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Al Jazeera English
Nagorno-Karabakh fighting continues as second truce fails to hold - Al Jazeera English
Clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan spill into fourth week, with dozens of civilians and hundreds of soldiers killed.
Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on Monday, with both countries ignoring a renewed truce that was meant to come into effect at the weekend. The truce was agreed on Saturday after a similar deal brokered by Russia a week earlier failed to halt the worst fighting in the South Caucasus since the 1990s. In both instances, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused one another of breaking the truce within hours of agreed deadlines. On Monday, ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azeri forces were shelling their positions in northern and southern areas of the line of contact that divides them. They recorded another 19 casualties among their troops, pushing the military death toll to 729 since fighting with Azeri forces erupted on September 27; 36 ethnic Armenian civilians have died. Azerbaijan does not disclose its military casualties, but on Saturday claimed 60 Azeri civilians had so far died. The Azeri defence ministry said Armenian forces had shelled its positions in the Garanboy, Terter and Aghdam regions of Azerbaijan overnight and said the Agjebedin region was being shelled on Monday morning. The reports could not immediately be verified. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenian forces of violating the truce, and said in a Twitter post there were dead and wounded due to these heinous actions. More than 1,000 people have been killed since fighting began on September 27, including hundreds of soldiers and dozens of civilians. Nagorno-Karabakh is inside Azerbaijan but has been controlled by Armenia-backed troops for more than 25 years. The failure to halt renewed fighting has raised fears of all-out war and humanitarian crisis, while the conflict puts fresh strain on ties between Turkey, which strongly backs Azerbaijan, and its Western allies in NATO. While Turkey has called for a ceasefire, countries such as France and Germany have criticised Ankara for its fervent and vocal support of Baku in the fight. Russia, which has a defence pact with Armenia and sells weapons to both rival countries, could also be at risk of being embroiled into a regional war. During the night, the Armenian armed forces had subjected the #Goranboy, #Terter, and #Aghdam regions to mortar and artillery fire.Since this morning, #Aghjabedi region has been under fire.#StopArmenianOccupation#StopArmenianTerror#ArmenianTerrorism#KarabakhisAzerbaijan Azerbaijan MOD (@wwwmodgovaz) October 19, 2020 The first truce brokered in Moscow earlier this month was aimed at letting the sides swap detainees and bodies of those killed in the clashes, but it had little effect on the fighting around the enclave. The latest truce was announced after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talked to his Armenian and Azeri counterparts by telephone and called on sides to observe the truce that he mediated a week ago. On morning of Oct 18, Azerbaijani armed forces launched large-scale attack on southern front. This is second ceasefire agreement that #Azerbaijan does not want or is unable to implement, at the same time manipulating intl community & first & foremost @OSCE MGCC countries. pic.twitter.com/2a7EuwhSoL MFA of Armenia (@MFAofArmenia) October 19, 2020 Russia, France and the United States jointly chair a body called the Minsk Group, which has attempted to help resolve the conflict under the umbrella of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to fully abide by the new truce, his spokesman said.
Suspects behind beheading called for teacher’s death: minister - Al Jazeera English
Eleven people are being held over the beheading of a French teacher, a crime which has led to nationwide protests.
The suspects behind the beheading of a French teacher had actively called for his death online, Frances interior minister claimed on Monday. Samuel Paty was beheaded on Friday outside his school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in the northern suburbs of Paris, by an 18-year-old Chechen man who was subsequently shot dead by police. They apparently launched a fatwa against the teacher, Gerald Darmanin told Europe 1 radio on Monday, referring to the father of a student and an activist who had appeared together to complain about Paty to the headteacher of the school he worked at. The students father had posted a video on social media claiming that Paty had shown an image of a naked man and told students it was the prophet of the Muslims. He called on other angry parents to contact him, and relay the message. Earlier this month, as part of a class on freedom of expression, Paty had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that angered Muslims around the world when they were published in satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Many Muslims believe any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous and the cartoons were cited as the motivation behind an attack on the magazines offices by two gunmen in 2015. Eleven people are being held over the crime. Fridays killing sparked outrage in France and drew condemnation from political parties and President Emmanuel Macron, who called the crime an Islamist terrorist attack. The attacker was born in Russia but had been living in the town of Evreux northwest of Paris. He was not previously known to the intelligence services. People gather at the Place de la Republique in Paris, to pay tribute to Samuel Paty, the French teacher who was beheaded on the streets of the Paris [Charles Platiau/Reuters] On Sunday, demonstrators on the Place de la Republique held posters declaring: No to totalitarianism of thought, and I am a teacher. You do not scare us. We are not afraid. You will not divide us. We are France! tweeted Prime Minister Jean Castex, who joined the Paris demonstration. Fridays attack was the second of its kind since a trial started last month over the Charlie Hebdo killings; last month a man wounded two in an assault near the magazines former offices. The magazine republished the controversial cartoons in the run-up to the trial. Meanwhile, more police operations were under way, Darmanin said on Monday. The interior minister said there were about 80 probes under way into online hate speech in France and that he was looking into whether certain groups from the French Muslim community should be dissolved following accusations of promoting violence and hate. Police operations have taken place and more will take place, concerning tens of individuals, he told Europe 1 radio. A police source told Reuters news agency late on Sunday that France was preparing to expel 231 foreigners on a government watch list for suspected hardline religious beliefs. It was not immediately clear if Mondays operations were connected.
Fauci ‘absolutely not’ surprised Trump got COVID-19 - Al Jazeera English
US top infectious disease expert said he was worried after the ‘superspreader event’ at the White House on September 26.
Top United States infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said he was absolutely not surprised that President Donald Trump contracted the coronavirus. The US president announced earlier this month that he and his wife, Melania, had tested positive for COVID-19. Trump returned to the White House after spending three nights in a military hospital where he received experimental treatments to tackle the disease. I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people and almost nobody wearing a mask, Fauci said in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was referring to Trumps appearance at what turned out to be a superspreader event at the White House Rose Garden on September 26 where multiple people, including the president, were infected. Fauci also said that media appearances during the pandemic have been controlled by the White House. I certainly have not been allowed to go many, many, many shows that have asked for me, he said, adding that the restrictions had been inconsistent. Ahead of the November presidential election, Trumps campaign released early this month a television advertisement which features what appear to be positive remarks from Fauci over the presidents handling of the coronavirus outbreak. I got really ticked off, he said, stressing that his words were taken out of the context. Ill never publicly endorse any political candidate and they are sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad which I thought was outrageous, I was referring to something entirely different. Faucis remarks were made a few hours before Trump held a rally in Nevada where he said that the country was rounding the turn on the coronavirus pandemic. Trumps comments came as the US reported, on Friday, 68,000 new infections in just one day its highest daily jump in cases since July. So far, the US has seen more than 8.1 million cases and almost 220,000 deaths, the highest figures globally.
‘We are not afraid’: France rallies after teacher beheaded - Al Jazeera English
Leading politicians join crowds in Paris, as country mobilises in support of 47-year-old who was killed outside school.
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Paris and cities across France on Sunday in solidarity with a secondary school teacher who was beheaded outside his school in an attack that shocked the country. Samuel Paty was killed on Friday, after he had discussed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad with students during a civics class. Demonstrators on the Place de la Republique held aloft posters declaring: No to totalitarianism of thought and I am a teacher in memory of Paty. You do not scare us. We are not afraid. You will not divide us. We are France! tweeted Prime Minister Jean Castex, who joined the Paris demonstration. Castex was accompanied by Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa who said she was there in support of teachers, of secularism, of freedom of expression. Politicians from the other major parties also attended. Some in the crowd chanted I am Samuel, echoing the I am Charlie cry that travelled around the world after 12 people were shot dead at Charlie Hebdo in 2015 after the satirical magazine published caricatures of the prophet. Muslims believe that any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous. People gathered on Place de la Republique in Paris in solidarity with history teacher Samuel Paty who was attacked and beheaded outside his school on Friday [Bertrand Guay/AFP] Between bursts of applause, others recited, Freedom of expression, freedom to teach. I am here as a teacher, as a mother, as a Frenchwoman and as a republican, said participant Virginie. Things have to change Local authorities said about 12,000 people joined the rallies in Lyon in eastern France. In Toulouse, in the southwest, approximately 5,000 turned out. The entire educational community is affected, and beyond it society as a whole, teachers union representative Bernard Deswarte said. Hundreds more assembled in Nice on the south coast, where, in 2016, a man killed 86 people when he rammed a truck into a crowd on the July 14 national holiday. Everyone is in danger today, said student Valentine Mule, 18, attending the Nice rally. Things have to change. There were other marches in the eastern city of Strasbourg, in Lille in the north, and in the southern cities of Marseille and Montpellier. Samuel Paty taught history and geography at a school in a suburb northwest of Paris. A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police. Witnesses said the suspect was spotted at the school on Friday asking pupils where he could find Paty. On Saturday, anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said Paty had been the target of online threats for showing the cartoons to his class. Online campaign The father of one schoolgirl had launched an online call for mobilisation against the teacher and had sought his dismissal from the school. The aggrieved father had named Paty and given the schools address in a social media post just days before the beheading, which French President Emmanuel Macron has said was a terrorist attack. The father was among a number of people arrested, including four members of Anzorovs family. The Russian embassy in Paris said the family had arrived in France from Chechnya when he was six years old to seek asylum. French police officers stand guard outside the school in the suburbs of Paris where Samuel Paty was brutally killed as he left work on Friday [Bertrand Guay/AFP] Locals in the Normandy town of Evreux where the attacker lived described him as low key, saying he got into fights as a child but had calmed down as he became increasingly religious in recent years. Fridays attack was the second of its kind since a trial started last month over the Charlie Hebdo killings. The magazine republished the controversial cartoons in the run-up to the trial, and last month a young Pakistani man wounded two people with a meat cleaver the publications former office. Doing his job According to his school, Paty had given Muslim children the option to leave the classroom before he showed the cartoons, saying he did not want their feelings hurt. Kamel Kabtane, rector of the mosque of Lyon and a senior Muslim figure, told the AFP news agency on Sunday that Paty was merely been doing his job and had been respectful in doing so. Ministers in Frances defence council on Sunday agreed to step up security at schools when classes resume after the half term holiday. Authorities will also be looking into the authors of 80 messages of support for the attacker from Monday, the Elysee added. A national tribute is to be held for Paty on Wednesday.
UN chief urges Nagorno-Karabakh rivals to respect truce: Live - Al Jazeera English
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemns attacks on civilians in fighting over the disputed region.
- Azerbaijan shot down another Armenian Su-25 fighter jet, according to the countrys ministry of defense.
- Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of violating the newly agreed truce, which came into force at midnight on Sunday (20:00 GMT Saturday), following mediation by the co-chairs of the Minsk Group.
- Defence ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh region said the death toll among its military has risen to 710.
Tens of thousands march in Belarus despite police threat to fire - Al Jazeera English
Senior police official said officers reserve right to use firearms on demonstrators against President Lukashenko.
Tens of thousands of people have marched through the streets of the Belarusian capital Minsk to demand the resignation of veteran President Alexander Lukashenko, despite a threat by officials to use firearms against protesters. Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, has been rocked by strikes and weekly street protests since authorities announced Lukashenko, who has ruled in authoritarian fashion since 1994, had secured re-election on August 9 with 80 percent of votes. Some protesters chanted Strike! and You and your riot police get out! during Sundays march. The Interfax news agency put the number of protesters at more than 30,000. While it said about 50 had been arrested by the police, Belarusian interior ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova told the AFP news agency more than 100 people had been arrested in Minsk. Interfax also reported the mobile broadband signal had been disrupted in parts of the city. It also said loud noises that sounded like stun grenades had been heard close to the march. A senior police official said last week officers would reserve the right to use firearms against demonstrators. Images posted on the Telegram channel showed Belarusian security forces deploying water cannon and blockading streets with barbed wire and heavy machinery. A local media outlet said security forces had fired rubber bullets into the air in response to protesters targeting them with stones. Security forces have arrested more than 13,000 people since the disputed election including all significant opposition leaders who have not left the country and clamped down on independent media. Several people have also died in the post-election crackdown, with harrowing accounts emerging of abuse in jails. Many said they had been tortured, beaten and humiliated in detention. Police have acknowledged using water cannon and stun grenades against demonstrators but the use of live ammunition would mark a major escalation in the two-month standoff. Yet many protesters remain undeterred. The Interfax news agency put the number of protesters on Sunday at more than 30,000 [AP Photo] Anzhela Krasovskaya said she was not afraid. Theres no way back for us, Krasovskaya told AFP. If they start shooting then there would be even more people in the streets. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who has fled to Lithuania, last week urged Lukashenko to quit by October 25 or face what she said would be nationwide strikes that would paralyse Belarus. The European Union has refused to recognise the results of the disputed vote. Last week, EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on Lukashenko as the bloc seeks to step up pressure over the crackdown on protesters. A Norwegian politician said on Sunday he had nominated Tikhanovskaya and two other top members of the Belarus opposition for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for organising the peaceful protests. Geir Toskedal, of the Christian Democratic Party, told the Vart Land daily he had nominated Tikhanovskaya, Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo for their struggle for fair elections and for inspiring peaceful opposition against the illegitimate regime in Belarus.
Top PLO official Erekat, stricken by COVID-19, taken to hospital - Al Jazeera English
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat’s health worsens 10 days after first announcing he contracted coronavirus.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has been taken by ambulance to a hospital in Israel, more than a week after contracting the novel coronavirus. Witnesses said the 65-year-old was on a stretcher on Sunday when he was placed inside an Israeli ambulance outside his home in Jericho, in the occupied West Bank. Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), disclosed on October 8 he had fallen ill with COVID-19. His condition has since worsened and the PLOs Negotiations Affairs Department said in a statement Erekat now requires medical attention in a hospital. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to every one who called , tweeted , send messages to wish me a speedy recovery from COVID-19 .My thanks to those who prayed for me in mosques, synagogues, churches and other temples of worship. https://t.co/AsT3jxKUCg Dr. Saeb Erakat (@ErakatSaeb) October 9, 2020 There is heightened concern over Erekats vulnerability to the respiratory disease due to chronic health problems involving his respiratory system. In 2017, he underwent a lung transplant in the United States. After announcing he was being taken to a facility in Tel Aviv, the PLO later said Erekat had been transferred to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, his brother, Saber Erekat, told the AFP news agency Saebs situation is not good. Following his contraction of COVID-19, and due to the chronic health problems he faces in the respiratory system, Dr. Erekats condition now requires medical attention in a hospital. He is currently being transferred to a hospital in Tel Aviv. Palestine PLO-NAD (@nadplo) October 18, 2020 A member of Fatah, the most powerful faction within the PLO, Erekat has been one of the most high-profile faces of the Palestinian leadership for decades, especially to international audiences. Erekat is also one of the most senior advisers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and also served in top positions under Abbass predecessor, Yasser Arafat. His negotiating days date back to the earliest public negotiations with Israel in 1991 at the Madrid Conference when Erekat was part of the PLO team. A proponent of a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Erekat has been a leading Palestinian voice in opposing Israels illegal settlement policy in territory it captured and occupied after the 1967 war. To date, there have been 42,490 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the West Bank, including 381 related deaths.
Nearly 700 military personnel killed in Nagorno-Karabakh: Live - Al Jazeera English
Defence ministry of region records more casualties as Armenia, Azerbaijan blame each other for ceasefire violations.
- Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of violating the newly agreed truce.
- Defence ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh region said the death toll among its military has risen to 673.
- Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed the ceasefire, which came into force at midnight on Sunday (20:00 GMT Saturday), following mediation by the co-chairs of the Minsk Group.
Indigenous leader demands protection after lobster pound blaze - Al Jazeera English
Indigenous fishers in Canada are asserting their right to fish for a ‘moderate livelihood’ outside the regulated season.
An Indigenous community leader in eastern Canada is renewing his call for concrete action from the federal government after a lobster pound in the province of Nova Scotia was destroyed overnight Saturday. In a statement shared by APTN News, Mike Sack, chief of Sipeknekatik First Nation, said the fire at the lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico, a small fishing village 270km (168 miles) west of Halifax, demonstrates the need for greater police presence in the region. Sack said the storage facility is owned by a friend and ally of Sipeknekatik. This should never have happened and the people responsible should be brought to justice, he said. I am once again calling on Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau and the RCMP (federal police force) to dedicate the necessary resources to this region to protect everyone. This has gone TOO far. Fire crackling woke us up. Middle West Pubnico tonight #MikMaq#TreatyRightspic.twitter.com/62M6l5B8o3 Pierrette dEntremont (@PAdEntremont) October 17, 2020 Nova Scotia RCMP said it was investigating the fire as suspicious. The fish plant incurred significant damage, it was not occupied at the time and no employees were injured, a man is in hospital with life-threatening injuries believed related to the fire, the police said in a statement Saturday. Tense confrontations have taken place during the past several weeks between commercial and Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia, who are exerting their right to fish outside Canadas federally regulated fishing season. The Mikmaw people have a right under Canadas constitution and treaties signed with the British Crown in the 1700s to fish in order to maintain a moderate livelihood. But while that right was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999, the court never defined what a moderate livelihood means in practice. RCMP officers investigate the remains of a lobster pound that was destroyed by a fire in Nova Scotia [John Morris/Reuters] Sipeknekatik First Nation launched its own moderate livelihood fishery last month to be able to harvest outside of the season, prompting the ire of non-Indigenous commercial fishers in the province. Last week, a mob of hundreds of non-Indigenous fishers surrounded Indigenous fishers, APTN News reported. A van was set ablaze and hundreds of Indigenous fishers lobsters were destroyed in two separate incidents in the area. A man has been charged in relation to an assault on Chief Sack on October 14, the RCMP also said on Saturday. Police have been criticised for appearing to stand by during last weeks acts of violence against the Indigenous fishers, while Indigenous leaders across Canada have called on the Nova Scotia and federal governments to do more to ensure people are protected. Canadas public safety minister, Bill Blair, said he was confident the unacceptable acts of violence will be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators will be held to account. The threats, violence and intimidation have to stop. We all need to acknowledge that a lasting resolution to this dispute can only be concluded if it is rooted in the recognition of legitimate Mikmaw treaty rights, Blair said in a statement. The recent acts of violence in Nova Scotia are unacceptable and I strongly condemn them. pic.twitter.com/7sWOGXCcTq Bill Blair (@BillBlair) October 17, 2020
Fight for US battleground state of Michigan enters final stretch - Al Jazeera English
Joe Biden campaigned in the midwestern US state on Friday, and Donald Trump held a rally there on Saturday evening.
With just more than two weeks to go before the United States presidential election, Democratic candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are fighting over a battleground state that will be key to their respective paths to the White House: Michigan. Biden made two campaign speeches in the midwestern state on Friday, urging voters to come out in strong numbers on November 3 and promising to invest in jobs and critical infrastructure if elected, while Trump held a campaign rally there on Saturday evening. Stepping off the plane for the event in Muskegon, a city on the western edge of the state, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) from Grand Rapids, Trump was greeted by a large crowd of supporters, many of whom wore red Make America Great Again caps. Trump struck a confrontational tone, stating unequivocally that he would win Michigan and secure four more years in the White House, and hitting out at some of his usual campaign speech targets: the Left, the media, and Biden. The radical left is eradicating our history and weak Joe Biden will let them do it, Trump said. If you vote for me, prosperity will surge and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country, he said. Donald Trump addressed a large crowd at Muskegon County Airport in Michigan [Carlos Barria/Reuters] In a statement earlier in the day, Biden said all Trump is offering the people of Michigan is more lies and distractions no plan to get the virus under control, no strategy for pulling our economy out of this recession, no vision for uniting the country. Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016, edging out then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by just more than 10,000 votes a margin of victory of only 0.3 percent. His victory marked the first time the state, which former President Barack Obama won in 2012 by 9.5 percentage points, had been won by a Republican presidential candidate since George HW Bush won it in 1988. The averages of major polls in the state have Biden leading Trump by 7.2 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics news site. However, a recent public opinion poll commissioned by US news outlet The Hill showed Biden leading Trump in Michigan by 11 points, with 54 percent of voters saying they backed the former US vice president, compared with 43 percent who said they would vote for Trump. President Trump has made a lot of progress in Florida and (is) closing in there but he has a lot of ground to make up in key Midwestern states, Hill/Harris polling director Mark Penn told The Hill. Biden is polling better with suburban and all-important older voters upset about the virus. Joe Biden held a voter mobilisation event in Michigan on Friday [Tom Brenner/Reuters] Trump has also been strongly criticised by Michigans Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who said the president has fanned the flames of hatred and failed to denounce white supremacist groups. Whitmer was recently the target of a kidnap plot allegedly orchestrated by an armed group of far-right fighters who law enforcement officials said were angered by Michigans COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures. Biden on Friday called Trumps reluctance to condemn white supremacists stunning, and called the kidnap plotters in Michigan domestic terrorists. Trump rejected that criticism during an election campaign rally that same day, mockingly telling the crowd that, its always Trumps fault.