Eleven people were killed when at least three gunmen stormed the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday and opened fire on employees with Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs.
The shooters fled the scene, and may have taken a hostage with them, initial French reports said. Luc Poignant, an official of the SBP police union, said the attackers escaped in two vehicles.
In the inner pages of the magazine, caricatures featured Muhammad in a series of “daring positions,” according to a description in the French daily Le Figaro.
Masked gunmen opened fire Wednesday in the offices of a satirical newspaper in Paris that has faced previous threats for Muslim-related cartoons, killing at least 11 people in bloodshed that France’s president described as a terrorist attack.
French President Francois Hollande called the shooting a “terrorist attack,” but authorities had no futher comment on possible suspects or motives. A police official, Luc Poignant, told the Associated Press that the attackers escaped in two vehicles.
Top government officials, meanwhile, planned an emergency meeting. Hollande said that several other terror attacks have been thwarted “in recent weeks,” but gave no further details.
An estimated 670,000 children in Syria had no access to education after militants of the jihadist outfit "Islamic State" (IS) ordered that schools be closed until a new and Islamic State-approved curriculum was implemented.
"In December there was a decree of the Islamic State ordering the stoppage of education in areas under its control…This is seriously affecting the schooling of an estimated 670,000 children," The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) spokesman Christophe Boulierac told the press.
The Islamic State ordered that schools teach only those texts that were "compliant with religious rules," Boulierac said, adding that teachers in IS-controlled areas of Raqqa, Deir-al-Zor and Aleppo were to undergo training.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says IS intends to eliminate all courses except Islamic religion, as it regards subjects like mathematics, philosophy, and chemistry as "blasphemous."
Around 4.3 million children in Syria are enrolled in school in these areas, the Syrian Education Ministry said. Of these, at least 2.1 million were out of school or not attending classes regularly.
Children were also the target of IS strikes on schools, the UNICEF said. At least 160 pupils died and 343 were wounded in school strikes.
"In addition to lack of school access, attacks on schools, teachers and students are further horrific reminders of the terrible price Syria's children are paying in a crisis approaching its fifth year," Hanaa Singer, UNICEF representative in Syria said in a statement.
Russia’s foreign reserves have dropped to the lowest level since the Lehman crisis and are vanishing at an unsustainable rate as the country struggles to defends the rouble against capital flight.
Central bank data show that a blitz of currency intervention depleted reserves by $26bn in the two weeks to December 26, the fastest pace of erosion since the crisis in Ukraine erupted early last year.
The rouble weakened sharply to 64 against the dollar on Tuesday. It has slumped moe than 20pc since Christmas, with increasing contagion to Belarus, Georgia and other closely-linked economies.
There are signs that Russia’s crisis may undermine President Vladimir’s Putin’s Eurasian Economic Union before it has got off the ground. Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko is already insisting that trade be carried out in US dollars, while Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev warned that the Russian crash poses a “major risk” to the new venture.
The rouble is trading in lockstep with Brent crude, which has continued its relentless slide this week, falling to a five-year low of $51.50 a barrel. “If oil drops to $45 or lower and stays there, Russia is going to face a big problem,” said Mikhail Liluashvili, from Oxford Economics. “The central bank will try to smooth volatility but they will have to let the rouble fall and this could push inflation to 20pc.”
BNP’s Tatiana Tchembarova said the situation is more serious than in 2008, when Russia had to spend $170bn to rescue its banks. This time it no longer has enough reserves to cover external debt, and it enters the crisis “twice as levered”.
Mr Putin has imposed partial capital controls by forcing companies to repatriate foreign currency. This has bought time and shored up the rouble for a few days, but it is a disguised form of reserve depletion since many of these companies will need dollars to repay debt.
Many of these companies are pillars of the Russian economy or energy champions. Their dollar debts are implicitly liabilities of the Russian state since these firms cannot be left to default. The oil giant Rosneft has requested $46bn in state aid to help meet repayments and cover investment.
The euro fell to a new nine-year low against the dollar on Wednesday after data showed the euro zone prices falling for the first time since 2009, piling pressure on the European Central Bank to take bold policy action.
Eurozone consumer prices fell by a worse-than-expected 0.2 percent annually in December because of much cheaper energy.
One measure of core inflation that ECB members have favored in the past and excludes volatile energy and unprocessed food prices held steady at 0.7 percent in December, while another measure, which also excludes alcohol and tobacco, actually edged up to 0.8 percent.
That initially provided the euro with some relief and the single currency pared losses, but it then fell again, hitting a low of $1.1823 - its weakest since January 2006 - as the dollar rallied across the board.