Tag Archives: Paris

Fourteen go on trial in France amid Charlie Hebdo attack.

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Trial opens in Paris for 14 suspects accused of helping gunmen attack French magazine and Jewish supermarket in 2015.


Fourteen people have gone on trial in Paris on charges of assisting the gunmen who attacked the weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket five years ago, leaving 17 people dead.

Only 11 of the suspected accomplices appeared in the packed courtroom on Wednesday to face charges of conspiracy in a terrorist act or association with a terror group – the other three fled to territory controlled by ISIL (ISIS) in Syria or Iraq before the January 2015 attacks on the publication’s offices and the supermarket in the French capital.

The three attackers were shot dead by police in separate stand-offs.

Reporting from Paris, Noble Reporters Media learnt the trial will be “very closely watched” in France until it wraps up in November.

“The attacks shocked so many people, prompting an enormous outpouring of grief,” she added.

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Charlie Hebdo, a satirical publication infamous for its irreverence and accused by critics of racism, was targeted after publishing derogatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Twelve people, including some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists, were shot dead when French brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed its offices in eastern Paris on January 7, 2015. The attackers also killed a police officer as they left the scene.

A day later, Amedy Coulibaly, who had become close to Cherif Kouachi while they were in prison, killed a 27-year-old police officer, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, during a traffic check in Montrouge, outside Paris.

Then on January 9, Coulibaly killed four men during a hostage-taking at the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket.

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The perpetrators of the attacks had links with al-Qaeda and ISIL. Coulibaly was killed when police stormed the supermarket. The Kouachi brothers were killed when officers carried out a nearly simultaneous operation at a printing shop where they were holed up in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris.

Lawyers for the victims enter the courtroom for the opening of the trial [Charles Platiau/Reuters]

Caricatures reprinted
Over the next two-and-a-half months, the court will hear from some 150 experts and witnesses.

The suspected accomplices face charges including financing terrorism, membership in a terrorist organisation and supplying weapons to the attackers.

The defendants tried in absentia include Hayat Boumedienne, Coulibaly’s partner at the time of the attacks, and brothers Mohamed and Mehdi Belhoucine.

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As the court proceedings got under way, Charlie Hebdo reprinted in its Wednesday issue the hugely controversial caricatures that stirred outrage in the Muslim world when they were first published nearly a decade before the attacks. Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and deeply offensive to Muslims.

“We will never lie down. We will never give up,” director Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, who was wounded in the attack, wrote in an editorial published on Wednesday.

The publication of the cartoons drew fresh condemnation from Pakistan’s foreign ministry, which said the decision to print them again was “deeply offensive”.

But French President Emmanuel Macron defended the “freedom to blaspheme” and paid tribute to the victims of the attack.

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“A president of France should never judge the editorial choice of a journalist or editorial staff because there is freedom of the press which is rightly cherished,” he said on a visit to Beirut, Lebanon.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex wrote in a Twitter post: “Always Charlie”.

The 2015 attacks prompted a rally of solidarity in Paris at the time, drawing more than four million people, many holding signs with the slogan “I Am Charlie.”

Dozens of world leaders and statespeople also linked arms in a march under high security to pay tributes to the victims of the attacks.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Paris govt makes masks mandatory

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France’s prime minister announced Thursday that face masks will become compulsory throughout Paris as he urged the public to help halt a trend of mounting coronavirus infections.

Jean Castex said 19 departments have been added to a map with “red” zones of active virus circulation, meaning 21 of mainland France’s 94 departments are now classified as such.

Official figures released Wednesday showed more than 5,400 confirmed new cases in just 24 hours, with admissions to hospital and intensive care units on the rise.

There was an “undeniable resurgence” of the Covid-19 epidemic throughout France, Castex told a press conference, with 39 positive tests per 100,000 population — four times the level of a month ago, and rising in all age groups.

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The “positivity rate” — the percentage of tests that come back positive — was up from one percent in May to 3.7 percent today, and the so-called “R” rate of viral transmission is now 1.4 nationwide, meaning 10 infected people are infecting 14 others on average.

More than 800 coronavirus patients are being admitted to hospital on average each week, up from 500 six weeks ago, the prime minister said.

“The epidemic is gaining ground, and now is the time to intervene” to curb exponential infection growth, he said.

– Dash to avoid lockdown –

Castex announced that Paris, one of the 21 zones with active virus circulation, will make face masks compulsory throughout the city.

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The city council later said the measure would come into effect at 8:00 am on Friday.

Masks are already obligatory on public transport nationwide and in most enclosed public spaces, including the workplace.

Local authorities in some cities and towns, including Paris, have also used executive powers to make face coverings compulsory in busy outdoor areas.

On Tuesday, the Mediterranean port city of Marseille — also in a red zone — made masks compulsory in public places throughout the city, including outdoors, and announced bars and restaurants would close every day at 11:00 pm.

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Castex said the government would do everything in its power to avoid issuing new nationwide stay-at-home orders, but the possibility could not be excluded entirely and localised lockdowns may be on the cards.

– ‘Relaxation’ to blame –

He urged French people to do their part by taking infection-prevention measures such as regular hand-washing and mask wearing, and to practice social distancing.

Some “relaxation” in French society appears to have contributed to the post-lockdown infection rise, he said, with some unwilling to wear masks or follow guidelines to avoid parties or stay away from older people at higher risk.

The rate of infection increase was particularly high among people aged 20 to 30.

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Castex said the situation was not yet “serious”, with the virus incidence rate still 20 times lower today than it was at the peak of the epidemic, when there were an estimated 1,000 cases per 100,000 of the population.

But if things do take a turn for the worse, he said hospitals were ready with sufficient beds, masks and equipment.

The outbreak has claimed over 30,500 lives in France.

Masks will become obligatory for all children over 11 when they return to school next week after the summer holidays, including on the playground, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer announced Thursday.


#Newsworthy…

News+: Bodies of Aid workers killed in Niger returns to Paris.

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The bodies of six French aid workers killed by suspected jihadists in Niger arrived in Paris Friday, with Prime Minister Jean Castex due to lead a national tribute later in the day.

The four women and two men were killed on Sunday along with their Nigerien guide and driver in a wildlife haven about an hour’s drive southeast from the capital Niamey.

The victims worked for French NGO Acted and were aged between 25 and 30.

The national tribute in the VIP section of Paris’s Orly airport will be closed to the media. Castex will be joined by several senior ministers.

“It’s important that the nation pays homage to them,” said Jerome Bertin, the head of France Victimes federation.

“Their families want their commitment to be really cited… they were not tourists killed in Niger but young people engaged in helping the people of this country.”

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The country, one of the poorest in the world, is struggling with incursions by Islamists from both Nigeria to the south and Mali to the west.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a Defense Council video-conference on Niger at the Fort de Bregancon, southern France on August 11, 2020. Daniel Cole / POOL / AFP

In Paris, French anti-terror prosecutors said they would investigate charges of “murders with links to a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association”.

There have been no claims of responsibility so far.

A judicial source in Paris told AFP the attack was “premeditated” and “targeting Westerners”.

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French President Emmanuel Macron described it as “manifestly a terrorist attack” and said there would be repercussions.

“We’re pursuing action to eradicate the terrorist groups, with the strengthened support of our partners,” Macron said.

The president did not elaborate on the exact nature of the measures envisaged but Castex said the “odious crime” would not go unpunished.

Acted has decided temporarily to suspend work in Niger but has stressed it will not pull out of the country.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Paris enforces compulsory use of face masks.

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Face masks became compulsory in tourist hotspots in Paris on Monday amid warnings of a resurgence of coronavirus cases, as infections in the world’s worst-hit country the United States topped five million.

The requirement came as France along with much of Western Europe sweltered in a heatwave, with temperatures soaring above 35 degrees Celsius (95 F).

The blistering heat sent crowds flocking to beaches at the weekend despite health warnings about the risk of infection.

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In Berlin, thousands of children returned to school on Monday after the summer break, sporting masks which are compulsory in common areas like school courtyards. Schools in some other German regions also reopened, though with differing rules on masks.

“No child forgot their masks this morning, so we see everything is back to normal,” said Domenica Acri, headmistress of the Carl Orff primary school in Berlin.

In Pakistan, all restaurants and parks were allowed to reopen Monday, as well theatres, cinemas and public transport, after the country saw a drop in new cases for several weeks.

‘Anything but second lockdown’
People in Paris aged 11 and over are now required to wear the masks in crowded areas and tourists hotspots.

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These include the banks of the Seine River and more than 100 streets in the French capital, including tourist destinations like Montmartre, where the Sacre Coeur basilica is located.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 18, 2020 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures using a face cover during a press conference regarding the COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic at the Planalto Palace, Brasilia. (Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP)

Several French towns and cities have already introduced similar measures, as well as parts of Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain.

“All the indicators show that since mid-July the virus is again circulating more actively in the (Paris) region,” said a police statement at the weekend.

Paris residents interviewed by AFP generally supported the decision on masks.

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“I think it’s a very good idea, we should maybe have done it sooner,” Bertrand, 28, said in the popular Rue des Martyrs in central Paris.

“Since we don’t understand enough about this illness, the best thing is that we protect ourselves.”

The masks are “restrictive” but necessary “if we want to avoid a second wave in Paris,” said Marion, 24, wearing a bright green mask. “Anything except a second lockdown.”

Globally, nearly 20 million cases have been officially registered.

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The death toll is at least 731,500 worldwide since the novel coronavirus emerged in China last December, according to a running tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

A man wearing a protective mask passes by a scaffolding by Dior on August 7, 2020 in Paris, amid the crisis linked with the covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.
ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

The United States is by far the worst-hit country with nearly 163,000 deaths. On Sunday, it reached the extraordinary milestone of five million coronavirus cases, according to according to John Hopkins University.

President Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent in the presidential election, Joe Biden, tweeted that five million coronavirus cases was “a number that boggles the mind and breaks the heart.”

‘Unworkable, weak’ relief
The figures came as Trump was accused of flouting the constitution by unilaterally extending a virus relief package.

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The package — announced by Trump on Saturday after talks between Republican and Democrat lawmakers hit a wall — was “absurdly unconstitutional,” senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

Fellow Democrat and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, appearing on Media TV (known to Noble Reporters Media), dismissed Trump’s unilateral measures as “unworkable, weak and far too narrow.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event about regulatory reform on the South Lawn of the White House on July 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

But with the world’s largest economy still struggling to dig itself out of an enormous hole, Democrats appeared skittish about any legal challenge to a relief package they see as seriously inadequate.

The four executive orders Trump signed Saturday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey will, among other things, defer payroll taxes and provide some temporary unemployment benefits.

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The president was seen as keen to show himself taking decisive action ahead of a November 3 election that could see him ousted from office, with polls showing a large majority of voters unhappy with his handling of the crisis.

Grim milestone for Brazil
After the US, Brazil has the most cases, and on Saturday it became the second country to pass 100,000 fatalities.

President Jair Bolsonaro has played down the coronavirus from the beginning, dismissing it as a “little flu,” questioning the lockdowns ordered by some state governors and saying their economic impact could be “more deadly than the virus.”

Following the news of the latest milestone, Brazil’s most widely viewed TV network Globo criticised Bolsonaro’s handling of the crisis, asking “Has the president of the republic done his duty?”

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In Peru, indigenous people armed with spears and angry over what they consider government neglect of their communities in the pandemic assaulted a settlement for oil workers deep in the Amazon, triggering a clash with police that left three natives dead, the government said Sunday.

In this file photo taken on May 11, 2020, a man and a woman wearing face masks walk on Trocadero Plaza as a French national flag flies on the Eiffel Tower in background in Paris on the first day of France’s easing of lockdown measures in place for 55 days to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP

In Spain, top-flight football club Atletico Madrid on Sunday reported two positive coronavirus tests, just four days before they face Germany’s Leipzig for a place in the Champions League semi-finals.

It was not revealed whether the two positive cases involved players or backroom staff.

Atletico said UEFA as well as the Spanish and Portuguese football and health authorities have been informed and that a fresh round of tests will be carried out on the squad and support team.


#Newsworthy…

Former Togo Prime Minister died in Paris, aged 82.


Former Togolese Prime Minister and diplomat, Edem Kodjo is dead at the age of 82.

Edem who served as the prime minister of Togo from 1994 to 1996 and from 2005 to 2006, under the leadership of a former president Gnassingbe Eyadema, died in Paris on Saturday April 11.


Togolese Foreign Minister, Robert Dussey tweeted;

“A brilliant academic, and an ardent Pan-African, our beloved Edem Kodjo died in Paris after a long illness.


“You will always remain a reference for us’. On the eve of Easter, you practicing Christian return to your creator. Condolences to his family.”

Edem also served as Togo’s Minister of Finance from 1973 to 1976 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1976 to 1978. He was elected as the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) at its summit in Khartoum on July 18–22, 1978.

The President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, and Malian President Ibrahim Keita have also condoled with the family of the deceased and his nation.


#Newsworthy…

Barcelona Under Pressure to Re-Sign Neymar to Appease Lionel Messi


Barcelona have been tipped to make a serious attempt to re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain this summer in a bid to appease star man Lionel Messi.

The Ballon d’Or holder himself has been at the centre of major speculation as a result of the club’s struggles and a public falling out with technical secretary Eric Abidal.


Talk of Neymar returning reached a peak last summer, only to fail. Player exchange proposals were made, but PSG never budged. The Barça players offered weren’t keen and the club ultimately didn’t have the drive to up their interest and really make it happen.

Lionel Messi,Neymar
Neymar himself was rumoured to have reacted angrily and emotionally when he finally found out the move wasn’t going to materialise last summer. There was even a rumour at the time that Barça, knowing the finances were almost certainly beyond them, only went through the motions.


The attempted pursuit last summer was said to be for the benefit of Messi, but now they have to take it more seriously and El Confidencial writes that president Josep Maria Bartomeu is under pressure to try and bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

It is said that Messi’s ‘request’ has to be taken seriously by the club for the main reason that antagonising the six-time Ballon d’Or winner could push him towards the door.


The significant level of influence Messi has at Camp Nou when it comes to sporting decisions is summed up by this line from the report: ‘Bartomeu’s Barcelona has reached a point where it is clear that it is more convenient to pay more attention to Messi than, for example, to Eric Abidal.’

Lionel Messi
If Barça again fail to re-sign Neymar, it threatens to disappoint an already frustrated Messi – who, famously, has a clause in his contract that allows him to walk away from the club at the end of any given season.


El Confidencial notes that even though Neymar wouldn’t necessarily be approved by the majority of Barcelona fans as a result of the manner of his 2017 departure, it would ‘enthuse’ Messi, who is said to ‘need’ the Brazilian more than any other player – even Antoine Griezmann.


From Bartomeu’s own perspective, being able to land a deal for Neymar would be seen as a major win for his presidency, which has come under increasing scrutiny.

But the finances remain a sticking point for Barcelona, while negotiating a sale with PSG has proven impossible so far, despite Neymar’s apparent keenness to leave Parc des Princes.


#NobleSport…

Neymar Shake Hands With David Beckham on Inter Miami Deal


Neymar Shake Hands With David Beckham on Inter Miami Deal…..But He’s Not Going yet…


The January transfer window has come and gone, and rumours surrounding Neymar’s future were unusually scarce.

But little did we realise, the Paris Saint-Germain forward was about to drop one of the biggest transfer videos since Antoine Griezmann’s ‘The Decision Part II’ was cancelled.


But who has Neymar agreed to join? I hear you ask.

Real Madrid? Barcelona? Manchester City?

Neymar Jr
Wrong, wrong and wrong again. The superstar has shocked the football world by agreeing a deal to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami…in ten years time.


That’s right people, no need to panic just yet. Neymar isn’t jetting off to MLS next week, but in a video released on Youtube by Otro, the 28-year-old shook hands on a move to Beckham’s American franchise at the end of his career.

In the opening exchanges, the ex-Manchester United star tells Neymar that he’ll make him sign ‘a blank piece of paper’, which will be a ‘contract for Miami’, as the pair laugh at opposite ends of a long table.


“I’m going to get you to sign a piece of paper after. A blank piece of paper. And it’s going to be a contract for Miami, for ten years time,” Beckham jokes.

Neymar da Silva
Neymar chuckles, before saying ‘deal’, and the pair shake hands on this extraordinary agreement. The Brazil star goes on to confess how much he admires his future employer, describing the former midfielder as a ‘great inspiration.’


“And I always followed David (Beckham) because of the way he kicked the ball, because of the amazing passes he gave, because of his goals, because of his determination on the pitch.

“I respect you very much because you made your career, and you are still making it, so you are a great inspiration to me.”


Aww, Sweet.

Not only is Becks an inspiration on the pitch, but Neymar also revealed that the winger was the catalyst behind some of his own recent hair styles, too. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment to David, really.

Neymar Jr

“I think everything coming from David, I will take and incorporate in me. I copied quite a few of his haircuts!”

A match made in heaven, it seems.

So it appears that Neymar will be staying on our European shores for the time being, at least. But I think we can all agree that this is a collaboration we should all get behind.


#NobleSport…

Since 200 years: There will be no Christmas mass at Paris’s Notre dame cathedral.

…there won’t be Christmas dame Notre for the first time since 200 years

French officials have confirmed that Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris will miss its first Christmas mass since 1803 as workers continue to repair and rebuild the landmark eight months after a devastating fire.

The cathedral’s press office said midnight mass would still be celebrated on Christmas Eve by rector Patrick Chauvet but it would be held at the nearby church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois.

Notre-Dame, part of a UNESCO world heritage site on the banks of the River Seine, was ravaged by the April 15 blaze losing its gothic spire, roof and many precious artefacts.

The building had remained open for Christmas through two centuries of often tumultuous history including the Nazi occupation in World War II being forced to close only during the anti-Catholic revolutionary period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

President Emmanuel Macron has set a timetable of five years to completely repair the eight-centuries-old structure, which remains shrouded in scaffolding with a vast crane looming over it.

Paris prosecutors suspect criminal negligence and opened an investigation in June, suggesting a stray cigarette butt or an electrical fault could have caused the fire. The culture ministry said in October that nearly one billion euros ($1.1 billion) had been pledged or raised for the reconstruction.

#Newsworthy…