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Dispatches Human Race

Teacher beheaded in France

Protesters in Paris hold placards during an anti-terrorism vigil for the death of Samuel Paty. (Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

Murdered

French authorities say a teenage refugee beheaded a history teacher on Oct. 16 in a suburb of Paris. The teacher, Samuel Paty, had reportedly shown caricatures of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, to his high-school class. Police shot and killed the suspect during a confrontation after the attack. Officials told the Associated Press the suspect was an 18-year-old Chechen refugee born in Moscow. Tens of thousands of people joined nationwide rallies on Oct. 18 to honor Paty. French President Emmanuel Macron called the murder an “Islamist terrorist attack” during a visit to the school. “One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught … the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” he said. French authorities arrested 11 people, including four members of the suspect’s family, in connection with the attack.

Sued

An Orthodox Jewish group and a Catholic diocese have sued New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over new coronavirus regulations they say unfairly target houses of worship. The new restrictions cover areas with recent COVID-19 outbreaks, including Brooklyn and Queens. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn said in its lawsuit the governor is requiring all houses of worship in certain zones to limit services to 10 people or 25 percent of church capacity, but essential businesses in some of the areas have no capacity limitations. Agudath Israel of America, the international religious group representing Orthodox Jews in their lawsuit, notes the restrictions were to go in place on the eve of three important Jewish holidays, disrupting the worship of thousands of Jews.

Approved

The Netherlands has passed a law approving euthanasia for terminally ill children between 1 and 12 years old, despite strong opposition from conservative Christians. The country already allowed euthanasia for children older than 12 and for babies up to a year old. The previous law required parental consent for both and patient approval for children older than 12. Two doctors must also approve of the procedure with children experiencing “unbearable and endless suffering,” according to the BBC. The new legislation extends these requirements to the new age group and removes any threat of prosecution for doctors.

Stuck

Japanese tourist Jesse Katayama arrived in Peru on March 14 hoping to visit Machu Picchu. He was planning to leave Aguas Calientes, the regional town where tourists begin their Machu Picchu trek, when the Peruvian government shut down the site. Katayama was stuck in the country. He spent the next seven months in the town renting a little room and teaching boxing classes for children. Just before he ran out of money, a local tour company and the National Ministry of Culture got him special permission to enter the site with an exclusive tour.