French Manhunt Continues, Ebola Slows, Super Antibiotic

Thousands gathered at the Place de la République for a vigil Wednesday night.
Thousands gathered at the Place de la République for a vigil Wednesday night.

Thursday, January 8, 2014

The search continues in France for the two gunmen who killed 12 people in the course of attacking the offices of satirical paper Charlie Hebdo with Kalashnikovs yesterday, a terrorist attack that Le Monde describes on today’s front page as “France’s 9/11.” Here are 31 front pages from around the world.

The two Islamist suspects, brothers and French citizens Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, have reportedly been seen at a gas station in northern France. According to AFP, they are carrying heavy weaponry and were identified after one of them apparently left his ID card in the getaway car that they eventually abandoned. They said were from “al-Qaeda in the Yemen,” according to a witness to the shooting. Chérif was apparently known to the police and intelligence agencies for his involvement in terror activities and had been sentenced to jail in the past.

In what could be an early sign of escalation, there was another shooting early this morning in the southern Paris suburb of Malakoff. A female police officer was killed and another person was wounded. The suspect is on the run, and so far no link has been established between this and yesterday’s attack. But at least three mosques in different parts of France have been targeted by explosions and gunshots since yesterday evening.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced this morning that several homes had been raided since yesterday, leading to at least seven arrests. He said that France was facing an “unprecedented terrorist threat” and urged the media to be “particularly cautious” in their coverage and not interfere with the investigation.

Today has been declared a French day of mourning, and more demonstrations and vigils are expected after yesterday’s public support for the victims, including from our team. President François Hollande is receiving opposition leaders at the Elysée Palace, among whom his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, in a show of national unity. It comes amid alarming analysis suggesting that the attack could trigger a clash of civilizations or a civil war. A New York Times article sums up the current situation.

One journalist for Charlie Hebdo, meanwhile, told AFP that the controversial magazine will publish a new edition next week. Time has selected 17 of the newspaper’s most notable covers.

Beijing plans to fine drivers and companies who provide transportation services via apps such as Uber or its Chinese competitors DiDi Taxi and Kuaidi up to 20,000 yuan ($3,200) as part of a crackdown on unlicensed taxis. Such services have already been banned in other major Chinese cities, including Shanghai.

Sri Lankan voters are electing their next president today in what the BBC describes as an “unexpectedly close election” in which incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has been in office since 2005, is facing one of his former allies, ex-Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. Security has been increased in and around polling stations.


Scientists have discovered a new antibiotic that they say is capable of fighting a wide range of infections without being rendered ultimately less effective because of resistance, The Wall Street Journal reports.

As Les Echos Julien Dupont-Calbo writes, the "devs" who code our digital world are so rarefied and vital they can dictate their own terms. Companies will do almost anything to recruit them, but like birds, they tend to fly. “Without these digital creators, an iPhone would just be an expensive empty shell,” the journalist writes. “‘Digital is devouring the planet, and devs are living in the golden age,’ says Nicolas Petit, the No. 2 at Microsoft France. So with the winds of history in their favor, it’s not surprising that they’re taking advantage of that fact.”
Read the full article, Developers, Rock Stars Of The Digital Age.

The World Health Organization said yesterday that the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone, the country worst affected by the deadly virus, is showing signs of slowing despite 248 new cases reported in the past week. But the situation in West Africa still remains critical, with a total of 8,235 deaths stemming from 20,747 cases. A clinical trial for a treatment drug has started in Liberia.

Most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves should remain where they are and not be burned if we are to prevent global temperatures from rising over the safety limit of 2 °C (35 °F), The Guardian reports. Researchers have said that 82% of coal reserves, as well as 49% of gas and 33% of oil, should not be exploited if we want to mitigate climate change.


Happy birthday to Stephen Hawking. And see what other events have shaped Jan. 8 in our daily video feature On This Day.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

Queen Elizabeth II with UK PM Boris Johnson at a reception at Windsor Castle yesterday

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.



• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.

• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.

• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.

• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.

• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."

• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.


"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.



For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.


Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction

Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.

🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.

😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.

🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.

➡️


We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.

— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.


Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Thoughts on Facebook's new name? Zuckerverse? Tell us how the news look in your corner of the world: Drop us a note at!

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!