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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 »

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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 »


Transportation Officials Assess France’s Newly Imposed Border Controls

President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency Friday and announced border restrictions for the country. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Robert Wall and Andy Pastor report: Transportation officials scrambled to determine what France’s decision to implement border controls would mean for travel to and from the country.

France’s foreign minister said the country would implement border controls across road, rail, sea and aviation entry points. Airline and rail links would continue to operate, with airports remaining open. France has open borders with many of its European neighbors, though the government’s announcement suggests some checks would be restored. Early Saturday, travel officials were still trying to figure out what the additional security measures would entail, but the steps could include ID checks at borders that previously weren’t required.

his is an aerial view of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on VE Day, May 7, 1945, shows thousands of French people celebrating the announcement of Germany's unconditional surrender to the Allies. British, American and French servicemen mingled with the crowds who sang and danced throughout the night. (AP Photo/Griffin)

This is an aerial view of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on VE Day, May 7, 1945, shows thousands of French people celebrating the announcement of Germany’s unconditional surrender to the Allies. British, American and French servicemen mingled with the crowds who sang and danced throughout the night. (AP Photo/Griffin)

A French aviation official said that while airports would be open, enhanced security procedures would go into force.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Most international train and ferry services had already halted for the night.

Eurostar, the operator of high-speed international train service into Paris, said it was working with authorities to understand the implications to how border restrictions might impact service. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Django Reinhardt in a Hotel Room in 1945 With Gypsy Singer Sonia Dimitrivich

Django

Django Reinhardt in a hotel room in 1945 with gypsy singer Sonia Dimitrivich. Django spent his time during the Nazi Occupation oscillating between a suite on the Champs Elysee and gypsy encampments.

 


[PHOTO] Audrey Hepburn, by Marcel Thomas, in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 1956

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Audrey Hepburn photographed by Marcel Thomas in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, June 1956.


Sacré Bleu! Paris Police Open Fire Near Tour de France, No One Injured

PARIS — Police in Paris opened fire Sunday morning on a car that drove toward a group of police officers near the Tour de France perimeter, a spokesman for the French National Police told CNN.

“The police shot at the car in self-defense, but it was able to drive away, the official said. No one was hurt, and police are searching for the car.”

The incident is not believed to be related to terrorism, he said.

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 26:  Chris Froome (yellow jersey) of Great Britain and Team Sky rides on his way to overall victory during the twenty first stage of the 2015 Tour de France, a 109.5 km stage between Sevres and Paris Champs-Elysees, on July 26, 2015 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The official, who did not give his name as a matter of standard policy, said the car initially hit another vehicle. When stopped by the police, the driver refused to obey orders and proceeded instead to drive toward police officers in the Place de la Concorde who were placing a safety barricade for the Tour de France bicycle race. Read the rest of this entry »


Provocative Anti-Semetic Standup Comic Detained As Charlie Hebdo Sells Out

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…In the city still shaken by the deaths of 17 people at the hands of Islamic extremists, a controversial comic who appeared to be praising the men was taken into custody.

The core of the irreverent newspaper’s staff perished a week ago when gunmen stormed its offices, killing 12. Those who survived put out the issue that appeared on newsstands Wednesday, working out of borrowed offices, with a print run of 3 million — more than 50 times the usual circulation.

“Dieudonne, who popularized an arm gesture that resembles a Nazi salute and who has been convicted repeatedly of racism and anti-Semitism, is no stranger to controversy. His provocative performances were banned last year but he has a core following among many of France’s disaffected young people.”

The storming of the newspaper was the opening salvo of three days of terror and bloodshed in the Paris region, ending when security forces killed all three gunmen on Friday.

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France’s government was preparing tougher anti-terrorism measures, and there were growing signs that authorities were ready to use current laws to their fullest extent. Wednesday’s detention of Dieudonne for defending terrorism followed a four-year prison sentence involving the same charge for a man in northern France who seemed to defend the attacks in a drunken rant while resisting arrest.

“His Facebook post, which was swiftly deleted, said he felt like “Charlie Coulibaly” — merging the names of Charlie Hebdo and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who seized a kosher market and killed four hostages, along with a policewoman.”

French police say as many as six members of a terrorist cell that carried out the Paris attacks may still be at large, including a man seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the gunmen. The country has deployed 10,000 troops to protect sensitive sites, including Jewish schools and synagogues, mosques and travel hubs.

Dieudonne, who popularized an arm gesture that resembles a Nazi salute and who has been convicted repeatedly of racism and anti-Semitism, is no stranger to controversy. His provocative performances were banned last year but he has a core following among many of France’s disaffected young people. Read the rest of this entry »