scare anybody. On the contrary, winemakers were even eager to obtain the level of grape maturity that they provide, as well as the degrees of alcohol. But excessive heat can spoil the wine, and agronomists say that local wines have been gaining one degree of alcohol every 10 years for the past three decades."

Read the full article, French Wine Supremacy Threatened By Global Warming.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



SPYING BARBIE

Mattel's Hello Barbie, advertised as the world's first interactive Barbie doll, allows children to converse with the doll by recording their voice and then connecting to the Internet via Wi-Fi. Now, what could possibly go wrong with a hackable toy that eavesdrops on private conversations?

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And on another continent, parts of the U.S. are legislating to ensure that women can no longer have a legal abortion. In both cases, lurking patriarchal beliefs were allowed to reemerge when political leadership failed. We have an eerie feeling of travelling back through time. But how long has patriarchy dominated our societies?

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