Strasbourg attack not a govt conspiracy to undermine Yellow Vests – Interior Ministry official

The Strasbourg shooting, which claimed two lives on Tuesday night, was not a secret government ploy to undermine the mass protests gripping France for weeks, contrary to rumors online, a senior official has said.

Secretary of State for the Interior Ministry Laurent Nuñez said he was “outraged” by claims that the attack in Strasbourg may benefit the government in its struggle against the so-called Yellow Vest movement.

., secrétaire d'État auprès du ministre de l'Intérieur : "Je suis indigné [...] on est clairement dans les thèses complotistes"

“I don’t understand how anybody could imagine this… We should call it for what it is – such ideas are obviously coming from conspiracy theorists,” he told the media.

According to tweets and other remarks, such conspiracy theories flourish among the ranks of the ‘Yellow Vests’. And this is yet another proof. Saying such things is, frankly speaking, disgraceful.

In the wake of the shooting, all mass gatherings had been banned in Strasbourg by the government. No restrictions were placed on public events in other parts of France though.

The Yellow Vests or Gilets Jaunes is the movement which stemmed from opposition to the French government’s economic reforms. They took the name after the safety clothing of motorists, adopted as a symbol of resistance to a hike in fuel tax, the move that turned brewing discontent into mass protests in mid-November.

This month, the mass protests escalated into clashes with riot police and mass vandalism on a scale unseen for years in France. Their demands also changed, as they started calling for the resignation of the government, possibly fueled by limited economic concessions combined with a heavy-handed police response to the protests.

The shooting in Strasbourg’s old city left two people dead and 14 injured in an apparent act of terrorism targeting people visiting a Christmas market. The shooter was identified as a local man, who had been placed on the police watch list over possible radicalization. He is believed to have been arrested and searched prior to the attack in connection with a homicide-robbery case.

 

 
 

 

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Trump fires back at European leaders after damp reception in France

President Trump lashed out at European leaders after French President Emmanuel Macron denounced his ‘America First’ brand of nationalism and called for the creation of a European army, independent from the US.

“Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “Never easy bringing up the fact that the US must be treated fairly, which it hasn’t, on both Military and Trade. We pay for LARGE portions of other countries military protection, hundreds of billions of dollars, for the great privilege of losing hundreds of billions of dollars with these same countries on trade.”

@realDonaldTrump Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders. Never easy bringing up the fact that the U.S. must be treated fairly, which it hasn’t, on both Military and Trade. We pay for LARGE portions of other countries military protection,........

@realDonaldTrump .....hundreds of billions of dollars, for the great privilege of losing hundreds of billions of dollars with these same countries on trade. I told them that this situation cannot continue - It is, and always has been, ridiculously unfair to the United States. Massive amounts.....

@realDonaldTrump .....of money spent on protecting other countries, and we get nothing but Trade Deficits and Losses. It is time that these very rich countries either pay the United States for its great military protection, or protect themselves...and Trade must be made FREE and FAIR!

Trump’s tirade came just one day after French President Emmanuel Macron – once regarded as a close confidant of the US president – rebuked Trump’s ‘America First’ brand of nationalism, comparing it to the forces that plunged Europe into conflict in the early 20th Century.

Speaking at an Armistice Day commemoration in Paris, Macron did not address Trump by name, but warned that "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism...nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values."

At a recent campaign-style rally, Trump described himself as a “nationalist,” the first time he has done so since taking office. On Monday, the president’s beef with Maron and his European counterparts seemed to be driven more by financial concerns than ideological ones.

READ MORE: Umbrella troubles? Twitter mocks Trump as he bails on WWI commemoration over light rain

Trump has often criticized his European allies for failing to meet their defense spending targets, leaving the US to foot much of Europe’s security bill. At present, only five NATO member states – the US, UK, Greece, Estonia, and Poland – allocate two percent of their GDP to defense spending, a requirement for membership. In 2017, the US spent $686 billion on defense, over double the expenditure of all 28 other states combined.

However, European leaders as of late seem more interested in looking elsewhere for their defense needs. In a radio interview last week, Macron called for the establishment of an EU army that can defend the continent “without relying only on the United States.”

@realDonaldTrump President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!

Macron’s view was echoed by liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt, a long-time proponent of a closer-knit, federal Europe. Tweeting on Saturday, Verhofstadt said that Europe cannot be “unprepared for the America First Policy.”

@guyverhofstadt Yes, @ischinger, we need to go to majority voting in the EU & yes @p61pavel we need an integrated defence capacity as a European pillar of NATO. We are stronger together, cannot afford 27 parallel defence budgets nor being unprepared for the America First Policy. https://twitter.com/p61pavel/status/1060976524978016268 

Petr Pavel @p61pavel
Replying to @ischinger

Great idea! Will this European Army be part of or parallel to NATO? And wasn’t NATO designed primarily to defend Europe?

With the commemorations marred by gray skies and constant-drizzle, Trump received the cold shoulder from activists and from the French media too. Ahead of his arrival, French comedian Yann Barthes switched to English on his primetime show, telling Trump to “go and f*** yourself. You’re not welcome in this country.”

As the president’s motorcade rolled down the Champs-Élysées, a topless feminist protester hopped the barricades and ran towards the president’s car with the words “fake peacemaker” scrawled on her chest. Police apprehended the woman, and feminist group FEMEN later released a statement attacking several of the world leaders present at the event, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bare-breasted FEMEN protester almost throws herself at Trump’s m...

“FEMEN believes that restoring world peace with those who are responsible for the ongoing wars is hypocritical,” the statement said.

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Cuban President Visits France

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel arrived in Paris on Wednesday on a transit visit to France, prior to a tour that will take him to European and Asian countries.

Diaz-Canel will make official visits in the coming days to Russia, China, Vietnam, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Laos.

According to the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the tour will take place between November 1 and 12, and Diaz-Canel will be received by the highest authorities of the State and Government of those nations, with which he will exchange on the bilateral agendas and analyze international issues of common interest.

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Charles Aznavour, French singing star, dies at 94

French singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour has died at 94 after a career lasting more than 80 years, a spokesman has confirmed.

The star died at one of his homes in the south east of France.

The performer, born to Armenian immigrants, sold more than 180 million records and featured in over 60 films.

He was best known for his 1974 hit She and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. Aznavour married three times and had six children.

He was named entertainer of the century by CNN in 1998.

The singer was born in Paris in 1924 to Armenian parents who fled the country's genocide to begin a new life in the French capital.

Aznavour's lyrics drew on his own experiences of growing up in deprivation as an immigrant.

The singer was due to take on a seven-date tour across France and Switzerland, starting in November this year.

He had recently returned from a tour in Japan, having been forced to cancel concerts this summer due to a broken arm.

He recorded more than 1,200 songs in seven different languages and performed in 94 countries.

Aznavour's song She was famously performed by Elvis Costello in the opening credits of Richard Curtis' film Notting Hill.

Dubbed France's Frank Sinatra, Aznavour wrote his own songs on taboo subjects about marriage, homosexuality and male expression of emotions.

His 1973 hit, What Makes a Man, was about a gay transvestite.

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/660/cpsprodpb/3772/production/_103649141_charles_azanavour_1950_getty.jpg

Still performing to packed stadiums well into his 90s, Aznavour continued to write songs about his life, including his Swedish wife to celebrate 50 years of marriage.

As well as a singer, he was a successful actor and played the lead in the 1960 film Shoot the Piano Player.

He also appeared in the Oscar-winning The Tin Drum, playing a kindly Jewish toy seller.

Aznavour sang for presidents, popes and royal families and at a number of humanitarian events.

President Emmanuel Macron was a big fan of Aznavour and sang many of his songs during karaoke nights with friends when he was a student, according to former classmates.

He was heavily involved in charity work and founded an organisation after the 1988 Armenian earthquake with friend Levon Sayan.

In 2009 he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland and he also became Armenia's delegate to the United Nations in Geneva.

Thousands of fans from around the world have paid their respects on Twitter, including some celebrities.

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan remembered the singer as an "intelligent, eloquent, graceful & charming man."

@piersmorgan RIP Charles Aznavour, 94.

One of the greatest singers the world has seen & such an intelligent, eloquent, graceful & charming man.
Meeting & interviewing him a few months ago was a wonderful experience.
He was everything I hoped he would be.
What a life.
Merci, Maestro.

Musician Reverend Richard Coles suggested that Aznavour was a "better singer" than Sinatra:

BBC 6 Music's Gilles Peterson shared one of his favourite songs by the singer, Hier Encore:

@gillespeterson I grew up with this man's music in the house... Charles Aznavour RIP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHokx2L1wi4 
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Ahed Tamimi Finally Travels to France Despite Israeli Obstacles

Ahed Tamimi, the resistance teen icon from Palestine traveled to France Friday for an event where she asked people to support the Palestinian cause and to boycott Israel.

Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian resistance icon, traveled to France for a debate on Friday. The young resistance leader was invited by L'Humanité and the French Communist party, or PCF, to participate in an event organized by Association France Palestine Solidarite.

RELATED: 'I Want Palestine to be Free:' Ahed Tamimi to teleSUR

Ahed spoke Sunday at the Festival of Humanity which is organized annually by the PCF, at La Courneuve in Seine-Saint-Denis. "I want to say to Trump that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Palestine”, Ahed Tamimi said in reference to the decision of the U.S. president to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, addressing thousands of people who attended the last day of the event.

“The Palestinian refugees, we do not need the money of the Americans, but to return to our land” and find “our dignity”, she added. “We must be united in the face of the occupation.”

She went on to describe her own experience as a young Palestinian under Israeli brutal occupation. “When you’re a young Palestinian who is 17 years old today, you suffer on a daily basis the practices of the Israeli occupation ... even Palestinian children are arrested at checkpoints and Israeli-controlled”.

The Palestinian people, Ahed concluded, "we are not victims, we are fighters for freedom.” 

The 17-year-old teenager from Nabi Saleh village in the occupied West Bank was jailed for eight months for slapping two Israeli occupation soldiers who were harassing her family at their home's yard. Her action in December last year was recorded and went viral on social media. attracting applause from the supporters of Palestinian resistance globally, while also infuriating Israelis some of whom asked for her to be shot and killed.

Ahed and her mother Nariman, both had been jailed in an Israeli prison since December 2017 before receiving a few weeks early release in late July.

Ahed received a warm welcome from the people gathered at the event in France where she talked about how her life has changed during her imprisonment. The young resistance icon doesn't regret her actions and said that prison helped her to be more mature. Immediately after her release, while speaking to media, she said she and her other inmates studied international law in the prison.

Speaking to RT during her trip in France, the young Palestinian activist said that despite being released she does not think that she is out of trouble as each of her words can be used against her and land her in prison again.

She further called for boycotting Israel and asked people to spread the truth about the suffering of Palestinians due to Israeli occupation.

The news of her France visit comes just a week after she was informed by Palestinian authorities that she was not allowed to leave the country due to an Israeli ban on her and her family from doing so. Her father had said that they were not given any definite reason for the ban.

Ahed is now expected to travel through Europe to talk about Palestine’s resistance and her time in Israeli prison. Her next stop will be in Spain to participate in more solidarity events.

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French Citizens Condemn US Blockade on Cuba

Paris, Sep 16 (Prensa Latina) The solidarity organization ''Cuba Si France'' turned its stand at the L''Humanite Festival into a platform to reject the blockade imposed by the United States on the Caribbean island, which is still in force today.

'Many people are confused and think that the blockade ended. But we should clarify that this hostile policy is not only maintained, but tightened, and creates every day more difficulties for the economic development of the island,' the French lawmaker Andres Chassaigne said.

Chassaigne, who is the honorary president of Cuba Si France, also condemned the extraterritorial nature of this economic, commercial and financial siege, which affects Cuba's relations with the rest of the world.

The president of the association, Charlie Bouhana, reaffirmed the support for the Cuban people in their fight against the blockade.

He stated that despite the difficulties caused by Washington's policy, 'Cuba continues to write its own history,' in which 'the strength of the Revolution has allowed it to move forward.'

During the ceremony, attended by a large audience, the constitutional reform under debate in Cuba was also analyzed.

The event was part of many activities dedicated to Cuba at the L'Humanite Festival, which is considered the main meeting of progressive forces in France.

The festival began on Friday, September 14, with participation of more than 600,000 visitors.

 

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7 injured in knife attack in downtown Paris

At least seven people have been injured in Paris after a man attacked people with a knife and an iron bar, local media reports.

Initially, the attacker armed with a knife and an iron bar wounded three people ( two men and a woman), in front of a cinema in the 19th arrondissement. A group of men playing the petanque tried to stop him by throwing a heavy iron ball used in the popular French game, according to Le Parisien.

After running away from the initial scene of the attack, the assailant continued on Rue Henri Nogueres, where he attacked two English tourists, injuring them in the chest and the head.

The aggressor, who was also injured, was finally arrested by the Anti-Crime Brigade (BAC) of the police. The suspect is believed to be an Afghani national, local media report.

In total at least seven people were injured by the individual, four of whom are in serious condition, according to a judicial source.

While authorities have yet to establish the motive behind the attack, an investigation has been launched into attempted homicide. A source close to the investigation told Le Parisien that so far there was no indication that the incident was a terrorist attack.

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Two Dead and One Injured by Knife Attack in France

Two people died today and one was wounded in France by a knife attack perpetrated by an individual in the commune of Trappes, south of this capital, a fact that was claimed by the terrorist group Islamic State (EI ).

Around 10:00 local time the man assaulted several passersby in the street and then locked himself in a pavilion.

The RAID (elite unit of the national police) intervened on the scene and finally the attacker was killed. The motivation of the attacker seems difficult to define because some clues point to a family drama, but others to a possible terrorist event, said the authorities.

Around 10:00 local time an individual assaulted several passersby in the commune of Trappes, south of this capital, before being killed by the forces of order.

The most recent information indicates that his mother and sister are among the victims, which points to a possible family conflict.

However, the attacker was booked by the police since 2016 for 'apologizing for terrorism', shouted 'Allah is great' before being shot down, and the extremist Islamic State group vindicated the action, for which the authorities cannot discard the mobile either terrorist.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told the press that according to preliminary data, the attacker was suffering from psychiatric problems.

For the time being, the Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office has not been involved in the investigations.

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