Chronicles

  • Paris attacks trial: 'I wanted to see them, to tell them all they've taken from me'

    By Roman
    The courtroom used for the trial relating to the Paris terrorist attacks of November 13th 2015. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart The courtroom used for the trial relating to the Paris terrorist attacks of November 13th 2015. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    The trial of 20 individuals accused of variously perpetrating or helping with the carrying out of the November 13th 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris is continuing, in proceedings that are expected to last nine months. As part of its regular coverage of the trial, Mediapart is publishing the first-hand reactions and reflections of seven victims of the massacres as they follow the court proceedings. Here Roman, aged 30, who escaped alive after terrorists attacked La Belle Équipe restaurant where he was dining with friends, gives his evidence to the court about the attacks and describes the events that preceded it.

  • Navigating the brave and sometimes baffling new world of France's Covid health pass

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    The health pass can be obtained in several ways, with a vaccination certificate, a negative test in the last 72 hours or a certificate showing that you have had Covid within the last six months. © ROB ENGELAAR / ANP via AFP The health pass can be obtained in several ways, with a vaccination certificate, a negative test in the last 72 hours or a certificate showing that you have had Covid within the last six months. © ROB ENGELAAR / ANP via AFP

    From Monday August 9th the French government made it obligatory to have a health pass for anyone wanting to enter a range of establishments or access services, from cafés to restaurants, cinemas to libraries and high-speed trains to hospitals. This meant thousands of people have been trying to get a QR code to prove they have been vaccinated twice, had a recent negative Covid test or that they had recovered from the illness in the last six months and thus had antibodies. For some, this has meant a long and frustrating time dealing with the complexities of a new layer of French bureaucracy. Khedidja Zerouali has been talking to people who have struggled to navigate their way around this brave new world of health rules.

  • Two worlds collide at French trial into so-called Karachi affair

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    Middleman Ziad Takieddine, left, and Thierry Gaubert, right, two of the accused in the Karachi trial. Middleman Ziad Takieddine, left, and Thierry Gaubert, right, two of the accused in the Karachi trial.

    A trial is underway in Paris into the financial aspects of the so-called Karachi affair, which involves allegations of illegal kickbacks paid in relation to French defence contracts with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the 1990s. The case has witnessed two very different worlds coming together in the same courtroom. On the one hand is the white-collar world of power, money and vanity represented by the accused, who were senior French advisors and officials. On the other side is the blue-collar world of workers, represented by the survivors and families of victims of the bus bombing which killed 14 people in Karachi in 2002, including 11 French defence staff who were working on contracts relating to those multi-million euro defence deals. Fabrice Arfi reports.

  • A tale of dosh and France's complex reaction to money

    By

    President Emmanuel Macron's recent reference to the “shedloads of dosh” that the state pays out in benefits has sparked a lot of discussion about money in France. The controversial phrase was followed by revelations about a huge payout awarded to the outgoing chief executive of a major French company, a controversy over the cost of presidential crockery and a mini-row over footballers' pay. But as Hubert Huertas explains, how people in France react to discussions about money depends on where that money comes from - and who is receiving it.

  • Macron's high-risk spring as he faces worker discontent

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    The rail strike will be a big test of Emmanuel Macron's presidency. The rail strike will be a big test of Emmanuel Macron's presidency.

    This week is the start of a critical period in Emmanuel Macron's presidency. Workers from the rail industry, Air France and the supermarket chain Carrefour have been taking industrial action while students have held sit-ins at a number of universities. The government says that these various actions with their different causes show an irrational fear of the “new world” that is dawning. In fact, argues Hubert Huertas, these protests stem from a weariness with years of talk about the need for austerity and reform - and they could yet threaten the presidency's power.

  • The dangers of Macron's planned law on 'fake news'

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    At the start of the New Year President Emmanuel Macron told a gathering of journalists that his government was preparing a new law to clamp down on 'fake news' on social media. But already the French media are wondering whether an attack on 'fake news', however desirable, would not end up damaging freedom of information in general. Hubert Huertas looks at the pitfalls presented by the plan.

  • Macron v Macron: president's biggest challenge in 2018 comes from himself

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    Addressing the nation: Presisdent Emmanuel Macron on December 31st, 2017. Addressing the nation: Presisdent Emmanuel Macron on December 31st, 2017.

    “I did it in 2017....I will do it in 2018”. On Sunday December 31st, President Emmanuel Macron delivered his first New Year goodwill message to the French people. Just 12 months ago no one imagined that he would be the occupant of the Élysée. Even last summer, when he had been elected, no one thought he would be in a strong position. Yet here he is, and his political situation looks robust. But it is a little too early for the new president to get out the bunting just yet. For Hubert Huertas argues that President Macron is about to face his biggest political 'opponent' – himself.

  • Will Paris pay a steep price for hosting 2024 Olympics?

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    President Emmanuel Macron with the delegration from the Paris 2024 bid at Lausanne in Switzerland on July 11th, 2017. © Reuters President Emmanuel Macron with the delegration from the Paris 2024 bid at Lausanne in Switzerland on July 11th, 2017. © Reuters

    An agreement struck between Los Angeles and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over 2028 has left the way open for Paris to be the host nation for the 2024 Games. While rival cities have pulled out of the race for budgetary reasons, officials behind the French bid insist they will keep to their budget of 6.6 billion euros. But as Antton Rouget reports, there are nonetheless real risks of an overspend, especially on security.

  • The contradictions of France's new-look National Assembly

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    The new Members of Parliament have taken up their seats in the National Assembly following the Parliamentary elections and they consist of new faces, new groups and a new social demographic. Many of them are from a non-political, civic society background, with their own habits, customs and beliefs and bringing with them, too, a desire to circumvent the old political obstacles and delays of the past. But, says Hubert Huertas, this new group may themselves soon end up personifying those very same old political ways.

  • How elections debunked myth that France is lurching to the Right

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    The hard and far right narrative came undone in France's Parliamentary elections. The hard and far right narrative came undone in France's Parliamentary elections.

    The fact that a party that did not even exist just over a year ago has just won an absolute majority in the French National Assembly has inevitably excited surprise among commentators. But, argues Hubert Huertas, one remarkable aspect of the recent presidential and legislative votes has largely gone unnoticed: the death of the notion that French society was on some inevitable path towards the far right. This theory, which was enthusiastically adopted by Nicolas Sarkozy and exemplified by the Front National, has been comprehensively demolished, he says.