Illegal campsites cleared
Police yesterday began to clear out two illegal refugee camp sites in Paris, following a similar operation last week. A statement from the Paris police department said the campsites were at the Porte des Poissonniers and one next to the Canal Saint Martin. About 500 people have been evacuated — mostly Afghans, but some Africans — and are being taken to lodgings in the Paris region where they can pursue asylum requests.
Macron aide under probe
Anti-corruption prosecutors yesterday said they opened an investigation into President Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff Alexis Kohler over his links to Italian Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC). The probe is to look into Kohler’s time as a senior civil servant in Ministry for the Economy and Finance from 2012 to 2016, the last two years of which he spent as a cabinet director to Macron, the then-minister. Kohler’s mother is a cousin of Rafaela Aponte, whose husband founded MSC in 1970 and built it up into a global leader. Macron’s office dismissed the allegations as “completely unfounded.”
Migrants die in boat sinking
At least 48 migrants were killed when their boat sank off the coast near the island of Kerkenna and 67 others were rescued by the coast guard, officials said on Sunday. A search and rescue operation was due to resume yesterday morning. Security officials said the boat was packed with about 180 migrants, including 80 from other African countries. A survivor said the captain had abandoned the boat after it started sinking.
Pay cut for Aso over scandal
Minister of Finance Taro Aso yesterday announced he would return 12 months of his ministerial salary, while 20 ministry officials were penalized for tampering with documents related to a 2016 government property sale linked to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife. Aso apologized over the tampering, which occurred between February and April last year, but said Akie Abe was not directly involved. The tampering was done to ensure the documents matched explanations by Shinzo Abe to parliament about the scandal. Aso is richest minister in the Cabinet thanks to his family’s massive fortune made in the mining business. He earns about ￥30 million (US$274,000) a year as a minister.
Dangerous dancing for FBI
Police in Denver, Colorado, are investigating an off-duty FBI agent’s apparently accidental shooting of a man at a nightclub on Saturday, after the agent did a backflip while dancing. A video shows the agent’s gun falling out of his trousers as he executes a backflip. It discharged when he picked it up, hitting another patron in the leg. The victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Ex-sex worker named dame
A former sex worker yesterday was made a dame companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honors list in recognition of her services to the sex industry. Catherine Healy was instrumental in bringing about decriminalizing of sex work. She has also led the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective since 1989 and her citation said she had built it “into a globally respected public health provider.” The 62-year-old said she was surprised at the honor.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including