AUCTION REPLAY

THE RETURN OF
AN OLD GAMBLE

NICHOLAS KRISTOF
OF SATIRE, FANATICS,
TERRORISM AND ISLAM

HACKERS’ GATE
CONNECTED
HOMES AT RISK

PAGE 10

PAGE 9

PAGE 17

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CULTURE

|

OPINION

|

BUSINESS ASIA

...

FRIDAY, JANUARY 9, 2015

From a pile
of dirt, hope
for a strong
antibiotic

Paris attack
likely to add
to anti-Islam
sentiments

Scientists say new drug
cures severe infections in
mice, with no side effects

LONDON

Assault at newspaper
comes amid fear and
resentment in Europe

BY DENISE GRADY

An unusual method for producing antibiotics may help solve an urgent global
problem: the rise in infections that resist treatment with commonly used
drugs, and the lack of new antibiotics to
replace ones that no longer work.
The method, which extracts drugs
from bacteria that live in dirt, has yielded a powerful new antibiotic, researchers reported in the journal Nature on
Wednesday. The new drug, teixobactin,
was tested in mice and easily cured
severe infections, with no side effects.
Better still, the researchers said, the
drug works in a way that makes it very
unlikely that bacteria will become resistant to it. And the method developed to
produce the drug has the potential to
unlock a trove of natural compounds to
fight infections and cancer — molecules
that were previously beyond scientists’
reach because the microbes that produce them could not be grown in the laboratory.
Teixobactin has not yet been tested in
humans, so its safety and effectiveness
are not known. Studies in people will not
begin for about two years, according to
Kim Lewis, the senior author of the article and director of the Antimicrobial
Discovery Center at Northeastern University in Boston. Those studies will
take several years, so even if the drug
passes all the required tests, it still will
not be available for five or six years, he
said during a telephone news conference on Tuesday. If it is approved, he
said, it will probably have to be injected,
not taken by mouth.
Experts not involved with the research said the technique for isolating
the drug had great potential. They also
said teixobactin looked promising, but
they expressed caution because it had
not yet been tested in humans.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious
disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, called the research
‘‘ingenious’’ and said, ‘‘We’re in desperate need of some good antibiotic
news.’’
Regarding teixobactin, he said: ‘‘It’s
at the test-tube and the mouse level, and
mice are not men or women, and so
moving beyond that is a large step, and
many compounds have failed.’’ He
added, ‘‘Toxicity is often the Achilles’
heel of drugs.’’

BY STEVEN ERLANGER
AND KATRIN BENNHOLD

JOHN MINCHILLO/ASSOCIATED PRESS

At a rally in New York, supporters held up photos of Charlie Hebdo staff members killed in the attack. In recent years, the staff had weathered a firebombing, hacking and death threats.

Taking pride in offending one and all
PARIS

Newspaper had defied
threats and violence in
breaking cultural taboos
BY DOREEN CARVAJAL
AND SUZANNE DALEY

In 2012, when Charlie Hebdo editors defied the government’s advice and published crude caricatures of the Prophet
Muhammad naked and in sexual poses,
the French authorities shut down embassies, cultural centers and schools in
about 20 countries.
‘‘Is it really sensible or intelligent to
pour oil on the fire?’’ asked Laurent
Fabius, the foreign minister at the time.
But Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stéphane
Charbonnier, who died in the attack on
the paper’s offices Wednesday, was not
deterred.
Week after week, the small, strug-

gling paper amused and horrified, taking pride in offending one and all and
carrying on a venerable European tradition dating to the days of the French
Revolution, when satire was used to pillory Marie Antoinette, and later to challenge politicians, the police, bankers
and religions of all kinds.
This week’s issue was no exception. It
featured a mock debate about whether
Jesus exists and a black-and-white New
Year’s greeting card from the leader of
the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with the caption, ‘‘To your
health.’’
No subject was off limits. The paper
offered pages of colorful cartoons depicting France’s top politicians and intellectuals as wine-swilling slackers indulging in sexual acts, or suggesting the
pope was stepping aside to be with his
girlfriend.
It is a brand of humor the French and
other Europeans are attached to, but it
has prompted fury among both Muslim
extremists and less radical Muslims

who see the denigration of their religion
as provocation, not food for thought.
‘‘The French like their satire,’’ said
Jean-Marie Charon, a sociologist who
studies the news media. ‘‘The idea is to
be irreverent, that irony and criticism
are good things. But it is true that this is
perhaps not part of everybody’s culture.’’
In recent years, the editors and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo had
weathered a firebombing, computer
hacking and death threats. Mr. Charbonnier was included on a list published
by Al Qaeda’s magazine, Inspire, of
those ‘‘most wanted’’ for crimes against
Islam. But Charlie Hebdo’s staff continued to take on Islam with the same irreverence as it did other religions, a
stand that gave it stature among French
journalists.
In 2006, for instance, the paper republished the controversial cartoon caricatures of a weeping Prophet Muhammad
that had appeared first in a Danish
PAPER, PAGE 4

2 AT LARGE AFTER PARIS MASSACRE

The French authorities were searching
for two brothers after a third suspect
surrendered to the police. PAGE 4

THIBAULT CAMUS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

SUSPECTS ALREADY KNOWN TO FRANCE

As the police look for two brothers
suspected in the attack, questions rise
over why plans weren’t detected. PAGE 4

The sophisticated, military-style strike
on a French newspaper known for satirizing Islam staggered a continent
already seething with anti-immigrant
sentiments in some quarters, feeding
far-right nationalist parties like
France’s National Front.
‘‘This is a dangerous moment for
European societies,’’ Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the
Study of Radicalization at King’s College
London, said of Wednesday’s assault.
‘‘With increasing radicalization among
supporters of jihadist organizations and
the white working class increasingly
feeling disenfranchised and uncoupled
from elites, things are coming to a head.’’
Olivier Roy, a French scholar of Islam
and radicalism, called the Paris assault
— the most deadly terrorist attack on
French soil since the Algerian war ended
in the early 1960s — ‘‘a quantitative and
therefore qualitative turning point,’’ noting the target and the number of victims.
‘‘This was a maximum-impact attack,’’
he said. ‘‘They did this to shock the public, and in that sense they succeeded.’’
Anti-immigrant attitudes have been
on the rise in recent years in Europe,
propelled in part by a moribund economy and high unemployment, as well as
increasing immigration and more porous borders. The growing resentments
have lifted the fortunes of established
parties like the U.K. Independence Party
in Britain and the National Front, as well
as lesser-known groups like Patriotic
Europeans Against Islamization of the
West, which assembled 18,000 marchers
in Dresden, Germany, on Monday.
In Sweden, where there have been
three recent attacks on mosques, the
anti-immigrant, anti-Islamist Sweden
Democrats Party has been getting
about 15 percent support in recent public opinion polls.
Paris was traumatized by the attack,
with widespread fears of another. ‘‘We
feel less and less safe,’’ said Didier Cantat, 34, standing outside the police barriers at the scene. ‘‘If it happened today, it
will happen again, maybe even worse.’’
Mr. Cantat spoke for many when he
said the attacks could fuel greater antiimmigrant sentiment. ‘‘We are told Islam is for God, for peace,’’ he said. ‘‘But
when you see this other Islam, with the jiEUROPE, PAGE 5

F.B.I. has high confidence
that North Korea hit Sony
WILLIAM FOWLE/NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

WASHINGTON

switched to software that camouflaged
their whereabouts by sending their attacks through computers in countries
including Bolivia, Singapore, Poland
and Italy, the officials said.
Before the attacks in November, Sony
Pictures was threatened in a series of
messages posted to a Facebook account
set up by a group calling itself ‘‘Guardians of Peace.’’ After Facebook closed
that account in November, the group
changed its messaging platform and
began sending threats in emails to Sony
and on the anonymous posting site
Pastebin. As far back as last June, North
Korean officials wrote in a letter to the
United Nations that ‘‘The Interview,’’ a
Sony comedy about two journalists
hired to assassinate its leader, Kim
Jong-un, was an act of terrorism.
Responding to critics who have questioned why the United States thinks
North Korea was the source of the attacks, Mr. Comey said on Wednesday
that the hackers became ‘‘sloppy’’ as
they tried to cover their tracks. He ac-

High turnout in Sri Lanka

Samsung predicts profit will plunge

An uncultured bacterium, Eleftheria terrae, makes a new antibiotic, teixobactin.

BY MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT,
NICOLE PERLROTH
AND MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN

Dr. David A. Relman, a professor of
medicine at Stanford University, said by
email, ‘‘It illustrates the amazing
wealth and diversity of as-yet-unrecognized, potent, biologically active compounds made by the microbial world —
some of which may have real clinical
value.’’ He added, ‘‘We’ve been blind to
the vast majority of them because of the
biased and insensitive methods we use
to discover drugs.’’
The methods are flawed, he said, because they miss microbes that will not
grow in the lab, and subject others to artificial conditions that may alter the array of potential drugs they produce.
Drug-resistant bacteria infect at least
two million people a year in the United
States and kill 23,000, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Pre-

The F.B.I.’s director, James B. Comey,
has said that the United States has concluded that North Korea was behind the
destructive attacks on Sony Pictures
partly because the hackers failed to
mask their location when they broke into the company’s servers.
Mr. Comey said that instead of routing some of the attacks and messages
through decoy servers, the hackers sent
them directly from Internet addresses
in North Korea.
While Mr. Comey did not offer more
details in a speech in New York on
Wednesday, senior government officials said that Federal Bureau of Investigation analysts found that the hackers
quickly recognized their mistake. After
logging into Sony’s systems and websites like Facebook from North Korean
addresses,
the
hackers
quickly

CYBERATTACKS, PAGE 5

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ANTIBIOTICS, PAGE 6

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IN THIS ISSUE

No. 41,001
Books 11
Business 14
Crossword 13
Culture 10
Opinion 8
Sports 12

Strife as Al Qaeda storms back

The promise of change in Yemen is
fading for a militia that liberated the
capital from the group. WORLD NEWS, 3

Fewer children reading for pleasure

Cue the hand-wringing about digital
distractions. A new survey finds that
fewer children are reading frequently
for fun. However, those who are read to
may pick up the habit. WORLD NEWS, 6

ERANGA JAYAWARDENA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Voters cast ballots in unusually large numbers on Thursday in the Sri Lankan presidential election, which had become a referendum on President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has been in office nearly a decade. PAGE 3

The South Korean tech giant said that
its operating profit probably fell almost
40 percent in the quarter ending in
December. The forecast reflects
continuing troubles for the company’s
mobile division. BUSINESS, 14

French humor, turned to tragedy

The editors and cartoonists gunned
down in Paris on Wednesday belonged
to a generation that believed foremost in
the freedom to boldly say whatever you
think, writes Andrew Hussey. OPINION, 8

ONLINE AT INY T.COM

Be wary of ‘risk creep’ in 2015

A small risk seems easy to take when
things are going well, but remembering
the painful lessons of the past can rein
in the attraction, a financial planner
writes. nytimes.com/business

Obama to outline housing measures
Among the president’s proposals will be
lower insurance rates on federally
issued mortgages for first-time home
buyers. nytimes.com/us

China aims for African TV viewers
An emphasis in state news reports on
the popularity of Chinese cultural
products on the continent underscores
the importance Chinese leaders place
on winning influence abroad.
sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com

The N.F.L.’s hottest commodity

The most coveted man in the N.F.L. right
now is Seattle’s respected defensive
coordinator, even though no team can
sign him to be a head coach for possibly
another month. nytimes.com/football