Six In The Morning Wednesday November 18

Paris attacks: Police in deadly swoop on apartment in northern suburb

Armed police have raided a flat in the north Paris suburb of Saint Denis in an operation linked to Friday’s attacks.

A woman blew herself up with a suicide belt, a prosecutor says. Some reports suggested two suspects died. Several explosions and gunfire were heard. The operation is said to be ongoing.

Five people have also been arrested.

The focus of the operation is reported to be Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the Islamic State-claimed attacks that killed 129 people.

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Roads have been blocked off around Rue de la Republique in Saint Denis, in the same district as the Stade de France, where suicide attackers detonated bombs on Friday.

Truckloads of soldiers joined armed police at the scene.

Japanese women suffer widespread ‘maternity harassment’ at work

Almost half of short-term workers face discrimination after becoming pregnant, while complaints over harassment have risen 18% in six years, survey finds

Almost half of Japanese women who work on short-term contracts suffer harassment after becoming pregnant or giving birth, according to a government survey.

Evidence of widespread discrimination is a blow to attempts by the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to increase the number of women in the workplace and revive the world’s third biggest economy.

Concern about the prevalence of “maternity harassment” – or matahara in Japanese – prompted the health, welfare and labour ministry to conduct its first survey into attitudes towards working women who become pregnant or take time off to have children.

Francois Hollande’s ‘war’ with Isis won’t stand in the way of France’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia

Despite the President’s huffing and puffing about war the spiritual mentors of the militants will be left untouched
The country which lent its Sunni-Wahhabi creed to the Isis killers of Paris will care nothing for François Hollande’s huffing and puffing about war. The Saudis have heard it all before, this New World Order stuff, way back in 1991 when George W Bush dreamed up the sub-Hitlerian expression for the Middle East he thought he could produce: an oasis of peace, a place of weaponless wealth in which swords would be turned into ploughshares – or at least into bigger oil tankers and longer pipelines.
The Saudis are far too busy blowing up bits of Yemen in their crazed war against the Shia Houthis to worry about the Sunni-Wahhabi crazies of Isis. Their enemy remains America’s new best friend – Shia Iran – and they are as keen as ever to dethrone the Alawite-Shia President of Syria, even if Isis is in the front line against Bashar al-Assad. They know that French foreign policy has favoured Saudi trade as fervently as it once opposed the Iranian nuclear agreement – and that billions of dollars’ worth of US military supplies will still flow to the kingdom despite their countrymen’s links to the cult which destroyed 129 lives in Paris.

China marks centenary of leader whose death sparked Tiananmen protest

Any commemoration to be low-key as Hu Yaobang remains divisive figure

China will commemorate the centenary of the birth of the liberal Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang, whose death in 1989 sparked the Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, over the next week, but he is not likely to be rehabilitated.

Hu, who was elected general secretary of the Communist Party in 1980, promoted reform in China, for which he was forced to resign in 1987, with the leadership deciding the liberal leader had made “grave errors” in tolerating “bourgeois liberalisation”.

He became a symbol for liberalisation and reform. The problem with rehabilitating him is that Xi Jinping’s administration is focused on economic reform, but in political terms it has overseen an ideological tightening and a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent. However, Mr Xi’s anti-graft campaign is in tune with Hu Yaobang’s efforts to control official corruption.

Israel to push ahead with 454 new settler homes in East Jerusalem

November 18, 2015 – 4:49PM

Ali Sawafta

Jerusalem:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the marketing of land for the construction of 454 homes in two settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a government official.

The building of 436 of the housing units, in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo on land Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, was approved in 2012, but the project was later frozen in an apparent attempt to avoid friction with Washington.

US Vice-President Joe Biden publicly scolded Israel when construction plans for Ramat Shlomo, which is in territory Palestinians seek for a future state, were first announced in 2010 while he was visiting Jerusalem.

The Israeli government official, who asked not to be identified, said Mr Netanyahu gave the go-ahead on Monday to market 436 homes in Ramat Shlomo and another 18 in Ramot.

Mosques vandalised as US states reject Syria refugees

Suspected hate crimes targeting Muslims carried out as anti-Islam rhetoric swells in the US following Paris attacks.

Patrick Strickland |  | Humanitarian crisesWar & ConflictUS & CanadaUnited StatesISIL

Several mosques have been vandalised and a number of suspected hate crimes targeting Muslims carried out after dozens of United States governors announced they would not accept Syrian refugees in their states.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil rights organisation, said on Monday that it has documented recent “vandalism, threats and hate [incidents]” in Massachusetts, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, Nebraska, Tennessee, Ohio and New York, among other states.

The wave of incidents follows declarations by at least 27 state governors – 26 from the right-wing Republican party and a Democrat – saying they will block Syrian refugees, citing last Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.