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Paris Metro passenger dies after ‘coat gets stuck in doors’

| blog, France, L&B World, World | January 14, 2016

The man was dragged the length of the platform (not pictured) Picture: Getty Images)
The man was dragged the length of the platform (not pictured) (Picture: Getty Images)

A passenger on the Paris Metro died when his coat was reportedly caught in the doors of the car and he was dragged the length of the platform.

The 24-year-old, who has not yet been identified, was getting off the subway car at Le Motte-Picquet Grenelle in the the French capital’s 15th arrondissement on Wednesday evening when the doors shut on the back of jacket, Le Parisien reports.

The man was dragged along the length of the platform, and the train driver only noticed a… Read the full story

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Jews in France told to hide their identity ‘until better days’

| blog, France, L&B World, World | January 13, 2016

A man wearing kippa cries near a kosher grocery store in Porte January 10, 2015 after four people were killed at a Jewish supermarket (Picture: Getty)
A man wearing kippa cries near a kosher grocery store in Porte January 10, 2015 after four people were killed at a Jewish supermarket (Picture: Getty)

Jews in France have been told to hide their faith.

French Jews have been advised to leave their skullcaps at home in the wake of a jihadist attack on a kippa-wearing teacher.

The warning has sparked an emotional debate pitting security concerns against a desire to uphold Jewish identity.

Parents in the southern city of Marseille, where Monday’s vicious attack ‘in… Read the full story

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Three dead and others seriously injured following French Alps avalanche

| blog, France, L&B World, News | January 13, 2016

Three people are dead and a number of others are seriously injured after an avalanche in French Alps engulfed 19 school pupils and a teacher this afternoon.

Two students and an adult skier have been confirmed dead after the avalanche struck in Les Deux-Alpes.

Two others went into cardiac arrest and are in a critical condition along with their teacher who was discovered on the surface of the snow and is still 3in a serious condition.

The avalanche struck a black piste in Bellecombe that is believed to have been closed at the time.

Several other pupils in the group were unharmed and around 60 rescuers were… Read the full story

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Emptying the canal

| blog, France, L&B World, Lifestyle, Paris | January 11, 2016

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

"It’s a ritual that unfolds every 10 to 15 years in what has become one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Paris. Canal Saint Martin is emptied in order to be cleaned and renovated," writes AFP's photographer Patrick Kovarik.

"A great occasion for residents and the curious alike to see what has been lying below the waters. Turns out the canal is not only one of the city’s favorite socializing spots. It’s also a favorite trashcan."

By Patrick Kovarik

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(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

PARIS, January 11, 2016 -- It’s a ritual that unfolds every 10 to 15 years in what has become one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Paris. Canal Saint Martin is emptied in order to be cleaned and renovated.

The canal has become one of the city’s most beloved spots. Along its banks in the 10th district lie a plethora of restaurants, bars and cafes popular with the city’s 20-, 30-, 40- and 50-somethings. Many will trek here for a weekend night out from all the way across town. On sunny, warm days at midday, literally every inch of its stone walls is covered with humanity enjoying their lunch in the outdoors. If you walk along its banks at night, especially when it’s nice out, a hum of city life hangs over the air, as people sit along the banks talking and drinking.

So when the waters are emptied, it’s a great occasion to see what has been lying below the waters. Turns out the canal is not only one of the city’s favorite socializing spots. It’s also a favorite trashcan.

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

As the waters have receded, they have revealed an amazing variety of things that people have thrown into them over the years. What has struck me the most is the breathtaking number of Velibs -- the free bicycles that can be used to get around that city.

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

There are scooters. I even saw a motorcycle that looked pretty new, it couldn’t have been there for too long.

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

I’ve often wondered what possesses people to throw these things into the canal? Why? I suppose some do it after having a few too many drinks. Others perhaps do it to collect on insurance payments (I guess they don’t know the canal is emptied on a regular basis). There haven’t been any cars -- the canal is too shallow to hide an entire car and those who do on occasion make it into the waters are fished out right away.

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

Among more offbeat objects that I have seen -- a nearly fossilized suitcase. A toilet. Supermarket carts. And there are literally thousands of bottles that have been discarded. I guess all those picnics on the banks day and night can’t pass without a trace.

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

Another theatrical aspect of the operation is the hunt to catch and release the canal's fish residents. Around a dozen of city employees and volunteers in rubber boots walk in the stagnant water. Some of them are equipped with sticks that send an electric current into the water. Others catch fish that float up as a result, put them into vehicles and drive them to a location where they are then released.


(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

Among the nicest “trophies” of this emptying has been a 16-kilo carp. What a pleasure for a photographer to take a picture of a man running through the streets of Paris with an enormous fish in his net. It’s exactly the type of surreal scene that we all look for.

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

I have walked along the banks every day since the emptying has started, looking for nice offbeat photos to take. I quite enjoy it. Especially as I did the same thing when I started as a photographer in the 1980s.

The last time the canal was emptied, in the 1980s. (AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

The canal being emptied in the 1980s. (AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

I’m not the only one. As the canal is emptied, there are crowds of passersby who come to take a look. Professional photographers like me, students from photo schools, children on school outings, retired folk -- they all come and take a look at what lies beneath one of the city’s favorite spots.

Patrick Kovarik is an AFP photographer based in Paris. This blog was written with Roland de Courson and translated by Yana Dlugy in Paris.

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

(AFP/Patrick Kovarik)

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French police shoot dead fake suicide vest man on Charlie Hebdo anniversary

| blog, Charlie Hebdo, France, L&B World, World | January 7, 2016

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A man shot dead in front of a police station is seen lying on the pavement with a large knife beside him on January 7, 2016 in Paris. The man shot dead by police as he tried to attack a police station on the first anniversary of the jihadist assault on Charlie Hebdo had a knife and what appeared to be an explosives vest, the French Interior ministry spokesman said. / AFP / ANNA POLONYIANNA POLONYI/AFP/Getty Images
The man was shot dead in front of the police station (Picture: AFP/Anna Polonyi)

A man has been shot dead in Paris after he tried to get into a police station… Read the full story

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France to build £1.1million refugee camp with room for up to 3,000 people

| blog, France, L&B World, World | January 1, 2016

A refugee walks among tents in make shift camp in Grande-Synthe. (Picture: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty)
A refugee walks among tents in a make shift camp in Grande-Synthe. (Picture: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty)

A refugee camp with space for up to 3,000 people will be built in Dunkirk, the French government has confirmed.

It will be situated near to a number of ‘shanty towns’ which have popped up near the northern coast of France over the past year.

Among these sites is a makeshift camp in Grande-Synthe, which is currently home to more than 2,500 migrants who, according to blog post La jungle de Grande-Synthe, are living in poor conditions, surrounded by vermin.

MORE: Refugees have set… Read the full story

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French soldiers open fire on driver ‘who tried to ram mosque’

| blog, France, L&B World, World | January 1, 2016

Several people have been injured after French soldiers opened fire on a driver who was reportedly trying to ram a mosque.

The driver refused to stop the car when soldiers guarding the mosque in Valence, Drome ordered them too, prompting them to open fire, Le Parisien reports.

The driver and a passenger were injured, as were three soldiers. There are appear to be injuries among worshippers inside the mosque itself.

The mosque said a stray bullet had hit one of the worshippers.

MORE: How to see Comet Catalina as it passes Earth

The driver, who is reported to be in his 30s and originally from Lyon, has been detained.

‘Those who run the Valence mosque and those loyal to it are profoundly shocked by this act,’ said Abdallah Dliouah,… Read the full story

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The 15 most-read stories in 2015

| blog, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, L&B World, migrants, Myanmar, Nepal, refugees, Somalia, sports, Syria, Turkey | December 30, 2015

© AFP - 2015


These were the 15 most-read stories in 2015 on our AFP Correspondent blog. We wish all our readers a happy New Year.

These were the 15 most-read stories in 2015 on our AFP Correspondent blog. We wish all our readers a happy New Year.

1. War in peace, by Aris Messinis

Children huddle under emergency blankets after arriving in Lesbos in October. (AFP/Aris Messinis)

(AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)

AFP's chief photographer in Greece Aris Messinis knows what a war looks like. He's covered conflicts in Syria and Libya. He has seen death and suffering. But covering the migrants arriving in their hundreds on the shores of the Greek island of Lesbos has affected him more.

"You constantly realize that you're not in a warzone. That you're working in a place where there is peace...  the human pain is the same as in a war, but just knowing that you are not in a warzone makes it much more emotional. And much more painful."

Continue reading...

2. Fleeing through the eye of a needle, by Bulent Kilic

Syrians fleeing the war rush through broken down border fences to enter Turkish territory, near the Turkish border crossing at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on June 14, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC)

(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

"We have been on the Turkey-Syria border for a week now, within sight of Tal Abyad where Kurdish forces are battling Islamic State jihadists for control," writes AFP's Bulent Kilic. "On Sunday, June 14, thousands of people fleeing the fighting suddenly appeared from behind the hill and swarmed down towards the border fence. Everything happened in five minutes. It was like a Hollywood film."

"I have been photographing this refugee crisis for nearly four years now, but yesterday was different. Almost every woman had children with her. I have never seen anything like it."

Continue reading...

3. Lives cut short

The makeshift memorial at Le Carillon. (AFP/Loic Venance)

(AFP Photo / Loic Venance)

Their names were Bertrand, Chloe, Halima or Thierry. They were a student, a banker, a mechanic or a waiter. Most were in their 20s and 30s. All died in the Paris attacks of November 13 or in the days that followed from their injuries.

A small team of AFP journalists was put in place after the tragedy to try and collect at least a few personal details about each of the victims. The result is an interactive database, so that the death toll is not just a number, and so each victim has a face.

Continue reading...

4. From streets of fear in Mogadishu to "paradise in Paris", by Mohamed Abdiwahab

Somalis play football as the sun sets on August 11, 2015 at Lido Beach in Mogadishu (AFP Photo / Mohamed Abdiwahab)

(AFP / Mohamed Abdiwahab)

"Are there any happy moments in Somalia?" AFP photographer in Mogadishu Mohamed Abdiwahab asks himself. "I can't say there have been any ever since I started this job. But sometimes I feel happy when there's a calm moment and I can photograph people relaxing at the beach or playing football… Those are real moments of joy for me."

"But I know that the next day, or even that afternoon, the violence and the chaos will return. So I can never be 100 percent happy."

Continue reading...

5. 'Those disguised as Arabs', by Andrea Bernardi

Infiltrated members of the Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian stone thrower and aim their weapons at fellow protesters during clashes in Beit El, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 7, 2015 (AFP / Abbas Momani)

(AFP Photo / Abbas Momani)

"It's fairly common to see Israeli agents infiltrate the crowds of Palestinian stone throwers during demonstrations", writes Jerusalem-based video reporter Andrea Bernardi. "I've witnessed this plenty of times in Jerusalem. The goal of these 'moustaarinine' -- literally 'those who disguise themselves as Arabs' -- is to stop the protesters. They usually take out their weapons without using them, or, more often, point them into the sky, as if they were about to shoot into the air."

"But today I for the first time filmed these undercover agents firing live bullets into a crowd of protesters".

Continue reading...

6. From one nightmare to another, by Christophe Archambault

(AFP / Christophe Archambault)

(AFP Photo / Christophe Archambault)

"We are here in the hope our pictures can put a human face on this crisis," writes the AFP photographer Christophe Archambault, who travelled to the Andaman Sea to find a boat carrying hundreds of migrants from the persecuted Rohingya minority, adrift off the Thai coast. "My first reaction is shock. Their faces are completely emaciated. You can see their ribcages, their pointed shoulder bones. We are witnessing a situation of absolute horror."

Continue reading...

7. Photography: telling art from fraud, by Roland de Courson


(KCNA Photo)

The above image was never distributed to AFP's clients. Issued by the North Korean agency KCNA in 2013, it purports to show military manoeuvres in the east of the country. But analysis of the missile fire and smoke, using specialist software, revealed a series of anomalies indicating it had been manipulated. It is, in all likelihood, a doctored image. This is an extreme case, but fraud in photography is far from limited to North Korea, Syria or extremist propaganda movements. On February 12, an unprecedented number of entrants were disqualified from the World Press Photo awards for tampering with their images - reviving an old debate about the fine line, in photojournalism, between artistry and fraud.

Continue reading...

8. The Fall, by Valeriano Di Domenico

FIFA President Sepp Blatter leaves after a press conference at the headquarters of the world's football governing body in Zurich on June 2, 2015 (AFP / Valeriano Di Domenico)

(AFP Photo / Valeriano Di Domenico)

"When AFP calls at five pm on Tuesday evening, to ask me to cover a last-minute press conference at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, I have little idea I will be getting a front-row seat to football history," writes the photographer Valeriano Di Domenico. "When Sepp Blatter announces his resignation, I can’t believe my ears. But suddenly I realise none of the shots I have taken so far illustrates the magnitude of what is taking place. THE picture, the one that symbolises the fall of the boss of world football, will be the one of him leaving the room."

Continue reading...

9. 'The lucky ones', by Serene Assir

Migrants check their mobile phones on a beach after reaching the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015 (AFP Photo / Angelos Tzortzinis)

(AFP Photo / Angelos Tzortzinis)

"It’s 4:00 am, stars fill the velvet night sky and the Aegean Sea is perfectly still", writes AFP reporter Serene Assir. "A few journalists gather at the beach in Greece’s resort island Kos, waiting in silence on an unlikely frontline of Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II. Today, like every other day, scores of refugees and migrants fleeing war and misery will reach the shore on inflatable boats, dreaming of a better life in Europe."

“Greece? Turkey? Where am I?” pants a man in his forties as he clambers out of the dinghy, tearing off his bright orange life vest. “You’re in Greece,” I reply. Overcome with emotion, he kneels down on the sand to pray, grateful that he has made it to Europe alive."

Continue reading...

10. The crying man, by Sakis Mitrolidis

A July 3, 2015 photograph shows Greek pensioner Giorgos Chatzifotiadis crying outside a national bank branch in Thessaloniki (AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDIS)

(AFP Photo / Sakis Mitrolidis)

"Suddenly a man emerged from the bank yelling and gesturing, holding in his hand a savings book and his ID card," writes the AFP photographer Sakis Mitrolidis, who took the viral picture of a Greek pensioner weeping on the street. "Immediately I picked up my camera and started shooting. The poor man. After seconds he collapsed to the ground."

"Some people have suggested it is THE defining picture of the Greek crisis. I don’t see it that way. I think it tells part of the story."

Continue reading...

11. Whipped by the sharia police, by Nurdin Hasan

An Acehnese woman convicted for 'immoral acts' reacts after being lashed by a hooded local government officer during a public caning at a square in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, on June 12, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / Chaideer MAHYUDDIN)

(AFP Photo / Chaideer Mayhuddin)

"It's not clear if the caning itself was responsible for the young woman collapsing, or the trauma of being punished so publicly before an enormous crowd," writes Nurdin Hasan, an AFP correspondent in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia allowed to implement Islamic sharia law, where public canings for "immoral acts" have been on the rise.

Continue reading...

12. I'm going to be buried alive, by Roberto Schmidt & Ammu Kannampilly

A cloud of snow and debris triggered by an earthquake flies towards Everest Base Camp on April 25, 2015 (AFP / Roberto Schmidt)

(AFP Photo /Roberto Schmidt)

Roberto Schmidt, AFP’s South Asia photo chief, and Kathmandu bureau chief Ammu Kannampilly had just reached Everest base camp on assignment on April 25 when an avalanche - triggered by the earthquake that has killed more than 5,000 in Nepal - thundered down the mountain leaving at least 18 people dead. This is the story of their near-fatal experience.

Continue reading...

13. Six months in India: my best-of video, by Agnes Bun

An Indian woman's face is smeared with colored powder during celebrations of the Holi festival in the Sivasagar district of northeastern Assam state on March 6, 2015 (AFP PHOTO)

(AFP Photo)

"In February 2015 I moved to New Delhi to become AFP’s South Asia video coordinator", writes journalist Agnès Bun. "While I had travelled to the region before and did my homework after I got the job, I soon realized that I would have to expect the unexpected. All these moments, all these faces, do not always find their place in a news agency’s video output. That is why I wanted to gather them in a personal video, in a tribute to a unique and fascinating country that I have barely started to explore and which reminds me every minute that there are still so many brave, resigned or mischievious smiles left to be captured and shared."

Continue reading...

14. 'Little Schoolboy' at Charlie Hebdo, by Karim Talbi

An editorial meeting at Charlie Hebdo in 2001 (AFP / François Guillot)

(AFP Photo / Francois Guillot)

"Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists were not my friends. They were my first family in journalism, the one you can never fall out with," AFP's Karim Talbi, who started his career at satirical weekly, writes in tribute to his friends, murdered by Islamic extremists. "I would never be where I am today without the good old Wolinski, Cabu, Charb and Tignous."

Continue reading...

15. Invited to a porn shoot: 'I'll wait outside', by Alastair Himmer

Japanese porn actor Ken Shimizu, known as Shimiken (AFP / Yoshikazu Tsuno)

(AFP / Yoshikazu Tsuno)

"When Japanese porn king 'Shimiken' tweeted that there were more Bengali tigers than male porn actors in Japan, AFP Tokyo felt obliged, nay duty-bound, to launch a forensic investigation into this cause célèbre," writes Alastair Himmer. "But this would be no ordinary assignment. Not by a long chalk."

Continue reading...

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Paris terror fugitive ‘cried like 12-year-old’ after attack

| Belgium, blog, France, L&B World, World | December 23, 2015

This handout image, "appel a temoins" (call for witnesses), released by the French Police information service (SICOP) on November 15, 2015 shows a picture and description of Abdeslam Salah, suspected of being involved in the attacks that occured on November 13, 2015 in Paris. Islamic State jihadists claimed a series of coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris on November 13 that killed at least 129 people in scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium. AFP PHOTO / POLICE NATIONALE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / POLICE NATIONALE " - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSDSK/AFP/Getty Images

Terrorist Salah Abdeslam, who fled Europe after helping to carry out the murder of 130 people in Paris broke down and cried ‘like a 12-year-old’ in the wake of the attack.

Abdeslam, who is Europe’s most wanted man, called… Read the full story

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Two arrested after French police foil ‘jihadist attack’

| blog, France, L&B World, World | December 22, 2015

French police officers patrol at Gare du Nord train station in Paris, France, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. A gunman prepared to open fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding several people before being subdued by passengers, officials said. (AP Photo/Binta)
(Picture: AP Photo/Binta)

Two men are in custody after French police prevented a jihadist attack on police and army personnel in Orléans, an official has said.

Suspects aimed to attack military barracks and police stations, a police source told Reuters. They planned to take weapons and recruit others to their cause.

Two Frenchmen, aged 20 and 24, are being held for questioning. They are thought… Read the full story

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