Paris stabbings investigated as terror attack, claimed by IS — WEATHER INTERNAL

Crime, News, SEcurity, Terrorism

PARIS (AP) — A knife-wielding assailant killed one person and injured four others in a lively neighborhood near Paris’ famed Opera Garnier before he was killed by police Saturday night. The Islamic State group claimed the attacker as one of its “soldiers.”

Counterterrorism authorities took charge of the investigation, and President Emmanuel Macron vowed that France would not bow to extremists despite being the target of multiple deadly attacks in recent years.None

Paris police officers evacuated people from some buildings in the Right Bank neighborhood after the attack, which happened on rue Monsigny at about 9 p.m. (1900 GMT.) Bar patrons and opera-goers described surprise and confusion in the immediate area.

Beyond the police cordon, however, crowds still filled nearby cafes and the city’s night life resumed its normal pace soon after the attack.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said counterterrorism authorities are leading the investigation on potential charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with terrorist motives.

None“At this stage, based on the one hand on the account of witnesses who said the attacker cried ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great in Arabic) while attacking passersby with a knife, and given the modus operandi, we have turned this over to the counterterrorist section of the Paris prosecutor’s office,” Molins told reporters from the scene.

The Islamic State group’s Aamaq news agency said in a statement early Sunday that the assailant carried out the attack in response to the group’s calls for supporters to target members of the U.S.-led military coalition squeezing the extremists out of Iraq and Syria.

The Aamaq statement did not provide evidence for its claim or details on the assailant’s identity.

France’s military has been active in the coalition since 2014, and Islamic State adherents have killed more than 200 people in France in recent years, including the 130 who died in the coordinated November 2015 attacks in Paris.

President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his praise for police who “neutralized the terrorist” and said “France is once again paying the price of blood but will not cede an inch to enemies of freedom.”

Paris police said the attacker in Saturday’s stabbings was armed with a knife and targeted five people in the 2nd arrondissement, or district, killing one and seriously injuring two. The other two suffered less serious injuries.None

The attack occurred near many bars and theaters, as well as the opera.

France’s BFM television interviewed an unnamed witness in a restaurant who said a young woman was at the entrance when “a man arrived and attacked her with a knife.” A friend came to her aid and the attacker left, “hitting on all the doors, all the shops,” the witness told BFM. He turned onto another street, and everyone scattered, the witness said.

“I was having a drink with friends and we heard a boom,” a witness named Gloria, who had been in a nearby bar, recounted on Saturday night. She said she went outside to see what happened and “I saw a guy lying on the ground.”

Another witness described leaving the opera house and being told to go back inside because of the attack.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb denounced the “odious attack.”None

via Paris stabbings investigated as terror attack, claimed by IS — WEATHER INTERNAL

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Paradise in the heart of Provence: Where to stay during this year’s Tour de France — Metro

News

 

 

La Coquillade is a spectacular estate set in acres of vineyards with a world class cycling centre.

Watching the last Tour De France I was struck by two things.

 

The Herculean strength and tenacity it takes to cycle up mountains at sprint pace for hours on end – and the mesmerising countryside the tour passes through.

 

Green, undulating hills dotted with chateaux, vast fields of lavender, their purple geometric rows fading into the haze of the horizon. Vineyards, cherry orchards and olive groves lining winding roads lit by the sun to a burnished gold.

 

I found myself Googling the Tour route to find exactly where the cyclists were passing through at that moment, determined to follow in their path.

 

It was, of course, the Petit Luberon in the heart of Provence.

 

The 2,200 mile cycle race, held each year in July, also takes in those gruelling mountain passes in the Pyrenees and Alps, with dramatic vistas over craggy peaks, and ends on the Champs-Elysee, that architectural stretch of Paris that affords a picture-perfect sight of both the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

 

But it was those ‘in-between’ stages I was drawn to: the transition phases through this bucolic bliss that takes the cyclists towards the big climbs.

 

I made my base for the trip La Coquillade, a beautiful vineyard estate in the heart of Provence.

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The immaculately designed 63-room hotel is set on a 100 acre private estate, originally the site of a pretty 11th century hamlet founded by Cistercian monks of the Abbey of Senanque, much of which has been restored and remains.

 

Did you know?

The Tour de France was first organised in 1903 to boost sales for the newspaper L’Auto

 

The result is an appealing juxtaposition of historic Provence and contemporary design, with spacious, fresh white rooms and world class facilities set amid ancient stone walls and timeless countryside.

 

The estate itself is self-sufficient, with 36 hectares of vineyards and winery, a brand new state-of-the-art bakery and laundry rooms and perfectly labelled vegetable gardens that are a pleasure to explore, if you like that sort of thing (guilty).

 

A beautiful lavender field near Valensole, Provence in an early morning (Picture: Getty)

 

Thanks to the fact the estate is owned by Swiss billionaire Andy Rihs, owner of BMC cycling team, it also happens to have a world-class BMC cycling test centre where conveniently, alongside top spec road bikes and mountain bikes is a selection of top-of-the-range (think £6k a piece) electric bikes – both road and mountain.

 

The hotel can provide a guide to take you on your very own Tour – ours was an experienced competitive mountain cyclist – and you can choose either electric or pedal-power to take you there.

 

Reader, I chose electric. Determined as I was to discover these unforgettable panoramas by bike, I had the distinct feeling I was writing cheques my quadriceps couldn’t cash.

 

So it was I found myself on a sunny morning zooming up a steep hill towards the terracotta town of Roussillon on the BMC hybrid bike in Turbo mode, only the lightest touch on the pedals and my heart rate resolutely at resting rate.

 

The ochre cliffs of Roussillon (Picture: Getty)

 

I felt like Lance Armstrong at his peak: I looked like I was doing all the work but everyone around me knew the truth.

 

We had planned a 40km route, starting at La Coquillade and traversing open countryside before hitting a long, steep hill up to the beautiful terracotta village of Roussillon, with its charming winding streets, picturesque cemetery and panoramic views.

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Perched high on a cliff edge over a deep terracotta gorge, there is plenty to stick around for, but we stopped only momentarily for a walk around the cemetery, coffee and photos of the spectacular ochre cliffsides before descending, crossing the base of the valley through lavender fields and olive groves to ascend again up a long, steep climb of about 5km into Lacoste, the small village bought and transformed by Pierre Cardin into an artists’ enclave.

 

Cycle route through Provence, the route of the Tour de France transition phases (Picture: Google maps)

Cycle route through Provence, the route of the Tour de France transition phases (Picture: Google maps)

 

Refreshed, we saddled up and took on a speedy descent into the valley before rising again, this time an even longer climb, into the village of Goult, a very beautiful and little-known medieval village with a charming square, 17th century castle and ancient 12th century church.

 

The bikes have four settings – off, which requires the usual pedal power (though the bikes are heavier than a non-electric of the same price range, so take a bit more to get up hills with no assistance) through to Turbo, which puts in enough power to propel you up a steep hill with ease, as long as you pedal lightly.

 

The extensive estate of La Coquillade

The extensive estate of La Coquillade

 

A side benefit of the electric bikes: You can maintain normal conversation throughout, so as we effortlessly ate up the road, we could learn about the area from our knowledgeable guide.

 

It also means you can look around peacefully and take in the sights instead of focusing, teeth gritted, on the ground in front.

 

Provence inspires relaxation and reflection on a level unlike that of a beach holiday or a city break, with all the plans and logistics they involve.

 

You’re not compelled to tick off everything in the guide book, or cart things back and forth to the sunbeds. In Provence, you can be satisfied in the knowledge that you are surrounded by everything you came to see.

 

BACK AT THE HOTEL

 

La Coquillade food

One of the dishes at La Coquillade’s exquisite fine dining restaurant

 

On day two, I hired an electric mountain bike and took an early morning trail around the forested areas of La Coquillade before circling down into the vineyards, criss-crossing them as the sun burned the mist off the horizon.

 

As the sun rose high in the sky, I reached the highest point of La Coquillade, taking in spectacular views before heading through the trees to a sandy, rutted track with tracks through trees and scrubland perfect for either electric or non-electric trail riding.

 

The views from the vantage points are breathtaking. La Coquillade really is a gem in the Provencal countryside.

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You could spend a week walking the estate and never cover the same ground twice.

 

The rooms all have their own veranda, balcony or roof-top terrace with panoramic views over the countryside. Rainforest showers, Nespresso machines,

 

Swiss couple Carmen and Werner Wunderli manage La Coquillade, their meticulous eye behind the exquisite design and smooth running of the hotel.

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They are the driving force behind facilities including heliport, tennis courts, two swimming pools, table tennis, table football and pétanque spa with gym and fitness room – but they still find time to chat with guests at every meal, making this feel very much a home from home.

 

If you’re looking for a base to experience the Tour de France, or you just want to breathe in the Provencal countryside, La Coquillade should be at the top of your list.

 

Le Perotet, 84400 Gargas, France. Tel: 00 33 490 74 71 71. Visit coquillade.fr

 

via Paradise in the heart of Provence: Where to stay during this year’s Tour de France — Metro

FRANCE: ARREST OF WOMAN WEARING NIQAB TRIGGERS FIVE NIGHTS OF RIOTING AND MILLIONS IN DAMAGES

News

In France a law adopted in 2010 states that no one public spaces may wear clothing that hides their face

Last Sunday, on 15 April, a police patrol in Toulouse arrested a niqab wearing woman because she refused to show her face. In France alaw adopted in 2010 states that no one public spaces may wear clothing that hides their face.

The event took place in the city’s migrant populated Mirail suburb and sparked five consecutive nights of violence.

Footage shows that the arrested woman is heavily resisting her arrest and she is shouting insults at the cops. In a matter of minutes, a group of protesters rapidly formed and forced the cops to throw tear gas grenades to disperse the crowd.

The woman was placed in custody and will be judged in mid-May for “rebellion, outrage and violence on a custodian person holding public authority”.

Unfortunately, the problems were just the beginning: In the same area, a few hours later, approximatively 100 rioters started to burn cars and containers. A police station in the area wasattacked as well.

The cops were called, and a fight broke out between police and rioters. The police had to call the Republican Security Companies, a unit who specialize in crowd and riot control, and a helicopter.

A rioter, who was filming said in the video: “We were worried they weren’t coming (the cops), so we went to the commissariat to see if they’re ok. Apparently yes.”

The riots took place from Sunday night to Thursday night. As of right now, there have been: 23 arrests, 76 burned cars, 200 police mobilisedand a 5th night of difficult sleep for the civilised habitants of the district.

Fortunately, there are no human injuries so far, which is actually surprising, especially when police were speaking of “well-orchestrated ambushes” that took place, with some people arrested with acetone bottles, gas bottles and mortars, ready to be thrown at the brave men and women in uniforms.

Several of the cars were destroyed with Molotov cocktails at a local Citroen dealer near the migrant suburb. Bernard Boyer, the head of the business is “desperate” and is lamenting a 110,000 euros loss. He told news outlet Ladepeche, previously in the 2005 riots, 6 cars had been burned in his business.

A police commander familiar to the area, said on Thursday that they were expecting the violence to stop really soon. Not because the rioters were feeling tired but rather because, “drugs trafficking is the main source of income of the neighbourhood” and for a drug kingpin, this kind of event is not good for business.

These type of riots, following arrests in migrant suburbs, are a common occurrence in France. In 2005, large-scale riots in Paris and throughout the country took place after two criminals were electrocuted during a police chase. Almost 9,000 vehicles were burned and two civilians were killed by rioters.

Last year riots started on 4 February 2017, in a Paris surburb, following the alleged, though never proven, rape of a black man named Théo L. by police with a baton.

The cases were so numerous after the adoption of the 2010 ‘face hiding’ law, that police officers didn’t usually enforce it, frightened by the known consequences of such action. Toulouse’s riots show why police are afraid: Sources say they didn’t stop the riots, but powerful gang leaders who couldn’t deal drugs in the area did.

Voice of Europe.

France accuses Russia of trying to cover up Syria poison gas attack saying ‘essential evidence’ is vanishing as investigators are blocked from site — The Sun

international News, Middle East, Military, Politics, Power, SYRIA

FRANCE has accused Russia of trying to cover up the Syrian poison gas attack claiming “essential evidence” has vanished. At least 70 people were killed, many of whom were little children, after aircraft’s dropped barrel bombs full of toxic chemicals in Douma on April 7. AFP or licensors France has accused Russia of trying to…

via France accuses Russia of trying to cover up Syria poison gas attack saying ‘essential evidence’ is vanishing as investigators are blocked from site — The Sun

France accuses Russia of trying to cover up Syria poison gas attack saying ‘essential evidence’ is vanishing as investigators are blocked from site — The Sun

international News, Middle East, Military, Politics, Power, SYRIA

FRANCE has accused Russia of trying to cover up the Syrian poison gas attack claiming “essential evidence” has vanished. At least 70 people were killed, many of whom were little children, after aircraft’s dropped barrel bombs full of toxic chemicals in Douma on April 7. AFP or licensors France has accused Russia of trying to…

via France accuses Russia of trying to cover up Syria poison gas attack saying ‘essential evidence’ is vanishing as investigators are blocked from site — The Sun