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Thursday, October 22, 2020
BERLIN (REUTERS) - German police have arrested a 20-year-old Syrian suspected of attacking two tourists in the eastern city of Dresden at the start of October, killing one of them, police said on Wednesday (Oct 21). The man was taken into custody late on Tuesday after investigators found traces linking him to the crime, Dresden police said in a statement. Spiegel magazine reported that the suspect had been known as an Islamist radical to German authorities for years. He had been sentenced to more than two years in prison for incitement to a crime against the state and recruiting members for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the past. The Syrian had come to Germany in 2015, at the peak of the migrant crisis, and been refused asylum, Spiegel said. It was unclear why he attacked his victims. The victims, one aged 53 and the other 55, were German men from the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia on vacation in Dresden, according to the police. They were severely injured in the knife attack and the 55-year-old later died. The arrest follows the beheading last week of a French
PARIS (AFP) - Pupils at a school near Paris had pointed out the history teacher beheaded last week to his killer in return for 300 to 350 euros (S$482.20- $562.82), France's anti-terror prosecutor said on Wednesday (Oct 21). Mr Samuel Paty was attacked on his way home on Friday from the junior high school where he taught in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. He had been the subject of an online hate campaign after showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a civics class. The killer, 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, gave part of the sum to a pupil outside the school, asking him to identify the teacher, prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard told a news briefing. Others joined them, and Anzorov offered to share the rest of the money, Mr Ricard said. In return, he received a description of Mr Paty from two of the pupils who stayed with him for more than two hours waiting for the teacher to appear. Other pupils walked away. The killer told the teenagers he was planning to "humiliate and strike" the teacher, and force him to apologise for showing the cartoons. The two pupils who allegedly
COPENHAGEN (AFP) - Danish police suspect that Peter Madsen, who is serving a life sentence for the grisly murder of a journalist aboard his homemade submarine, may have had accomplices in his failed jailbreak, the prosecutor said on Wednesday (Oct 21). "Police believe that someone may have helped (Madsen) with his escape, and that's what the next 14 days should allow us to shed light on," prosecutor Rasmus Kim Petersen told reporters after a judge ordered Madsen held in custody for two weeks. The 49-year-old is serving a life sentence for the 2017 murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who was interviewing him for a profile she was writing. The gruesome killing made headlines around the world. On Tuesday, Madsen managed to escape briefly from the Herstedvester Prison in Copenhagen, threatening prison staff with a fake gun and claiming to be wearing a bomb belt. He was caught just minutes later by police, who waited more than two hours for bomb experts to determine that he was not in possession of explosives before hauling him away. In a hearing behind closed doors at the Glostrup court outside Copenhagen on Wednesday, Madsen pleaded guilty to the
MOSCOW (REUTERS) - The Kremlin said on Wednesday (Oct 21) it was not planning any new lockdown measures to contain the novel coronavirus, even as deaths in Russia from Covid-19 hit a record daily high of 317. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia's health system is now better equipped than earlier in the pandemic to cope with the rise in cases. Russia reported another 15,700 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday. Related Stories: 
PARIS (AFP) - France will pay tribute Wednesday (Oct 21) to a history teacher beheaded for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a free-speech lesson, an attack that has shocked the country and prompted a government crackdown on radical Islam. Seven people, including two students, will appear before an anti-terror judge for a decision on criminal charges over the killing of 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty last Friday (Oct 16). Police have carried out dozens of raids since the killing, while the government has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque outside Paris and plans to dissolve a group it said supported Palestinian militant group Hamas. "Our fellow citizens expect actions," French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. Mr Paty was attacked shortly after leaving the junior high school where he taught in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine outside Paris. He had been the subject of an online hate campaign after he showed students cartoons of the Prophet in a civics class - the same images that sparked a bloody assault on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo five years ago. A photo of Mr Paty and a message claiming
LA PAZ (AFP) - Hundreds of Bolivians protested on Tuesday (Oct 20) against the impending election win of Mr Luis Arce, as the slow official count appeared set to confirm the leftist as their next president. Authoritative exit polls already suggested Mr Arce, a 57-year-old economist from the Movement for Socialism (MAS) and heir to former president Evo Morales, had beaten centrist former leader Carlos Mesa in Sunday's polls - by a wide enough margin to avoid a second-round runoff. And at about 3am local time on Wednesday, with 86 per cent of ballots scrutinised, the official count showed Mr Arce had 54 per cent, followed by Mr Carlos Mesa on 29.5 per cent. Conservative Luis Fernando Camacho was in third place with 14.4 per cent. The usual rapid count had been abandoned after allegations of irregularities last year that led to Mr Morales' November resignation after 14 years in power. "It's a fraud, as Evo Morales has always done," Yeni, a participant in the protest held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia's richest city and a Camacho stronghold, told AFP. Mr Arce's victory "is like a slap in the face", said
LONDON (REUTERS) - The United States and Britain expressed optimism about the prospects of a trade deal on Tuesday (Oct 20) as they launched the latest round of talks focused on goods and tariffs. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a security conference he was "very pleased" with progress in negotiations with Britain and predicted a trade deal "reasonably soon". British trade minister Liz Truss said the two sides were intensifying talks as they enter a fifth round. Britain has put a US trade deal at the top of its post-Brexit wish list, having cited the freedom to strike bilateral deals as one of the main benefits of leaving the European Union. No target date for an agreement has been set, however, and Truss has had to rebut opposition criticism that a deal would mean lowering food standards and allowing US companies access to the British health system. Lighthizer, speaking by video link from Washington to a British government conference on transatlantic co-operation, said talks were taking place continuously. "These things take time ... but we are making great headway and we have got 30-some groups negotiating and negotiating bitterly
NEW YORK (AFP) - Sean Eldridge says he's "preparing for the worst" in case President Donald Trump tries to undermine the results of next month's vote or refuses to accept a victory for the Democrats. The 34-year-old is one of the organisers of a coalition planning protests across the United States if Mr Trump loses to his election rival Joe Biden but refuses to concede. The White House incumbent has repeatedly refused to say whether he would cede power peacefully in the event of defeat in the presidential vote on Nov 3. He has suggested that massive voter fraud involving the tens of millions of ballots sent by mail this year and early voting due to the coronavirus pandemic could prevent him from winning. "This is pretty unprecedented in American politics to have to be worried about whether a sitting president will accept the election results and ensure a peaceful transition of power," said Mr Eldridge. He is a former Democratic candidate for Congress and one of the leaders of the successful movement to legalise gay marriage. Now he is also in charge of the New York-based anti-Trump organisation Stand Up America. "This is work
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA/NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The US government's antitrust case against Alphabet Inc's Google appears strong, but could face an uphill battle from a business-friendly judiciary that could question whether a free search engine beloved by consumers has actually left them worse off, several legal experts said. Google was accused in the long-anticipated lawsuit filed on Tuesday (Oct 21) of harming competition in Internet search and search advertising through distribution agreements and other restrictions that put its search tool front and centre whenever consumers browsed the web. To win, the US Department of Justice must prove that Google gained or maintained monopoly power through abusive conduct, or something beyond competition on the merits. Several legal experts said Google's alleged misconduct appears similar to allegations the government levelled in the 1990s against Microsoft Corp. That landmark case was settled in 2002, and a consent decree required the maker of the Windows operating system to stop retaliating against computer makers that used non-Microsoft software. Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School, said the Justice Department appeared wise to offer credible and narrow arguments in its 59-page complaint. "They are not jumping on the bandwagon of
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (REUTERS) - President Donald Trump's re-election coffers shrank in September as he fell behind Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the campaign's money race, putting him at a disadvantage in the final weeks before the Nov 3 election. In a financial disclosure filed on Tuesday night (Oct 20) with the Federal Election Commission, the Trump campaign said it had about US$63 million (S$85.5 million) in the bank at the end of September after spending about US$139 million that month. A month earlier, the Trump campaign reported having US$121 million in cash. Biden's campaign has yet to report its cash holdings at the close of September. But the former vice president's campaign said this month that together with the Democratic Party, it had US$432 million in the bank. Trump and his Republican Party had just US$251 million in the bank, his campaign manager said this month. Biden has held a significant lead over Trump in national polls for months, although Reuters/Ipsos polling shows a somewhat closer race in the battleground states likely to decide the winner. Trump has fallen far behind the Democrat in recent months at fundraising and spending.
NEW YORK (AFP) - US President Donald Trump's testy relationship with the US media is no secret, but his election rival Joe Biden has had a rather different experience during the 2020 campaign. The Democratic former senator and vice-president has largely faced polite questions and only rare criticism, experts say, but some call the disparity a justified one given the Republican leader's provocative style. Trump has spent the better part of a week repeatedly attacking his opponent over unsubstantiated allegations concerning Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian company suspected of corruption - and the media has followed suit. But Biden only faced a question about the issue more than two days into the news hurricane, and he quickly swept it aside. The following day, Biden did not speak to reporters. Finally, on Sunday, he replied to only one question... about the flavour of his milkshake. "Question of the day for Joe Biden," tweeted New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin. "Are you in hiding most of this week because you are only willing to answer milkshake-related questions?" On Tuesday, Biden put his active campaign on pause, two days ahead of his final debate with Trump.
NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - President Donald Trump and his allies have tried to paint the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, as soft on China, in part by pointing to his son's business dealings there. Senate Republicans produced a report asserting, among other things, that Biden's son Hunter "opened a bank account" with a Chinese businessman, part of what it said were his numerous connections to "foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe". But Trump's own business history is filled with overseas financial deals, and some have involved the Chinese state. He spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company. And it turns out that China is one of only three foreign nations - the others are Britain and Ireland - where Trump maintains a bank account, according to an analysis of the president's tax records, which were obtained by The New York Times. The foreign accounts do not show up on Trump's public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names. The identities of the financial institutions are not