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Paris Attackers Named, French MPs Gather, UNESCO's Birthday

Paris Attackers Named, French MPs Gather, UNESCO's Birthday

PARIS TERROR ATTACKERS NAMED

As Paris continues to mourn its dead, five of the seven dead ISIS terrorists responsible for Friday night's attacks have been identified, Twitter">Le Figaroreports. Four of them were French citizens: Omar Ismaïl Mostefaï, 29, who blew himself up at the Bataclan concert venue, where close to 90 people were killed; Bilal Hadfi, 20, who lived in Belgium and detonated his suicide belt outside the soccer stadium where France and Germany were playing; Brahim Abdeslam, 31, who also lived in Belgium and blew himself up on the terrace of a Parisian café, wounding several people around him; and Samy Amimour, 27, known to Interpol and who was previously charged and under surveillance as a potential terrorist. All of them were known to the French police as potential threats. The fifth identified attacker, 25-year-old Ahmad Al Mohammad, was the Syrian-born person whose Syrian passport was found outside the Stade de France. He traveled to Europe among other migrants fleeing the Middle East and registered in Greece and Serbia in early October, France 2 reports.

  • According to RTL, the suspected mastermind of the attacks is a 27-year-old Belgian citizen Abdelhamid Abaaoud, described as one of the "most active ISIS executioners in Syria." His name is connected to a series of recently foiled attacks in Belgium, and he's also linked to the attack on a Thalys train in August, according to AP. His current location is unknown, though he's believed to be in Syria.
  • As part of a manhunt in Belgium this morning for Salah Abdeslam, the brother of one of the perpetrators who is also believed to be connected to Friday's massacres, a gunfight broke out in Molenbeek, a Brussels suburb and jihadist hub. There are conflicting reports about Abdeslam's detention, with RTL Belgium first announcing that he was arrested alive, before RTBF reported that the man arrested was not Abdeslam. He's a 26-year-old Belgian-born French citizen who was stopped at the French-Belgian border Saturday morning as he returned from Paris. Shockingly, the authorities knew he had rented a car that carried some of the perpetrators during the attacks, but he was allowed to drive on.
  • The French police have executed at least 168 raids across France since this morning, making 23 arrests, and seizing heavy weaponry, Libération reports. Most of these operations aren't directly connected to Friday's attacks, but the state of emergency President François Hollande declared grants the police exceptional powers, and authorities appear determined to destroy potential jihadist cells. "Terrorists won't destroy the Republic, the Republic will destroy them," Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said to conclude this morning's press conference.
  • The International Business Times reports that a new ISIS video has been released, warning countries participating in Syrian airstrikes against the group that they will suffer France's fate. It also threatens attacks in Washington, D.C.
  • The latest Paris death toll stands at 129, with 352 wounded, nearly 100 of those critically. Follow the latest updates in English from The Guardian. French daily Le Mondehas a list of the victims known so far.

    Photo: Ania Freindorf/ZUMA

FRENCH MPs GATHER, OPPOSITION WADES IN

French lawmakers are preparing to gather for an exceptional meeting in Versailles today. According to Le Figaro, Hollande will ask them to extend the state of emergency for three months, up from the 12 days the constitution allows. But the government is facing criticism from the opposition over its foreign and domestic policies.

  • Speaking to radio station Europe 1 this morning, former center-right Prime Minister François Fillon said that "no war has ever been won by bombing," an allusion to French involvement in the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. French warplanes launched a series of airstrikes last night against ISIS positions in Raqqa, the organization's Syrian "capital," in response to the attacks. Echoing previous statements from former president and now political rival Nicolas Sarkozy, Fillon said France should fight alongside Russia and Iran in the region. "When you're at war, you don't content yourself with three strikes a week. You need a strategy to win the war, and at the moment, we just don't."
  • Alain Juppé, another center-right leader and potential 2017 presidential candidate, said the attacks have made him revise his "neither ISIS nor Assad" position, explaining that the country now needed to "make priorities."
  • National Front leader Marine Le Pen also urged Hollande and the government to reverse its policy and to revise its alliances with the countries that have "an ambiguous relationship with terrorism," she said in veiled references to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, Le Monde reports. At home, she said that France must "annihilate Islamism" and "deport" those who preach extremist Islam.
  • Speaking this morning on RTL, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that terrorists could strike again in France and in Europe. "France must live to the fullest, but with the threat of terrorism," he said, adding that the threat would remain "for a long time." And it concerns not just France, as British Prime Minister David Cameron noted that seven terrorist attacks had been foiled in the UK during the last six months.

OBAMA, PUTIN REACH TALK SYRIA AT G20

Sunday's G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, was largely overshadowed by the terrorist attacks in Paris, and global leaders expressed their support for France and their commitment to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. According to The Guardian, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met on the summit sidelines and agreed on the need for "a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition." This came one day after world leaders gathered in Vienna for a summit on Syria and agreed on a roadmap for an 18-month political transition there.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The 2016 presidential campaign has been peculiarly disconnected from the real world of problems, crises and governing, E.J. Dionne Jr. writes for The Washington Post. "It took the catastrophe in Paris to narrow the gap — and even a monstrous terrorist attack may not shake the trajectory of a contest that operates within a logic of its own," he writes.

Read the full article, The Paris Attack Could Redefine The U.S. Presidential Race.


22 YEARS

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit North Korea this week and is expected to meet leader Kim Jong-un, becoming the first UN chief to visit the isolated country in 22 years, since Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993, Yonhap reports.


ISRAELI FORCES KILL TWO PALESTINIANS

Two Palestinians were shot and killed this morning by Israeli security forces who were destroying a West Bank home belonging to a Palestinian accused of having killed an Israeli, AFP reports quoting army sources. According to the Israeli army spokesman, Israeli troops came under attack during the operation, with hundreds of Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. The latest escalation of violence in Israel and the West Bank has killed 83 Palestinians and 12 Israelis.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



JAPAN RETURNS TO RECESSION

In another setback for "Abenomics," the Japanese economy contracted in the third quarter, dropping 0.8% compared to the previous year, meaning the country has fallen into recession for the second time under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Bloomberg reports.


ON THIS DAY


Perhaps it's apt that today is the 70th anniversary of UNESCO, which was founded, among other reasons, to pursue peace and cultural understanding among nations. More in your daily shot of history.

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Geopolitics

China v. India: A New Twist In Asia's "Billion Club" Rivalry

The news that China's population has shrunk for the first time in 60 years, comes as India appears to be outperforming its giant neighbor on a number of fronts. But this reversal of fortune still has too many variables to predict the demise of one or the rise of the other.

Photo of a crowded street in Hyderabad, India

Street scene in Hyderabad, India

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — China and India have at least one notable feature in common: the Asian giants are the only two countries in the world with a population above one billion. Yet Beijing announced this week that China has registered its first decline in number of inhabitants after 60 years of continuous expansion. This comes as India’s population continues to grow — on the path to overtake China as the world's most populous country.

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