Suspect in teacher’s assault in France was Chechen teen

Suspect in teacher’s assault in France was Chechen teen
French police officers stand guard a street in Eragny on Oct. 16, 2020 where a suspect was shot dead by policemen after assaulting a teacher. (AFP)
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Updated 17 October 2020

Suspect in teacher’s assault in France was Chechen teen

Suspect in teacher’s assault in France was Chechen teen
  • France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months

PARIS: A suspect shot dead by police after the decapitation of a history teacher in an attack near Paris Friday was an 18-year-old Chechen, police said.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said that authorities investigating the horrific killing of the man in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine have also arrested nine suspects, including the grandparents, parents and 17-year-old brother of the attacker.
Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim Russian republic in the North Caucasus. Two wars in the 1990s triggered a wave of emigration, with many Chechens heading for western Europe.
France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months, believed linked to local criminal activity and score-settling.
A police official said the suspect in Friday’s attack armed was shot dead about 600 meters (yards) from where the teacher was killed. He was armed with a knife and an airsoft gun — which fires plastic pellets — and police opened fire after he failed to respond to orders to put down his arms, and acted in a threatening manner.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived quickly at the school on Friday night to denounce what he called a “Islamic terrorist attack.” He urged the nation to stand united against extremism.
“One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught ... the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” Macron said.
The French anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive, the prosecutor’s office said.


Olympic fans from aboard may have health tracked by app

Updated 57 min 10 sec ago

Olympic fans from aboard may have health tracked by app

Olympic fans from aboard may have health tracked by app
  • Japan has controlled the virus better than most countries with just over 2,100 deaths attributed to COVID-19
  • But Tokyo has seen record numbers of infections in recent weeks

TOKYO: A mobile app could be among the measures used to track the health of fans from abroad if they are permitted to attend next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
An interim report on contingencies for holding the Tokyo Games was released on Wednesday. It was compiled by the Japanese government, the Tokyo city government and local organizers.
The portion concerning the app was leaked earlier in the day by Japanese newspaper Nikkei. It was met on social media by unhappy replies from Japanese citizens who fear the Olympics could put their health in jeopardy.
Japan, with a population of 125 million, has controlled the virus better than most countries with just over 2,100 deaths attributed to COVID-19. But Tokyo has seen record numbers of infections in recent weeks.
Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the local organizing committee, explained some findings of the report. But he was short on specifics in the online briefing. Some proposals might be discarded as conditions change, and almost everything is subject to revision.
“In general, I think we would like to be able to work out the details by next spring,” he said, suggesting the groundwork had been prepared for many contingencies with the possibility of vaccines and rapid testing on the horizon.
It was in the spring eight months ago when organizers and the International Olympic Committee finally decided to postpone the Olympics after repeatedly saying they would go ahead this year.
Muto hinted again that the Tokyo Olympics may not be much fun. Athletes will compete and then be expected to to go home.
“The basic principle is that the accommodation period in the Athletes Village is supposed to be minimized as much as possible,” Muto said. “We want to be sure that the Athletes Village doesn’t get too dense. And after the games we would like them (athletes) to go back (home) as early as possible.”
He was asked point-blank if the Olympics would have a “celebratory atmosphere.”
“If the games are to be held under the COVID-19 pandemic, I don’t think the Olympics will be as festive as they have been in the past,” he said. “We decided to hold a simplified Olympics. Therefore, as you can see in the planning for the opening ceremony, the Tokyo Olympics will be simplified rather than celebratory.”
Muto was also asked about the cost of the one-year postponement, but said he didn’t know yet. Some Japanese newspapers reported several days ago, citing unnamed sources close to the organizing committee, that the cost of the delay will be about $3 billion.
“We are in the process of the calculation of how much the cost is,” Muto said. “We would like to reach a decision as soon as possible but when it will come — I can’t give you a specific date. But by the end of the year we’d like to make an effort to come up with an answer.”
He was also asked if fans from abroad would be required to be vaccinated.
“This is a scenario we will start to examine once the vaccine is actually available,” he said.