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French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has said that the country is in a war against Islamists and can expect more militant attacks on its soil. His statement came a day after a deadly knife attack in the city of Nice that killed three people at a church. The suspect in Thursday’s brutal incident — Brahim Aouissaoui, a Tunisian man who entered Europe through Italy just weeks ago — was shot by police and is at a hospital in critical condition.
French President Emmanuel Macron has sent soldiers to protect major places of worship and schools as part of the country's highest-level security alert. Protesters around the world have for days been mobilizing against what they call a grave insult to the Prophet Muhammad, as French officials defend the right of free speech to publish cartoons widely considered offensive to Muslims globally.
In the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, tens of thousands marched in the streets Friday and called for a boycott of French goods, holding banners that referred to Macron as “the world’s biggest terrorist.” Demonstrator Akramul Haq said, “Macron is leading Islamophobia,” adding, “He doesn’t know the power of Islam.”
As Nice residents mourned the victims, French Muslim groups also spoke out against hatred and violence. Feïza Ben Mohammed, a Nice-based journalist, quoted the Prophet Muhammad as saying, “Whoever harms a Jew or Christian will find in me his adversary on the Day of Judgment.” And Fatima Ouassak, an advocate for mothers, denounced “the infernal cycle and the climate of terror,” and called for “solidarity, equality, justice and respect for human dignity.”
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As Sweden’s COVID-19 cases surge, climate activist Greta Thunberg announced Friday that she was taking her protests online once again — rather than holding weekly strikes outside the Parliament building in Stockholm. On Wednesday, Sweden saw its highest number of new cases of the coronavirus: 2,820, since the pandemic began. Thunberg said on Twitter, “Stay safe, take care of each other and #flattenthecurve!”
In Taiwan, two women military officers made history Friday by marrying their same-sex civilian partners in a mass wedding. The Taiwanese Defense Ministry called the ceremony “open and progressive” in a statement praising the union of all 188 couples married at the event. Wang Yi, a uniformed major carrying a pride flag alongside her wife, Meng You-mei, said, "I am hoping to boost the visibility of homosexuals so that people understand we are also just part of everyday life.”
And, in Poland, women’s rights activists are planning what they say will be the biggest protest yet in Warsaw on Friday evening over the top court’s anti-abortion ruling.
From The World
Armenians mobilize to support troops in Karabakh war, as ceasefires fail
Mariam Margaryan lost her job as a tour guide when the clashes began in late September but immediately offered to volunteer. In Armenia, with fewer than 3 million people, the war touches most people directly. Margaryan already lost a friend to the conflict, and her brother is serving in the Armenian military.
“Now, everyone is united, we are together,” Margaryan says. “We share grief and hug people we have never met [before].”
What the US election means for Keystone XL construction in Canada
The Canadian economy has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But the small town of Oyen, Alberta, is a rare bright spot for which many credit the Keystone XL pipeline. Construction of the pipeline’s Canadian portion started this past summer, and since then, more than 800 temporary workers have come to the area.
But, the boom could turn into another bust if former US Vice President Joe Biden wins next week’s presidential race. As part of his environmental policy, Biden has pledged to revoke permits for the US portion of Keystone XL. That would likely bring construction north of the border to an end.
Heading into our eighth month of the new normal: Lockdowns, working from home, restricted living — it's made all of us look for new outlets, new ways of being ourselves. Take Jamaican singer-songwriter Janine Cunningham — Jah9 as she's known. Her album, "Note to Self," dropped just as the pandemic began. Nowhere to go, no concert dates to perform. So, she doubled down on the other thing she's really good at: yoga. The spirit of Jah9's new collection of songs is all about self-reflection.
In case you missed it
Listen: Deadly knife attacks at a church in France
A series of knife attacks on French citizens at the Notre Dame Basilica in the Mediterranean city of Nice on Thursday prompted the government to raise its security alert status to the maximum level. And, much of the chocolate that trick-or-treaters eat this weekend will have come from cocoa farms in West Africa that use child labor. Also, Japan's prime minister this week announced a goal of making the country carbon-neutral by 2050.