Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
The suspect is cornered. As I write this it seems only a matter of time before he either gives himself up or ends things in a suicide by cop action.
The body count in France is thankfully smaller but the reason Poirier makes the 7/7 analogy is that the killer is home grown. He is not someone sent from abroad to carry out a mission, but rather a French citizen, radicalized on French soil. A cursory reading of the French press shows another similarity. Although the victims were from minority groups this is a tragedy for the entire French nation.
The Guardian’s Angelique Chrisafis is in Toulouse and put together a quick biographic dispatch on Mohammed Merah for the paper’s live blog on the event (scroll down to 1:20 p.m.):
“On the streets near the apartment block under siege, several young men gathered who claimed they knew the suspect from Les Izards, a mixed neighborhood of Toulouse where he had grown up. A 25-year-old French man, whose parents were born in Algeria, said: “I grew up with him. I’m totally shocked and surprised, I can’t believe that he could do this. His mum was French of Algerian origin — she brought him up alone. He didn’t have a dad. This has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, or with us, and I really hope that all the young people of our type of neighborhood won’t be sullied by this. It has always been hard enough living in France with prejudice but now it’s going to be much worse.”
Even as the facts about Mohammed Merah emerge, more questions arise. Police say they were following him for several years. How did they miss out on at least following him after the first shooting … and if not the first, why not after the second?
Or did it take the attack on a Jewish school to make them think this was a Muslim extremist at work?
Was there any truth to the allegation yesterday that the killer was seen wearing a camera on his chest like Norwegian neo-Nazi Anders Breivik and filming the killings at the Jewish school? Or was this something the police and Interior Minister Claude Gueant put out so that Merah thought they were looking for a neo_Nazi and not him?
Finally, it is not to soon to ask, what effect will the events of the last 72 hours have on the French presidential election. First round voting is a month away. Before the events of the last 72 hours Nicolas Sarkozy was trailing the Socialist Party’s Francois Hollande.
But a national tragedy like this gives a president a chance to act presidential. Sarkozy has certainly been doing that. He has convened meetings of the leaders of France’s religious communities. During the course of today he has been at the police station in Toulouse where the operation to bring the killer in has been headquartered. He has attended the funerals of the paratroopers murder by Merah last week and continues to make all the right sounds about not allowing these events to threaten the social integrity of France.
French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur also notes that Sarkozy is rated higher than Hollande, on the issue of national security. It’s likely that security will become a major issue now in the campaign.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.
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