The World This Week

Nice attack, 'Boycott France' protests, Covid-19, US presidential election


It was a Thursday the French would rather forget, with bottlenecks at the exits of Paris as some city dwellers raced to get out before Act II of a national lockdown. And if the second wave of Covid-19 was not enough to dampen an already grey autumn mood: another gruesome terror attack took place, with three killed in a stabbing spree inside Notre Dame Basilica in the heart of Nice, a city already targeted during a 2016 Bastille Day rampage. The suspect was identified as a newly-arrived 21-year-old from Tunisia's south. It's the third time in just over three months.


The anger still simmers in broad parts of the Muslim world over the reprinting of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. In Bangladesh, there were Friday "Boycott France" demonstrations, as well as in India. Same in the Middle East, in places like Lebanon. Thursday saw a Tel Aviv rally of Israeli Arabs in front of the French embassy.

It's Election Day in the United States next Tuesday and signs point to the possibility of record-breaking turnout. Thanks to early voting, Texans have already cast more ballots than they did during all of 2016, an unprecedented surge in a state that was - up to now - reliably Republican, but that now may be in play. The two candidates are in Wisconsin on Friday after both being in Florida on Thursday, where it was Joe Biden putting the accent on Covid-19 and Donald Trump talking up rebounding US growth figures.

Not everyone's suffering from the pandemic. Amazon announced third-quarter profits that tripled from a year ago to $6.3 billion on strong retail sales and growth in cloud computing. That's a bitter pill to swallow for small independent bookstores in this country. Particularly when they see that big chains – like the supermarkets who sell books and the FNAC stores – can stay open while they have to shut, smack at the outset of literary prize season followed by Christmas shopping.

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