‘Little doubt’ Paris stabbing was terrorism, says French interior minister

PARIS (AP) — The main suspect in the double stabbing Friday outside the former Paris offices of a satirical newspaper where dozens were killed in 2015 was arrested a month ago for carrying a screwdriver but not on police radar for Islamic radicalization, France’s interior minister said.

Two suspects were arrested separately shortly after the stabbing in which two people were wounded, although the links between the two suspects weren’t immediately clear. The main suspect, the young man, was arrested on the steps of the Bastille Opera not far from the attack site, near the building where the weekly Charlie Hebdo was located before the 2015 attack.

The interior minister said the young man arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor, apparently from Pakistan, but his identity was still being verified.

“But manifestly it’s an act of Islamist terrorism,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in an interview with the France 2 television station. “Obviously, there is little doubt. It’s a new bloody attack against our country, against journalists, against this society.”

France’s counterterrorism prosecutor said earlier that authorities suspect a terrorist motive because of the place and timing of the stabbings: in front of the building where Charlie Hebdo was based until the Islamic extremist attack on its cartoonists and at a time when suspects in the 2015 attack are on trial across town.

From the left, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, anti-terrorism state prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard, and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin answer reporters after a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, September 25, 2020, in Paris. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said that the chief suspect in Friday’s stabbings was arrested, along with another person. Ricard said the assailant did not know the people who were stabbed, a woman and a man working at a documentary production company who had stepped outside for a smoke break.

The suspects’ identities have not been released. An investigation was opened into “attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise,” according to an official at the terrorism prosecutor’s office.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the lives of the two wounded workers were not in danger. He offered the government’s solidarity with their families and colleagues.

The prime minister noted the “symbolic site” of the attack, “at the very moment where the trial into the atrocious acts against Charlie Hebdo is under way.” He promised the government’s “unfailing attachment to freedom of the press, and its determination to fight terrorism.”

In a tweet, Charlie Hebdo strongly condemned the stabbings.

“This tragic episode shows us once again that fanaticism, intolerance, the origins of which will be revealed by the investigation, are still present in French society….There is no question of ceding anything,” the newspaper said.

Police officers stand by a knife, seen on the ground, in Paris, September 25, 2020. (Soufian Fezzani Via AP)

The two people confirmed

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Senate Republicans Cast Doubt on COVID Relief Bill’s Prospects, Prompting White House to Consider More Executive Orders

Senate Republicans cast doubt on Wednesday over the prospect of passing a bipartisan coronavirus relief package ahead of the November election, suggesting they would instead aim to pass legislation to avoid a federal shutdown.



a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 9 2020.


© Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 9 2020.

While Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., K.Y.) said he was “optimistic” that the GOP’s $500 billion skinny COVID-19 package would garner solid support from Republicans in a test vote on Thursday, Democrats have called the bill insufficient, furthering months of political gridlock over the stimulus in the Senate.

“Unless something really broke through, it’s not going to happen,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to the Associated Press, on the prospect of restarting negotiations that fell apart last month and reaching a deal before November. He added that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are itching to head home to campaign rather than stay in Washington.

The pessimism surrounding the bill’s prospects has reportedly prompted the White House to consider implementing additional executive orders that would direct funding to the airline industry and extend increased unemployment benefits, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

McConnell accused the Democrats of forcing unreasonable demands and behaving as though it will be politically advantageous to keep Republicans and President Trump from a victory on the virus so close to election day.

“They do not want any bipartisan relief,” he said.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) criticized the GOP bill that cuts out many of the provisions included in the $3.5 trillion relief bill that passed in the House in May, saying the GOP legislation “does nothing.”

“There are millions of kids who are food insecure, millions, maybe 14 million in our country, food insecure. He has nothing for that,” Pelosi said during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. “There are millions of families, victims of evictions because they can’t pay the rent. They don’t care about that.”

The Republicans’ package would provide $105 billion to help schools reopen; instate a reduced weekly unemployment benefit supplement of $300; set aside $31 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen; provide $20 billion for farmers; and devote $258 billion for a second round of paycheck protection subsidies.

Absent from the GOP bill is a second round of $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans. 

McConnell and other Republicans have expressed support for a short-term spending measure — a continuing resolution (CR) — in light of the stalemate to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, setting up a session for after the election to handle unfinished legislation, which could include coronavirus relief.

“My guess would be that if we leave in September with a CR, we will not come back to do anything before the election,” Senator Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.) told the AP.

Senate minority

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Coronavirus Relief: Senate Republicans Cast Doubt on COVID Relief Bill’s Prospects

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 9 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Senate Republicans cast doubt on Wednesday over the prospect of passing a bipartisan coronavirus relief package ahead of the November election, suggesting they would instead aim to pass legislation to avoid a federal shutdown.

While Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., K.Y.) said he was “optimistic” that the GOP’s $500 billion skinny COVID-19 package would garner solid support from Republicans in a test vote on Thursday, Democrats have called the bill insufficient, furthering months of political gridlock over the stimulus in the Senate.

“Unless something really broke through, it’s not going to happen,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to the Associated Press, on the prospect of restarting negotiations that fell apart last month and reaching a deal before November. He added that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are itching to head home to campaign rather than stay in Washington.

The pessimism surrounding the bill’s prospects has reportedly prompted the White House to consider implementing additional executive orders that would direct funding to the airline industry and extend increased unemployment benefits, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

McConnell accused the Democrats of forcing unreasonable demands and behaving as though it will be politically advantageous to keep Republicans and President Trump from a victory on the virus so close to election day.

“They do not want any bipartisan relief,” he said.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) criticized the GOP bill that cuts out many of the provisions included in the $3.5 trillion relief bill that passed in the House in May, saying the GOP legislation “does nothing.”

“There are millions of kids who are food insecure, millions, maybe 14 million in our country, food insecure. He has nothing for that,” Pelosi said during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. “There are millions of families, victims of evictions because they can’t pay the rent. They don’t care about that.”

The Republicans’ package would provide $105 billion to help schools reopen; instate a reduced weekly unemployment benefit supplement of $300; set aside $31 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen; provide $20 billion for farmers; and devote $258 billion for a second round of paycheck protection subsidies.

Absent from the GOP bill is a second round of $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans. 

McConnell and other Republicans have expressed support for a short-term spending measure — a continuing resolution (CR) — in light of the stalemate to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, setting up a session for after the election to handle unfinished legislation, which could include coronavirus relief.

“My guess would be that if we leave in September with a CR, we will not come back to do anything before the election,” Senator Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.) told the AP.

Senate minority leader Chuck

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