Articles by "France"

French police officers patrol the Champs-Elysees avenue on June 19, 2017, after a car crashed into a police van before bursting into flames, with the driver being armed. (AFP photo)
A source close to French investigators has revealed that the man responsible for a recent attack on police forces in Paris was supportive of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The source said on Tuesday that Adam Djaziri, who rammed his car into a police van in Paris' Champs-Elysees avenue a day earlier, had expressed his support for Daesh in a letter of allegiance to the leader of the terrorist group.
The source said Djaziri had addressed the letter to his brother-in-law by which he had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the notorious leader of Daesh who is believed to be ruling the group somewhere in Iraq or Syria.
Djaziri, 31, had been on a French watch list since 2015. He was killed on the scene of the attack in Champs Elysees. Police found handguns and a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle in his car. A later search carried out in his house also led to the discovery of a weapons stash.
Djaziri wrote the letter long before he carried out the attack in Paris. He claimed in the letter that he was amassing weapons to pose himself as a shooting enthusiast so that no one could know about his "double game." The father of the attacker, who was detained after the attack on Monday, said his son practiced shooting as a sport. Other sources close to the probe said Djaziri had registered nine weapons including pistols and an assault rifle.
The attack in Champs-Elysees, the most famous avenue in Paris, comes as France still suffers from sporadic terror attacks more than a year after terrorists killed 120 people in a matter of night in Paris. Daesh, which claimed the attack in November 2015, has mainly targeted prestigious tourist sites in Paris and other cities.

French Minister of the Armed Forces Sylvie Goulard leaves the Elysee Palace after a weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, France, May 31, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
French Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard has announced her resignation over a fake jobs scandal that has hit her small centrist MoDem Party, allied with President Emmanuel Macron's party.
Goulard, who was previously a member of the European Parliament, said she could not remain in the government while there was a possibility that she could be investigated over the alleged misuse of expenses at that parliament.
Her resignation comes as Macron carries out a minor reshuffle of his government following parliamentary elections on Sunday, which handed him and his allies in MoDem a commanding majority.
Goulard had only been in the defense job for a month following Macron's election to the presidency. But she said the possibility of an investigation made it difficult for her to stay in the post given Macron's agenda to clean up politics.
"The president is committed to restoring confidence in public office, reforming France and relaunching Europe," Goulard said in a statement on Tuesday. "This reform agenda must take precedence over any personal considerations.That is why I have asked the president, with the agreement of the prime minister, to leave the government," she added. 
Earlier this month, Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into claims in the Canard Enchaine newspaper that MoDem was using European parliamentary funds to pay staff based in France.
MoDem's leader Francois Bayrou was a key backer of Macron's one-year-old Republic on the Move (REM) during the presidential campaign and whose support was crucial in winning centrist votes for the new president.

A man has rammed his car into a police vehicle in central Paris, prompting a fiery explosion in what French security officials described as “a deliberate act.”
French police said the incident occurred on Monday when the driver hit a police van before bursting into flames on the Champs-Elysees Avenue in the center of the capital, adding that no officers or pedestrians were injured and that the situation was under control.
Police found a Kalashnikov rifle, handguns and gas bottles in the car.
Security forces in Paris cleared the area and cordoned off the avenue, closing two nearby metro stations. Police warned people to avoid the area, which is popular with tourists.
The counter-terrorism unit of the prosecutor's office in Paris has launched an investigation into the incident, which took place close to the presidential palace and the US embassy.
Police seal off the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris on June 19, 2017 after a car crashed into a police van before bursting into flames. (Photo by AFP)
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the driver of the car that plowed into the police convoy was "dead," adding that the incident had been "an attempted attack."
The Monday incident was the second major on Champs-Elysees Avenue this year as an attacker supporting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group shot and killed a police officer on the most famous avenue in Paris in April, days before the first round of the French presidential election.
Rescue workers cover the body of a suspect at the scene of an incident in which a car rammed a police van on the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AP)
France is still under a state of emergency due to recurrent terrorist threats. More than 120 people were killed in a matter of one night in November 2015, when attackers carried out shootings and explosions in several parts of the French capital. More than 100 others have been killed in other attacks across the country since then.
Many of the attacks have targeted major places of gathering, including tourist attractions in Paris and other cities.
French authorities have defined the highest possible level of alert in the country, days after attacks in London, which killed seven people. One of those slain in the weekend assaults in the British capital was a French national.

President Emmanuel Macron of France (photo by AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron’s newly established party has won a majority in parliamentary elections despite a record-low turnout.
Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) and its Modem allies won 351 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, media reported on Monday.
The Republicans and their allies would form the opposition, while the Socialist Party, in power for the past five years, won its lowest number of seats in the postwar Fifth Republic.
Due to the low turnout, 90 seats remained undecided, still giving LREM a majority.
“This is an opportunity for France. One year ago, no one would have imagined such a political renewal,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a statement following the second-round vote on Sunday.
Nina Halimi, a student activist, said, “This is a very good result, when Macron was not long ago predicted that he would be unable to win a majority in the Assembly.”
Macron plans to pursue his social and economic policies, including a change in labor laws, downsizing the public sector, and investing in job training and renewable energy.
The M&M alliance
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a strong supporter of Macron. Right after the results emerged on Monday, she hailed his party’s victory in the French parliamentary election.
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they arrive to attend an expanded session during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, May 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, quoted the chancellor on social media as congratulating Macron for winning a “clear parliamentary majority.”
Seibert said Merkel was looking forward to “good cooperation for Germany, France, Europe.”
Germany and France are the European Union's two economic powerhouses and traditionally provide the spirit and willpower needed to keep the member states united in the bloc.
Meanwhile, the voter turnout at just under 44 percent demonstrated a sense of distrust and political disillusionment among the French nation. Some observers say former president Francois Hollande’s weak performance may have discouraged many French people from voting.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and UK Prime Minister Theresa May speak at a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron says despite Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), the UK can still change its mind and remain a member of the bloc.
After talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Paris on Tuesday, Macron said the door for Britain to remain a member of the EU would remain open “until the Brexit negotiations come to an end.”
“From a European point of view, as long as the negotiations are not over, there is still a possibility to change the course of events,” Macron said, but warned that “as the negotiations go on, it will be more and more difficult to go backwards.”
Macron also wished the Brexit talks could start as soon as possible.
The United Kingdom last year held a referendum in which Britons voted by a 52-48 percent margin to leave the EU, the first member state ever to do so.
The procedure for the separation, laid out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, has not yet started, but May vowed once again in Paris to start the withdrawal talks with Brussels as scheduled next week.
“I confirmed to President Macron that the timetable for the Brexit negotiation remains on course and will begin next week,” she said.
Article 50 allows for two years of talks to decide an EU member state’s separation terms.
Reports, however, said the British delegation in Brussels failed on Monday to reach an agreement with Michael Barnier, the European Commission’s chief negotiator, on a start date for talks.
May, who had called for a snap election in the hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her position before going into the negotiations, is currently under pressure to resign over her Conservative Party’s failure in that election, which was held last week.
Her party fell short of the 326 seats needed for outright majority and the premier is now trying to form a coalition to get her more than the 326-seat  threshold needed to pass legislation in parliament.

Twelve people, six of them police officers, were injured after a Molotov cocktail was hurled into and exploded at a restaurant in the French capital.
Three people were airlifted to a hospital after suffering severe burns from the fire that started as a result in Aubervilliers, a commune located in the northern part of Paris, around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, the day of parliamentary elections in France..
Six police officers suffered minor burns as they tried to evacuate the building. Fifty firefighters arrived on the scene with 15 trucks to fight the fire.
Some media outlets reported that the staff stopped an attempted robbery and the suspected robber threw the bomb at the restaurant while trying to escape.
Police have not identified a motive for the crime, however, and it was not clear whether the suspect was in custody.
An image grab from a YouTube video shows firefighters and police forces in front of a Paris restaurant attacked by Molotov cocktail on June 11, 2017. 
“The restaurant is part of a five-story building,” an emergency services source said. “Everything is being done to contain the blaze, and search for other victims.”
France has spent 14 months under a state of emergency as a result of several terrorist attacks that Daesh and al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility for.
France’s new President Emmanuel Macron, however, wants to end the state of emergency soon in favor of making some powers under the state of emergency — such as property searches without a warrant — part of common law.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on May 23, 2017. (Photos by Reuters)
French President Emmanuel Macron's party is set to win an overwhelming majority in the parliament after the first round of National Assembly voting.
The final results of Sunday’s first round of voting show that Macron’s Republique en Marche party has won about 32.32 percent of the seats.
"France is back," said French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
The second round of voting, set for next Sunday, will determine the actual number of seats Macron wins in parliament. The first round mostly eliminates candidates who have won less than 12.5 percent of registered voters.
Macron's party and its ally the MoDem party are set to win between 400 and 445 seats in the 577-member National Assembly in the second round.
The 39-year-old president and former economy minister has called on voters to grant him a strong mandate to fulfill his campaign pledges to overhaul labor rules to make hiring and firing easier, cut corporate tax, and invest billions in areas including job training and renewable energy.
Marine Le Pen’s anti-EU, anti-immigration National Front (FN) is predicted to win between 1 to ten seats in the National Assembly in the June 18 runoff.
The loss is the far-right’s second recent set back in just over a month after Le Pen lost the presidential runoff to Macron.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has congratulated Macron over the "great success" of his party after projections showed his win.
"Chancellor Merkel: My sincere congratulations to Emmanuel Macron for the great success of his party in the first round. A vote for reforms," tweeted her spokesman Steffen Seibert.

People in France are heading to the polls to cast their ballots in the first round of parliamentary elections, with new President Emmanuel Macron projected to win a strong majority to implement pledged reforms.
Polling stations opened at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) on Sunday and will close in the largest cities at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT).
A total of 7,882 candidates nationwide are vying for 577 seats up for grabs, and if no candidate wins over 50 percent of the votes in the first round, the two top-placed will go to the second round on June 18.
The latest opinion polls show that Macron’s centrist Republic On the Move (LREM) Party could win at least 30 percent of the votes in the first round of parliamentary elections, while the conservative Republicans and its allies would get around 20 percent and the far-right National Front of former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen around 17 percent.
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a ceremony in Haute-Vienne, France, June 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The 39-year-old Macron and the former economy minister has called on voters to grant him a strong mandate to fulfill his campaign pledges to overhaul labor rules to make hiring and firing easier, cut corporate tax, and invest billions in areas including job training and renewable energy.
“We want a big majority to be able to act and transform France over the next five years,” said Mounir Mahjoubi, a junior minister in Macron’s government.
This comes as Macron’s rivals have been warning leftist voters that a landslide majority for Macron would be a danger to democracy.
The results of the Sunday vote would be a turning point for France as the country suffers an unemployment rate of near 10 percent and is at risk of breaking its public deficit commitments.
Meanwhile, polls have closed and vote counting has begun in the French overseas territory of Guiana.
Police in France have deployed more 50,000 forces on patrol as the country is still under a state of emergency following a wave of terrorist attacks that have claimed over 230 lives since 2015.

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
The Iranian and French presidents have reaffirmed their countries’ determination to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism after Tehran was hit by double terror attacks, the first claimed by the Daesh Takfiri outfit in the Islamic Republic.
In a Wednesday telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, Emmanuel Macron expressed condolences over the deaths of over a dozen Iranian citizens in the recent terrorist attacks in the Iranian capital.
He voiced Paris’ preparedness to expand its cooperation with Tehran in countering terrorism and in other areas of common interest.
Rouhani stressed that the deadly attack has strengthened Iran’s resolve to continue its campaign against terrorism, saying, “The Iranian government is prepared to firmly stand against terrorism and fight against it along with the French government and other European governments.”
Earlier on Wednesday, gunmen stormed Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) and the mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini in two coordinated attacks.
Thirteen people lost their lives and 43 more were wounded in the assaults, which involved gunfight and blasts.
Rouhani said the “enemies of democracy” launched the terrorist attack following the high turnout of the Iranian nation in the country’s recent election, “Democracy and the people’s presence on the scene in different areas is the biggest movement, which can stand against terrorism.”
Iranian security forces help people escape the scene of a terrorist attack at the Iranian parliament in downtown Tehran on June 7, 2017. (Photo by Fars news agency)
The Iranian president further called for the eradication of the ideological roots of terrorism in order to effectively fight the scourge, adding, “We should not allow the sponsors of terrorism in the global arena to continue their support for terrorists.”
He referred to the diplomatic crisis unfolding in the Persian Gulf region and stressed that political negotiation is the best solution to resolve the existing disputes.
Rouhani and Macron also expressed the two countries’ keenness to expand their cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.
France’s mediation in Qatar dispute
On Wednesday, Macron’s office issued a statement saying the French president has discussed the Qatar crisis with the Iranian president and in separate telephone conversations with leaders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey, inviting “all parties to pursue dialogue.”
Macron stressed the need “to maintain stability in the region” and to keep up the fight “against terrorism and the financing of all terrorist movements.”
Macron’s office noted that the French president will continue his mediation in coming days.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies, including Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, broke off relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region.
They also suspended all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, ejected its diplomats and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries.
A French presidency spokesman said Macron would continue his mediation in coming days.
Iran has urged Qatar and its neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf to resolve their disputes through diplomacy and explicit dialog.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi
Iran says the United States will become more isolated in the world in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull Washington out of the Paris agreement on climate change.
“The withdrawal of the United States of America from the Paris accord indicates the irresponsibility of this country’s government vis-à-vis the international community,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday.
“Climate changes have caused big global challenges and combating the horrific consequences of them requires complete and sincere cooperation of all countries, particularly industrialized governments,” he added.
He emphasized that these changes would have “destructive impacts” on developing countries, especially in West Asia, including excessive rise in temperature, vast economic and social damage, drought, dust storm, newly-emerging diseases, displacement and immigration.
The Iranian spokesperson condemned as “unacceptable” the lack of commitment to the Paris agreement by a country that is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases.
He urged the international community to compel the new US administration to completely and precisely implement Washington’s international commitments.
It is imperative to avoid undermining international agreements such as the Paris accord, which is a symbol of joint cooperation among countries across the world and enhanced multilateralism, he said.
Qassemi added that the Islamic Republic believes that the US cannot shirk its responsibility towards climate changes emanating from greenhouse gas emissions by its “irresponsible” withdrawal from the Paris agreement.
Speaking at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Trump said he was withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.
"In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord," Trump said.
He called the deal unfair to American workers and said it stifled production and imposed burdens on the country.
Earlier on Saturday, The head of Iran's Department of Environment (DoE), Massoumeh Ebtekar, said Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal would not lead to the collapse of the accord.
She described Trump’s move as completely unscientific and uncalculated.
The Paris climate accord is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.
It was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015. Since June 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, 148 of which have ratified it.
In the Paris agreement, each country determines its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate global warming. There is no mechanism to force a country to set a specific target by a specific date.

Head of Iran's Department of Environment Massoumeh Ebtekar
The head of Iran's Department of Environment (DoE), Massoumeh Ebtekar, says US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal will not lead to the collapse of the accord.
“The Paris agreement is an international accord and will not collapse by the withdrawal of one country,” Ebtekar, who is also an Iranian vice president, said on Saturday.
“Trump’s move was a completely unscientific and uncalculated move,” she added.
She described the Paris agreement as a “golden” accord reached amid high tensions, adding that the deal promotes convergence among countries across the world.
All countries have come to the conclusion that the environment is a common issue in the world, she said, adding, “Therefore, the US unilateral act will have no impact [on the agreement] and will bear no fruit.”
Speaking at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Trump said he was withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.
"In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord," Trump said.
He called the deal unfair to American workers and said it stifled production and imposed burdens on the country.
Ebtekar further highlighted the significance of the Paris agreement for the oil producing and exporting countries and said many oil-rich states have so far joined the pact.
“The Iranian administration has also carried out all legal measures to join the Paris accord and we are now waiting for the Guardian Council to make a decision in this regard,” the vice president added.
Last April, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif signed the historic deal during a ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York. However, in its initial review of the agreement late last year, the country's legislation supervisory body, the Guardian Council, described it as "ambiguous" in some areas.
Ebtekar emphasized that Iran has implemented positive plans to reduce greenhouse gases, saying the administration has taken steps to cut fuel consumption and promote environmental policies.
“In the Paris agreement, Iran has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by four percent without any precondition and by eight percent provided that sanctions [against the country] were lifted,” Ebtekar said.
She added that Iran is capable of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent.
The DoE head rejected false media claims about the implementation of the Paris deal and emphasized that it would create job opportunities, tackle pollution, reduce greenhouse gases and protect natural resources.
The Paris climate accord is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.
It was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015. Since June 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, 148 of which have ratified it.
In the Paris agreement, each country determines its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate global warming. There is no mechanism to force a country to set a specific target by a specific date.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich speaks during an interview at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia, June 2, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Russia will still stick to the Paris Climate Agreement despite the United States' pullout from the landmark deal, an official says.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Friday that US President Donald Trump's decision to pull the country out of the agreement would probably not affect Moscow’s commitment to protect the planet.
"We made the decision to join, and I don't think we will (change) it," the RIA news agency cited Dvorkovich as telling reporters at an economic forum in St. Petersburg.
"The deal simply amounts to a signal about the unity of countries around a certain theme. I don't think anyone doubts that the Americans will make environmental policy. We will definitely do this (make environmental policy) regardless of whether we are part of the agreement or not."
World leaders say they would remain committed to combating global warming despite Trump’s decision.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Trump's decision was “extremely regrettable and that’s putting it very mildly.”
However, she said his decision alone “can’t and won’t stop all those of us who feel obliged to protect the planet.”
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and the European Commission President Jean Claude Junker, attending an EU-China summit in the Belgian capital, Brussels, both pointed to the importance of protecting the planet. Leaders of Italy, Canada and France followed suit.
Many business leaders, such as Elon Musk of SpaceX and Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric, said they were strongly disappointed over Trump’s decision.
“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk said in a message posted on Twitter.
Environmentalists around the globe also slammed Trump’s decision.
The United States, after China, is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

This file photo taken on May 24, 2017 shows French Territorial Cohesion Minister Richard Ferrand arriving to attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. (By AFP)
French prosecutors say they were opening a preliminary investigation into a property deal involving one of President Emmanuel Macron’s ministers.
Macron had on Wednesday defended Richard Ferrand, a close ally of the president, over allegations he favored his wife in a lucrative deal with a public health insurance fund when he headed the company.
The timing of the announcement by prosecutors in the western port of Brest is embarrassing for Macron because the government is to unveil a draft law on cleaning up French politics on Thursday.
The pledge to rejuvenate France’s corruption-plagued political class was one of the central planks of the campaign that swept 39-year-old centrist Macron to the presidency on May 7.
Ferrand, one of Macron’s first prominent backers and formerly secretary general of the president’s Republique En Marche (Republic on the Move) party, has denied any wrongdoing.
He told France Inter radio on Thursday, “I am an honest man.”
The Canard Enchaine investigative newspaper reported last week that an insurance fund that Ferrand headed in his native Brittany - where he is an MP - agreed in 2011 to rent a building from his wife and carry out renovations that boosted its value.
Ferrand, 54-year-old minister for territorial cohesion, has dismissed the report as a “welcome present” from the media for the new government.
He says his wife made the fund the best offer and that he had no say in the matter.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang gives a joint press conference with the German Chancellor (not in picture) after representatives of both countries signed economic agreements at the end of Li’s two-day visit to Germany on June 1, 2017 in Berlin. / AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ
China will “steadfastly” implement the Paris climate pact, Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday, urging others to do likewise as US President Donald Trump was due to announce whether he will keep Washington in the deal.
“China will continue to implement promises made in the Paris Agreement, to move towards the 2030 goal step by step steadfastly,” Li said in a Berlin joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“But of course, we also hope to do this in cooperation with others,” added Li.
China has been investing billions in clean energy infrastructure, as its leaders seek to clear up the notorious choking pollution enveloping its biggest cities, including Beijing.
Li stressed that it was in China’s own interest to stick to the climate deal.
“Once China’s development reaches a certain level, it has to move to a sustainable model, that means we have to push green development,” he said.
In Berlin, Li and Merkel oversaw the signing of a slew of deals including electric car projects between Germany’s biggest automobile groups, Volkswagen and Daimler, with Chinese companies.
China and the US are together responsible for some 40 percent of the world’s emissions and experts have warned that it is vital for both to remain in the Paris agreement if it is to have any chance of succeeding.


A police officer raises his baton as he attempts to disperse protesters during a demonstration against the results of the first round of the French presidential election in Bordeaux on April 27, 2017. (Photos by AFP)

Amnesty International says France has been using an extended state of emergency in Paris to block peaceful protests.
France imposed the state of emergency following the November 2015 Daesh attack in Paris which claimed the lives of at least 130 people. In accordance to the emergency measures, a multitude of public assemblies and protests have been banned. It also permits police to search citizens without warrants.     
According to a report released by the rights group on Wednesday, some 155 decrees have been issued banning public assemblies since the state of emergency was imposed.
Some 639 measures aimed at stopping people from participating in public assemblies, mostly against labor law reforms, have also been issued.
"Emergency laws intended to protect the French people from the threat of terrorism are instead being used to restrict their rights to protest peacefully," said Marco Perolini, an Amnesty researcher.
"Under the cover of the state of emergency, rights to protest have been stripped away with hundreds of activists, environmentalists, and labor rights campaigners unjustifiably banned from participating in protests," he added.

Youths use candles to write the word "Violence" in the road in front of a line of riot police outside the commissariat of the 19th Arrondissement (District) of Paris late on March 27, 2017.
The group also said that police used "unnecessary or excessive force" against peaceful protesters "who did not appear to threaten public order."
The state of emergency is scheduled to be revoked on July 15, but newly elected President Emmanuel Macron has said he will call on parliament to extend it until November.

French Minister of European Affairs Marielle de Sarnez, right, arrives to attend the weekly cabinet meeting on May 24, 2017 at the Elysee Palace in Paris. (AFP photo)
A second minister from the government of French President Emmanuel Macron is being investigated for an alleged breach of trust.
Reports in the French media on Tuesday said prosecutors had opened up an initial investigation on March 22 into a possible breach of trust by Marielle de Sarnez, who currently serves as France's European affairs minister.
The investigation began after Sophie Montel, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from France's National Front (FN), sent letters to the European Union fraud watchdog and Paris prosecutors, accusing de Sarnez and 18 other colleagues in the chamber of diverting funds available for parliamentary assistants.
Sophie Montel, a Member of the European Parliament from France's National Front
The revelations emerged after de Sarnez lodged a slander complaint against Montel on Tuesday. Some media outlets had reported in April on the letters and the probe, but the MEPs were not identified at the time.
De Sarnez, an MEP since 1999, quit the legislature on May 17, when he became minister under the government led by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. She said on Monday that there was nothing wrong with a part-time parliamentary aide in her employ.
"Her situation was declared and verified by the European Parliament,” de Sarnaz said.
A source in Brussels, where the European Parliament is based, also elaborated on the legal nature of the activities carried out by de Sarnaz’s assistant, adding that they “were seen as not posing a risk of a conflict of interest.”
The allegations against de Sarnaz emerge days after Richard Ferrand, another minister in Macron's first cabinet, escaped an investigation into claims that he had benefited from a property deal while he ran a public health insurance fund. The scandals could embarrass Macron as his fledgling government is preparing a new law to clean up politics.
Other French MEP’s, who have been targeted by Montel, reacted to the claims by the FN member, saying they were an attempt by the far-right party to downgrade an ongoing probe by the European parliament into the party’s alleged misuse of European funds for presidential campaign in France.  
Ecology MEP Eva Joly said Montel was fingering de Sarnaz and others as “a counter-attack by the National Front which bent the rules of the parliament in a wholesale way.” Montel responded by telling the French television that "de Sarnez can do what she likes."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described his meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron as “difficult” but “frank.”
After the Monday meeting in Versailles, Putin and Macron vowed to improve bilateral relations and cooperate towards dealing with international problems, especially Syria and Ukraine. The three-hour meeting was held in the Versailles palace because it coincided with the 300th anniversary of Russia’s former Emperor Peter the Great’s diplomatic visit to France in 1717.
“We sought … common ground [in dealing] with key issues of the international agenda. And I believe that we see it. We are able to … at least try to start resolving the key contemporary problems together,” Putin said.
Putin noted that despite having several differences, they had similar approaches to many issues. He added that the recent meeting had helped both leaders pair common interests, a move which has “qualitatively” improved France-Russia ties.
Putin also said that he had outlined Moscow’s position on Syria for the French president while stressing that terrorism cannot be defeated by undoing a nation’s statehood.
“It is impossible to fight a terrorist threat by dismantling the statehood of those countries that already suffer from some internal problems and conflicts,” he said.
He also invited Macron to come and visit Russia. “I hope that he will be able to spend several weeks in Moscow,” he said.     
In his turn, Macron stressed that Russia had an important role in solving problems around the world. “No major problem in the world can be solved without Russia.”
He added that his country is interested in boosting cooperation with Moscow, especially towards ending the conflict in Syria. Macron noted that a solution for such a problem could only be a political one.
Macron also stressed that destroying the Daesh terrorist group is an “absolute priority” for France that is one of the reasons for its inclination to increase cooperation with Russia.
Putin’s visit comes at the official invitation of the new French president, something that has been met with ire in France, especially given Macron’s harsh rhetoric on Russia before he took office earlier this month.s
RT, Sputnik accused ‘deceitful propaganda’
During the press conference, Macron claimed that RT and Sputnik had not “acted like media” during his election campaign.
Ahead of the presidential election, Macron's campaign accused Russia of using hacking and fake news to interfere with the French vote. 
Russia was seen by many as a supporter of France’s defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who lost in the second round of the election, earlier this month.
In late March, Le Pen met President Vladimir Putin in a surprise visit to Moscow ahead of the French presidential election that took place on April 23.
“I have always had an exemplary relationship with foreign journalists, but they have to be real journalists," said Macron. "All foreign journalists, including Russian journalists, had access to my campaign," he said.
Macron went on to describe RT and Sputnik as “organs of influence and propaganda,” adding that both “produced infamous counter-truths about him.”
After the presser, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia “does not agree” with Macron’s claims about the two news organizations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lights a candle as he visits a Russian spiritual and cultural center in Paris, France, May 29, 2017. 
RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan responded to Macron’s claims on the news outlets, saying they were in fact attacks on freedom of speech.
“Despite the numerous accusations made throughout the duration of the French presidential campaign, to this day not a single example, not a single piece of evidence, has been presented to support the claims that RT spread any slander or ‘fake news' about Mr. Macron,” said Simonyan.
“By labeling any news reporting he disagrees with ‘fake news,’ President Macron sets a dangerous precedent that threatens both freedom of speech and journalism at large,” he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives prior to the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Angers (SCO) on May 27, 2017. (Photos by AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that Russia is a key factor in solving many international problems.
"Many international problems cannot be resolved without Russia,” said Macron ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
While stressing that the dialogue with Russia will be “demanding,” he noted that the situation in Syria and Ukraine will be high on the agenda during his meeting with Putin.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in a conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russia forces since 2014. Despite the original Minsk agreement, which was reached in September 2014, as well as another deal also struck in the Belarusian capital in February 2015, the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russians have continued to trade fire along front lines.
“I am going to discuss the situation in Syria during the meeting in Versailles,” Macron added.
Different foreign-backed terrorist groups have been wreaking havoc in Syria since 2011.
The upcoming meeting will be the first between Putin and Macron, who was elected as the French president on May 7.

French President Emmanuel Macron (2-L) attends a weekly Defense Council at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 24, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
France’s new president will ask the parliament to extend a state of emergency that was imposed after the 2015 deadly attacks by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in and around the capital Paris.
Emmanuel Macron said in a statement on Wednesday that he would ask lawmakers to prolong the measure from July 15 until November 1.
The current state of emergency expires in mid-July.
The French president made the decision after a security meeting in which senior officials "studied the implications of this new terrorist attack on measures of protection to ensure the security of our compatriots."
The statement from the Elysée presidential palace also mentioned "the bonds that unite France and the United Kingdom in the fight against terrorism."
On May 22, a bomb attack at a music venue in Manchester, England, killed 22 people.
The renewal of state of emergency in France will be the sixth of its kind. The first came into force in November 2015, after Daesh carried out a string of attacks in and around the French capital. At least 130 people were killed.
Extraordinary police powers, however, failed to prevent another major terror attack in the coastal city of Nice, which killed 86 participants in a national holiday event at the time of street celebrations in July last year.
During the Paris attacks in 2015, Daesh-affiliated terrorists used guns and explosive vests to strike almost simultaneously a concert hall, a major stadium, and restaurants and bars, injuring hundreds in addition to those killed.
Then French President Francois Hollande described the attacks as an “act of war.” Police forces conducted hundreds of raids across the country in search of suspects. Raids were also conducted in the Belgian city of Brussels, where a main suspect was arrested.

US actor Dustin Hoffman, US director Noah Baumbach, British actress Emma Thompson, US actor Ben Stiller and US actor Adam Sandler wave as they arrive on May 21, 2017 for the screening of the film ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’ at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

A wrenching French AIDS drama, a cinematic indictment of Putin’s Russia and a bittersweet Adam Sandler comedy are among the 70th Cannes film festival contenders that have captured critics’ hearts.
The race for the Palme d’Or top prize at the world’s biggest film festival still looks wide open, with a Nicole Kidman horror movie and a tense drama by two-time winner Michael Haneke earning some glowing reviews.
Ahead of awards night Sunday, when a jury led by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and including Hollywood stars Will Smith and Jessica Chastain will pick the winners from 19 pictures, AFP spotlights the breakout hits of the festival so far:
– ‘120 Beats Per Minute’ –
This docu-drama by French former activist Robin Campillo pulses with rage at official neglect of the AIDS crisis in the early 1990s, and compassion for victims cut down in the prime of their lives.
The film celebrates the rowdy band of gay radicals from ACT UP who helped shame the world into action, and tells the love story between a newcomer to the movement and an HIV-positive man (Argentine-born actor Nahuel Perez Biscayart) who refuses to die without a fight.
Vanity Fair called the sexually frank picture “a vital new gay classic” while Le Monde said it “fused intimacy and politics” to induce a “river of tears” from the Cannes audience.
– ‘Loveless’ –
This harrowing tale by “Leviathan” director Andrey Zvyagintsev marks his most overt attack to date on what he sees as the moral rot eating away at Russian society under President Vladimir Putin.
It depicts a couple on the verge of divorce who, lured by the temptations of status and creature comforts, no longer want to raise their young son.
Fearing he will be abandoned to a grim state-run home followed by the military, the boy vanishes, sending the parents on a half-hearted search with the aid of jaded and indifferent police, hospital officials and morgue workers.
Guardian reviewer Peter Bradshaw gave it five out of five stars, calling the “stark, mysterious and terrifying story of spiritual catastrophe” a “masterpiece”.
– ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ –
Hollywood funnyman Adam Sandler left Cannes critics agog with a soulful, restrained performance in this portrait of a dysfunctional New York family also starring Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller and Emma Thompson.
Audiences embraced the new movie by Noah Baumbach (“While We’re Young”), one of two Netflix features in competition for the first time amid a row over streaming versus cinema distribution.
Sandler was tipped for a possible best actor prize, with Daily Telegraph critic Robbie Collin remarking that the “Happy Gilmore” star “has been bad in so many awful films that when he’s terrific in a great one… it’s a revelation”.
– ‘The Killing of Sacred Deer’ –
This year’s reigning Queen of Cannes, Nicole Kidman, is unveiling four different projects at the French Riviera event including this audience shocker.
Kidman and Irish actor Colin Farrell play a couple of married doctors facing a terrible choice in the horror movie by Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos, who wowed Cannes two years ago with dystopian love story “The Lobster”.
The mounting tension and bloody climax sent some audience members fleeing the cinema but many critics were in raptures.
“The film’s nightmarish, Old Testament horrors are unshakable. The Greek director is a true original,” said Donald Clarke of the Irish Times.
– ‘Happy End’ –
Austria’s Haneke, who already has two Palme d’Or trophies on his mantelpiece for “Amour” and “The White Ribbon”, divided critics with his latest feature.
Set in the northern French city of Calais, the site of the now-dismantled Jungle refugee camp, the film stars French legends Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant as members of a callous wealthy family.
It returns to familiar Haneke themes including latent racism, class divides, sexual deviance and obsession with mobile devices.
In a five-star review, the BBC’s Nicholas Barber said Haneke had once again staked his claim as one of Europe’s most formidable filmmakers.
“The 75-year-old Haneke proves that he can still generate tension more deftly than most horror directors half his age, and he can still comment on dehumanising digital technology more incisively than any number of hand-wringing documentary makers,” he said.

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