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The Left is Collapsing Everywhere

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This weakness should give conservatives no pleasure.

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[VIDEO] France Elections: Topless FEMEN Activists Storm Voting Station Wearing Putin, Le Pen Masks

Topless FEMEN activists wearing masks of Russian President Vladimir Putin and National Front leader Marine Le Pen protested outside the Henin-Beaumont voting station on Sunday, as Le Pen arrived to cast her ballot.

Topless demonstrators from the Femen activist group have caused a commotion as they staged a stunt against Marine Le Pen outside a polling station where the far-right presidential candidate was heading to vote.

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Around six topless Femen activists were detained Sunday morning after jumping out of an SUV limo wearing masks of Le Pen and United States President Donald Trump.

Police and security forces quickly forced them into police vans, confiscating their signs.

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Le Pen voted at the station shortly after without further disruption.

The election is taking place amid heightened security. The government has mobilized more than 50,000 police and gendarmes to protect polling stations. (more)

Source: fox8live

 


The French, Coming Apart

A social thinker illuminates his country’s populist divide.

Christopher Caldwell writes: The real-estate market in any sophisticated city reflects deep aspirations and fears. If you had a feel for its ups and downs—if you understood, say, why young parents were picking this neighborhood and drunks wound up relegated to that one—you could make a killing in property, but you also might be able to pronounce on how society was evolving more generally. In 2016, a real-estate developer even sought—and won—the presidency of the United States.

In France, a real-estate expert has done something almost as improbable. Christophe Guilluy calls himself a geographer. But he has spent decades as a housing consultant in various rapidly changing neighborhoods north of Paris, studying gentrification, among other things. And he has crafted a convincing narrative tying together France’s various social problems—immigration tensions, inequality, deindustrialization, economic decline, ethnic conflict, and the rise of populist parties. Such an analysis had previously eluded the Parisian caste of philosophers, political scientists, literary journalists, government-funded researchers, and party ideologues.

“The young men living in the northern Paris suburbs feel a burning solidarity with their Muslim brethren in the Middle East.”

Guilluy is none of these. Yet in a French political system that is as polarized as the American, both the outgoing Socialist president François Hollande and his Gaullist predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy sought his counsel. Marine Le Pen, whose National Front dismisses both major parties as part of a corrupt establishment, is equally enthusiastic about his work. Guilluy has published three books, as yet untranslated, since 2010, with the newest, Le crépuscule de la France d’en haut (roughly: “The Twilight of the French Elite”), arriving in bookstores last fall. The volumes focus closely on French circumstances, institutions, and laws, so they might not be translated anytime soon. But they give the best ground-level look available at the economic, residential, and democratic consequences of globalization in France. They also give an explanation for the rise of the National Front that goes beyond the usual imputation of stupidity or bigotry to its voters. Guilluy’s work thus tells us something important about British voters’ decision to withdraw from the European Union and the astonishing rise of Donald Trump—two phenomena that have drawn on similar grievances.

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

At the heart of Guilluy’s inquiry is globalization. Internationalizing the division of labor has brought significant economic efficiencies. But it has also brought inequalities unseen for a century, demographic upheaval, and cultural disruption. Now we face the question of what—if anything—we should do about it.

TOPSHOTS Police officers stand guard as an operation takes place in the Molenbeek district of Brussels on November 16, 2015. Belgian police launched a major new operation in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, where several suspects in the Paris attacks had previously lived, AFP journalists said. Armed police stood in front of a police van blocking a street in the run-down area of the capital while Belgian media said officers had surrounded a house. Belgian prosecutors had no immediate comment. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

A process that Guilluy calls métropolisation has cut French society in two. In 16 dynamic urban areas (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Rouen, Toulon, Douai-Lens, and Montpellier), the world’s resources have proved a profitable complement to those found in France. These urban areas are home to all the country’s educational and financial institutions, as well as almost all its corporations and the many well-paying jobs that go with them. Here, too, are the individuals—the entrepreneurs and engineers and CEOs, the fashion designers and models, the film directors and chefs and other “symbolic analysts,” as Robert Reich once called them—who shape the country’s tastes, form its opinions, and renew its prestige. Cheap labor, tariff-free consumer goods, and new markets of billions of people have made globalization a windfall for such prosperous places. But globalization has had no such galvanizing effect on the rest of France. Cities that were lively for hundreds of years—Tarbes, Agen, Albi, Béziers—are now, to use Guilluy’s word, “desertified,” haunted by the empty storefronts and blighted downtowns that Rust Belt Americans know well.

[Order Christopher Caldwell’s book Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West from Amazon.com]

Guilluy doubts that anyplace exists in France’s new economy for working people as we’ve traditionally understood them. Paris offers the most striking case. As it has prospered, the City of Light has stratified, resembling, in this regard, London or American cities such as New York and San Francisco. It’s a place for millionaires, immigrants, tourists, and the young, with no room for the median Frenchman. Paris now drives out the people once thought of as synonymous with the city.

Yet economic opportunities for those unable to prosper in Paris are lacking elsewhere in France. Journalists and politicians assume that the stratification of France’s flourishing metropoles results from a glitch in the workings of globalization. Somehow, the rich parts of France have failed to impart their magical formula to the poor ones. Fixing the problem, at least for certain politicians and policy experts, involves coming up with a clever shortcut: perhaps, say, if Romorantin had free wireless, its citizens would soon find themselves wealthy, too. Guilluy disagrees. For him, there’s no reason to expect that Paris (and France’s other dynamic spots) will generate a new middle class or to assume that broad-based prosperity will develop elsewhere in the country (which happens to be where the majority of the population live). If he is right, we can understand why every major Western country has seen the rise of political movements taking aim at the present system. Read the rest of this entry »


Le Pen Rises After Paris Attack

Donald Trump has said the Paris terrorist attack would boost Marine Le Pen’s presidential chances after a last-minute poll gave her a modest increase in support.

The US president said the shooting would “probably help” Ms Le Pen in Sunday’s election, because she is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”

“Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election,” he said.

US presidents typically avoid weighing in on specific candidates running in overseas election. But Mr Trump suggested his opinion was no different from an average observer, saying: “Everybody is making predictions on who is going to win. I’m no different than you.”

Cancelling visits and meetings on Friday, candidates traded blows across the airwaves as it emerged that the Isil-backed gunman had been kept in custody just 24 hours in February despite attempts to procure weapons to murder police.

Xavier Jugelé, 37, a policeman who had been deployed in the 2015 Bataclan attack, was killed in the shooting.

Ms Le Pen, the far-Right candidate, blasted the mainstream “naive” Left and Right for failing to get tough on Islamism, calling for France to instantly reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services.

François Fillon, the mainstream conservative candidate, pledged an “iron fist” in the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” – his priority if elected. “We are at war, it’s either us or them,” said the conservative, whose campaign has been weighed down by allegations he gave his British wife a “fake job”.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist, whom critics dismiss as a soft touch, hit back at claims shutting borders and filling French prisons would solve the problem, saying: “There’s no such thing as zero risk. Anyone who pretends (otherwise) is both irresponsible and deceitful.”

Sticking to his campaign agenda, far-Left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon told everyone to keep a “cool head” as he took part in a giant picnic.

A last-minute Odoxa poll taken after the attack suggested that Mr Macron was still on course to come first in Sunday’s first round, with Ms Le Pen just behind and through to the May 7 runoff. Read the rest of this entry »


Scott McConnell: The Battle for France

The new intellectualism of cultural anxiety

And that’s why France is the epicenter of today’s fearsome battle between Western elites bent on protecting and expanding the well-entrenched policy of mass immigration and those who see this spreading influx as an ultimate threat to the West’s cultural heritage, not to mention its internal tranquility. In France it is a two-front war. One is the political front, where Marine Le Pen’s National Front has moved from the fringes of politics into the mainstream. The other is the intellectual front, where a new breed of writers, thinkers, and historians has emerged to question the national direction and to decry those who have set the country upon its current course.

Americans have always had a special affinity for France. It was critical to the American founding by way of Lafayette’s mission. In the 20th century many artistic and upper-class Americans embraced Paris as the site of and model for their own cultural strivings. France’s 1940 fall to Nazi Germany dealt the first real blow to American isolationism. After the 1945 victory in Europe, U.S. links to Paris, London, and Europe generally rendered postwar Atlanticism more than just a strategy: it was a civilizational commitment that helped define who we were as Americans.

Paris remains beautiful, though crime has been rising for a generation and the city has the trappings of wartime, with heavily armed soldiers visibly guarding sensitive targets—museums, schools, newspapers—against Islamist terror. The approaching elections, where the National Front will surely exceed its past vote totals, mark a tremulous new era.

Indeed, serious people have for some years been contemplating whether France is nearing the precipice of civil war. That’s probably unlikely, at least in the near future, but few would be shocked if the political and communal conflicts exploded into violence not seen in decades. And that has spawned a radically changed intellectual climate. The French intelligentsia and its cultural establishment still lean, in the main, toward the left, as they have since the end of World War II, or indeed since the divisive Dreyfus affair of the Third Republic. But today, France’s most read and most discussed popular writers—novelists and political essayists—are conservatives of one stripe or another. They are not concerned, even slightly, with the issues that animate American “mainstream” think-tank conservatism—lowering taxes, cutting federal programs, or maintaining some kind of global military hegemony. Their focus is France’s national culture and its survival. When they raise, as they do, the subjects embraced by American paleoconservatives and the so-called alt-right, that doesn’t mean the French debate has been taken over by extremists. The authors driving the French conversation are in almost every instance prominent figures whose views would have put them in the Gaullist middle or somewhat left of center at any time in the 1960s or ’70s. But France has changed, and what National Review in the 1990s called “the national question” has been brought to the very heart of the country’s national debate.

At the moment, France’s most important political intellectual on the right is probably Éric Zemmour, a former editorial writer for Le Figaro. A natural polemicist, he is a descendant of working-class Algerian Jews who fled to France in the 1950s. Though he demonstrates serious intellectual breadth, Zemmour’s particular passion is polemical battle. He was fined under French anti-racism laws in 2011 for publicly referring to racial discrepancies in crime rates. No one questioned the accuracy of his statistics, but discussing them in a way that was seen as contravening French anti-defamation law was an absolute no-no. Three years later, he reached a pinnacle of influence with the publication of his 500-page Le Suicide français, a modern national history that sold 400,000 copies within two months and became the top-selling book in France. Weeks later, when attacks by French-born Islamists on the offices of Charlie Hebdoand a kosher supermarket outside Paris stunned the nation (while being greeted with shocking indifference in the predominantly Muslim Paris suburbs), Zemmour’s book was there to explain how France had arrived at that dismal intersection.

The literary technique of Le Suicide français seems made for the internet and social media. The book marches, in short vignettes, from the death of de Gaulle in 1970 through the end of Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency in 2012. Zemmour takes an illustrative event—sometimes no more than a demonstration, a film, or a pop song—and shows how it reflects national decline or actually pushed that decline onward.

[Read the full story here, at The American Conservative]

One central theme is that the young bourgeois nihilists of the May 1968 street revolution prevailed. Not in politics or at least not immediately: de Gaulle’s party remained in power for more than a decade after. But the cultural victory was decisive. De Gaulle as a father figure was overthrown, and so was the traditional idea of the father. As the traditional family weakened, birth rates sank. In short order, France embraced legalized abortion and no-fault divorce; the father, when he didn’t disappear altogether, began to behave like a second mother. Traces of the shift show up in pop music. The singer Michel Delpech gave his blessing to his wife leaving for another man in one popular song:

You can even make a half-brother for Stéphanie
That would be marvelous for her.

Or as the comic Guy Bedos put it, “We separated by mutual agreement, especially hers.”

Such shifts coincided, in symbiotic ways that few understood at the time, with the advent of mass immigration. Zemmour writes, “At the same moment the traditional French family receded, as if to compensate symbolically and demographically, the most traditional type of Maghrebine family, the most archaic, the most patriarchal, is invited to take up its role. To come to its rescue. To fill up the places it has left vacant. To replace it.”

Like the immigration narrative of every advanced Western country, the story is complex. France had welcomed and assimilated immigrants from eastern and southern Europe for a century. In the 1960s, Prime Minister Georges Pompidou, encouraged by an industrial elite seeking cheaper manual labor, recruited to France each year hundreds of thousands of workers from Spain, Portugal, and North Africa. Rural Maghrebine workers were preferred; they were seen as less Frenchified than workers from Algerian towns, more docile. After worker recruitment was stopped during the recession of 1974, family reunification as a humanitarian policy was instigated, and hundreds of thousands of North African women and children joined their husbands in France. Zemmour concludes that this represented a kind of posthumous victory over de Gaulle by the partisans of Algérie Française, the blending of France and Algeria which de Gaulle had rejected—for reasons of sociology and demography as much as for peace. As he told Alain Peyrefitte in 1959, “Those who dream of integration are birdbrains, even the most brilliant of them. Try to mix oil and vinegar. Shake up the bottle. After a while, they separate again. The Arabs are Arabs, the French are French.” In the same interview, de Gaulle said the Algérie Française would result in massive immigration to France, and his town Colombey-les-Deux-Églises would be turned into Colombey-les-Deux-Mosquées. Read the rest of this entry »


Paris Shooting: Two Police Officers Killed After Incident on Champs-Elysees 

A gunman has shot two police officers dead before being killed himself in an attack in the Champs-Elysees shopping district, Paris police say.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told reporters the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin D Roosevelt metro stop on Thursday night (local time) at the centre of the avenue, which is popular with tourists.

One police officer was killed on the scene and one died later from his wounds, police sources said.

The person who fired on police was also killed and a police source said the attacker was known to security services.

[Video: Police swarm Champs-Elysees in Paris after officers shot by gunman – ABC News]

French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said police officers were targeted in the shooting, but it is too early to say what the motive was.

A police union on Twitter said the first officer killed had been shot by an attacker driving past as the officer’s car was stopped at a red light.

Witnesses reported a helicopter flying low over central Paris, apparently part of a follow-up police operation.

Authorities called on the public to avoid the area.

Photo: A police officer stands guard after the fatal shooting fellow officers. (AP: Thibault Camus)

Photo: A police officer stands guard after the fatal shooting fellow officers. (AP: Thibault Camus)

New shots were fired near Champs Elysees avenue, more than an hour after the original shooting a police source said.

The counter-terrorism office has opened an investigation into the shooting, the prosecutor’s office said. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: France Migrants: Huge Fire Guts Grande-Synthe Dunkirk Camp

A camp housing 1,500 migrants in northern France has been destroyed in a fire that officials said began during a fight between Afghans and Kurds.

At least 10 people were injured when the fire tore through closely-packed huts at the Grande-Synthe camp, near the port of Dunkirk.

Last month officials said the camp would be dismantled because of unrest.

The French north coast has been a magnet for migrants trying to reach Britain.

“There is nothing left but a heap of ashes,” said Michel Lalande, prefect of France’s Nord region.

“It will be impossible to put the huts back where they were before,” he added.

The population of the Grande-Synthe camp has grown since last October’s destruction of the “Jungle” camp near Calais, about 40 km (25 miles) away.

The arrival of more Afghans increased tensions with Kurds living in the camp, AFP news agency reports, citing witnesses and officials. Read the rest of this entry »


More Paris Arrests After Clashes Over Police Killing of Chinese Man

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Ten people were arrested in a second night of protests in Paris over the killing by police of a Chinese father of five, an incident that has caused tensions with Beijing.

Around 400 members of the Asian community and supporters of anti-racism groups gathered outside a police station in the northeast of the capital to again denounce the fatal shooting of Shaoyo Liu, 56, in his home two days earlier.

Those who were arrested had thrown projectiles, the police said, bringing to 45 the number of protesters detained since the killing which led the Chinese government to file an official complaint.

The police say three officers were called to the man’s home in the multi-ethnic 19th district of Paris on Sunday evening after reports of a domestic dispute.

They say the man attacked a policeman with a knife, causing injuries, and that another officer then opened fire in self-defence, killing the man.

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The dead man’s family were present at the time of the shooting and dispute the police version of events, denying there was a domestic row.

“He didn’t injure anyone,” the family’s lawyer Calvin Job said, adding that the man was “trimming fish with a pair of scissors” when the police burst down his door and “fired without warning”. Read the rest of this entry »


Terror in Lille as Hooded Gunman Shoots 3 People Outside Metro Station in French City

Jon Lockett and Peter Allen report: Armed police have now sealed off all roads leading into the city centre as they try to contain the situation and catch the gunman.

French reports say there were several shots fired near the Porte d’Arras metro station at around 9.50pm.

It’s said a 14-year-old boy had been shot in leg and at least two others youths had been injured.

Two of the wounded were found at the scene, while the third made their way to a nearby hospital.

Those injured are said to have been shot several times, reports respected French news site La Voix Du Nord.

One of the victims is reported to have suffered a neck injury.

Although anti-terrorist police were called to the scene, there were later reports the shooting was a ‘revenge attack’.

“A car pulled up outside the station and targeted the three youths,” said a police source. Read the rest of this entry »


Bad for the Glass: No Roman Polanski Deal, But Sides Have Talked 

The Gunson testimony has been at the heart of attempts to resolve the case. Taken on a provisional basis when it appeared Gunson’s life might be in danger from illness, it touches on a supposedly broken promise by the late Judge Laurence Rittenband to limit Polanski’s sentence for a 1977 statutory rape conviction to time he served during a prison psychiatric evaluation. Only a month ago, Braun insisted that opening the sealed testimony was among his principal aims.

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“I am only interested in obtaining the Gunson transcript and obtaining a ruling on whether a California court will respect the ruling of the Polish Court,” he wrote in a February 21 email, which referred both to the testimony and to a determination in a Polish extradition hearing that Polanski should remain free.

That Braun, at least for purposes of the Monday hearing, was pushing his Gunson demand to the side lent credence to what my colleague Dominic Patten has spotted: Rumors that Polanski’s lawyer and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, though still at loggerheads in court, have been talking. Read the rest of this entry »


Man Killed at Paris Airport Had Been Flagged for Possible Radical Ties

ORLY, FRANCE: French soldiers shot and killed a man who wrestled another soldier to the ground and tried to take her rifle Saturday at Paris’ Orly Airport. The melee forced the airport’s busy terminals to close and trapped hundreds of passengers aboard flights that had just landed.

The 39-year-old Frenchman, who authorities said had a long criminal record and was previously flagged for possible radicalism, had earlier fired birdshot at police officers during an early morning traffic stop before speeding away and heading for the airport south of Paris.

There, in the public area of its South Terminal, the man wrestled the soldier who was on foot patrol and tried to snatch away her rifle, authorities said. The French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said the patrol’s other two members opened fire. Le Drian said the soldier managed to keep hold of her weapon.

“Her two comrades thought it was necessary — and they were right — to open fire to protect her and especially to protect all the people who were around,” Le Drian said.

The shooting further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.

Witnesses described panicked bystanders fleeing, flights halting, traffic chaos and planes under lockdowns. French authorities, however, emphasized that security planning — reinforced across the country in the wake of repeated attacks — worked well.

The soldier was “psychologically shocked” but unhurt by the “rapid and violent” assault, said Col. Benoit Brulon, a spokesman for the military force that patrols public sites in France. No other injuries were reported.

“We’d already registered our bags when we saw a soldier pointing his gun at the attacker who was holding another soldier hostage,” said traveler Pascal Menniti, who was flying to the Dominican Republic.

Authorities said at least 3,000 people were evacuated from the airport. Hundreds of passengers also were confined for several hours aboard 13 flights that were held in landing areas, and 15 other flights were diverted to Paris’ other main airport, Charles de Gaulle, the Paris airport authority said.

A French official connected to the investigation confirmed French media reports that identified the attacker as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, born in France in 1978. The official spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the man’s details.

The attacker’s motives were unknown. After the airport attack, his father and brother were detained by police for questioning Saturday — standard operating procedure in such probes.

The antiterrorism section of the Paris prosecutor’s office immediately took over the investigation. The prosecutor’s office said the attacker had a record of robbery and drug offenses.

He did not appear in a French government database of people considered potential threats to national security. But prosecutors said he had already crossed authorities’ radar for suspected Islamic extremism. His house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Those searches targeted people with suspected radical leanings. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Man Shot Dead at Paris Orly Airport After Snatching a Soldier’s Weapon & Fleeing to a Shop

  • Man snatched gun and fled into a shop at the south terminal, where he was shot
  • It happened after a police officer was shot in a northern Paris suburb
  • Witnesses recounted hearing ‘four or five’ shots, and the airport was evacuated
  • It comes at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the French capital 

A man has been shot dead at Paris Orly airport after taking a soldier’s gun and fleeing into a shop, taking aim at soldiers.

Less than two hours earlier, three police officers were shot at in a suburb in northern Paris by a gunman during a routine stop-and-search operation.

Police now believe the shooting in the northern Paris suburb of Stains, which left one officer injured, was carried out by the man who was later killed.

Today’s incidents come as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Paris, where they will later meet victims of terrorism.

A man in a Renault Clio armed with a shotgun fired at police and fled shortly before 7am, and the vehicle was found in Vitry, in the south of the city, containing a bloody t-shirt.

The same man is believed to have grabbed the soldier’s weapon at 8.30am at the airport, in the south of the French capital. Read the rest of this entry »


Le Pen Could Conceivably Win French Presidency, Politicians and Experts Say

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PARIS – With the polls narrowing and one of her main rivals embroiled in an expenses scandal, far-right leader Marine Le Pen could feasibly become French president in May, senior politicians and commentators say.

“I think Madame Le Pen could be elected.”

— Jean-Pierre Raffarin

At the headquarters of her National Front (FN) party in Nanterre, outside Paris, officials believe the same forces that led to last year’s Brexit vote in Britain and Donald Trump’s victory in November’s U.S. election could carry Le Pen to power.

Even some of her rivals concede a victory for the far-right firebrand is possible.

“I think Madame Le Pen could be elected,” former conservative Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said this month.

Another former premier, the Socialist Manuel Valls, has also warned of the “danger” of assuming that Le Pen cannot win.

Polls show that support for the anti-immigrant and anti-EU candidate has been consistent for four years now.

Since 2013, surveys have shown the blond 48-year-old will progress through the first round to reach the runoff stage in France’s two-stage presidential election.

Pollsters now note that although Le Pen is not currently forecast to win the all-important showdown on May 7, she has whittled down the projected gap between herself and her main challengers.

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The legal woes of her conservative challenger Francois Fillon have especially played into Le Pen’s hands.

When Fillon saw off pre-contest favorite Alain Juppe to clinch the right-wing nomination in late November, polls showed he would win 67 percent of the vote in the runoff to 33 percent for Le Pen.

Then in January allegations surfaced that Fillon had paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros for parliamentary work she might not have done. Surveys now show Le Pen would score 44 percent to 56 percent for Fillon if the second round were held today.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan Times]

The pressure on 62-year-old Fillon moved up a notch Friday when prosecutors announced he will face a full judicial investigation into the claims.

A similar picture emerges when Le Pen’s projected second-round score is compared to that of Emmanuel Macron, the pro-business centrist who has moved from outsider to genuine contender in the space of a few months.

Although Macron’s performance against Le Pen has only been tested since January, the winning margin has dropped from 30 points to around 20 in a month.

The latest Ifop poll gives Macron 61.5 percent to 38.5 for the far-right standard bearer. Read the rest of this entry »


French Socialist Presidential Candidate Offers Asylum To US Climate Scientists


[VIDEO] Louvre Museum Reopens; Egypt Identifies Machete Attacker

PARIS (AP) — The Louvre Museum reopened to the public Saturday, less than 24 hours after a machete-wielding assailant shouting “Allahu akbar!” attacked French soldiers guarding the sprawling building and was shot by them.

The worldwide draw of the iconic museum in central Paris, host to thousands of artworks including the “Mona Lisa,” was on full display on a drizzly winter day as international tourists filed by armed police and soldiers patrolling outside the site, which had been closed immediately after Friday’s attack.

The attacker was shot four times after slightly injuring a soldier patrolling the nearby underground mall but his injuries on Saturday were no longer life-threatening, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

DV142066 Leonardo da Vinci Painting

French President Francois Hollande said there is “no doubt” the suspect’s actions were a terror attack, and he will be questioned as soon as that is possible.

An Egyptian Interior Ministry official confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday that the attacker is Egyptian-born Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, who is 28, not 29 as widely reported.

The official said an initial investigation in Egypt found no record of political activism, criminal activity or membership in any militant group by him. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

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French authorities said they are not yet ready to name the suspect, but confirmed they thought he was Egyptian.

The suspect was believed to have been living in the United Arab Emirates and came to Paris on Jan. 26 on a tourist visa, prosecutor Francois Molins said. The suspect bought two military machetes at a gun store in Paris and paid 1,700 euros ($1,834) for a one-week stay at a Paris apartment in the chic 8th arrondissement, near the Champs-Elysees Avenue.

On the Twitter account of an “Abdallah El-Hamahmy,” a tweet was posted about a trip from Dubai to Paris on Jan. 26. In the profile photo, Hamahmy is seen smiling and leaning against a wall in a blue-and-white sports jacket. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Could the Louvre knife Attack Impact Upcoming French Elections?

French soldiers enforcing the Vigipirate plan, France's national security alert system, patrol in front of the Louvre museum on November 16, 2015 in Paris, three days after a series of deadly oordinated attacks claimed by Islamic State jihadists, which killed at least 129 people and left more than 350 injured on November 13. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET

 


Paris Police: Soldier Opens Fire Outside the Louvre Museum

French soldiers enforcing the Vigipirate plan, France's national security alert system, patrol in front of the Louvre museum on November 16, 2015 in Paris, three days after a series of deadly oordinated attacks claimed by Islamic State jihadists, which killed at least 129 people and left more than 350 injured on November 13. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET

French media reported on Friday that a soldier has opened fire on a man armed with a knife at a shopping centre next to the famous Louvre museum in Paris.

Reports say the soldier opened fire on the knifeman after he attacked him at the Louvre Carrousel shopping centre on Friday morning.

According to reports the attacker was shot in the leg. A security cordon has been set up and the underground Louvre Carrousel shopping centre has been evacuated.

Reports on Twitter said tourists at the museum were being moved into rooms to keep them safe. The Louvre itself has declined to comment on the situation.

Images on Twitter also appeared to show worried visitors outside the world famous museum.

“Something is going down at The  30 National Police vehicles with guns drawn,” said one tweeter.

An alarm can be heard in the background. A worried passerby can be heard saying: “I wonder if it’s a training exercise”.

France’s interior ministry confirmed on Twitter that a serious security operation was underway in the area around the Louvre.

Paris and the rest of France is on high alert for terrorism after a series of attacks in recent years. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! Old-School Satirical Paper Upends French Presidential Race

canard

For a small duck it packs one hell of a peck.

PARIS (AP) One-time French presidential front-runner Francois Fillon is slowly finding his dream of winning the Elysee Palace under water.

And it’s because of the revelations of one old-school, eight-page satirical newspaper with ink that comes off on your hands: “Le Canard Enchaine,” or “The Chained Duck.”

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The dirt-digging weekly’s claims that Fillon’s political clout helped secure handsomely paid jobs for his wife, Penelope, and two of their children are the just the latest scoops from the 102-year-old newspaper which is showing that traditional gumshoe reporting and the ink-and-paper format still have value in the increasingly online world.

“‘Canard’ or ‘duck’ was taken from French slang for ‘newspaper.'”

With its old-school typography, puns on every page and thick, rough paper, “Le Canard” may seem like an unlikely source of hard-nosed political journalism.

But the controversy has seriously hurt the conservative Fillon and has upended the race for France’s spring presidential election. It has pecked away at his popularity as his critics cry foul. Fillon, who was France’s prime minister from 2007 to 2012, has denied any wrongdoing.

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The paper first published the allegations against Fillon on Jan. 25 and then came out with a second report containing further accusations on Wednesday. Copies of the latest edition were hard to come by in Paris.

Financial prosecutors are investigating whether Penelope Fillon actually worked, as he claims, as her husband’s parliamentary aide or whether her job was fake, which would be an illegal use of public funds.

“Le Canard Enchaine,” available in kiosques and proudly not online, is a modern anachronism that flies in the face of claims that old-school newspapers are relics of the past.

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The weekly, costing 1.20 euros ($1.29), continues to be an influential player in the French media landscape, and a go-to for whistle-blowers — despite dwindling newspaper sales across the world. The paper, which has no advertisements, is mainly financed through newsstand sales and subscriptions.

Editor Louis-Marie Horeau recently revealed his paper’s winning journalistic methods for exposing the so-called Penelope-gate scandal. Read the rest of this entry »


‘If You’ve Got it, Flaunt It’

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Do they got it? Perhaps they do. The European parties hope for similar success in tapping anti-establishment and protectionist sentiment in elections this year.

KOBLENZ, Germany (AP) — European nationalist leaders came together Saturday in a show of strength at the start of a year of big election tests, celebrating Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president and declaring themselves a realistic alternative to the continent’s governments.

Right-wing populist leaders from France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and elsewhere strode confidently into the Koblenz congress hall on the banks of the Rhine River ahead of a flag-waving escort, setting the tone for a gathering whose mood was buoyed by Trump’s swearing-in. The European parties hope for similar success in tapping anti-establishment and protectionist sentiment in elections this year.

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“I believe we are witnessing historic times,” Dutch anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders told reporters. “The world is changing. America is changing. Europe is changing. And the people start getting in charge again.”

Wilders, speaking in English, declared that “the genie will not go back into the bottle again, whether you like it or not.”

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The Netherlands will provide the next major test for populist parties’ support. Wilders’ Party of Freedom could win the largest percentage of votes in the March 15 Dutch parliamentary election, even though it is shunned by other parties and unlikely to get a share of power.

Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front, is among the top contenders in France’s April-May presidential vote. In September, Frauke Petry’s four-year-old Alternative for Germany party hopes to enter the German parliament in a national election, riding sentiment against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming policy toward refugees. Other German parties say they won’t work with the anti-immigrant group.

Those at the Koblenz conference Saturday are part of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group in the European Parliament, which was launched in 2015. The gathering also featured Matteo Salvini of Italy’s anti-migrant Northern League and Harald Vilimsky, the general secretary of Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party, which last year narrowly failed to win the country’s presidency. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacre Bleu! Le Monde

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Sacre Bleu! Le Pen Leads New Opinion Poll 

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A new poll from Ifop-Fiducial released Tuesday shows Le Pen at first place with the backing of 26.5 percent of voters, while her moderate center-right rival Francois Fillon, of Les Republicains, would receive just over 24 percent of the vote, the poll suggested.

“He is putting in place measures I have been demanding for years.”

— Le Pen said of Trump

The new poll, which was conducted the first week of January, was based on a sample of 1,860 registered voters and has a margin of error of 1.3 percent.

The poll represents the first time Le Pen has led with voters since November, and coincides with a noticeable decline in popularity for Fillon, who was polling at roughly 28 percent in December. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! Move to Name Paris Street After Steve Jobs has French Leftists Freaking Out

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The local district mayor wants to call one of several new streets around the vast Halle Freyssinet high-tech startup hub the ‘Rue Steve Jobs’ in honor of America’s best-known Capitalist. 

PARIS (Reuters) – Geert De Clercq reports: A proposal to name a street after the late Apple Inc chief executive and co-founder Steve Jobs has divided the leftist city council of a Paris district.

“Steve Jobs was chosen because of his impact on the development of personal computing and because he was a real entrepreneur.”

— Spokeswoman for mayor Jerome Coumet

The local district mayor wants to call one of several new streets around the vast Halle Freyssinet high-tech startup hub the “Rue Steve Jobs” in honor of the U.S. inventor of the iPhone who died in 2011.

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“The choice of Steve Jobs is misplaced in light of the heritage he has left behind.”

— Communist local councillors

But Green and Communist local councillors in Paris’s 13th district don’t like the idea because of Apple’s social and fiscal practices.

“Steve Jobs was chosen because of his impact on the development of personal computing and because he was a real entrepreneur,” said a spokeswoman for mayor Jerome Coumet, defending the proposal.

She said other streets would be named after British computer scientist and code-breaker Alan Turing, UK mathematician and computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, US naval officer and computer programming pioneer Grace Murray Hopper and French civil engineer Eugene Freyssinet, who invented pre-stressed concrete.

Leftist councillors are not impressed however by Jobs’ reputation and heritage. Read the rest of this entry »


Montpellier Terror Attack Fears as Gunman Bursts into Retirement Home for Monks

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The suspect, who was reportedly wearing a hoodie and carrying a gun, is still believed to be at the site in Montpellier, France.

A hooded gunman man has stormed a retirement home for monks in France and killed two people, according to reports.

“A supervisor inside the building raised the alarm very discreetly…There are fears that two people have died – a man and a woman. The gunman is being hunted.”

The gunman is believed to have broken into the building in Montpellier, France, on Thursday evening.

According to unverified reports in France, the man was wearing a hoodie and carrying a gun.

He is said to have killed a man and a woman inside the home.

Those killed are thought to be a woman supervisor, and a man who was working with her.

Around 70 monks are believed to reside in the property. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacre Bleu! La Victoire de Donald Trump Envoie la Politique Française Brouiller

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The French say that things often come in threes. After Brexit, a Trump victory in the US, will Marine Le Pen win the French presidential election next May? She is certainly hoping she will be no exception to the rule.

Philip Kyle reports: “Their world is crumbling. Ours is taking shape.” It is with this tweet that MEP Florian Philippot, Marine Le Pen’s right hand man, welcomed Donald Trump’s presidential win. A few minutes earlier, Le Pen, herself, congratulated the President-elect and the “free American people”. Stunned by Trump’s historical win, the eyes of the world turned towards France.

“According to an insider, Le Pen did not believe Trump could win, nor did she believe a few months ago that the Brits would vote to leave the EU. The de-globalisation process which seems to have taken everyone by surprise, herself included, has forced all other candidates across the French political spectrum to review their campaign methods and their political discourse.”

The French say that things often come in threes. After Brexit, a Trump victory in the US, will Marine Le Pen win the French presidential election next May? She is certainly hoping she will be no exception to the rule.

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The 48-year-old far right leader has been quite discreet since the beginning of the school year. It is part of her strategy: let the conservatives and the socialists fight among themselves, sit back and watch her approval ratings soar while they do so.

“Trump’s victory was too good, however, for Le Pen to stay silent. Tweets, interviews and even an appearance on the Andrew Marr show: the leader of the National Front was keen to capitalise on the triumph of another candidate who, like her, styles himself as an “anti-elite” leader.”

Every poll has, for some months now, consistently shown that Le Pen will qualify for the second round of the presidential election. Most of them even show that she will be ahead of all other candidates after the first round. Le Pen will officially launch her campaign in February, once both the conservative and socialist primaries are over and once she knows who her main competitors are. Before then, there is no need for her to get too involved.

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“Every poll has, for some months now, consistently shown that Le Pen will qualify for the second round of the presidential election. Most of them even show that she will be ahead of all other candidates after the first round.”

Trump’s victory was too good, however, for Le Pen to stay silent. Tweets, interviews and even an appearance on the Andrew Marr show: the leader of the National Front was keen to capitalise on the triumph of another candidate who, like her, styles himself as an “anti-elite” leader.

[Read the full text here, at telegraph.uk]

According to an insider, Le Pen did not believe Trump could win, nor did she believe a few months ago that the Brits would vote to leave the EU. The de-globalisation process which seems to have taken everyone by surprise, herself included, has forced all other candidates across the French political spectrum to review their campaign methods and their political discourse.

This is particularly true of the conservative candidates who will be facing each other in the first round of the primary on Sunday. The contest seems to all come down to one question: who is best equipped to defeat Marine Le Pen next May?
Read the rest of this entry »


France Marks First Anniversary of Paris Massacre

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Paris (AFP) – France on Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Paris attacks with sombre ceremonies and painful memories for the relatives of the 130 people killed.

The day of sorrow began under grey morning skies as President Francois Hollande led commemorations at the sites where jihadist killers unleashed a bloodbath.

It ended after dark as a fleet of tiny lanterns floated eerily on a branch of the Seine, each emblazoned with a message to those whose lives had been obliterated.

Hollande’s first duty was to unveil a plaque outside the Stade de France, to commemorate Manuel Dias, 63, killed by a suicide bomber outside the national stadium as France played Germany at football that fateful evening.

Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo then unveiled plaques outside bars and restaurants in the trendy neighbourhood where gunmen sprayed bullets at people enjoying a Friday evening out.

The final ceremony took place outside the Bataclan, the revered Paris concert hall where 90 people were slain by three Islamic State attackers during a rock gig. The killers ruthlessly picked off young people lying defenceless, injured or cowering in fear.

The names of those killed at the Bataclan were read out as hundreds of people gathered in silence under rainy skies.

Rock star Sting reopened the refurbished Bataclan on Saturday night with an emotionally-charged show held amid tight security.

“We will not forget them,” the British singer told the crowd in French after a minute’s silence. Many wept during his first song, “Fragile”.

The Bataclan management said they had prevented two members of the US group Eagles of Death Metal — who were on stage when the bloodshed started — from entering the Sting concert, including lead singer Jesse Hughes.

Hughes had previously sparked outrage by suggesting that Muslim staff at the Bataclan may have cooperated with the attackers. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] John Mclaughlin with Jonas Hellborg & Billy Cobham

On French TV, January 1984


1954 Retrofuture Art from an Unexpected Source: the French Chocolatier Cantalou


Majority of Paris Attackers Entered Europe Posing as Refugees

The attackers were part of a group of 14 who plotted their way into Western Europe by riding the wave of the migrant crisis last year, according to Hungarian security officials.

By using fake Syrian passports, many of the attackers, already on European terror watch-lists, were able to slip back into Europe undetected, along with thousands of other refugees.

SAMU members and French police participate in a raid in Saint-Denis. ETIENNE LAURENT/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY Hooded police officers walked on a street in Saint-Denis Wednesday. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. PETER DEJONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

PETER DEJONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

One hundred and thirty people were killed in November when a group of gunmen and suicide bombers launched a wave of attacks across Paris, targeting the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade De France and several restaurants and bars. Three hundred sixty-eight people were also injured in the attacks, almost 100 of them seriously.

Some of the remaining terrorists in the group participated in the Brussels attacks earlier this year in three coordinated suicide bombings at Brussels Airport and at Maalbeek metro station killed 32 people. Read the rest of this entry »


20 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sept 2, 1996, French Astronaut Claudie Haigneré Returns Home After 16 Days on the Mir Space Station 

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Space Shuttle Almanac – spaceexp


[VIDEO] Alcohol Prohibition Was a Dress Rehearsal for the War on Drugs 

“The war on alcohol and the war on drugs were symbiotic campaigns,” says Harvard historian Lisa McGirr, author of The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State. “Those two campaigns emerged together, [and] they had the same shared…logic. Many of the same individuals were involved in both campaigns.”
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Did alcohol prohibition of the 1920s ever really come to an end, or did it just metastasize into something far more destructive and difficult to abolish—what we casually refer to as “the war on drugs?” McGirr argues that our national ban on booze routed around its own repeal via the 21st Amendment. Ultimately, Prohibition transformed into a worldwide campaign against the drug trade

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The ties between drug and alcohol prohibition run deep. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was established in 1930, only three years prior to Prohibition’s repeal. The FBN employed many of the same officials as the Federal Bureau of Prohibition. And both shared institutional spaces as independent entities within the U.S. Treasury Department. “In some ways,” observes McGirr, “the war never ended.”

Prohibition-Detroit-1920-631.jpg__800x600_q85_crop Read the rest of this entry »


French Poster for the American film Noir ‘Gun Crazy’, which Premiered in France as ‘Le Démon des Armes’ today in 1950

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Above, a French promo poster for the American film noir Gun Crazy, which premiered in France as Le Démon des armes today in 1950.

Source: Mudwerks

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Sacré Bleu! Wine Floods Streets of French Town after ‘Act of Sabotage’ 

With 200,000–400,000 French expatriates, London has become France’s sixth-largest city.

A town in southern France saw its streets running red last night but this was not about revelry.

The town of Sete, near Montpellier was drenched in red wine on Tuesday night after the contents of five huge vats of wine were spilled onto the streets.

The plonk flooded into local basements, car parks, and even some people’s homes, reported the local Midi Libre newspaper.frenchman

Up to 50,000 litres of the tipple belonging to the Biron distributors were spilled, according to reports.

Emergency services were quick to the scene and had the mess cleared up in 30 minutes, the paper reported.

On Wednesday afternoon, the radical group of wine producers CRAV (Comité régional d’action viticole) claimed responsibility for the move, reported France 3.

The group has infamously carried out numerous wine-related attacks in France, irate at foreign cheap wine making its way onto the shelves of French stores and supermarkets.

French farmers' wine dumping sparks anger in Spain Read the rest of this entry »


Normandy Attack: Tomorrow’s Newspapers Today

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Source: #tomorrowspaperstoday hashtag on Twitter