Obama visits terrorism site
President Barack Obama paid a late-night tribute to those killed in the terrorist attacks in Paris two weeks ago shortly after his arrival Sunday for climate talks in the French capital. The American president’s motorcade went straight from Orly Airport to the famed French concert hall, the Bataclan, one of the sites the terrorists struck on Nov. 13. French President Francois Hollande and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, joined Obama. Each placed a single flower at a makeshift memorial and Obama bowed his head in silence. Some 130 people died in the deadliest attack on French soil in more than a half-century. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
Airstrikes kill 18 civilians
Airstrikes believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes killed at least 18 civilians and wounded dozens more on Sunday in a northern Syrian town held by insurgents, Syrian opposition media reported. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrikes struck the town of Ariha, killing at least 18 people, including four children, and wounding dozens more. The Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective, said the airstrikes struck a busy market.
Contacts with EU suspended
Israel on Sunday suspended contacts with European Union representatives on Mideast peace issues to protest the 28-nation bloc’s decision to label Israeli exports from the West Bank. The decision, which deepened a fissure with the EU over the labeling issue, came as a rash of Palestinian attacks showed no signs of relenting. In Sunday’s violence, Palestinians carried out two new stabbing attacks — wounding a woman and a police officer. One of the assailants was shot dead.
Cactus species threatened
About a third of the world’s cactus species are threatened with extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature warns in a new report. The study evaluated 1,478 species and determined that 31 percent are endangered due to factors such as the conversion of wilderness areas to farming and ranching, urban development and the harvest of cactus seeds and plants for trade and private collection. It identified hotspots of endangered cactuses across the Americas, from the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and parts of neighboring Uruguay north to the Mexican states of Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Oaxaca and Puebla.
Compiled from wire reports