France

Spinning terror to fuel racism

When 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein murdered two people in Copenhagen on February 15, and was killed in a shoot-out with police, the media and politicians across the world did not hesitate to declare that an act of terrorism had taken place.

US President Barack Obama immediately phoned Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to offer condolences and invited Denmark to take part in a February 18 summit in Washington to counter violent extremism, Reuters reported on February 16.

Other Western leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, responded similarly.

Ukraine: Kyiv, Russia sign shakey ceasefire

Leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France emerged from negotiations in Minsk, Belarus on the morning of February 12, after 16 hours of talks, and announced that agreement had been reached for a ceasefire in Ukraine's civil war.

The conflict has divided Ukraine since the overthrow of the unpopular, but democratically elected, president Viktor Yanukovich in February last year.

News in brief — International

Germany sending refugees to Nazi concentration camps

On January 27, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death camp Auschwitz, the German city of Augsburg decided to turn a branch of the former concentration camp at Dachau into a refugee centre. The asylum seekers will live in a building where thousands of slave labourers suffered and died under the Nazis.

Venezuela, international left hail SYRIZA win

Venezuela's left-wing government has congratulated Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece's radical left SYRIZA party, who won a huge victory in Greece's parliamentary elections on January 25, TeleSUR English reported.

A Venezuelan government statement said: “Venezuela warmly congratulates the Syriza coalition party and Alexis Tsipras for their historic victory, wishing them success and complete solidarity and support.”

France jails people for irony

It may sound like an ironic joke, but it isn’t. Less than a week after the huge rallies in defence of “free expression” after the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, French authorities have jailed a youth for irony.

The arrest is part of a harsh crackdown on free speech in the country that has prompted criticism from national and international human rights groups.

Paris massacre: Abbott's response 'no solution to cycle of violence'

The Socialist Alliance national conveners released this statement on January 9.

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The Socialist Alliance condemns the massacre of journalists, cartoonists and others at and around the offices of the Paris-based publication Charlie Hebdo.

However offensive anyone may have found some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo, this act of brutal violence is not justified.

Paris massacre: Lessons war-making gov'ts must learn

No one can have anything but the profoundest condemnation for the attacks on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. It is reported that 12 people are dead, shot in a commando style attack, and that at least nine of them are journalists.

The magazine has recently published a cartoon of the Islamic state leader, and has a record of publishing anti-Islamic satire. The gunmen are assumed to be in some way connected with Islamic State (ISIS).

France's Left Front: After terror, we need more democracy and tolerance

The statement below was released by France's Left Front, a left group uniting the Left Party, the Communist Party of France other other smaller left groups, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo that left at least 12 people dead.

About 35,000 people attended the union-called demonstration on the evening of January 7 that the statement mentions. The translated statement is taken from John Passant's blog.

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Kurdish Paris march highlights hypocrisy -- different killings, different standards

The day before the huge January 11 demonstration in Paris against the killings at the Charlie Hebdo office, another demonstration marked another set of killings in the French capital.

On January 10, tens of thousands of Kurds and their supporters marched to mark the assassination two years earlier of three Kurdish women activists of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and to protest the French government’s foot-dragging on clarifying the truth about the crime.

After Paris attacks: Less freedom, more war?

More than 3.5 million people took to the streets of France on January 11 to support free speech and honour the victims of terrorist attacks on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo and other targets that left 17 people dead, as well as three suspects.

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