Advertisements

Clint Eastwood’s ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ in Preproduction

Paul Miller writes: Mayor Clint Eastwood became famous playing fictional tough guys like Rowdy Yates and Dirty Harry. Lately, he’s achieved even greater fame as the director of films about real-life heroes — including Iraq vet Chris Kyle and pilot Sully Sullenberger.

Now, Eastwood is working on his next project, about three friends who stopped a terrorist attack two years ago on a train in France. One of them, a U.S. Air Force enlisted man named Spencer Stone, did something very few people have done and lived to tell about: Without a weapon or anything to defend himself, he charged a fanatical and heavily armed enemy, knocking him to the ground. And then he and his friends, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, disarmed the man and rendered him unconscious, saving dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent lives in the process.

“It was a very important event, because there were so many people on the train, and the guy had hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and he could have done a tremendous amount of damage,” Eastwood said. “And there’s no reason to think he wasn’t going to.”

At his office on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Eastwood is busy these days refining the shooting schedule, while his casting directors are choosing the actors, costumers are picking the outfits, and set designers are planning the shots — all routine tasks for a major Hollywood picture. But the film, “The 15:17 to Paris,” which Eastwood says will probably be released later this year, has a story that promises to be unprecedented in its heart-stopping impact, yet which carries a timeless message of people putting their lives on the line to protect others.

[Read the full story here, at The Carmel Pine Cone]

“My buddies and I were on a trip around Europe,” Stone told The Pine Cone this week from a family cabin at Lake Tahoe. He’d known the men — Sadler, a student at Sacramento State, and Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard — since their childhood in a Sacramento suburb. “Anthony and I started the trip in Rome, and then we went to Venice, Munich and Berlin. And then Alek, who was coming off a tour of duty in Afghanistan, joined us in Amsterdam.”

Their next destination was to be Paris, and on August 21, 2015, they boarded a high-speed train set to leave Amsterdam at 3:17 p.m. (15:17 on the 24-hour clock used in Europe) for the French capital. “As we boarded,” Stone said, “we noticed there didn’t seem to be any security — no metal detectors, no bag check. Nothing.”

But they didn’t think much about it, and the men — off duty and in civilian clothes — soon settled into their first class seats, had a meal and a little wine, checked the internet, and promptly went to sleep.

“We were always on the go, and for us, trains rides were a chance to take a nap,” Stone said.

A brief stop at the Gare Midi in Brussels woke them up — but for only a moment, Stone said. They had no idea a 25-year-old Moroccan man, Ayub El Ghazzani, had boarded in Brussels carrying a deadly backpack.

A man running and glass shattering

As the train hurtled through the European countryside, the three friends dozed, and the next thing Stone remembers was being awakened when a train crew member sprinted past him toward the front of the train. Taking off his noise-reducing headphones, Stone says he heard glass shatter behind him, and people gasping and screaming. Turning around to look in the direction of the noise, he saw El Ghazzani, shirtless and with a backpack attached to his chest, bend down at the end of the car and pick up an assault rifle.

“It was an AK-47, and he was trying to load a round, and I immediately knew he was a terrorist,” Stone said.

And this was no movie. Suddenly confronted with what was sure to be a life-or-death situation, the Air Force man hesitated for just a moment. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

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 »


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 »


[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.

louvre-lifemag

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 »


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.”

cropped-banner-top1

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.

special-canard-enchaine-100-ans

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.

une_canard_05061916-s

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 »


Sacre Bleu! Le Pen Leads New Opinion Poll 

lepenpoll

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 »


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

france-le-panic

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.

sad-french-clown

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.

marine_le_penfrench_far-right_party_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.”

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

france-1year

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 »


Scare Bleu! French National Front Party Draws More Votes from Left than Right 

Barone-3Michael Barone writes: The National Front’s strong showing in the French regional elections, leading all other parties with 28 percent of the vote nationwide, has been widely noted. Looking at the regional results, I notice that the two strongest regions for the FN (the French acronym), in which its candidates, both female members of the extended Le Pen family, received 41 percent of the votes, were about as far from being political twins as possible.

One was Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, the far north of France, a heavy industry area with the grim landscapes familiar to readers of Georges Simenon novels. Read the rest of this entry »


Suspected Architect of Paris Attacks is Dead, According to Two Senior Intelligence Officials 

More than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a seven-hour siege that left two dead, including the suspected overseer of the Paris bloodshed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

  French police commandos killed the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks in a massive predawn raid Wednesday, two senior European intelligence officials said, after investigators followed leads that the fugitive militant was holed up north of the French capital and could be plotting another wave of violence.

“Paris prosecutor François Molins, speaking to reporters hours after the siege, said a discarded cellphone helped identify a series of safe houses used by attackers to plan Friday’s coordinated assaults, which killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 across Paris.”

More than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a seven-hour siege that left two dead, including the suspected overseer of the Paris bloodshed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian extremist who had once boasted he could slip easily between Europe and the Islamic State strongholds in Syria.

TARGET: This guy, Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud: alleged mastermind of Paris attacks

TARGET: This guy, Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud: alleged mastermind of Paris attacks

“Two senior European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, confirmed that Abaaoud was killed in the raid.”

After the raid, forsenics experts combed through the aftermath — blown-out windows, floors collapsed by explosions — presumably seeking DNA and other evidence. The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity before announcements from authorities.

“The death of Abaaoud closes one major dragnet in the international search for suspects from Friday’s carnage.”

Paris prosecutor François Molins, speaking to reporters hours after the siege, said a discarded cellphone helped identify a series of safe houses used by attackers to plan Friday’s coordinated assaults, which killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 across Paris.

“But it raised other worrisome questions, including the apparent ability of Abaaoud to evade intelligence agencies while traveling through Europe and whether other possible Islamic State cells could be seeking to strike again.”

Molins said police launched the raid because they believed that Abaaoud may have been “entrenched” on the third floor of the apartment building. He said he could not yet provide the identities of the two people who died at the scene, but he added that neither Abaaoud nor another wanted suspect, Salah Abdeslam, was among a total of eight people who were arrested at the apartment and other locations Wednesday. Three people were arrested in the raid on the apartment, he said, one of whom had a gunshot wound in the arm.

“The raid on an apartment building in the Saint-Denis suburb appeared to be linked in part to plans to stage a follow-up terrorist attack in the La Defense business district, about 10 miles away, two police officials and an investigator close to the investigation said.”

Two senior European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, confirmed that Abaaoud was killed in the raid.

[Read the full text here, at the Washington Post]

Molins said the safe houses indicated “a huge logistics plan, meticulously carried out.”

The death of Abaaoud closes one major dragnet in the international search for suspects from Friday’s carnage. Read the rest of this entry »


Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Paris Attacks Suspect

wsj-paris-attack-suspect

An Islamic State operative suspected of helping plan the Paris attacks had been monitored in Syria by Western allies seeking to kill him in an airstrike, but they couldn’t locate him in the weeks before the plot was carried out, two Western security officials said.

“A year ago, video emerged of him in Syria, smiling as he drove a truck dragging the dead bodies of Islamic State’s opponents tied to the bumper.”

The operative, a Belgian citizen named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was convicted in abstentia in Brussels earlier this year of recruiting jihadists, was suspected of masterminding a foiled plot to behead police officers, escaped to Syria and was profiled in Islamic State’s online magazine mocking European authorities for their failure to catch him. A year ago, video emerged of him in Syria, smiling as he drove a truck dragging the dead bodies of Islamic State’s opponents tied to the bumper.

Mr. Abaaoud is one of two people who have emerged at the center of a probe into the attacks that killed 129 people on Friday. Both are at large. French and Belgian authorities are also searching for a 26-year-old petty criminal named Salah Abdeslam, who they say rented a car used in the attacks on Friday and is suspected of driving some of the suicide bombers through Paris.

On Monday, dozens of masked Belgian police stormed a house in a predominantly Muslim district in Brussels in their hunt for Mr. Abdeslam….(read more)

Source: WSJ


‘ACT OF WAR’: Hollande Blames ISIS 

nyt-cover

PARIS — The terrorist assault on Paris on Friday night was carried out by three teams of coordinated attackers, including one who traveled to Europe on a Syrian passport along with the flow of migrants, officials said Saturday.

“It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France. It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.”

— French President Francois Hollande

At a news conference on Saturday night, the Paris prosecutor, François Molins, said the attackers were all armed with heavy weaponry and suicide vests. Their assault began, he said, when two of them blew themselves up outside the gates of the soccer stadium on the northern outskirts of Paris.

A French security official said separately that one of the attackers had been linked to a Syrian passport. A Greek official had said earlier that the person carrying the passport had passed through Greece last month along the migrant trail into Europe.

The possibility that one of the attackers was a migrant or had posed as one is sure to further complicate the already vexing problem for Europe of how to handle the unceasing flow of people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

[Watch in Times Video »]

Details of the assault came after President François Hollande blamed the Islamic State for the terrorist attacks. Officials said Saturday night that the death toll had reached 129 victims, with 352 others injured, 99 of them seriously. Mr. Hollande declared three days of national mourning, and said that military troops would patrol the capital. France remained under a nationwide state of emergency. Read the rest of this entry »


Bravoure Américaine: Two U.S. Military Men Praised for Actions on French Train

france-train-getty

Members of Air Force and Oregon National Guard subdued a gunman loaded with weapons

Sam Schechner and Julian E. Barnes report: Authorities praised two U.S. military members and their friend who tackled and subdued a man armed with guns and a box cutter on a Paris-bound train Friday as it sped through Belgium, breaking up what could have been a deadly terrorist attack.

“All three made a show of courage—full of bravery—that everyone recognizes.”

— French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve

The three Americans were seated on the train when they heard a gunshot and breaking glass, according to accounts from one of the men and a U.S. official briefed on the attack.

Crouching behind their seats, the Americans, who are childhood friends, decided they had to act. Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 23 years old, ran toward the gunman and tackled him.

“I told him to go, and he went,” Alek Skarlatos, 22, a member of the Oregon National Guard who had been deployed in Afghanistan, said Saturday.

“Spencer ran a good 10 meters to get to the guy. And we didn’t know that his gun wasn’t working or anything like that,” he added. Mr. Skarlatos then said he ran up behind and grabbed the assailant’s AK-47 rifle, and then their friend, student Anthony Sadler, 23, came to help.

Airman First Class Spencer Stone, left, one of the American men who overpowered the gunman on a high-speed train, gestures as he left the hospital in Lesquin, France, on Saturday. Photo: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS/GETTY IMAGES

Airman First Class Spencer Stone, left, one of the American men who overpowered the gunman on a high-speed train, gestures as he left the hospital in Lesquin, France, on Saturday. Photo: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS/GETTY IMAGES

Investigators on Saturday used fingerprint analysis to identify the gunman as Ayoub El-Khazzani, a French official said. Mr. El-Khazzani, a 26-year-old Moroccan national, had been flagged last year by intelligence services as belonging to the “radical Islamist movement,” officials said.

“While the investigation into the attack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy.”

— statement from the White House

Officials said Spanish officials flagged him to French authorities in February 2014, when he was living in Spain. In 2015, he lived in Belgium, French officials added.

Mr. El-Khazzani attempted to reach Syria in May, taking a flight from Berlin to Istanbul, according to French and German security officials. But the officials said that it wasn’t immediately clear if the suspect made it to Syria.

Belgium, which the French official said had been notified of the suspect’s departure for Turkey, has opened its own criminal investigation into the attack.

Police detaining the suspect at the main train station in Arras, northern France, Friday. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Police detaining the suspect at the main train station in Arras, northern France, Friday. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

French officials praised the Americans’ bravery, as well as that of an unnamed Frenchman who initially confronted the man. The office of French President François Hollande said he had spoken by phone with those who had subdued the attacker, and would invite them shortly to the Élysée Palace to thank them personally. The French president also said he had thanked U.S. President Barack Obama by phone.

“All three made a show of courage—full of bravery—that everyone recognizes,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said. Read the rest of this entry »


Tunis Museum Attack: Gunman Laabidi was Known to Security Services, says PM

_81750412_31d92031-0e9a-4769-a6ec-b339f704fb32

Speaking after the attack, Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi said the country was “in a war with terror”.

A gunman who carried out an attack that killed 17 tourists at Tunis’s Bardo museum was known to the authorities, Tunisia’s prime minister has said.

Habib Essi told RTL Radio that security services had flagged up one of the attackers, Yassine Laabidi, but were not aware of “anything specific”, or of any links to known militant groups.

“Tunisia has managed to avoid the larger wars which have hit other Arab states, but this attack…reveals its vulnerability.”

— The BBC’s James Reynolds

Two Tunisians, a police officer among them, also died in Wednesday’s attack.

Both gunmen were also killed. A search is on for suspects linked to them.

The museum is a major attraction in Tunisia

The museum is a major attraction in Tunisia

Two or three accomplices are still at large, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP news agency. The spokesman said both attackers were “probably” Tunisian. The second gunman has been named as Hatem Khachnaoui.

The tourists killed in the attack include visitors from Japan, Italy, Colombia, Australia, France, Poland and Spain, officials said.

“These monstrous minorities do not frighten us. We will resist them until the deepest end without mercy. Democracy will win and it will survive.”

— Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi

Officials say more than 40 people, including tourists and Tunisians, were injured.

Security forces stormed the museum on Wednesday afternoon
_81736226_tunisia_parliament_map624

Speaking after the attack, Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi said the country was “in a war with terror”.

“These monstrous minorities do not frighten us,” he said in remarks broadcast on national TV. “We will resist them until the deepest end without mercy. “Democracy will win and it will survive.”

At the time of the attack, deputies in the neighbouring parliamentary building were discussing anti-terrorism legislation.

Who were the victims?

According to Prime Minister Essid, 19 people were killed, although some of the countries involved have different totals:

  • Two Tunisians, including a police officer involved in the security operation
  • Five Japanese were killed, according to Mr Essid – although Japan says it has only confirmed the deaths of three citizens
  • Four Italians
  • Two Colombians
  • Two Spaniards
  • One national each from Australia, France and Poland
  • One victim who was not immediately identified

Parliament was evacuated, but later reconvened for an extraordinary session in the evening.

Sayida Ounissi, an MP, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that the security services had said parliament was the original target of the attack. Read the rest of this entry »


APOLOGY UNNECESSARY: Minnesota Newspaper Reconsiders, Corrects, Apologizes for Calling Obama an ‘Assclown’

Adding to the list of “things Obama has been called in the past week,” which already included the Antichrist, the Seventh King, and a rape suspect, we now have “assclown.”

Kevin Cusick, a sports producer for the Pioneer Press, apologized Monday for using the term to refer to President Barack Obama in a slideshow that included Obama’s selfie-stick moment from a BuzzFeed video.

“A fool-proof way to make yourself look like a self-absorbed assclown,” the caption read.

Behold, a screengrab:

6735945_G-1

“After further review, it’s a poor choice of word,” Cusick told local news station KMSP. “I must have been in an especially foul mood last night. I’ve toned it down a bit.” The caption has now replaced “assclown” with “celebrity.”

Follow-up: can there really be a fool-proof way to make yourself look like a fool? Isn’t that…(read more)

Mediaite

Read the rest of this entry »


Culte Morbide Antisemetic Méprisable de Haine: Hundreds of Graves Desecrated at Jewish Cemetery in Eastern France

sarre-union-jewish-cemetery

Tombstones Upended and Broken at Cemetery in Sarre-Union

PARIS — Sam Schechner reports: As many as 300 graves were desecrated at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France, officials said Sunday, the latest escalation in a wave of anti-Semitic violence in Europe.

“Everything will be done to make sure those responsible for the odious and barbaric act will be identified and punished. France is determined to fight relentlessly against anti-Semitism and those who would attack our values.”

— French President François Hollande

French officials are searching for an unknown number of assailants who upended or broke tombstones and headstones in roughly three quarters of the 400 graves at a historic Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union, a small town near France’s border with Germany, a person familiar with the inquiry said.

Jewish-graves-France-558402

“Everything will be done to make sure those responsible for the odious and barbaric act will be identified and punished,” said French President François Hollande. “France is determined to fight relentlessly against anti-Semitism and those who would attack our values.”

The attack is the latest in a series across Europe that has targeted Europe’s Jews, raising concerns over whether authorities are doing enough to stem a rise in anti-Semitism. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Putin Announces Ukraine Ceasefire

russia-ukraine-NATO

A ceasefire will begin in eastern Ukraine on 15 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced.

“We have managed to agree on the main issues,” he said following marathon talks involving Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as well the leaders of France and Germany.

French President Francois Hollande said it was a “serious deal” but not everything had been agreed.

Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting in the east of Ukraine.

via BBC News


[VIDEO] Dr. K: ‘Now what we’re getting is not a resurgence of ant-Semitism so much as a return to the European norm’

“There’s been an interruption in European history; there’s been a constant anti-Semitism for 2,000 years ending and culminating in the Holocaust, and as a result it was impolite in polite society to be anti-Semitic.”

On Tuesday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer, marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, said that Europe will eventually be empty of Jews, thanks to rising anti-Semitism that is merely a return to normal.

“This 70 years is an anomaly in European history and now what we’re getting is not a resurgence of ant-Semitism so much as a return to the European norm.”

The threat to the future of the Jewish people does not come from Europe, Krauthammer continued, but from enemies in the Middle East…(more)

National Review Online


Memo to France: If This is a Defense of La Liberté D’expression, You’re Doing It Wrong

The French government has arrested at least 54 individuals in the past week for what it is defining as ‘hate speech’ and ‘defending terrorism.’ 

French-national-police-AFP

Frances Martelcontributor-80x100-fmartel writes: The Associated Press reports that authorities announced the 54 arrests as part of a broader measure to curb any incitement to violence in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that had on multiple occasions published cartoons depicting Muhammad. In its latest issue this Wednesday, the magazine also featured Muhammad on its cover.

“…The report explicitly highlights targeting hate speech that may lead to ‘urban unrest’.”

— Associated Press

The arrests are made possible by extensive laws on the books against hate speech, particularly anti-Semitism. While the report issued to prosecutors and law enforcement authorities in France details these laws, it does not explicitly mention Islam, the ideology the terrorists that attacked Charlie Hebdo—and an accomplice who attacked a Kosher deli last Friday—subscribe to. The AP notes that the report explicitly highlights targeting hate speech that may lead to “urban unrest,” belying a concern that France’s Muslim suburbs may revolt against the government in response to the massive support Charlie Hebdo has received in light of the attack.

cartoon_05

Some of the cases of those arrested have been expedited to ensure that these individuals are swiftly placed in jail, though the authorities are not providing details. At least one case has already resulted in a four-year prison term—an unidentified man who resisted arrest on Tuesday night while shouting support for the Charlie Hebdo terrorists. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] CNN’s Jake Tapper Hammers President Obama: French President Jacques Chirac Was First to Visit U.S. After 9/11

“I think that there was something more about this than just optics. This is being referred to here in France as France’s 9/11.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper was one of the first pundits to highlight President Barack Obama’s absence from yesterday’s major rally in Paris and his criticism continued today after White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted someone of a “higher level” should have attended the event.

“Who was the first worlder to come to the United States after that awful trauma, who was it? Well, it was the president of France, it was Jacques Chirac. He came to Washington, D.C. and New York right after 9/11, within a week and a half or so. I don’t think that’s a mistake. We have a special relationship with this country.”

“I think that there was something more about this than just optics,” Tapper told Wolf Blitzer from Paris Monday afternoon. “This is being referred to here in France as France’s 9/11.”

Looking back at 9/11, an attack he admitted was clearly on a much larger scale than what happened at the Charlie Hebdo offices last week, Tapper said, “you have to look at the fact of, who was the first worlder to come to the United States after that awful trauma, who was it?”

B7L9pfsCYAAT20b

 “…It’s obviously not shaken by the fact that President Obama wasn’t there or Joe Biden wasn’t there or Mitch McConnell or John Boehner or any other American leader. But it would reaffirmed it in the minds of not just the French people but the American people.”

“Well, it was the president of France, it was Jacques Chirac,” he said, answering his own question. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] White House to Ed Henry: We’re Actually Not Sure What Obama Did Instead of Going to Paris

“I haven’t spoken to the president about what he did yesterday. I guess I prepared for a lot of questions today, but I did not prepare for a question based on what the president was actually doing yesterday.”

From Andrew Johnson, at The Corner: President Obama’s absence at Sunday’s Unity Rally in Paris had many scratching their head what he did instead, including his own press secretary.

“I haven’t spoken to the president about what he did yesterday,” Josh Earnest told Fox News’s Ed Henry during Monday’s briefing. “I guess I prepared for a lot of questions today, but I did not prepare for a question based on what the president was actually doing yesterday.”

Unknown

On less than 36-hours notice for the outdoor march, Earnest explained that the president’s attendance proved difficult to coordinate due to security protocols. Additionally, the White House worried that security measures would have impacted other participants’ ability to take a part in the rally. Read the rest of this entry »


Official News Agency Xinhua Says: ‘Charlie Hebdo Attack Shows Need for Press Limits’

Pictures that an Internet poster on China's Weibo microblogging site went viral when it was suggested they were of officials in Lujiang County.

The question of religious and cultural tolerance hits close to home for China, which is battling a surge of ethnic violence in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighurs

Josh Chin reports: The deadly terrorist attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo shows the need to impose limits on freedom of the press, China’s official news agency argued on Sunday, as more than three million people marched in anti-terror rallies across France.

Xinhua

“Charlie Hebdo had on multiple occasions been the target of protests and even revenge attacks on account of its controversial cartoons,” the Xinhua news agency commentary said, adding that the magazine had been criticized in the past for being “both crude and heartless” in its attacks on religion.

The commentary, written by Xinhua Paris bureau chief Ying Qiang, appeared timed to coincide with Sunday’s rallies. The largest of those took place in Paris and attracted several world leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

What they seem not to realize is that world is diverse, and there should be limits on press freedom.”

The commentary, written by Xinhua Paris bureau chief Ying Qiang, appeared timed to coincide with Sunday’s rallies. The largest of those took place in Paris and attracted several world leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Many religions and ethnic groups in this world have their own totems and spiritual taboos. Mutual respect is crucial for peaceful coexistence.”

The spree of violence ended on Friday after French police killed the three men suspected of murdering 17 people, including 11 inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo. The magazine was known for publishing vivid cartoons lampooning religion, including Islam, and had been targeted in the past by Muslims angry at its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

WSJ-zuma

“Unfettered and unprincipled satire, humiliation and free speech are not acceptable.”

China’s ambassador to France, Kong Quan, attended the rally, China’s Foreign Ministry said at a regular press briefing on Monday. “The content of the Xinhua commentary reflects Xinhua’s own point of view,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, adding that China opposed terrorism in all forms. Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Tomasky: In Defense of Blasphemy

blasphemy-lahore-afp-640x480

editor-commen-deskMichael Tomasky almost makes a good case here, but his credibility is strained by some perplexing comments. For example, the worst kind of wishful thinking is revealed in statements like this: “If states were to alter their conceptions of sharia law so that blasphemy and apostasy were lesser crimes, or preferably not crimes at all…” Well, of course we prefer they’re “not crimes at all”. Islamic legal scholars are pretty much on record preferring otherwise. I’d prefer that fresh coffee be delivered to my desk each morning by a team of pink unicorns. Who wouldn’t? But in the real world, I still have to go out and get my own coffee. To adherents and advocates of sharia law — perhaps not in its western world incarnations and deviations – but certainly in the Islamic world, to recommend liberalizing sharia to the point of irrelevance is itself arguably blasphemous. Or at the least, unrealistic to the point of being dangerously blind. Perhaps I’m wrong, maybe sharia has more potential to be flexible than I’m aware of. But current global trends certainly suggests otherwise.

terrorism-since-1970

Further, Tomasky’s flimsy defense of CAIR is questionable, and his call for maturity is rank snobbery disguised as insight: “Groups like CAIR and leading intellectuals and imams have been denouncing acts like these for years. It’s just that they don’t often make the news when they do it. So let’s please just grow out of that one,” he writes. Really? Let’s not grow out of that one, Mr. Tomasky. Terrorist front-group CAIR pays lip service to such things, but their blood-soaked insincerity is as ripe and thick as their FBI rap sheet. Let’s not even pretend that CAIR is a legitimate organization, if we’re trying to have a serious discussion. Those complaints aside? It’s a good article. And a worthwhile debate to have. Anyone willing to defend blasphemy, and advocate reform, is one of the good guys. Read the whole thing here, at The Daily Beast.

1420800310808.cached

Today, Saudi Arabia will flog a blogger for blasphemy. We may not be able to stop terrorists from killing, but can we pressure states?

Michael Tomaskytomasky writes: Today, Saudi Arabia will flog a blogger for blasphemy. We may not be able to stop terrorists from killing, but can we pressure states?

As you go about your business today and think once or twice (as I hope you will) of Charb and his colleagues in Paris, spare another thought for Raif Badawi. He is, or was, a blogger in Saudi Arabia. Not the most agreeable place to ply the trade, as he learned in 2012 when he was arrested and charged with using his web site, “Free Saudi Liberals,” to engage in electronic insult of Islam. I read on Jonathan Turley’s blog that today, Friday, he will receive the first dose of his sentence in the form of 50 lashes.

“Have a look at this telling research from Pew on blasphemy and apostasy laws around the world. We do see that a few European countries have them on the books: Germany, Poland, Italy, Ireland, a couple more. In these countries, the punishment is typically a fine. Maybe in theory a short stint in the cooler, but in reality the laws in these countries are rarely enforced, and in some countries there hasn’t been a prosecution in years or decades.”

Badawi’s crime was to run a web site that “violates Islamic values and propagates liberal thought.” Interesting that those who sat in judgment of him found those two sets of beliefs to be incompatible. He was originally sentenced to seven years and 600 lashes. A huge international outcry ensued. He was retried, and sure enough his sentence was adjusted. It was increased—to 10 years and 1,000 lashes. But give the Kingdom credit for its sense of mercy: The lashes will be administered only 50 at a time.

blasphemy-rally

Like Nick Kristof, I have been gratified to see that my Twitter feed has been bursting to the rafters with tweets from Muslims and Arabs condemning the Paris attacks in the strongest possible terms. Gratified but not surprised. Anyone who’s paid attention has known for some time now that there are millions of Muslims and Arabs (obviously, not all Muslims are Arabs, and vice versa) who espouse and fight for liberal secular values. I know some. They’re some of the most courageous people I’ve ever met.

“The most notorious states are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where death is an acceptable legal remedy. In 2009, a Pakistani Christian woman got into a religious argument with some Muslim women with whom she was harvesting berries. Asia Bibi, as she is known, was arrested and sentenced to death.”

It’s high time—and if this tragedy has prodded Western culture to turn this particular corner, then that’s one good thing that will have come of it—that we stop demanding of Muslims and Arabs that they denounce acts of terrorism just because they’re Muslims and Arabs. Read the rest of this entry »


WaPo: ‘Charlie Hebdo Stands Solidly for Free Expression. The West Must Do No Less’

je-suis-charlie-wapo

SEVERAL PUBLISHERS in Western countries have disgraced themselves in recent years with self-censorship to avoid being targeted by Islamic militants. The French newspaper Charlie Hebdo did the opposite: Even after its offices were firebombed in 2011, and even after its editor was put on an al-Qaeda wanted list, it continued to courageously publish cartoons and articles lampooning Islam — as well as Christianity, Judaism and established religion in general.

WaPo-France

  –

Consequently, the heinous attack it suffered Wednesday — when gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” invaded its Paris offices and slaughtered 12 people, including editor Stéphane Charbonnier and the police officers defending him — is a direct challenge to the West’s commitment to free expression. The reaction must be not only one of protest and determination to apprehend the perpetrators. Media in democratic nations must also consciously commit themselves to rejecting intimidation by Islamic extremists or any other movement that seeks to stifle free speech through violence.

That was the course Charlie Hebdo followed in 2006, after the publication of anti-Muslim cartoons by a Danish newspaper led to death threats against that paper’s editors and violent protests outside Danish embassies in Muslim countries. The French newspaper reacted by republishing the cartoons. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Second Jihad Attack in Paris: Female Police Officer Shot Dead, Male Colleague Injured in New Slaughter

paris-cop-killing1

Last week Muslims attempted to kill police officers in Paris – today they succeeded in yet another jihad attack in less than 24 hours.  The assailant identified the assailant as “North African” mediaspeak for Muslim.

The man opened fire with a machine gun… It happened at the start of the morning rush hour, with an M5 assault rifle believed to have been used.

Drudge-horror

The Mirror is reporting that the gunman did escape the scene. There are conflicting reports as to whether a suspect has been arrested.

Some French media claim one gunman was apprehended at the scene and is in custody, while another fled via the Metro.

The man is 52-years-old and was wearing a bulletproof vest, and had a handgun and a machine gun, sources suggest.

“Around 8:09 he shot towards the police officers who were at the scene for a road incident,” said Mr Cazeneuve.

“The police woman – who is in very critical condition – was shot in the back.”

paris-cop-killing-3

The France and the UK better start arming their cops. That is madness. Sheer madness. The citizenry needs to be armed…(read more)

Atlas Shrugs


[VIDEO] White House Unsure Whether Murderous Rampage in France Is Terrorism

White House press secretary Josh Earnest refrained from calling the attack on a French magazine “terrorism” in an interview this morning on CNN:

The CNN host asked,

“Josh, when you talk about countering the message, you keep using the word violence. I mean, this is an act of terrorism, that’s what the president of France called it — an act of terrorism. You’re referring to ISIS and other bad actors, it doesn’t really matter who it is at the end of the day. You know you’re fighting a very large group of people of somewhat similar concern. Do you see this as an act of terrorism, and is this something that has to be condemned on that level?”

drudge-france-terror

“Based on what we know right now it does seem that’s what we’re confronting here. And this is an act of violence that we certainly do condemn, and if based on this investigation it turns out to be an act of terrorism, then we would condemn that in the strongest possible terms, too.”

Earnest continued,

JoshEarnest

“I mean, look, this is again based on the very preliminary information that we have, this isn’t just an attack as you point out, Chris, on the people of France and on innocent civilians. This is an attack on some of the basic values that we hold dear here in this country and basic values of freedom of speech and freedom of expression and the free press that is also held dear by our allies in France. So this is something we take seriously and that we condemn, like I said, in the strongest possible terms.”

White-House-w-Fence

UPDATE: A few minutes later, President Obama released a statement calling it a “terrorist act.”

“I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time….(read more)

The Weekly Standard


Hollande: ‘This particular group…they don’t strike only those who don’t think like they do, they also strike Muslims…they rape, they kill’

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande says the terrorists who beheaded a French citizen in Algeria are a global threat.

Hollande addressed world leaders at the United Nations Wednesday shortly after learning of the man’s death.

“I am speaking to you with a particularly high level of emotion.”

— French President Francois Hollande

A video released by a U.S. terrorism watchdog showed Algerian extremists allied with the Islamic State group decapitating a hostage after France ignored their demand to stop airstrikes in Iraq. The group calls itself Jund al-Khilafah. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu!! France’s New Economy Minister Stirs Tempête de Merde on his First Day Freaking Out the Socialists with Suggestion they Ditch the 35-Hour Work Week

France Cabinet Reshuffle

“We could allow companies and sectors … to depart from the rules on working time and pay. This is already possible for companies in difficulty.”

Francois Hollande’s economy minister caused a storm on his first day in office Friday by casting doubt on a central pillar of French Socialism: the 35-hour working week.

French President Francois Hollande, left, shakes hands with new French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron while French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, centre, looks on, after the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris,on Wednesday. Remy de la Mauviniere / Associated Press

French President Francois Hollande, left, shakes hands with new French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron while French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, centre, looks on, after the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris,on Wednesday. Remy de la Mauviniere / Associated Press

“Why not extend it to all companies, provided there is a broad agreement with the employees?”

— French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, a 36-year-old former Rothschild banker, told Le Point, a weekly magazine, that he supported companies and sectors of the economy that wished to “depart from” the law. Read the rest of this entry »


Thomas Jefferson Rolls in his Grave as Liberty-Crushing 21st Century Socialist Presidential Pretenders Invade His House…

obama_36

Sacré Bleu! Obama and François Hollande to Celebrate ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness’ in Monticello

Daniel Halper writes:

President Obama and French President François Hollande will visit Monticello tomorrow afternoon, according to the official White House schedule. It’s in the spirit of “the shared values we hold dear:  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” says the White House.

Thomas_Jefferson's_Monticello

“Later in the afternoon, as part of the State Visit of President François Hollande to the United States, President Obama and President Hollande will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia. There will be in-town travel pool coverage of the departure from the West Slope of the Washington Monument, and the arrival at Charlottesville Albemarle Airport is open to pre-credentialed media,” reads Obama’s schedule.

monticello-interior

Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! François Hollande Halts Same-Sex Parenting Law After Huge Pro-Traditional Family March

la-manif-pour-tous-eiffel-tower-reuters

Dr. Susan Berry writes:  In the wake of tens of thousands of people participating in pro-traditional family protests in France and throughout Europe, French President François Hollande backed down from submitting a new family-law bill to parliament that would make legal “assisted procreation for lesbian couples” and “surrogate motherhood for gay men” who want children.

According to France24, a source in Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s office said Monday that France’s socialist government would no longer present a bill to modernize family law to reflect “diversity” of families.

Over 100,000 protesters in Paris and Lyon, many Catholic and some Muslim, and thousands more in Brussels, Bucharest, Madrid, Warsaw, and Rome, demonstrated in favor of marriage and the traditional family last Sunday.

The demonstrations were led by La Manif Pour Tous (Protest for Everyone), a fast-growing coalition of groups that has organized massive rallies against same-sex marriage legislation throughout Europe.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! French Soap Opera Update: Hundreds Detained in Anti-Hollande Protest

French President Franois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Jan. 16, 2014. Michel Euler / AP

French President Franois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Jan. 16, 2014. Michel Euler / AP

  writes:  Nineteen police officers were injured and about 250 people detained in Paris on Sunday, authorities said today, at a protest against the leadership of French President François Hollande.

No injuries were critical, police said, after an estimated 17,000 people took part in a largely peaceful demonstration against the president’s handling of the economy. Some 50 associations were involved, including far-right and conservative groups.

Read the rest of this entry »


Cherchez La Femme? Sacré Bleu! French President François Hollande Threatens to Sue over Report of Affair

 French President Francois Hollande wears protection for his ears as he watches a Mirage 2000-5 during a visit to the Creil military airbase as he presents New Year wishes to the French Army in Creil, near Paris.  Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

French President Francois Hollande wears protection for his ears as he watches a Mirage 2000-5 during a visit to the Creil military airbase as he presents New Year wishes to the French Army in Creil, near Paris. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

(Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande threatened on Friday to sue celebrity magazine Closer, complaining of breach of privacy after it alleged he was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.

The weekly French tabloid, criticized in 2012 for publishing topless pictures of Kate Middleton, Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, printed seven pages of photos of comings and goings outside a Paris apartment block to support its allegation.

“Francois Hollande greatly deplores the invasion of his privacy, to which he has a right as any other citizen does. He is studying what action, including legal action, to take following this publication,” a source in Hollande’s office said. The source did not directly deny the story, however.

In a statement later on Friday, Closer said that at the request of Gayet’s lawyer it would remove all reference to the alleged relationship from its website, but there was no mention of plans to pull the publication from newsstands.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! De Blasio’s Doomed Imitation of French President François Hollande a Potential Nightmare for New Yorkers

A Marxist takes over Gotham: Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Newscom

A Marxist takes over Gotham: Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Newscom

Gotham’s new mayor sounds like François Hollande, and he risks similar results

Nicole Gelinas writes: In his inaugural address last Wednesday, New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, promised to “commit” the city he now leads “to a new progressive direction.” As Gotham embarks on a “dramatic new approach,” he promised, “the world will watch as we succeed.” De Blasio should be watching the world instead—particularly France. The policy prescription that brought de Blasio to office—higher income taxes on New York’s wealthy—is exactly what French president François Hollande proposed to win his own post nearly two years ago. Since then, Hollande’s approval rating has plummeted to record lows for a French leader. French citizens have grown tired of symbolic anti-rich gestures; they want real solutions to real problems.

Hollande, who won office in May 2012, was one of the first leftist Western politicians to benefit from two global trends after 2008: disillusionment with incumbent politicians and dismay at income inequality. Hollande’s opponent and predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, was well settled in office during the economic collapse of 2008—a toxic place to be for any Western leader. But Sarkozy, like former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, was also practically a cartoon embodiment of the second target of anger. Sarkozy was the “bling-bling” president who outfitted the presidential jet with a top-of-the-line oven so that he could eat gourmet food in the air, the president who traded in his (second) wife for a model-turned-singer-turned-movie-star, the president who loved hanging out with the world’s 1 percent on yachts and private beaches. In expelling a sitting head of state for the first time in three decades, the French made it clear that they wanted change.

But victory came almost too easily. Hollande didn’t have to put forward any serious policy proposals to win. France’s problems were straightforward and remain so: persistent deficits, caused not by the economic crisis but by ever-growing retirement costs; plus high unemployment, caused by high taxes and heavy social mandates on employers—including the near-impossibility of firing a permanent worker. Hollande had little to say about these issues. Instead, his plan was simple:tax the rich. He increased top-bracket income taxes from 41 percent to 45 percentand imposed a temporary two-year levy of 75 percent on income above 1 million euros. In his inauguration speech, he said that “to put France back on her feet, in a fair way,” he would “discourage exorbitant income and remuneration.” Though he acknowledged France’s intractable problems, the closest he got to a solution was to say that “Europe needs projects.”

Read the rest of this entry »


France Will Not Back Down on Iran

hollande_arrow-reuters

French President Francois Hollande, visiting Israel for three days, reiterated on Sunday that France will not back down in its opposition to Iran’s nuclear program as it currently stands. He said, “France will not tolerate nuclear proliferation. As long as we are not certain that Iran has decided to give up on nuclear weapons, we will continue with all our demands and with sanctions.”  France currently does $3 billion a year on trade with Israel.

Hollande will visit the grave of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism, and also the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. He is planning a speech in the Knesset,

Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein welcomed Hollande, saying, “it is a great honor for the Knesset to host the President of France, who is one of Israel’s closest friends. The French President is a close friend and I am happy that he chose to address the nation of Israel from the Knesset plenum. I believe that the visit will be very meaningful for both countries.”

France’s Hollande in Israel


François Hollande Named Worst Politician in the World

francois-hollande

Over at the TopTens World, a website that specializes in ranking all sorts of things, French president François Hollande has earned the dubious honor of worst politician in the world. Here is the explanation given by the author of the list: Read the rest of this entry »


President François Hollande Proposes Lowering Voting Age in France to Include 12-Year-Olds

French President François Hollande is said to be introducing a series of sweeping education reforms, including: an initiative to install tobacco-dispensing vending machines in boys and girls bathrooms, to provide free cigarettes, a weekly airdrop of candy baskets to schools in Paris, and the institution of “casual Friday”, where students are encouraged to wear bathrobes, pajamas, and lingerie to school…

Also under consideration: nationwide ban on Dental visits, a proposal to replace unpopular mathematics and history courses with free pony rides, and erecting a 300-foot-tall statue of Karl Marx, made entirely of dark chocolate.

With these initiatives, François Hollande will endear himself, not just to French school children, but to millions of unemployable future state dependents and welfare recipients  children, all over Europe.

This item, from TIME:

Last week, Hollande reaffirmed his pledge to make education one of his main domestic priorities by outlining key strategic changes to revitalize France’s school system. It’s a sweeping package of changes meant to reform a system critics claim is outdated and inefficient, but for headline writers it boils down to one concept: the French President wants to outlaw homework.

“Work should be done at school, rather than at home,” Hollande emphasized on Wednesday. He also proposes reducing the average amount of time a student spends in class in each day, while stretching the school week from four days to four and a half. It’s a bid to bring the country more in line with international standards and to acknowledge some of the current system’s shortcomings. Even the homework isn’t just an empty populist gesture — it’s meant to reflect the fact that many of the lowest-performing students lack a positive support environment at home…

via French President François Hollande Promises to Abolish Homework | NewsFeed | TIME.com