Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Paris Police Again “Clean Out” Migrant Camps

August 18, 2017

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Porte de La Chapelle (Paris), vendredi matin. Les CRS évacuent le camp de migrants.

Paris police evacuate migrant camp (again)

Paris police evacuate migrant camp (again)
Migrants queue to board buses during the evacuation. Photo: AFP
Paris police on Friday announced the evacuation of a migrant camp in the city’s 18th arrondissement.

The announcement comes around a month after the last evacuation of the same camp at the Porte de la Chapelle, and is the 35th such operation in the past two years.

Police began moving migrants out of the makeshift camp at around 6am on Friday morning, closing the surrounding area to traffic.

Migrants who had been staying at the camp were taken by buses to 18 sites around the Île-de-France region.

Anti-riot police were involved in the operation, however pictures from the scene appeared to show that it went smoothly, and the evacuation was completed by 9:30am.


Anti-riot police gather migrants early on Friday morning. Photo: AFP

The last evacuation of the Porte de la Chapelle camp took place in early July, when around 2,500 people were transported to alternative locations. These included school sports halls which were empty over the summer holidays.

Before that, a police operation in May had moved around 1,000 people out of the makeshift tent camp where they had been living in squalid conditions. Earlier in the year, city authorities had installed large boulders under the flyover in an attempt to dissuade groups from settling there.

Paris became a gathering point for migrants after the closure last October of the notorious “Jungle” near Calais – a makeshift camp near the Channel coast where thousands lived in the hope of climbing aboard trucks or trains to get into Britain.

Fugitive Brazil singer held in Paris over deadly fight

August 15, 2017

BBC News

Wanted poster issued by Rio police showing Valterson Ferreria Cantuaria (third from left) and three other suspects
Rio police have been searching for four suspects in connection with the death of Matías Sebastian Carena. RIO POICE

French police have arrested Brazilian singer Valterson Ferreira Cantuaria in Paris in connection with a deadly fight.

The singer, better known by his stage name Toddy Cantuaria, is suspected of punching an Argentine tourist outside a nightclub in Rio de Janeiro in March.

The tourist, 28-year-old Matías Sebastian Carena, fell to the ground and hit his head.

He later died of the head injuries he had sustained as a result of the fight.

Rio police suspect Mr Cantuaria of delivering the blow which knocked Mr Carena out.

The punch-up in the fashionable Ipanema area of the city was captured on CCTV.

Local media reported at the time that the fight had broken out in a nightclub over the price of cocktails.

The CCTV footage shows a man punching Mr Carena, who falls to the ground. Another kicks him, while a third hits him with a crutch.

Rio police issued arrest warrants for four suspects, among them Mr Cantuaria, who was part of Brazilian band Karametade.

Before he could be arrested, Mr Cantuaria fled to Madrid and from there to Paris.

Mr Cantuaria is expected to be extradited to Brazil soon where he will go on trial and could face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.

France: Car ramming into soldiers being treated as a probable act of terrorism

August 9, 2017

PARIS — French counter-terrorist investigators have been asked to probe an incident in which a car rammed into a group of soldiers in a Paris suburb on Wednesday, a source in the judiciary said.

A judicial source told Reuters that the department had taken up the matter and was working alongside colleagues from the DGSI internal intelligence agency – a move that in France shows the matter is being treated as a probable act of terrorism.

A statement from French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly added that police forces were looking for a suspect on the run after the incident, in which police said six soldiers were injured, two of them seriously.

(Reporting by Myriam Rivet; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Brian Love and Alison Williams)


Car rams into soldiers outside Paris, six injured

August 9, 2017


© AFP / by Gina DOGGETT | French police are scrambling to track down the vehicle involved in ramming soldiers outside Paris on August 8, 2017

PARIS (AFP) – French police launched a manhunt on Wednesday after a car rammed into soldiers near their barracks outside Paris, injuring six people, two of them seriously.Police were scrambling to track down the vehicle, which took off after the incident described by local mayor Patrick Balkany as “without a doubt a deliberate act”.

The incident took place at about 8:00 am (0600 GMT) outside a military barracks in the northwestern Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret.

Balkany told the all-news channel BFMTV that the car “accelerated very fast when they (soldiers) were coming out” of the barracks.

France has been under a state of emergency since November 2015 and has seen a string of attacks on security forces, particularly those guarding key tourist sites.

On Saturday an 18-year-old with a history of psychological problems was arrested on Saturday at the Eiffel Tower after brandishing a knife and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest).

He told investigators he wanted to kill a soldier, sources close to the case told AFP.

– String of bloody attacks –

In the bloodiest attack targeting France, 130 people were killed in a wave of shootings and bombings in Paris on November 13, 2015, in carnage claimed by the Islamic State group (IS).

In January 2015, two brothers who had vowed allegiance to Al-Qaeda gunned down 12 people at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

France is part of the US-led international coalition fighting IS and has carried out air strikes against the extremist group in Syria.

In February, a man armed with a machete attacked four soldiers on patrol at Paris’s Louvre Museum, while in April another extremist shot and killed a policeman on the Champs Elysees.

In June, a 40-year-old Algerian doctorate student who had pledged allegiance to IS attacked a policeman with a hammer outside Notre Dame cathedral.

The attacks have taken a serious toll on tourism to France, the world’s top tourist destination, but the industry has begun to recover as incidents have become more widespread and generally less deadly.

With terror attacks hitting not just France but also Belgium, Britain and Germany, potential travellers show “a kind of fatalism”, said Josette Sicsic, head of Touriscopie, a firm that tracks tourist behaviour.

The French tourism ministry expects a five to six percent increase in overall arrivals to France this year, for a new record of 89 million visitors in 2017.

The lowest point for Paris came at the end of March 2016 — four and a half months after the Paris attacks when IS jihadists targeted people enjoying an evening out at trendy eateries, a concert hall and the national stadium.

In a rebound that began at the end of 2016, Paris saw a record 2.6 million foreign arrivals in the first four months of this year — a 19 percent increase over the same period last year.


Man arrested at the Eiffel Tower after brandishing a knife in front of tourists and security forces — Told investigators he wanted to kill a soldier — Shouted “Allahu Akbar”

August 6, 2017


© AFP | At the time of the incident the tower was lit up with the team colours of Paris Saint-Germain

PARIS (AFP) – A man arrested at the Eiffel Tower after brandishing a knife in front of tourists and security forces has told investigators he wanted to kill a soldier , sources close to the case told AFP on Sunday.The intruder, who is aged around 19 and has a history of psychological problems, was arrested late on Saturday at the Paris monument after bursting past security and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Greatest”).

Armed soldiers who are permanently stationed at the Eiffel Tower surrounded him and ordered him to drop his weapon, which he did without attacking anyone, one security source said, asking not to be named.

In custody, he said he wanted to commit “an attack against a soldier and had been in contact with a member of the jihadist group Islamic State who encouraged him to take action,” a separate source told AFP.

France has been in a state of emergency since November 2015 and has seen a string of attacks on security forces who have been regularly targeted, particularly those guarding key tourist sites.

In February, a man armed with a machete attacked four soldiers on patrol at Paris’s Louvre Museum, while in April another extremist shot and killed a policeman on the Champs Elysees.

In June, a 40-year-old Algeria doctorate student who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group attacked a policeman with a hammer outside Notre Dame cathedral.

– Evacuation –

Police had initially treated Saturday’s Eiffel Tower incident as a criminal case, but anti-terror prosecutors have since taken over the investigation.

After the arrest, police checked the Eiffel Tower site and called for it to be evacuated at around 00:30, 15 minutes before it normally closes, a statement from the company that runs the monument said.

The intruder was wearing a Paris Saint-Germain football shirt. At the time of the incident the tower was lit up with the colours of the team to welcome the club’s new world-record signing, Brazilian star Neymar.

The legal source said the man with the knife, a Frenchman born in the West African state of Mauritania, had been discharged from a psychiatric hospital in July.

The tower reopened on Sunday morning as usual at 09:00 am (0700 GMT).

Paris rail chaos continues for third day

August 1, 2017

© Lionel Bonaventure, AFP | Travellers arrive at Montparnasse train station in Paris on July 31, 2017, a day after traffic was interrupted due to technical reasons.

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2017-08-01

Rail traffic continues to be disrupted at one of Paris’s main railway stations on Tuesday, straining holidaymakers’ patience. However, authorities say they have now finally identified the source of the problem.

France’s national rail provider SNCF says that three-quarters of its high-speed TGV trains to and from Paris’s Montparnasse station would, on average, run on Tuesday. Some trains usually scheduled to depart from Paris-Montparnasse will instead be re-routed to the city’s Paris-Austerlitz station further east, it said.

On Sunday, would-be passengers at the French capital’s Montparnasse station found all trains heading for popular holiday destinations such as Brittany and destinations in southwest France had been cancelled. Huge crowds of frustrated travellers were left without information for hours on Sunday as information screens went blank at the key train station. The SNCF initially announced that there would be a gradual return to normal service on Monday, but disruptions continued as the rail company struggled to find the cause of the electrical failure.

Early Tuesday morning, after closing Paris-Montparnasse station between 10pm and 6am and mobilising 50-odd technicians to investigate, the SNCF announced that it had finally pinpointed the source of the problem, tweeting that it was due to “defective insulation on an electrical installation”. The rail company said repairs began overnight Monday and into Tuesday morning and would have to continue overnight Tuesday.

According to the SNCF website, travellers who were unable to board their trains during the disruption have sixty days to obtain a full reimbursement, regardless of the fare rules indicated on their tickets.

Failed to keep travellers informed?

SNCF claimed that they sent text messages and emails to customers to inform of the disruption and kept the website updated.

However, some travellers have informed FRANCE 24 that SNCF failed to inform them that their train was cancelled and that the website was not up-to-date. Joanne Henrion told FRANCE 24, “My husband, myself and our dog had TGV reservations for Sunday night. I did check the SNCF site and there was no problem. At Gare Vendome Villiers [a town south-west of Paris], the train was cancelled. The SNCF clerk gave us two tickets for any train for today. Then the 8:41 train was half an hour late.” Henrion went on to say that SNCF did not send her a text or email to inform her of the problems.

The problems come at a particularly inconvenient time as trains are typically packed with holidaymakers seeking to avoid the infamous holiday traffic jams that clog France’s motorways.

Has you Paris train be cancelled or delayed? Contact us through the tweet below or on our Facebook page.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Frankfurt leads Paris in race to lure London bankers for post-Brexit banking world

July 26, 2017


© AFP/File / by Benoit TOUSSAINT | In the race to attract post-Brexit banking, Frankfurt has the edge over Paris, for now

PARIS (AFP) – In the competition to attract bankers fleeing London due to Brexit it appears Frankfurt is beating out Paris, although experts say the race is far from run.”In the first wave of relocations Frankfurt clearly has been a step ahead of Paris, which hasn’t had much to show,” said Nicolas Veron, a fellow at the Brussels think tank Bruegel as well as the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Thousands of well-paid jobs are at stake as banks and other financial companies plan to move out of London some operations and staff that handle European business ahead of Britain exiting the EU in 2019.

Several large international banks have already shown their interest in “Mainhattan”, the nickname given for Frankfurt’s financial district which is a stone throw from the river Main that flows through the city, home to the European Central Bank.

Among them are US heavyweights Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Daiwa Securities and Nomura, as well as Britain’s Standard Chartered.

“But remember that Paris wasn’t really on the radar until the end of the electoral cycle this year,” said Veron.

“There are structural changes underway with the new government but those are very recent and will take time to become credible.”

– Political stability –

“Some international banks already have a subsidiary or branch in Frankfurt. It is much easier to use these entities as a base than build one from scratch in an unfamiliar jurisdiction,” said one French banker on condition of anonymity.

Paris can at least count on the large French banks bringing back employees when they scale down their operations in London.

But it hasn’t had any announcements by international banks to show for its efforts since HSBC’s announcement last year that it was to relocate a thousand employees to the City of Light.

Even this was a mitigated victory, as HSBC already has a local unit in France, so Paris was always going to be a natural choice for the bank.

With competition to attract financial companies stiffening between Frankfurt, Dublin, Luxembourg, and Amsterdam “Paris suffers from negatives not linked to banking, like for example its labour laws,” said Nicolas Fleuret, an associate at Deloitte.

“Banks also want a modicum of political stability. The beginning of the year, with the French presidential election, fed concerns,” he told AFP.

“More generally, comparisons in this area haven’t been favourable for France in the past few years.”

One German financier said France’s new business-friendly President Emmanuel Macron arrived on the scene too recently to change people’s minds about his country’s drawbacks.

“Another big drawback for Paris was having a president (Francois Hollande) who said in his campaign that finance was the enemy” said the financier on condition of anonymity.

“The president has changed but for many banks it was too late, they had already made their decisions.”

– Jury still out –

But the game is far from over, experts said, noting that numerous banks haven’t announced their intentions while many institutions have only planned for a minimum transfer of staff and operations given the lack of visibility on the terms of Britain’s relations with the EU after it exits the bloc in 2019.

“We know of around a hundred banks searching for a new home for their European operations and only a couple dozen have made their choice,” said Hubertus Vaeth, director of Frankfurt Main Finance, the association promoting the city to foreign banks.

“By the number of announcements, Frankfurt is certainly ahead, but you’ve got to look into the details of how many jobs are effectively being moved, and most importantly which positions are being moved,” said Fleuret.

Paris Europlace, the group which is lobbying to attract London banks to the city, is unfazed by the recent announcements in favour of Frankfurt.

“The several dozen jobs announced for Frankfurt don’t represent yet a real relocation choice,” said Arnaud de Bresson, Paris Europlace’s managing director.

“When it comes to relocating market operations it is Paris which will be best placed. Paris is the capital of the markets on the continent, while Frankfurt is a city of traditional finance,” he said, noting that Paris already counted 150,000 jobs in the finance industry compared 70,000 for its German rival.


Libyan PM Al-Serraj and Haftar agree to ceasefire at Paris talks

July 25, 2017


Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2017-07-25

Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and his main rival, General Khalifa Haftar, agreed to a conditional ceasefire at Paris talks on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted the talks on Tuesday, stating that he hoped to “facilitate a political agreement” between the head of Libya’s unity government and the powerful Egyptian-backed commander when they met at a chateau in La Celle Saint-Cloud, outside the French capital.

The Paris talks follows a first contact between Sarraj and Haftar in Abu Dhabi in May. That meeting was seen as a tentative step towards reconciliation in Libya, which has been mired in conflict and chaos since the 2011 uprising, when longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by rebels supported by a French-led NATO air campaign.

Leaked UK memo accuses Paris of wanting to sink City of London

July 17, 2017


© Leon Neal, AFP file picture | The City of London financial district, including the Gherkin (right) and the ‘Walkie Talkie’ (front) towers.

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2017-07-17

France is pushing for a hard Brexit in a bid to weaken the City of London, the British finance sector’s EU frontman warned in a leaked report published on Sunday.

“They are crystal clear about their underlying objective: the weakening of Britain, the ongoing degradation of the City of London,” Jeremy Browne, a former government minister who is now the City’s Brexit envoy, said in a memo.

The leaked report, published by the Mail on Sunday tabloid, was written as a summary to ministers of a trip made by Browne to France in early July.

“The meeting with the French Central Bank was the worst I have had anywhere in the EU. They are in favour of the hardest Brexit. They want disruption,” he said.

Browne acknowledged there may be political benefits to France of playing “bad cop” in the negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, which began last month and resumed in Brussels on Monday.

But “we should nevertheless have our eyes open that France sees Britain and the City of London as adversaries, not partners”.

According to Browne, this approach was not confined to a few officials, but was a “whole-of-France collective endeavour, made both more giddy and more assertive by the election of (Emmanuel) Macron” as president in May”. Aside from his meeting with the French Central Bank, he did not specify which other officials he had spoken with.

Browne added that “every country, not unreasonably, is alive to the opportunities that Brexit provides, but the French go further”.

He said they are “seemingly happy to see outcomes detrimental to the City of London even if Paris is not the beneficiary”.

Many cities in running to replace London

Paris is competing with Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid and Luxembourg for an expected shift in finance jobs out of London as a result of Brexit.

With Britain at risk of losing the “passporting rights” financial firms use to deal with clients in the rest of the bloc, employees in direct contact with customers may need to be based on EU territory in future.

The day after Britain voted to leave the EU in June last year, Valérie Pécresse, the head of the Paris regional government, sent out hand-signed letters to 4,000 small, medium and large international enterprises in London, underscoring the benefits of moving their businesses to Paris.

And in October, Paris’s financial centre La Défense launched the PR-campaign “Tired of the fog? Try the frogs” aimed at attracting companies across the Channel. In November, the city of Paris, the Paris regional government and the French chamber of commerce also set up a so-called “Brexit cell”, dubbed Choose Paris Region, a team exclusively dedicated to responding to queries — many of them anonymous — from companies considering a potential move from London to Paris in the light of Brexit.

Earlier this month, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe laid out a raft of measures aimed at boosting Paris’s attractiveness, including eliminating the top income tax bracket.

Browne, who was an MP for the pro-European Liberal Democrats until 2015, served as a junior foreign office minister in former prime minister David Cameron’s coalition government.

He was appointed special representative to the EU by the City of London Corporation, which represents the financial sector, in September 2015.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Macron, Netanyahu mark 75 years since Paris roundup of Jews

July 16, 2017


© AFP / by Gina DOGGETT | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony marking the roundup of 13,000 Jews in Paris in 1942 who were then sent to Nazi death camps 
PARIS (AFP) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday marked 75 years since the roundup of some 13,000 Jews to be sent to Nazi death camps, calling France’s responsibility a “stark truth” at a ceremony attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Speaking near the former site of the Velodrome d’Hiver, the indoor cycle track from which the Jews were deported in 1942, Macron said: “It is indeed France that organised” the roundup. “Not a single German” took part.

Netanyahu’s presence at the ceremony sparked controversy, with the Union of French Jews for Peace (UJFP) calling the invitation “shocking” and “unacceptable”.

The UJFP accused the Israeli government of “usurping the memory of the victims of Nazism to make people believe that Israel represents all the world’s Jews”.

The ceremony marked the day when officials of the Vichy regime in Nazi-occupied France began rounding up 13,152 Jews and taking them to the Velodrome d’Hiver, an indoor cycle track in Paris.

Fewer than 100 of those who were detained at the so-called Vel d’Hiv and then sent to the Nazi death camps survived.

Macron was the fourth French president to accept blame for France’s role in the deportations — which totalled more than 75,000 — since Jacques Chirac first did so in 1995.

“Time does its work,” Macron said. “Archives open (and) the truth comes out. It’s stark, irrevocable. It imposes itself on us all,” Macron said.

– ‘Sacred honour’ –

Netanyahu hailed the “special heroism” of the French resistance to the Nazis, praising the “noble French citizens who at great risk to their own lives” saved thousands more Jews from perishing in the death camps where at least six million would die overall between 1941 and 1945.

“For the sacred honour of those who perished… let us remember the past, let us secure tomorrow,” he said.

“The strength of Israel is that it is the one certain guarantee that the Jewish people will never undergo a Holocaust again.”

Among other critics of Netanyahu’s presence was former French ambassador to Israel, Elie Barnavi, who told AFP it made him “a little uneasy”. He added: “This story has nothing to do with Israel.”

Among Sunday’s other speakers were prominent French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld and Pierre-Francois Veil, son of Holocaust survivor and rights icon Simone Veil, who died late last month aged 89.

Netanyahu’s visit is the first since he joined a massive march attended by numerous world leaders held in solidarity with the victims of the January 2015 terror attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket.

He was to hold talks later Sunday with Macron, the first since the French president’s election in May.

Macron met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday, when he reiterated both France’s support for a two-state solution to end the Middle East conflict, and its opposition to Israel’s building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

Netanyahu arrives just after a surge of violence in Israel, where a gun attack by three Arab Israelis in Jerusalem’s Old City Friday left two Israeli police officers and the attackers dead.

He is expected to sound Macron out on his position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But it is not yet clear whether Macron will follow the pro-active line taken by his Socialist predecessor Francois Hollande, whose efforts to mobilise the international community on the question angered Israel.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill since the failure of US mediation in the spring of 2014.

Since then the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has simmered on, with the occasional surge of violence such as Friday’s killings.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss Israel’s arch-foe Iran, in particular Tehran’s role in the Syrian conflict, where it is backing President Bashar al-Assad.