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What's Going On Around The World Today

We don’t yet know if the suspected main planner of the Paris attacks has been captured in an early morning raid. A group representing doctors in the U.S. wants to ban ads for prescription medicine. And two men became the first same-sex couple to get married in Ireland.

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Two people died and seven others were arrested during an early morning antiterrorist raid in a Paris suburb, French officials say.

The lengthy raid on an apartment in Saint-Denis on Wednesday morning targeted Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 27-year-old Belgian man suspected of being the main planner of Friday night’s terror attacks in Paris.

French officials have not confirmed whether Abaaoud was in the apartment, and they have not released the identities of any of the people arrested or killed.

One of the people who died in the raid was a woman who blew herself up with a suicide vest — a strategy also employed by several of the attackers who killed themselves on Friday night. The other person who died was a male who was hit by a grenade and other projectiles, Paris’ prosecutor François Molins said.

The operation follows hundreds of similar counterterrorism raids across France in response to last week’s deadly attacks.

Saint-Denis is where the Stade de France, one of the venues targeted in the attacks that killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds more, is located.

And a little extra.

Abaaoud, as well as a pair of brothers involved in the attacks, lived in Molenbeek, a suburb of Brussels. Molenbeek, which has a population of about 100,000, has been linked to some of the most high-profile terrorist attacks in recent years, BuzzFeed News’ Rosie Gray reports from Belgium.

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The largest U.S. doctors group wants to ban drug ads from TV and magazines.

The American Medical Association (AMA) called for a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices, after wrestling with the issue for more than a decade, BuzzFeed News’ Cat Ferguson writes.

Drug companies spent $4.5 billion on consumer marketing in 2014, the Washington Post reported. This only fuels drug prices, according to the AMA.

“Drugs aren’t like everything else, people don’t need to be sold on the newest and brightest drug,” Lisa Schwartz, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, told BuzzFeed News. “People need to be educated on the benefits and harms, but that’s not what drug ads do.”

The U.S. is one of only two countries — the other is New Zealand — that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.


What’s next?

U.S. Congress will have to act in order to actually ban these ads from TV and magazines. Congress would have to “change the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and would also raise complex freedom of speech issues,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website.


How the FBI invents terror plots to catch wannabe jihadis.

In 2011, a judge sentenced James Cromitie to 25 years in prison for his involvement in a plot to attack Jewish targets and shoot down military aircraft.

“Cromitie and his three fellow plotters from Newburgh, New York, thought they had planted car bombs outside two synagogues in the Bronx, and were in possession of what they had been told were Stinger surface-to-air missiles. But the bombs and missiles were fake, provided by the FBI,” BuzzFeed News’ Peter Aldhous writes.

Terrorism prosecutions are rife with signs of entrapment by law enforcement, according to a new study provided to BuzzFeed News. Under U.S. federal law this is a legitimate strategy as long as a suspect is already “predisposed” to commit a similar crime, Aldhous writes.

The FBI’s critics say the bureau is trampling civil liberties based on flawed ideas about radicalization. In turn, the FBI says it’s the best way to stop terrorists before they can do actual harm. “This is a topic that’s been well reviewed by the courts and there’s not been a single case where the court has said the FBI has entrapped an individual,” Michael Steinbach, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, told BuzzFeed News.

From left, Stories Seldom Seen LLC, New York Daily News via Getty Images, courtesy Marlene Jenkins

From left: Theodore Shelby (aka Saeed Torres), James Cromitie, and Tarik Shah. Shelby/Torres was an FBI informant sent to target Shah; Cromitie was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Quick things to know:

  • An explosion in Northeastern Nigeria has reportedly killed more than 30 people. The blast struck the city of Yola, which has previously been the target of attacks by extremist group Boko Haram. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Salt Lake City, the capital of conservative Utah and the city where the Mormon church is headquartered, has officially elected its first openly gay mayor. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Two Paris-bound Air France flights were diverted after threats were made. No explosives were found. (BuzzFeed News)

  • The end of car ownership is coming fast, according to the co-founder of ride-hailing company Lyft. (BuzzFeed News)

  • The U.S. government is bringing criminal charges against companies that sell bogus dietary supplements. (Vox)

  • Former porn star Bree Olson claims Charlie Sheen hid his HIV status from her while they were together. This could lead to criminal charges for Sheen. (BuzzFeed News)

  • New Zealand rugby legend Jonah Lomu has died. He was 40. (BuzzFeed News)

  • The first professional women’s hockey league just got its first TV deal in the U.S. The New England Sports Network will broadcast the Boston Pride games. (BuzzFeed News)

  • These two men became Ireland’s first same-sex married couple.(BuzzFeed News)

  • And now you can make gifs right inside Tumblr’s iPhone app. (BuzzFeed News)

Happy Wednesday

French and English soccer fans came together for a friendly match in London on Tuesday. Fans of both teams sang an emotional rendition of “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem, before kickoff. The players paid their respects with a minute of silence before the match. BuzzFeed’s Richard Beech was at the stadium and asked people for their messages of solidarity. In short: “France, stay strong. We are with you.”

This letter was edited and brought to you by Claire Moses and Stacy-Marie Ishmael. You can always reach us here.

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