Category Archives: France

The Latest: Short-circuit ‘likely caused’ Notre Dame fire

The official, who spoke anonymously about the ongoing investigation, said investigators still don’t have the green light to work in the cathedral and search in the rubble for safety reasons. He told The Associated Press the monument is still being consolidated with wooden planks to support some fragile parts of the walls.

So they’re just making up excuses from a comfy office?


Paris court rejects appeal, sentences brother of Toulouse attacker to 30 years

A Paris court of appeals on Thursday sentenced Abdelkader Merah to 30 years in jail for complicity in the murders committed by his brother, Mohamed Merah, who shot dead seven people in a terror attack in 2012.

The verdict was received in silence in the courtroom, before sobs broke out among the victim’s relatives in the public gallery.

Merah, the elder brother of “Toulouse gunman” Mohamed Merah, was sentenced in November 2017 to 20 years in jail when France’s highest criminal court found him guilty of criminal terrorist conspiracy in the 2012 murders — including those of three children — outside a Jewish school in the Toulouse area of southern France.


Why Were Authorities so Quick to Rule out Arson in the Notre Dame Conflagration

I feel I must hand it to those stalwart souls investigating the devastating conflagration at the Cathedral of Notre Dame Monday. The flames were not quenched at the 12th-century masterpiece of Gothic architecture when the authorities announced that they had ruled out arson as the cause of the blaze. (Some reports hedged their bets by adding “for now”; most were more apodictic.)

That was an extraordinary, not to say amazing, piece of forensic prognostication. 


Diabolical: Islam’s Past and Present Attacks on European Churches

As explained in this recent article, all around Western Europe, churches are under attack. Along with arson attempts, typically—and rather with diabolical intent—altars are desecrated, crucifixes broken, statues mocked and/or beheaded, and the churches set aflame.

Sometimes fecal matter is smeared on the churches. Last February in France, for instance, vandals plundered and used human excrement to draw a cross on the Notre-Dame des Enfants Church in Nimes; consecrated bread was found thrown outside among garbage. One week later, vandals desecrated and smashed crosses and statues at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur; they mangled the arms of a crucified Christ in a mocking manner and an altar cloth was burned.


Notre Dame’s iconic rooster retrieved from rubble

The metal rooster which perched on the top of Notre Dame’s spire was found in the rubble on Tuesday and appears to have been spared the worst of the fire.

“It is dented but properly restorable,” a Ministry of Culture spokesman said of the rooster, which contains three relics that may also have survived the blaze.

As the rooster was partially crushed when it fell off the spire, the extent of the damage to its contents is unknown.

Stored inside the rooster is one relic of St Denis, one of St Genevieve and one of the thorns from the crown that Jesus Christ wore at the Crucifixion.

More… Bloodied, but unbowed: Stunning aerial footage shows scale of destruction to Notre Dame


All three of Notre Dame’s Rose Windows survived blaze

Notre Dame’s three medieval stained-glass windows all survived last night’s devastating fire, the Archbishop of Paris has said, as detectives probe the renovation work which may have led to the blaze.

The first daylight pictures inside the wreckage of the Paris landmark today showed the roof destroyed, the 850-year-old church exposed to the elements and the floor covered in charred debris.

However the three ‘irreplaceable’ Rose Windows, which date to the 13th century and were last night feared to have melted or exploded, are all still believed to be intact.

Attention has now turned to what may have caused Notre Dame, part of which was being restored in a €150million refurbishment, to fall victim to such a disaster.

Detectives investigating the catastrophic blaze are today interviewing specialist restorers who were carrying out works on the cathedral spire when the inferno broke out.


Notre Dame fire hits after several cases of vandalism against French Catholic churches

The world watched in horror at Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral erupting in flames Monday. The fire is the latest in a series of troubles that have plagued Catholic churches in France in the last several months.

Some of those incidents were acts of vandalism, unlike the fire at Notre Dame, which appears to be an accident connected to renovations of the church.

The image of the famous spire engulfed in flames is a hard hit to the historically deeply Catholic France. While Notre Dame is undoubtedly the most well-known landmark to be affected, Paris’ second largest church, Saint-Sulpice, briefly burst into flames on March 17, with fire damaging doors and stained glass windows on the building’s exterior. Police later reported that the fire had not been “an accident.”


Pakistani in France two months arrested for vandalizing Basilica of Saint-Denis

The forty-year-old was arrested Thursday at the detention center in Vincennes (Val-de-Marne), confused by his DNA found in the basilica. A Pakistani national, he arrived in France two months ago and does not speak French. He has already received a reminder to the law for having degraded property twice in February.

More … here


“Allah est grand”: Muslims laugh, celebrate as blaze destroys Notre Dame cathedral during Holy Week

Jihadists may not have set the fire, but they’re certainly celebrating it. Many Muslims believe that the ruins and destruction of non-Muslim structures testifies to the truth of Islam, as the Qur’an suggests that the destroyed remnants of ancient non-Muslim civilizations are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth: “Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth.”

TwitterNotre Dame

Photos at the DM

I’ve had errands to run all afternoon and listened to radio reports when I could. Such a loss.


Live: Fire rages at iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Firefighters are battling a massive blaze at the French capital’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, where flames and black smoke were seen shooting from the base of the medieval church’s spire on Monday.

UPDATE: The spire has collapsed.

Twitter: Notre Dame


France jails ‘jihadist’ woman accused over foiled terror attack in Paris

ONE OF THREE women allegedly involved in a foiled plot in 2016 to blow up a car packed with gas canisters near the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was today sentenced to eight years in prison by a French court for earlier offences.

Ines Madani, 22, was sentenced following a three-day trial during which she was accused of encouraging would-be jihadists to go to Syria and participate in attacks against France between March 2015 and June 2016.


They may have a point for once… Academics launch petition against ‘racist’ mural in French parliament

Hervé di Rosa stands in front of his mural commemorating the abolition of slavery in France in 1794. It hangs in the National Assembly, Paris.

Two French academics have launched a petition to remove a parliament mural commemorating the abolition of slavery, which they said was a racist, humiliating and dehumanising depiction of black people.

Mame-Fatou Niang, associate professor of French at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and Julien Suaudeau, who lectures in Pennsylvania, said the vast mural which has hung in a corridor of a building at France’s National Assembly for 28 years should be taken down. It was created in 1991 by French artist Hervé di Rosa to commemorate France’s first abolition of slavery in 1794.

“Its presence – in complete indifference – at the heart of one the highest sites of the Republic adds insult to injury,” the academics wrote in an open letter in L’Obs magazine. “It is historically unacceptable and politically incomprehensible. We demand the removal of this wall of shame.”


Yellow Vest violence explodes in Toulouse as 2,000 protesters set cars ablaze and hurl missiles at riot police

The price of gas. Sound Familiar?

Yellow vest demonstrators have again clashed with riot police in the French city of Toulouse as President Emmanuel Macron prepared a series of policy announcements aimed at quelling 22 consecutive weekends of anti-government protests.

The southern city resembled a war zone today as police fired teargas and arrested several people after hundreds of demonstrators started throwing objects, burning rubbish bins and trying to enter areas where protests have been banned.

Around 2,000 protesters had gathered on the Allee Jean Jaures – a wide avenue in the city centre – and on nearby side streets.


France to throw open archives on Rwanda genocide to clarify its role 25 years after the massacre

President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to shed unprecedented light on France’s murky role in the Rwanda genocide by throwing open the state archives 25 years after the start of the massacre.

Mr Macron’s gesture on Friday came after quarter of a century of tense relations over France’s stance before and during the 1994 genocide, in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered, many hacked to death with machetes.

Rwanda has accused France of backing the ethnic Hutu forces behind most of the killing and of facilitating the escape of some of the perpetrators. Paris has long rejected such claims.


French Interior Minister: NGOs Rescuing Migrants Could be Smuggler ‘Accomplices’

According to France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, some aid groups operating in the Mediterranean Sea seem at times to be accomplices to human traffickers and smugglers in the region. Calling for a “responsible attitude”, the minister pointed to “a real collusion between smugglers and some NGOs”, citing their detected phone communication to “facilitate the migrants’ departure from Libyan coasts in appalling conditions”, the minister remarked at the press conference of the G7 interior ministers’ meeting in Paris on Friday, which aims to prepare for the upcoming G7 talks in Biarritz slated for August.