A man reported to be aged 34 and carrying a handgun who on Thursday took six people hostage in a bank in the northern French port town of Le Havre, where former prime minister Édouard Philippe is mayor, surrendered hours later to police and released his captives apparently unharmed.
France's west coast port cities of Bordeaux, La Rochelle and Le Havre followed in the footsteps of Nantes by amassing much of their wealth from the Atlantic slave trade. Yet unlike in Nantes, in these three cities this history remains largely forgotten or hidden from view. And as Lucie Delaporte reports, in the forthcoming local elections which take place on March 15th and March 22nd, neither current councillors nor many candidates seem much inclined to revive these painful memories.
On Saturday February 29th, during an emergency meeting of ministers called to discuss the Coronavirus crisis, the French government took the decision to force its bitterly-opposed pension reforms through Parliament without a vote. In adopting the “nuclear option” of invoking Article 49-3 of the French Constitution to do this, President Emmanuel Macron is hoping that public debate will now shift to other issues. But as Ellen Salvi writes, the move is likely to plunge the remaining two years of his presidency into greater political uncertainty and even undermine his chances of re-election in 2022.
A friend of French prime minister Édouard Philippe was arrested and placed in custody on Sunday June 23rd for having reportedly hit an off-duty police officer. According to legal sources he was, unusually, freed just a few hours later after having claimed – falsely - that he was the premier's diplomatic advisor. He is now due to face trial in November on charges that include passing himself off as a ministerial advisor. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Matthieu Suc report
In Depth: The Alexis Kohler affair
Contrary to what he has stated, President Emmanuel Macron's chief of staff Alexis Kohler has not always revealed his family links to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), and in his duties as a senior public servant has not always stood aside from issues involving the giant Italian-Swiss shipping firm. Official documents from the major French port of Le Havre, seen by Mediapart, show that Kohler took part in discussions and votes concerning the company while he sat on the port's Supervisory Board as a civil servant from 2010 to 2012. Laurent Mauduit and Martine Orange investigate.
by Laurent Mauduit and Martine Orange
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