Wednesday, January 14, 2014
NEW CHARLIE HEBDO ISSUE SOLD OUT
One week after the terrorist attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, thousands of people lined up at newsstands to get a copy of the much-awaited “survivors’ issue” of the satirical magazine. As many as one million copies were distributed today and every single one of them has reportedly been sold, with many having been reserved ahead of time. The magazine’s publisher announced it would print an extra 2 million copies, on top of the 3 million initially planned, which will be distributed over the next few days, Le Figaro reports. Copies were already auctioned on eBay, with some bids reaching hundreds of euros. But not everybody rejoiced at the latest issue, which features a caricature of the prophet Muhammad on its front page. An ISIS radio station said it was “extremely stupid” to publish another drawing, while a spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry branded the cover as “insulting” and “provocative.” Here are 7 things to know about the survivors’ issue.
The leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen claimed responsibility for last week’s deadly attack in a video posted online. Calling the killings a “vengeance for the Messenger of God,” he said that the organization’s leadership “chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation,” Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, the crackdown on alleged “terrorist sympathizers” continues in France with Le Monde reporting that 50 people have been identified, and some 20 ongoing investigations.
A high-profile arrest was also made this morning in the person of comedian and political provocateur Dieudonné, who made headlines last year after his show was shut down for featuring anti-Semitic material. His arrest on the charges of sympathizing with terrorism came after the showman attended Sunday’s march and wrote on Facebook that he felt like “Charlie Coulibaly,” a mixed reference to the “Je suis Charlie” campaign and Amedy Coulibaly, who killed a policewoman and four hostages at a kosher shop in Paris. In a letter he later wrote to France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, Dieudonné said he has been hunted down by the state and the media for more than a year and argued that he wasn’t “so different from Charlie” in that he tested the limits of freedom of speech. He hinted that despite calls to defend it even when it’s offensive, the principle was applied with a double standard.
The effect of last week’s attacks meanwhile continue to affect France’s Muslim community, with at least 60 documented Islamophobic attacks since last Wednesday. Read more from AP.
JAPAN APPROVES RECORD DEFENSE BUDGET
The Japanese cabinet announced its biggest ever defense budget worth $42 billion in response to China’s growing military influence in the region, AP reports. Tokyo is planning to bolster its surveillance equipment with new drones and amphibious vehicles, as well as fighter jets. This marks a new step in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s move away from the country’s pacifist stance since the end of World War II. For more on this topic, here’s a Le Monde/Worldcrunch piece: Japan's Quiet Return To Global Weapons Market.
HAITI PARLIAMENT DISSOLVED
Negotiations to end an ongoing political standoff in Haiti have failed, resulting in the decision late Tuesday to dissolve the country’s Parliament, the BBC reports. President Michel Martelly, who had been trying to secure backing for a U.S.-sanctioned plan to again postpone elections initially planned for 2011, now rules the country by decree. Opposition groups meanwhile have vowed to continue protesting for Martelly to resign.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
Cancer will virtually kill no one aged under 80 by 2050 due to continued advances preventing and treating the disease, a new study says, showing that a daily low-dose of aspirin is the most effective action against cancer.
EBOLA OUTBREAK IN LIBERIA COULD END BY JUNE
U.S. researchers believe that Liberia, one of the West African countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak, could see an end to the epidemic as early as June of this year if a current trend of better hospitalization and preventive care continues, Time reports. According to figures from the World Health Organization, more than 8,200 people have died from the virus, including almost 3,500 in Liberia.
After the Paris attacks, French authorities are looking for new tools to combat terrorism. But the risk is high for undermining basic democratic liberties, write Le Monde’s Jacques Follorou and Franck Johannès: "The legislation undeniably needs some updating. A new intelligence bill is in the pipeline and should be voted on before the end of Hollande's mandate. It can go two ways. It can either be a French Patriot Act, or it can grant extra powers to the fight against terrorism but keep the changes far more moderate.”
Read the full article, In France, The Patriot Act Temptation.
ITALY’S NAPOLITANO RESIGNS
Giorgio Napolitano, Italy’s longest-serving president, has resigned with fatigue and his advanced age of 89 the main reasons for him to step down before the end of an unusual second mandate, Corriere Della Serra reports. In comments at an event Tuesday, Napolitano said he was “happy to go back home,” adding that the presidential palace was “a bit of a prison.” The loss of a crucial ally like Napolitano will be a blow for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and finding a replacement that gets the necessary Parliamentary support won’t be an easy task, according to Bloomberg.
ON THIS DAY
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Yesterday’s announcement that Woody Allen had signed a lucrative TV deal with Amazon to pen a comedy show did not go down well with everybody. As the controversy over Bill Cosby’s rape allegations continues,The Daily Beast argues that Hollywood brushing aside similar accusations regarding Woody Allen is wrong, though not necessarily surprising.