The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 17, 2020 1:00 am


Teacher in Paris beheaded; police slay suspect

Associated Press

PARIS – A history teacher who opened a discussion with students on caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad was decapitated in a French street on Friday and police have shot the suspected killer dead, a police official said.

The French anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the slaying for murder with a suspected terrorist motive, the prosecutor's office said. The gruesome incident occurred in the town of Eragny, in the Val d'Oise region northwest of Paris.

A police official said the suspect, armed with a knife and an airsoft gun was shot to death by police about 600 yards from where the male teacher was killed. The teacher had been threatened after opening a discussion “for a debate” about the caricatures, the police official told The Associated Press.

Thai police crack down on protests

Riot police in Thailand cracked down on thousands of student-led protesters who rallied Friday in the capital in defiance of a strict state of emergency, while the prime minister rejected calls for his resignation.

The protesters gathered in torrential monsoon rains to push their demands, including that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha leave office, the constitution be amended and the nation's monarchy undergo reform.

It was the second day they defied an order not to gather, imposed after some demonstrators heckled a royal motorcade, an unprecedented development in Thailand, where the monarchy is normally held in reverence. Police used water cannons and charged at the crowd, scattering protesters, onlookers and reporters.

Journalists who were hit by the water said it was dyed blue, to mark protesters for possible later arrest.

Taliban agree to suspend attacks

The Taliban said on Friday they have agreed to suspend attacks in southern Afghanistan that have displaced thousands this week – but only after the U.S. promised to halt airstrikes in support of Afghan forces in the latest fighting in Helmand province.

The development came after a meeting with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. Austin Miller, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a Taliban figure familiar with the discussions said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Southern Helmand province has been the scene of a blistering Taliban assault since last week, undermining U.S. efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the 19-year war.

Johnson warns of no UK-EU deal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that the U.K. must prepare for a no-deal break with the European Union unless there is a “fundamental” change of position from the bloc, as the two sides swapped blame for failing to strike a trade deal with just weeks until the end-of-year deadline.

The EU said it was ready to continue negotiating, but Britain declared the talks as good as dead.

New Delhi air quality 'very poor'

Air quality levels in the Indian capital of New Delhi plunged to “very poor” on Friday and a smoggy haze settled over the city, days after the state government initiated stricter measures to fight chronic air pollution.

The national capital, one of the world's most polluted cities, enjoyed a respite from air pollution up until September in part thanks to a virus lockdown.

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