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

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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.

Mossack Fonseca's key role in French corruption cases

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Sarkozy one step closer to corruption trial as judges uphold phone tap evidence

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Nicolas Sarkozy's hopes of returning to the Elysée suffered a potential blow on Tuesday when France's top court approved the use of telephone taps that led to the former president being formally investigated for “corruption” and “influence peddling”. The decision by the Cour de Cassation to reject Sarkozy's appeal means that he could soon face charges and be sent for trial over the allegations, which concern his alleged attempts to obtain confidential information about another legal affair that involved him. Though he has not formally announced his candidacy for the Right's autumn primary ahead of the 2017 presidential election, it is widely expected that Sarkozy will stand. But the electoral road is likely to be tougher for Sarkozy if he is facing a trial on corruption charges. Michel Deléan reports.

French state in the dock over crumbling justice system

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 © Reuters © Reuters

The French justice system is cracking apart from the effects of a dire shortage of personnel and resources, with one of the smallest budgets, in comparison to national GDP, in Europe. Magistrates complain they are crushed by their workload, unable to fulfil their tasks. The chronic logjam of cases has often tragic humain consequences, as Michaël Hajdenberg discovered when he asked six magistrates from different jurisdictions across France to give their own accounts of the problems they face.

How Europe has allowed terrorists child's-play access to a devastating arsenal

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The terrorist attacks in Paris last year were back in the headlines this weekend after the arrest in Belgium of Salah Abdeslam, wanted for his part in the November 13th shooting and bombing massacres in the French capital. Those attacks, like the shootings carried out at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Paris kosher store in January 2015 demonstrate the ease with which terrorists can acquire reactivated weapons, notably from Eastern Europe. In partnership with eight other European media organisations grouped in a collective project, European Investigative Collaborations, Mediapart exposes here how the European Union has turned a blind eye to the trafficking of improperly deactivated military weapons, as illustrated by the history of one such weapon used to murderous effect in Paris. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Matthieu Suc report.

The deadly path of the January 2015 Paris terror attacks weapons

The European Union's inability to establish strict, continent-wide regulations concerning the sales of deactivated military weapons, but which allows the widespread sale of assault rifles that can be easily reactivated, played a very clear role in the arming of Islamist terrorists who carried out the waves of terrorist attacks in Paris in January and November 2015. Mediapart, in conjunction with the European media network, European Investigative Collaborations, presents an interactive map showing the trail of the arms used by the terrorists in the Paris attacks of January 2015.

Hollande's key post-terror attacks reform hits the rocks

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The French Senate voted on Thursday in favour of inscribing into the constitution the stripping of French nationality from dual-nationals convicted of terrorist crimes. The text adopted by the Senate is fundamentally different to that adopted last month in the National Assembly, the lower house, which allows for the stripping of French nationality of anyone convicted of terrorism, effectively allowing for individuals to become stateless. As Christophe Gueugneau and Ellen Salvi report, the conflict now appears likely to definitively bury what was one of President François Hollande’s two key and highly controversial constitutional reforms in reaction to the November 13th terrorist massacres in Paris.  

No happy end in sight for French authors

A graph indicating the rise and fall of authors' average income. © Mediapart A graph indicating the rise and fall of authors' average income. © Mediapart

The yearly Paris book fair opens its doors to the public on Thursday afternoon, a popular event that was last year marked by an unprecedented demonstration by hundreds of authors protesting at their generally poor and diminishing incomes. Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis reports on a profession which, with the multiplication of titles published and the advent of digital publishing, sees anything but a happy end ahead, and reveals data which shows that, women authors earn on average significantly less than their male counterparts.