French investigators on Saturday July 21st raided the house of one of President Emmanuel Macron’s former top security aides, a man who was caught on camera beating a young protester in May.
Alexandre Benalla's involvement in the beating and questions about the government's handling of the affair is turning into Macron's biggest political crisis since he took office last year.
According to AP, the presidential Elysee Palace fired bodyguard Benalla a day before police raided his home on Saturday morning in the Parisian suburb of Issy-Les-Moulineaux, according to the Paris prosecutor's office.
Benalla was identified earlier this week by the Le Monde newspaper for beating a young protester during the May Day protests while wearing a police helmet. He and a second man are facing potential charges and are in police custody until Sunday.
Regular parliamentary work has been paralysed for two days with questions about why it took two and a half months to inform judicial officials and why Benalla stayed in his post during that time. Questions over whether there was an official cover-up of his actions have also been raised and whether Elysee employees have a measure of impunity not granted to others.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb will face questions from parliament next week to see if the government failed to properly discipline Benalla.
Despite his official change to a desk job, Benalla was seen this month on the ground with police at several high-profile events, including the return home on Monday of France's soccer World Cup-winning team. #investigation#Bodyguard#security#Macron#7D#7Dnews
A woman was shot and subsequently died from her wounds before the suspect ran into a busy Los Angeles supermarket and held dozens of people hostage for about three hours.
The incident, which took place on Saturday July 21st, ended when hostage negotiators were able to convince the man to handcuff himself before surrendering to police.
None of the hostages was seriously hurt.
About two hours before taking the hostages, the police responded to an incident in which it is believed the suspect shot his grandmother seven times. He then wounded another woman and forced her into a car. Police chased the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with the man, who eventually crashed outside Trader Joe's in the city's Silver Lake section. He then ran from the car into the store.
Frightened customers and workers dived for cover as police officers opened fire, shattering the store's glass doors. Some inside the supermarket managed to climb out of windows, while others barricaded themselves in rooms as scores of police, firefighters and ambulances converged on the scene.
Heavily armed officers in riot gear stood along the side of the store and used mirrors to see inside as hostage negotiators coaxed the man into freeing his hostages and surrendering.
At about 6:30 pm, the man agreed to handcuff himself and walked out of the front door, surrounded by four of the hostages. The unidentified man, who police say is aged about 28, was taken into custody. Police said he had a wound on his arm.
Mayor Eric Garcetti congratulated police and firefighters for their work and expressed his grief at the loss of life at Trader Joe's, where he and his wife used to shop when they lived in the neighbourhood.
"The heroism that was shown today was second to none and the teams that were able to respond, secure the perimeter and engage in conversation with the suspect no doubt saved lives today," he said, adding "our hearts go out to everyone who has been traumatised." #LA#US#Losangeles#supermarket#hostage#politics#7D#7Dnews
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Crowds protesting against the Iraqi government gathered once more in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq after prayers on Friday July 20th, demanding improved services, jobs and an end to corruption.
A government source said two people died in Friday’s demonstrations, with a further 45 injured. Security forces used live ammunition to disperse protestors.
Roads and bridges leading to Tahrir square in Baghdad were blocked off, so crowds gathered in the Green Area. A protestor died and many were injured in the province of Diwaniyah, south of the capital. He was shot dead by soldiers guarding the of political parties. Some of the people who had gathered in front of the party premises attempted to break in; the security forces opened fire, killing one and wounding a number of others.
In the southern province of Dhi Qar, thousands of protestors gathered in Al-Haboubi square in the centre of Nasiriyah. They demanded the dismissal of the governor and the dissolution of the local government and municipal councils. Security forces prevented angry protesters from storming the governor’s house.
In Basra, about three thousand demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of the Governate of Basra and chanted "overthrow the political parties" and "topple the regime". "Iran out, Baghdad remains free" was another chant, rejecting Tehran’s intervention in Iraq.
Saif Badr, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Health, told Iraq’s official TV channel that 45 people were injured and two were killed in Diwaniyah and Najaf due to excessive use of force by security forces.
Badr said most of the injuries were suffered by security personnel, but they were minor and many did not need to go to hospital. #protest#Iraq#Baghdad#services#jobs#politics#7D#7Dnews
Some of Russia's best-known track and field athletes are facing doping charges, including former Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which oversees anti-doping cases in track and field, released details on Friday July 20th of 109 pending cases from around the world as part of a new transparency drive.
As reported by AP, besides Ukhov, the list includes top Russians including double world champion shot putter Tatyana Lysenko, Olympic bronze medal-winning long jumper Svetlana Shkolina, and 2014 world indoor triple jump champion Lyukman Adams.
The AIU said they are among 13 Russian cases based on evidence uncovered during World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren's research into the widespread system of doping and cover-ups in Russia.
The cases of Ukhov, Lysenko, Adams, and Shkolina are all listed as pending before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Some of the 13 have competed in recent months, and the AIU said they had not been suspended before their hearing.
The AIU said in emailed comments to AP, “Where there is a case that does not involve a positive test but is the result of an investigation based on McLaren evidence only, the athlete can continue to compete until their case is determined.” #Jumper#Ukhov#Russia#dopingcharges#sports#7D#7Dnews
Thailand's military government says it is concerned that filmmakers and other media may take advantage of the young boys recently rescued from a flooded cave, and wants to control how any movies portray their ordeal and rescue.
According to AP, Culture Minister Vira Rojpochanarat said he will propose at next week's Cabinet meeting that a special committee oversee the production of films, documentaries and videos about the experiences of the 12 boys and their football coach who were trapped underground for almost three weeks.
With the boys returning home, attention has turned to how the media are handling the post-rescue story. There has been criticism of several news outlets, mostly based overseas, that are considered to have ignored official advice to leave the boys alone for at least a month so as to limit any psychological stress.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Friday July 20th he had instructed officials from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to make sure the young boys and those associated with them were not bothered while they going through a period of mental rehabilitation.
Speaking after a film board meeting on July 19th, the Culture Minister said that five foreign film production companies had shown interest in making a movie or documentary about the cave rescue, and some had already been on location to collect information.
Vira said Thai film producers had also shown interest but had not yet contacted the government.
She commented, “This story has all the right elements. If you talk about drama associated with filmmaking, it has everything. It has loss as well as jubilation. The content and story it has for filmmaking is very complete. Even if you do not create additional drama, these events had every flavour.” #Thailand#films#movies#Asia#7D#7Dnews