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France teacher attack: Seven people to attend court over Samuel Paty’s death

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Seven people will appear before an anti-terrorism judge as part of an in..

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People attend a memorial march in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Parisimage copyrightGetty Images

Seven people will appear before an anti-terrorism judge as part of an investigation into the beheading of a school teacher in France.

Samuel Paty, 47, was attacked after he showed controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils.

The attacker, 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, was shot dead by police.

Two minors as well as a parent who reportedly exchanged text messages with the killer are among those who will appear in court on Wednesday.

Mr Paty was subject to an online hate campaign after he showed the cartoons in two lessons about free speech earlier this month.

The campaign was allegedly launched by a father of one of his pupils. The 48 year old, who has been named in French media only as Brahim C, is accused of issuing a "fatwa" against the teacher.

He is also reported to have exchanged a number of text messages with Mr Paty's killer prior to the attack, which happened close to the teacher's school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday.

Undated photo of Samuel Patyimage copyrightAFP

The two minors who are set to appear in court are suspected of having taken money in exchange for information on Mr Paty.

Sixteen people were arrested as part of the investigation, but nine have since been released.

What else is happening?

A national day of tribute will be held for Mr Paty on Wednesday.

President Emmanuel Macron will attend a memorial ceremony at the Sorbonne University in Paris with the teacher's family and some 400 guests.

Mr Macron is expected to posthumously give Mr Paty France's highest award, the Legion d'Honneur, at the event.

Earlier, the president held a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and urged co-operation in fighting terrorism. Mr Putin described the attack as a "barbarous murder".

Mr Paty's killer, Anzorov, was born in Moscow and his family is from Russia's Muslim-majority Chechnya region in the North Caucasus. He had lived in France since 2008.

Mr Macron said he wanted to see a "strengthening of Franco-Russian co-operation in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration", the French presidency said.

Russia has played down any association with the attacker. "This crime has no relation to Russia because this person had lived in France for the past 12 years," a spokesman of the Russian embassy in Paris told the Tass news agency on Saturday.

Mosque closed amid mass raids

Police raided some 40 homes following the attack, and the government also ordered a mosque to close for six months.

The Pantin mosque, just north of Paris, was closed after it emerged it had shared videos on Facebook calling for action against Mr Paty.

In one clip, posted just days before the attack, it also shared his school's address.

The mosque later expressed "regret" over the videos, which it has deleted, and condemned the teacher's killing.

Meanwhile, mosques in the south-western cities of Bordeaux and Beziers were put under police protection after they reported threats.

"Such actions are unacceptable on the soil of the Republic," Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in a tweet on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, President Macron said the Sheikh Yassin Collective – an Islamist group named after the founder of the Palestinian militant group Hamas – would be outlawed for being "directly involved" in the killing.

He said the ban was a way of helping France's Muslim community from the influence of radicalism.

Why was Samuel Paty targeted?

On Monday, anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said Mr Paty had been the target of threats since he showed the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on 6 October.

The history and geography teacher advised Muslim students to leave the room if they thought they might be offended.

Mr Ricard said the killerRead More – Source

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Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh receive Covid-19 vaccine

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Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh have received their Covid-19 vaccinations, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Saturday.

The inoculations were administered by a household doctor at Windsor Castle, a royal source said.
To prevent inaccuracies and further speculation, Her Majesty, who 94, decided that she would let it be known that she has had the vaccination, the source added. Her husband is 99 years old.
The couple’s son, Prince Charles, tested positive for coronavirus and went into isolation in March. The 72-year-old later said he was lucky to only experience mild symptoms, adding he’d “got away with it quite lightly.”
Meanwhile, their grandson Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne, also tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year, UK media reported, though exactly when he contracted the virus is unclear.
The UK has recorded more than 3 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 80,000 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.
The UK reported 1,325 coronavirus-related fatalities on Friday — its highest ever daily increase in deaths.
Health officials face a deadly start to 2021 as a new coronavirus variant, first detected in the UK, sweeps the nation.
In the capital, London’s mayor declared a “major incident” on Friday, warning that hospitals in the city were close to being overrun.
“The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
“The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.
“We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point,” Khan added. “If we do not take immediate action now, our [National Health Service] could be overwhelmed and more people will die.”

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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger

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Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.

The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.

“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”

It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.

Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.

The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.

Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.

On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.

Read from source: https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/03/dozens-killed-in-suspected-jihadist-attack-in-niger

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Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections

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People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.

Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.

The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.

He’s focussing on security and education.

Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.

“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.

Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.

Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.

Read from source: https://www.euronews.com/2020/12/27/niger-votes-in-presidential-and-legislative-elections

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