France

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Dunkirk region to impose weekend lockdown
Olivier Véran being vaccinated
Olivier Véran being vaccinated Credit: Olivier Véran (Twitter Reproduction)

Health Minister Olivier Véran announced a weekend lockdown for the northern French Dunkirk area. Véran called the Dunkirk area situation "alarming" as infection rates are over 900 infections per 100,000 people.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said "requires rapid and strong measures" were necessary due to "a worsening situation" and to "avoid having to impose another national lockdown."

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Macron calls upon US and EU to allocate 5% of vaccine supplies to developing countries
Macron calls upon US and EU to allocate 5% of vaccine supplies to developing countries
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

French President Emmanuel Macron is urging the United States and European countries to allocate up to 5% of Coronavirus vaccine supplies to poor and developing countries.

Macron: “If we allow to take root the idea that hundreds of millions of vaccines are made in rich countries and that we don’t start in poor countries, that idea is unsustainable.”

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Ted Cruz flies to Mexico as millions of Texans freeze in the dark
Ted Cruz flies to Mexico as millions of Texans freeze in the dark
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Mauricio

At least 37 people have died in the US state of Texas due to a severe winter onset, and hundreds of thousands of people are cut off from electricity after heavy storms. The information has now surfaced that Republican Senator Ted Cruz travelled to Cancún, Mexico, for a holiday. Cruz himself did not initially comment on the trip and did not respond to numerous media enquiries.

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Far-right group Génération Identitaire to be banned in France

Génération Identitaire, a French far-right group declaring a "war on migrants", faces dissolution as the French government tries to tackle far-right extremism. A bill to fight Islamist extremism and separatism was approved by the National Assembly on February 16th.

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25% of new Coronavirus infections in France come from UK variant
25% of new Coronavirus infections in France come from UK variant
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

B.1.1.7, the variant first discovered in the United Kingdom, is now found in 25% of the new coronavirus infections in France.

Health minister Olivier Véran warns: "Scientists fear a new epidemic if this variant were to become dominant."

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France set to establish age of consent at 15

The French government may soon introduce the age of sexual consent. France’s nonexistent age-of-consent laws make it hard to prosecute sexual perpetrators. The move comes after loud protests, online testimonies about domestic sexual child abuse and growing pressure from the public.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said: "An act of sexual penetration by an adult on a minor under 15 will be considered a rape."

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Couple jailed after accidentally exposing their child abuse

A couple have been jailed in France over the death of a 3 year old boy.

The jailing comes after the mother, Caroline Létoile, inadvertently revealed herself beating the three year old - called Tony - in a call to emergency services.

Loïc Vantal, 28, the mothers boyfriend received a 20 year sentence for dealing the blows that caused the death in 2016.

The mother was recorded on the emergency call saying "I said he fell down the stairs. The stair will do, right? The stairs to the apartment... And I'm hiding all the stuff from the argument."

She received a 3-year jail sentence.

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Justice condemns French government for climate inaction
Justice condemns French government for climate inaction
Credit: unsplash.com / Anthony DELANOIX

Following the complaint supported by millions of French citizens, the Paris administrative court concluded that the government's actions to combat global warming were insufficient and declared the French state guilty.

The 4 NGOs that initiated this lawsuit say it is "a first historic victory for climate" and a "victory for truth" as France has never acknowledged the "insufficiency of its climate policies" (President Macron has always boasted about his commitment to climate change).

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Decision on third lockdown in France "in the coming days"
Decision on third lockdown in France "in the coming days"
Credit: unsplash.com / Kevin Dellandrea

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said that the decision whether the government would impose a third lockdown will be coming "in the coming days". France has seen a rise in infections as well as hospitalisation. Over the past two days, 1000 people were hospitalised for Coronavirus in France. Jean-François Delfraissy, the head of France's advisory Scientific Council, said on TV that a third lockdown in France "will probably be necessary".

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France: new border controls to contain Coronavirus spread
France: new border controls to contain Coronavirus spread
Credit: unsplash.com/Mufid Majnun

France imposed new border controls on Sunday. Incoming travellers from the EU must have a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours, though this does not apply to travellers crossing the borders on land.

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#MeTooInceste: Olivier Duhamel's incest allegations prompt survivors to speak out on Twitter
#MeTooInceste: Olivier Duhamel's incest allegations prompt survivors to speak out on Twitter
Credit: unsplash.com/Mihai Surdu

The Twitter campaign "#MeTooInceste" was started by NousToutes activist known as Marie Chenevance after French political commentator, Olivier Duhamel was accused of abusing his teenage stepson. Thousands of French survivors of incest spoke out about their own abuse experiences on Twitter.

Tweets:

  • "I was 11 the first time, I thought it was by accident that he touched my private area, and later realized that it can’t be, because he was clearly sober. #metooinceste."
  • "I was 13, him 26. He was my uncle."
  • "I was six years old when the touching started, 15 when I had to live maritally with my father, be prostituted and raped on his order, 16 when I had to abort his work, 17 when I denounced him and was rejected by the family."
  • "I was between 11 and 14 years old. It was my brother. I'm 57 years old and I am still a victim of this past."
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Protests against security bill that would restrict filming of police in many French cities
Protests against security bill that would restrict filming of police in many French cities
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Tens of thousands of protestors have taken to the street in many French cities on Saturday, protesting a security bill that would restrict the filming and publication of police, especially regarding cases of police brutality. The bill will be considered in March by the French Senate after its proposal was approved by the National Assembly last year.

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Champs-Élysées in Paris will be turned into "extraordinary garden"
Champs-Élysées in Paris will be turned into "extraordinary garden"
Credit: Courtesy of PCA-Stream

According to Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, the famous Champs-Élysées will undergo a transformation "an extraordinary garden". The plan for the 1.9 kilometers long area in central Paris had been unveiled in 2019 and has now gotten the green light. The costs are estimated to be around €250 million and include cutting space for vehicles by half, adding more space for pedestrians and planting trees and other greens.

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Brexit: France announces rules visa requirements for British citizens from January 2021
Brexit: France announces rules visa requirements for British citizens from January 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/Ethan Wilkinson

The French government published detailed rules for visa requirements for British citizens who want to spend lengthy periods in France after January 1st, 2021.

From January on "UK citizens will need a Long Stay visa if staying in France or in a French Oversea territory for more than 90 days whatever the purpose of stay". UK citizens with a second home in France, who are spending between 3-6 months a year in France, are "not considered as a resident in France and cannot apply for a carte de séjour under the withdrawal agreement" and "will have to apply for a temporary visitor visa - visa de long séjour temporaire visiteur."

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100,000 police deployed to enforce curfew on New Year's Eve
100,000 police deployed to enforce curfew on New Year's Eve
Credit: unsplash/ev

France is mobilising 100,000 police and gendarmes on New Year's Eve to enforce a coronavirus curfew and gathering rules as well as preventing vandalism. "The priority in the next few days must be to fight against unauthorised public gatherings and the phenomenon of urban violence," Interior minister Gérald Darmanin announced on Tuesday.

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France: Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine approved by medical regulator
France: Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine approved by medical regulator
Credit: unsplash.com/CDC

The French medical regulator has approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Thursday.

"The vaccine can be used for people aged 16 and over, including elderly", said the Haute Autorité de la Santé (HAS).

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Fast-track citizenship for migrant frontline workers in France

The French government has fast-tracked hundreds of citizenship applications from migrant frontline workers. Over 700 healthcare professionals, cleaners and shop workers have already been granted citizenship or will receive it soon.

The office of Marlene Schiappa, junior minister for citizenship: "Health professionals, cleaning ladies, childcare workers, checkout staff: They all proved their commitment to the nation, and it is now the turn of the republic to take a step towards them."

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Macron in video: "The virus can affect everyone"
Video still of Macron's video message
Video still of Macron's video message Credit: @EmmanuelMacron via Twitter

Emmanuel Macron published a video to Twitter where he talked about the state of his health.

"After experiencing first symptoms, I did the test and after being positive I immediately isolated myself as the health rules ask us to do," he explained and added that he had seen "seen many politicians, members of the government and international leaders also members of my close security or relatives and family members."

He continued: "I wanted to reassure you. I'm fine. I have the same symptoms as yesterday, that is to say fatigue, headaches, dry cough, like hundreds of thousands of you who have had to experience this virus or who are experiencing it today [...] There is normally no reason for it to progress badly but I am subject to medical surveillance and I will report it to you in a completely transparent manner."

Further saying: "Yesterday I was tested positive, which shows that the virus can really affect everyone, because I am very protected, I am very careful, I respect the barrier gestures, the distances I put on the mask, I put on hydroalcoholic gel and despite everything, I caught the virus."

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French President Emmanuel Macron is Covid-19 positive
French President Emmanuel Macron is Covid-19 positive
Credit: U.S. Department of State from United States / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

France's President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for the coronavirus. As the Élysée Palace announced on Thursday, he had previously shown initial symptoms. Accordingly, Macron will isolate himself for seven days in accordance with current regulations. He will continue his work from home.

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Charlie Hebdo terror attacks: 14 found guilty of involvement by Paris court
Charlie Hebdo terror attacks: 14 found guilty of involvement by Paris court
Credit: Francesco Pierantoni, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A Parisian court has found fourteen accomplices of the French Islamist militants guilty of the attacks in January 2015. Seventeen people were killed in the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman. Eleven of the defendants appeared in court, while three were tried in absentia. All accomplices were found guilty, their charges range from belonging to a criminal network to direct complicity in the January 2015 attacks.

Hayat Boumeddiene, the former partner of Amedy Coulibaly, did not appear in court but was found guilty of financing terrorism and belonging to a criminal terrorist network. Boumeddiene is thought to be alive but on the run.

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France imposes night curfew, cultural venues to remain closed
France imposes night curfew, cultural venues to remain closed
Credit: unsplash/Fran Boloni

The government of France has delayed easing Coronavirus restrictions for another three weeks as infection rates are still not decreasing fast enough. In addition, a nighttime curfew (8pm-6am) will be imposed on December 15th, and will include New Year's Eve as well but an exception will be made on Christmas Eve. Museums, cinemas and other cultural venues will remain closed into early January.

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France will delay lockdown easing if necessary
France will delay lockdown easing if necessary
Credit: unsplash.com / Kevin Dellandrea

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal has said that France will delay lockdown easing if necessary to avoid the further spread of the Coronavirus. France is due to ease many restrictions on December 15th.

“If we consider that ... we must modify this second phase (of lifting lockdown measures), then of course we will do it,” Attal told CNews television.

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Macron announces start of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier program
Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier
Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Maj. Joshua Smith (Public Domain)

France's President Emmanuel Macron has approved the construction of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that is set to replace the country's FS Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

"Charles de Gaulle, as you know, will come to the end of its life in 2038. This is why I have decided that the future aircraft carrier that will equip our country and our navy will be nuclear-powered like the Charles de Gaulle,” Macron said and adding that he has pledged 500 million euros in investment in the nuclear industry.

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Ex-president Giscard d'Estaing dies at 94 of Coronavirus complications
European Council in Maastricht, Giscard d'Estaing at Beek airport
European Council in Maastricht, Giscard d'Estaing at Beek airport Credit: Rob Croes / Anefo, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, president of France from 1974 to 1981, has died at the age of 94 of Coronavirus complications. He died surrounded by his family in his home in central France. Giscard d'Estaing was pro-Europe and liberalised laws on divorce, abortion and contraception during his tenure.

President Emmanuel Macron praised Giscard d'Estaing for transforming France and its direction: "A servant of the state, a politician of progress and freedom, his death has plunged the French nation into mourning."

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Police violence in Paris: a photographer beaten up during the "March of Liberties"

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Paris and other French cities to protest against the "Global Security" law.

Syrian photographer Ameer al-Halbi, a war correspondent known for his coverage of the fall of Aleppo and winner of a World Press Photo award in 2017, was wounded during a police charge while covering the march on Saturday afternoon, AFP reported.

The "Global Security" law would punish punishes the so-called "malicious" dissemination of the image of police officers, particularly during demonstrations.

Controversy over the law was heightened by the heavy-handed evacuation of a migrant camp in Paris on Monday and the revelation on Thursday of the beating of music producer Michel Zecler by four police officers.

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Paris: Thousands gather to protest police violence and the new proposed security law
Paris: Thousands gather to protest police violence and the new proposed security law
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Police fired tear gas in the French capital after thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict sharing images of police officers in France joined a demonstration in Paris.

The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as a hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France's Yellow Vest protests against economic hardship in 2018.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said images of police beating a Black music producer in Paris put "shame" on the country, with top politicians and sportsmen expressing outrage over the incident.

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Macron accuses Anglophone media to not understand French laïcité and legitimising Islamistic terrorism
Macron accuses Anglophone media to not understand French laïcité and legitimising Islamistic terrorism
Credit: ActuaLitté / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

French President Emmanuel Macron criticized the Anglophone media for their suggestion that the core issue on hand is not violence from Islamists, but the racism and Islamophobia in France.

Macron states that the Anglophone media seems to him not able to understand one of the core principles of the French republic, laïcité. France will not give up its special brand of secularism and freedom of speech, which very much includes every kind of satire, Macron says.

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Covid-19 lockdown in France: Supermarkets must also close certain departments
Covid-19 lockdown in France: Supermarkets must also close certain departments
Credit: unsplash.com / Barthelemy de Mazenod (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In response to criticism from small shops that are forced to close down during the second in the Covid-19 lockdown, supermarkets also need to close certain sections selling for example books, clothes and household appliances. Many local and regional politicians have criticised the new Covid-19 rule on the closure of shops selling non-essential products because it leads to inequalities. Only vital sectors of the economy, the civil service and schools up to secondary level may remain open.

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Macron calls attack in Nice an Islamist terrorist attack
Macron calls attack in Nice an Islamist terrorist attack
Credit: Periscope (Reproduction)

The knife attack in Nice, which left three people dead, was an "Islamist terrorist attack," according to French head of state Emmanuel Macron.

According to initial police reports, he killed a 70-year-old woman and the parish assistant. A second woman, also injured in the neck, managed to escape to a neighboring bar, but died there shortly thereafter.

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Compulsory masks for schoolchildren aged 6 and over in France
Compulsory masks for schoolchildren aged 6 and over in France
Credit: unsplash.com / Kelly Sikkema

France makes masks mandatory in class for schoolchildren aged six and over, PM Castex said. Up until now, masks were only mandatory for children aged 11 and older.

"From Monday, when children return to school, the sanitary protocol will be made stricter. The requirement to wear a face mask will be extended to primary school children over the age of six."