Category Archives: France

French serial killer confesses to murder of British student

After years of denials, Michel Fourniret admits killing Joanna Parrish, 20, in 1990

A French serial killer has confessed to the murder of British language student Joanna Parrish in France nearly three decades ago, the family lawyer told AFP on Friday.

Jailed for life in 2008 for killing seven girls and young women, Michel Fourniret was dubbed the Ogre of the Ardennes.

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Source: gad

French musician robbed of million-euro cello at knifepoint

Award-winning soloist Ophélie Gaillard said the 18th-century cello was on loan from CIC bank

An award-winning French musician was robbed at knifepoint of her 18th-century cello, worth more than €1m, outside her home in a Paris suburb on Thursday evening.

The soloist Ophélie Gaillard told police her attacker also forced her to hand over her mobile phone before fleeing on foot in the north-eastern suburb of Pantin.

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Source: gad

Court acquits landlord accused of harbouring Paris attackers

Judge rules lack evidence to convict Jawad Bendaoud, who rented flat to two of the terrorists

A French court has acquitted a man charged with harbouring Islamists after they carried out the November 2015 Paris attacks, bringing a surprising end to the first criminal trial over the deadliest deadliest terrorism attack in peacetime France.

The presiding judge said the Paris court found Jawad Bendaoud, 31 not guilty of providing lodging to two of the attackers and helping them hide from police when they were the most-wanted criminals in France.

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Source: gad

French aid group MSF says it dealt with 24 abuse cases last year

Médecins Sans Frontières confirms 19 staff were fired over sexual harassment or abuse

International aid group Médecins Sans Frontières acted on 24 cases of sexual harassment or abuse last year and fired 19 employees, it has revealed, as the British charity Oxfam faces questions over its handling of a sexual misconduct scandal.

The Paris-based group, one of the world’s largest aid organisations, issued a statement saying it had received 146 complaints or alerts last year. “After an internal investigation, 40 cases were found to be allegations of harassment or abuse,” it said. “Of these, 24 were cases of harassment or sexual abuse.”

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Source: gad

Confusion surrounds Macron’s compulsory military service

French president insists all young people will serve after minister suggested scheme might be voluntary

The French government is grappling with how to honour Emmanuel Macron’s controversial election promise to reintroduce compulsory military service for young people.

France’s president said this week that his new “universal national service” would include an obligatory period of between three and six months for all young people, who would take part either in the military or in a form of civic service.

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Source: gad

When Arsenal showed France tough love on Valentine's Day

Michel Platini thought playing a ‘very British’ Arsenal team at Highbury would prepare France for a World Cup qualifier in Scotland, but the plan backfired. France lost both matches 2-0

By Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports Blog

It’s hard to imagine Arsenal being in the title race in February and then adding an extra fixture against a national football team to their schedule. It wouldn’t happen these days but in 1989 George Graham’s team took a break from their pursuit of the championship to do Michel Platini a favour.

The France manager needed all the help he could get after a stuttering start to their qualifying campaign for the 1990 World Cup. France beat Norway 1-0 in their first qualifier thanks to an 84th-minute penalty from Jean-Pierre Papin but only could only draw in Cyprus before losing to Yugoslavia. With a difficult trip to Scotland on the horizon, Platini came up with the plan of playing a British club side to prepare his men for the challenge ahead.

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Source: gad

French girl, 11, 'not a child' say lawyers for man, 29, accused of sexual abuse

Case rekindles debate about age of consent in France as family argue suspect should be charged with rape

A 29-year-old French man went on trial on Tuesday in a Paris suburb accused of sexually abusing 11-year-old girl in a case that has rekindled debate about France’s age of consent.

France does not have a legal age under which a minor cannot agree to a sexual relationship – although the country’s top court has ruled that children aged five and under cannot consent. Lawyers for the suspect argued that the girl was consenting and aware of what she was doing, while lawyers for the girl have said she was simply too young and confused to resist.

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Source: gad

Europe’s future now rests on who owns the story of its past | Natalie Nougayrède

Europe’s angst has brought a frenzy of fragmentation. We must evaluate our common past, get to grips with it, and build on it

Europe seems awash with historical hang-ups. And they are important ones. They may define the continent’s future as much as the outcome of Germany’s current political convulsions, or the state of Italy’s banks, or whether Brexit Britain manages to cobble a transition deal. Large crowds of Greek people recently protested against the use of the name Macedonia by the neighbouring former Yugoslav republic.

In Paris, there is intense debate about whether the writer Charles Maurras, a leading intellectual figure of French early 20th-century ultranationalism and antisemitism and a prominent supporter of the Vichy regime, should be listed among the names to be officially “commemorated” this year (he was born in 1868). Poland’s new law aimed at curtailing any discussion of the role some Poles played in the Holocaust led to a spat with Israel and the US. In Germany, where the far-right AfD holds 94 seats in the Bundestag, a local Berlin politician (of Palestinian family background) last month called for newly arrived migrants to be sent on mandatory visits to concentration camp memorials to assist their “integration courses”.

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Source: gad

Suspected mastermind on trial for France's 'heist of the century'

Jacques Cassandri in court more than 40 years after raid on Société Générale bank in Nice

The suspected mastermind of France’s “heist of the century” has gone on trial more than 40 years after robbers tunnelled through sewers to snatch the equivalent of €29m from a bank vault.

The 1976 robbery at a Société Générale branch in the southern city of Nice confounded the police for decades.

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Source: gad

Apple asks court to ban tax campaigners from its French stores

Firm claims French NGO Attac’s stunts ‘vandalises’ its shops and ‘endangers’ staff and customers

Apple has gone to court in Paris to prevent French tax campaigners from staging stunts at its French stores.

A French court will rule later this month on an unusual case brought by the tech firm, which aims to ban the French NGO Attac from its premises.

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Source: gad