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Security Council reform must to deal with security situation, says Ban Ki-moon

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Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made an impassioned plea on Wednesday for reforming the Security Council, saying it was imperative to deal with the rapidly deteriorating global security situation.

“Just as I am about to leave this position, I am urging that they (the international community) should reflect the voices and the aspirations of the member states” on reforming the Council, said Ban, whose term ends this year.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the UN summit later this month, he said: “It is important that member states look at this issue after (the) two-decades-long consultation and negotiation process. It is high time to discuss this matter.”

He discounted a reporter’s assertion that he had not pressed the Council reforms issue with the same vigour he had shown on other matters. He said that he had spoken repeatedly about the need for changing its structure.

Ban said that since the UN was formed in 1945, the Council structure was changed only once and it was important to reform it again to reflect the contemporary world. However, he pointed out, it was the member states that will have to respond to his call for action.

In 1965, the Council was expanded by adding four non-permanent seats for a total of ten, while the five permanent members – the victors in World War II, Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – continued to hold their monopoly.

Since then the membership of the UN has swelled from 117 members to 193 now. Africa and Latin America are not represented in the ranks of the permanent members, nor are countries like India, Japan and Germany, which have emerged as major international players.

India, Brazil, Japan and Germany have banded together as the G4 group to spearhead the movement for reform and also to mutually support each other for permanent seats on an expanded Council.

Ban noted that there was some progress in the more than 20-year-long reform process and it has now moved from open-ended to discussions to negotiations.

After years of attempts by Pakistan and a group of countries led by Italy to block substantive negotiations on Council reforms, the General Assembly adopted a negotiating document in 2014 and the just-concluded session began to seriously take it up.

However, the negotiating process sputtered after the promising start and the Assembly left it to current session that began Tuesday.

Soon after he was sworn-in as the president of the General Assembly’s 71st session on Tuesday, Peter Thomson vowed to continue the reform process.

“The community as a whole must move forward together in resolving reform,” he said. “I am committed to facilitating this movement in the 71st session.”

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Thousands rally across France in tribute to murdered schoolteacher

Nation mourns Samuel Paty, who was beheaded in a terrorist attack on Friday

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Tens of thousands of people have rallied in solidarity, in dozens of towns and cities across France, after a secondary schoolteacher was beheaded in an attack that has shocked a country already shaken by terrorist atrocities.

Demonstrators gathered on Sunday in cities including Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux in support of free speech and in tribute to Samuel Paty, who was killed outside his school on Friday after discussing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad with his class.

Leading politicians, civil rights associations and teachers’ unions rallied on the Place de la République in Paris holding placards proclaiming “Je suis Samuel”, an echo of the “Je suis Charlie” slogan following the 2015 attack in which Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Protesters at Place de la République in Paris pay tribute to Samuel Paty. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Others held placards aloft declaring “No to totalitarianism of thought”, “I am a teacher” or “Schools in mourning”. Between bursts of applause, others chanted “Freedom of expression, freedom to teach” or sang La Marseillaise.

“We are the result of our history: these values of liberty, secularism and democracy cannot remain just words,” one demonstrator in Paris told French television. “We have to keep them alive, and being here helps do that.”

Many teachers said the killing came amid a climate of growing suspicion and criticism of teachers, with parents particularly willing to intervene. “We have to be allowed to do our jobs,” one teacher told Le Monde. “It cannot be allowed come to this – that I now know I might end up being killed for teaching,” said another.

Before the rallies, the education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer called on “everyone to support our teachers”, saying “solidarity and unity” was vital. State interior secretary, Marlène Schiappa, said she was attending the Paris rally “for teachers, secularism and freedom of expression, and against Islamism”.

Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Lyon mosque and a senior Muslim figure, said Paty had merely been “doing his job” and was “respectful” in doing so. “These terrorists are not religious but are using religion to take power,” Kabtane told Agence France-Presse.

A national tribute will be organised for Wednesday, the Elysée palace announced. The prime minister, Jean Castex, who attended the Paris rally along with opposition leaders and the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said the government was working on a strategy to better protect teachers from similar threats.

“I want teachers to know that, after this ignoble act, the whole country is behind them,” Castex said. “This tragedy affects each and every one of us because, through this teacher, it is the republic that was attacked.”

The 47-year-old history and geography teacher was repeatedly attacked with a 30cm butcher’s knife outside the Bois-d’Aulne secondary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, about 20 miles north-west of Paris, by an 18-year-old assailant.

Named as Abdullakh Anzorov, the attacker was shot dead by police soon afterwards when he fired at officers and tried to stab them as they closed in on him. He was born in Moscow of Chechen parents, authorities said, and had arrived in France aged six where he had been granted refugee status along with his family.

Anzorov lived in Évreux, about 60 miles from Conflans, had not attended the school and, while he had a record for vandalism and fights as a child, had no known radical or Islamist affiliations, French media reported.

A Twitter account under the name Abdoulakh A belonging to the suspect posted a photo of the decapitated head from the attacker’s mobile phone minutes after the attack, along with the message: “I have executed one of the dogs from hell who dared to put Mohammed down.”

Earlier this month, as part of a class discussion on freedom of expression and alongside cartoons and caricatures of different subjects, Paty showed his pupils two of the caricatures of the prophet Mohammed published by Charlie Hebdo.

According to parents and teachers, the teacher had given Muslim children in his class the option to leave the classroom or turn away before he showed the two cartoons, saying that he did not want their feelings hurt.

A placard with the portrait of history teacher Samuel Paty as people gather in Paris.

A placard with the portrait of history teacher Samuel Paty as people gather in Paris. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

France’s anti-terror prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, said on Saturday that the teacher had been the target of multiple online threats for showing the cartoons to his class. Depictions of the prophet are widely regarded as taboo in Islam.

The father of one girl at the school had launched an online appeal for a “mobilisation” against the teacher, demanding he be fired. He also named Paty and gave the school’s address in a social media post days before the attack.

A known Islamist militant accompanied some parents to the school to argue their case, and helped file a formal police complaint. The schoolgirl’s father and the Islamist leader, along with four members of Anzorov’s family, are among 11 people arrested, including one person detained on Sunday.

Friday’s attack was the second of its kind since a trial started last month over the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The magazine republished the cartoons in the run-up to the trial, and last month a young Pakistani man wounded two people with a meat cleaver outside the magazine’s former office.



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France: Teacher beheaded in Paris; Macron calls it ‘Islamist terrorist attack’

The teacher had discussed caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class, authorities said. The suspected attacker was shot and killed by police.

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For the second time in three weeks, terror struck France, this time with the gruesome beheading of a history teacher in a street in a Paris suburb. The suspected attacker was shot and killed by police.

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced what he called an “Islamist terrorist attack” and urged the nation to stand united against extremism. The teacher had discussed caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class, authorities said.

The French anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive. Four people, one a minor, were detained hours later, the office of anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said without elaborating. Police typically fan out to find family and friends of potential suspects in terror cases.

Macron visited the school where the teacher worked in the town of Conflans-Saint-Honorine and met with staff after the slaying. An Associated Press reporter saw three ambulances at the scene, and heavily armed police surrounding the area and police vans lining leafy nearby streets.

“One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught … the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” Macron said.

He said the attack shouldn’t divide France because that’s what the extremists want. “We must stand all together as citizens,” he said.

The incident came as Macron’s government works on a bill to address Islamist radicals who authorities claim are creating a parallel society outside the values of the French Republic. France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe with up to 5 million members, and Islam is the country’s No. 2 religion.

A police official said the suspect, armed with a knife and an airsoft gun — which fires plastic pellets — was shot dead about 600 meters (yards) from where the male teacher was killed after he failed to respond to orders to put down his arms, and acted in a threatening manner.

The teacher had received threats after opening a discussion “for a debate” about the caricatures about 10 days ago, the police official told The Associated Press. The parent of a student had filed a complaint against the teacher, another police official said, adding that the suspected killer did not have a child at the school.

An ID card was found at the scene but police were verifying the identity, the police official said. French media reported that the suspect was an 18-year-old Chechen, born in Moscow. That information could not be immediately confirmed.

France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months, in the Dijon region, the Mediterranean city of Nice, and the western town of Saint-Dizier, believed linked to local criminal activity.

It was not known what link, if any, the attacker might have with the teacher or whether he had accomplices. Police were fanning out on searches of homes and potential family and friends of the man in question, the police official said.

The two officials could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing investigations.

“We didn’t see this coming,” Conflans resident Remi Tell, who as a child had attended the Bois D’Aulne middle school, said on CNews TV station. He described the town as peaceful.

It was the second terrorism-related incident since the opening of an ongoing trial for the January 2015 newsroom massacre at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had published caricatures of the prophet of Islam.

As the trial started, the paper republished caricatures of the prophet to underscore the right of freedom of expression. Quickly, a young man from Pakistan was arrested after stabbing two people with a meat cleaver outside the newspaper’s former offices. They did not suffer threatening injuries. The 18-year-old told police he was upset about the publication of the caricatures.

In a video posted recently on social media, a man describing himself as a father at the school said the teacher who was slain had recently shown an offensive image of a man and told students it was “the prophet of the Muslims.” Before showing the images, the teacher asked Muslim children to leave the room because he planned to show something shocking, the man said.

“What was the message he wanted to send these children? … Why does a history teacher behave this way in front of 13-year-olds?” the man asked. He called on other angry parents to contact him, and relay the message.

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Hasina sends gifts to Mamata for Durga Puja

Deputy High Commissioner (Political) B.M. Jamal Hossain of Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata, said that the gifts, contained in two sealed cartons, were handed over at Banerjee’s office.

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Mamata Banerjee Sheikh Hasina

Dhaka, Oct 19 : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has greeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the occasion of Durga Puja, and also sent her some gifts.

The gifts were sent to West Bengal through the Benapole checkpost in Jashore early on Sunday, and Bangladesh’s Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata delivered them to the West Bengal Chief Minister’s office at secretariat ‘Nabanna’ in the evening.

Benapole checkpost agent Mostafizur Rahman Rubel told IANS the gifts sent by the Prime Minister to the West Bengal Chief Minister were handed over to waiting Bangladeshi officials at Petrapole checkpost on the Indian side.

Benapole immigration checkpost officer-in-charge Ahsan Habib said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s gifts were sent by Ataur Rahman, Chief Protocol Officer at the Prime Minister’s Office in Dhaka, and Alam Hossain, assistant to the First Secretary of the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata, came to collect them.

Deputy High Commissioner (Political) B.M. Jamal Hossain of Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata, said that the gifts, contained in two sealed cartons, were handed over at Banerjee’s office.

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