'Forgotten' terror threat: how Al Qaeda is targeting France

By
Threat to France: Yahya Abu Hammam Threat to France: Yahya Abu Hammam

The massacres in Paris on November 13th last year and the attacks in Brussels on March 22nd have focused attention on Islamic State. Yet the threat from Al Qaeda terrorism has not gone away. Indeed, French intelligence agencies fear that the older terrorist movement may be planning to up the stakes with an attack on France in a bid to restore its flagging reputation in relation to its jihadist rival. Matthieu Suc reports.

Netanyahu's true ties with French businessman at centre of carbon trading fraud case

By
No such thing as a free lunch: Arnaud Mimran and Benjamin Netanyahu in Monaco in August 2003. © Mediapart No such thing as a free lunch: Arnaud Mimran and Benjamin Netanyahu in Monaco in August 2003. © Mediapart

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month denied ever asking or taking financial favours from French businessman Arnaud Mimran, who next month stands trial in France for his alleged key role in the country’s biggest fraud case centring on a 1.6 billion-euro carbon trading scam, and who is also placed under investigation in a separate case of kidnapping and sequestration. But a joint investigation by Mediapart and Israeli daily Haaretz reveals Netanyahu’s longstanding links with Mimran were far from disinterested. Fabrice Arfi reports.

The true lives of those hidden behind France's jobless figures

By
Roselyne et Pascal © MG/MP Roselyne et Pascal © MG/MP

Massaging unemployment figures has become a preoccupation for France’s socialist government, as the rising numbers of jobless threaten to put the final nail in President François Hollande’s political coffin ahead of presidential elections next year. The figures are presented in three categories, A, B and C, ranging from those without any professional activity – the official unemployed - to those who have partial jobs. But there are few differences between either section, all facing a desperate daily search for a proper job and liveable income, as illustrated in these four interviews by Mathilde Goanec.

Why French anti-corruption services are cracking at the seams

By

France’s anti-corruption services are over-stretched, under-staffed and under-performing, lacking both the human and material resources to effectively carry out the investigations handed to them. The problem affects both the judicial services and the specialised police units that carry out the in-the-field investigations into white-collar crime. Mediapart legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports on a deepening crisis.  

French PM's gamble to defuse student revolt against labour law reform

By
Manuel Valls, with labour minister Myriam El Khomri (l) and education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, meeting with student representatives on Monday. © Reuters Manuel Valls, with labour minister Myriam El Khomri (l) and education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, meeting with student representatives on Monday. © Reuters

François Hollande’s expected bid for a new term of office in presidential elections next year is facing a serious threat from growing student anger over his government’s proposed new labour law. A string of national protests have brought student and trades unions onto the streets in recent weeks against what they see as a pro-business, retrograde reform that heightens job insecurity at a time of record unemployment. The perspective of a spring revolt prompted the government to present a package of measures for the young on Monday, worth a yearly 500 million euros and aimed at easing access to the labour market and to provide financial aid for the worst off. But while the measures were broadly met with approval, the student unions vowed to continue the battle against the reform. Faïza Zerouala reports.

A night with Nuit Debout, France's novel protest movement

Since March 31st, an increasing series of nocturnal sit-ins have taken over town and city centres around France. Called Nuit Debout, (roughly meaning ‘Standing Up Night’), they are gatherings of people of all ages who are dismayed by the political scene in France. They hold debates, spontaneous discussions, break out in song, swap books, eat together and hold occasional demonstrations. There is no official aim, and there are no official leaders, and no-one knows where it will all end. The movement began on the Place de la République in central Paris, in the aftermath of a demonstration against the government’s proposed labour law reform. Christophe Gueugneau and Michaël Hajdenberg joined the sit-in there this weekend.

The hidden address that exposes French economy minister's true colours

By
An eye on 2017: Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters An eye on 2017: Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters

French economy minister Emmanuel Macron this week announced the launch of his political movement, En Marche, raising speculation that he was preparing a bid for next year’s presidential elections. Macron, a former advisor to socialist president François Hollande and who holds no elected office, declared that his movement was neither left- nor right-wing. But, as Laurent Mauduit reports, it is in fact domiciled at the private address of the director of one of the leading think tanks of French business.

Mossack Fonseca's key role in French corruption cases

panamapapers

The Panama Papers revelations have rocked the world with disclosures of how Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca mounted offshore financial structures for the rich and powerful that enable tax evasion and money laundering on a staggering scale. Beyond the sensational cases emerging in the leaked documents, Mossack Fonseca is also cited in several judicial investigations into some of the most important corruption scandals in France over recent years. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske, Mathilde Mathieu, Yann Philippin and Ellen Salvi report.

Jobs or environment: the debate over plans to build 'EuropaCity' Paris complex

By
Vision of the future: how the planned EuropaCity will look. Vision of the future: how the planned EuropaCity will look.

It is one of the largest development projects in the Paris region. The Auchan supermarket chain wants to build a vast shopping complex on farmland near Charles-De-Gaulle airport that will contain not just shops but a leisure park, a ski slope and cultural centres. Its supporters say EuropaCity will bring thousands of job to a poor, deprived area and serve as a blueprint for commerce and society in the 21st century. Opponents doubt the number of jobs it will create, say it will harm the environment, and argue that it is at odds with the commitments made by France and other nations at the COP21 climate summit held in Paris in December. Urban utopia or environmental nightmare? Jade Lindgaard reports.

EDF's own engineers oppose Hinkley Point nuclear project

By

Plans by French energy giant EDF to build two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in south-west England have already triggered the resignation of the company's finance director, led to opposition from unions and raised doubts from France's financial watchdog. Now, Mediapart can reveal, in an unprecedented move a number of EDF's own engineers have also expressed their deep misgivings about the multi-billion euro project and called for it to be delayed. As Martine Orange reports, the engineers fear the Hinkley Point construction could threaten the group's plans to renew France's own nuclear power stations in the near future.

The victims who unmasked child sex abuse scandal in Catholic Church in France

By Daphné Gastaldi, Mathieu Martiniere et Mathieu Périsse
The priest involved in the scandal, Father Bernard Preynat, on far right in second row, at a church ceremony in Lyon in April 2015. © lyon.catholique.fr The priest involved in the scandal, Father Bernard Preynat, on far right in second row, at a church ceremony in Lyon in April 2015. © lyon.catholique.fr

In recent weeks a paedophilia scandal has engulfed the diocese of Lyon in eastern France. A Catholic priest is said to have abused dozens of boy scouts who were in his care, while the cardinal at the head of the diocese has been forced to deny covering up the affair. The scandal came to light largely thanks to the work of a group of victims who joined together and set up an association to break the silence surrounding the abuse. In the space of just three months this group has brought to light not just the scandal in Lyon, but has also unearthed other potential affairs. Daphné Gastaldi, Mathieu Martinière and Mathieu Périsse report.

Former Disneyland Paris stuntman wins court case over workplace injuries

By

A former stuntman has won a case against the popular French amusement park after it was held guilty of “gross negligence” over safety issues. Former colleagues of the stuntman have also raised concerns about the level of training and safety equipment for performers in the well-known car and motorbike stunt show at Disneyland Paris. Mathilde Goanec reports.

Eco-protester had 'hands in air' when killed by French gendarme's grenade

By
Tributes to the memory of student Rémi Fraisse, who died in October 2014. © Mediapart Tributes to the memory of student Rémi Fraisse, who died in October 2014. © Mediapart

Mediapart can reveal new evidence from witnesses that puts a different perspective on the death of botany student Rémi Fraisse during a protest against the building of a new dam at Sivens in south-west France in October 2014. Statements from several eye witnesses show that Rémi, 21, had his hands in the air and was calling on gendarmes to stop firing when he was struck and killed by an offensive grenade. Their accounts also cast some doubts over the version of events given by the authorities about the student's death. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports.

Caught on tape: savage beating by militants close to France's Front National

By and Thierry Vincent
Scenes from the graphic video showing the attack carried out by members of the French extreme-right group GUD. Scenes from the graphic video showing the attack carried out by members of the French extreme-right group GUD.

The head of the extreme-right French group the Groupe Union Défense or GUD in Paris, Logan Djian, has been placed under formal investigation for “aggravated violence” over the assault of a former head of the same group. Mediapart has obtained copies of nine video clips which show the full savagery of the attack. Mediapart can also reveal that investigators are examining where the 25,000 euros for Dijian's bail came from, amid suspicions that it came from a company set up by a senior figure in Marine Le Pen's far-right Front National. Marine Turchi and Thierry Vincent report.

How Belgium became a terrorist hub – and target

By and

The attacks in Brussels on Tuesday March 22nd highlight once again how Belgium has become a nerve centre of jihadist terrorism in Europe, as well as being a target itself. The Belgian network led by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who led the November 13th bombings in Paris, was very active while the logistical 'expert' for the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested just last week, is suspected of having been involved in planning the latest attacks in the Belgian capital. Earlier this year, meanwhile, Europol warned of the risk of more attacks. As Belgian authorities identified three men with links to the Paris attacks as the Brussels suicide bombers, Matthieu Suc and Yann Philippin consider how Belgium has become a terrorist hub.