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Brussels Police Conduct Raids, French PM Warns Of Chemical Attack

Brussels Police Conduct Raids, French PM Warns Of Chemical Attack

BELGIAN POLICE RAIDS IN BRUSSELS

Belgian police conducted a series of raids in Brussels today to find information related to one of the Paris suicide bombers and also arrested someone during a separate house search, Reuters reports.

  • Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Salah Abdeslam, two of the suspected terrorists involved in Friday's attacks that killed at least 129 in Paris, were not among the seven people arrested during a raid by French police in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis early Wednesday, Le Parisien reports. But forensic teams are trying to determine whether one of the two people killed during the raid was Abdelhamid Abaaoud. The Washington Post quotes unnamed European officials as saying that he was.

    Photo: Thierry Mahe/Xinhua via ZUMA

  • The other person killed was a woman believed to have detonated a suicide belt. According to the Belgian website La Dernière Heure, the woman was Hasna Aitboulahcen, Abaaoud's cousin.

FRENCH PM WARNS OF POSSIBLE CHEMICAL ATTACK

ISIS could attempt chemical attacks in France and other European countries, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned parliament Wednesday, according to Le Figaro. "We must not rule anything out," he said. "I say it with all the precautions needed. But we know and bear in mind that there is also a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons." Earlier this week, the French government authorized the country's hospitals to be equipped with atropine sulfate, the only antidote available to certain toxic gas attacks.

  • The Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of French parliament, will vote today on a three-month extension to the state of emergency President François Hollande declared Friday. The upper house of the parliament will then vote on it tomorrow, Le Point reports.
  • Lyon's annual Fete des Lumieres (Festival of Lights), which normally takes place in early December and attracts millions of visitors, has been cancelled and replaced with a tribute to victims of the Paris attacks, Le Monde reports.

VERBATIM

"Roosevelt didn't like Stalin, but he had to get a deal with him in order to defeat the Nazis, who were the greater evil," The Washington Post quoted Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo as saying yesterday. He was suggesting that the West would have to work alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the "lesser evil," to defeat ISIS. Friday's attacks in Paris could prompt Western countries to reevaluate their positions on the Syrian president, who, for countries like France, is now relegated to a position of secondary importance, behind the Islamist terror group.


NEW NIGERIA BOMBINGS KILL 15

At least 15 people were killed and more than 100 wounded when two young female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a market in the northern Nigerian city of Kano yesterday afternoon, Jeune Afrique reports. This comes just a day after a blast killed at least 32 people and wounded 80 in the northern city of Yola. While it has not yet claimed the attacks, the Islamist group Boko Haram is believed responsible.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Dismissed and wooed as so-called millennials, a young French generation represented both the victims and perpetrators of the Paris attack, Worldcrunch's Bertrand Hauger writes. "It was already hard enough to think that drawing could get you killed, but it was the liberté d'expression that was in the crosshairs then, not the liberté d'existence," Hauger writes. "As it turns out, no one I knew directly was harmed Friday. My little universe was left completely untouched, which is something of a miracle, considering the music I listen to, the streets I roam, or the mere fact that I'm 28. That is the same age as some of the victims, capable of the best; the same age as one of the perpetrators, guilty of the worst. The future of France."

Read the full article, They Call Us "Generation Bataclan" — A Young French Reflection.


DESPITE ISIS WARNING, NO ‘CREDIBLE THREAT' TO NY

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said today there was "no credible and specific threat" against America's most populous city, despite an ISIS video last night threatening similar attacks there to those in Paris. "We understand it is the goal of terrorists to intimidate and disrupt our democratic society," Voice of America quoted de Blasio as saying. "We will not submit to their wishes." The video, which Police Commissioner William Bratton described during a press conference as "hastily produced," shows what appears to be a suicide jacket in preparation.


TRACKING DOWN KALASHNIKOVS

The firepower displayed in Friday's Paris attacks, including multiple explosive devices and at least five Kalashnikovs, naturally raises the question of where the terrorists are getting the weapons. "Balkan basements," according to Croatian news website Net.Hr.

Read more about it on Le Blog.


TURKEY DETAINS 8 ‘TERROR SUSPECTS'

Turkish border police arrested eight Moroccan men suspected of links with ISIS at Istanbul's Atatürk airport today, the daily Hürriyet reports. Described as "terror suspects," the men were on their way to Germany through Greece, according to documents found on them. Authorities say they were detained after being interviewed by criminal profilers. "Today's successful identification of Moroccan terror suspects attests to the fact that the most effective means to fight terrorism is for source countries to share intelligence with Syria's neighbors," a senior Turkish official told Al Jazeera.


ON THIS DAY


Believe it or not, the Gettysburg Address and Milli Vanilli do have something in common. Check out today's shot of history.


CHINESE FORCES KILL 17 IN XINJIANG

Chinese forces have killed 17 people suspected of carrying out an attack on a coal mine that reportedly killed 50 people in the troubled Xinjiang region. According to Radio Free Asia, the dead include women and children.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



JUST 118 MORE YEARS

According to the World Economic Forum, it will take 118 more years, or until 2133, for the global pay gap between men and women to be closed.

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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