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12 Dead After Attack on Offices of Satirical Newspaper in Paris


Twelve people (10 journalists and two police officers) have been confirmed dead and five injured after three gunmen opened fire this morning on the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris this morning. The attackers fled in a vehicle they carjacked and are still at large.

TIME reports:

A police spokesman told reporters the dead included ten journalists and two police officers, adding that five people were seriously injured. Earlier, Luc Poignard, a police union official, said two attackers escaped in two vehicles after opening fire at Charlie Hebdo. Witnesses said the gunmen headed to one of the exits of the city center, with the police in pursuit.

Rocco Contento, a spokesman for the Unité police union, told reporters that three attackers got into a getaway car driven by a fourth man on fleeing the building and drove to Port de Pantin in north-east Paris, where they abandoned the first car and hijacked a second – turning the driver out into the road.

The magazine was hit with a petrol bomb attack in 2011 after announcing that the Prophet Muhammed would be 'editor-in-chief' of its next issue. According to The Guardian, the paper's most recent tweet and its current cover concerned Islamism.

The paper's current editor-in-chief was in London today at the time of the attacks, according to the Press Association.

Videos and tweets (some graphic) showing the attackers began appearing online shortly after the attacks.

A tweet from a French journalist allegedly showed the gunmen outside the offices:

Four among those killed have been named by media sources, but not confirmed officially, according to the Guardian -

They are the magazine’s editor and cartoonist, Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb; and three other cartoonists: Cabu, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac, known as Tignous. The Guardian is awaiting official confirmation of these names.

President Francois Hollande condemned the attack:

As did President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Said Obama:

I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time. France is America's oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world. Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended. France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers. We are in touch with French officials and I have directed my Administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.

Said Merkel:

This abominable act is not only an attack on the lives of French citizens and their security. It is also an attack on freedom of speech and the press, core elements of our free democratic culture. In no way can this be justified.

The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie is being used online to show solidarity with the victims of the attack, according to The Guardian, and is currently trending worldwide...

The Guardian has a liveblog of events surrounding the attacks.

Right-wing French Political Leader to File Lawsuit After Gossip Magazine 'Outs' Him as Gay


Florian Phillippot, a leader of one of France's far-right, nationalist parties is set to take a French gossip magazine to court after the tabloid outed him as gay, New York's Daily News reports:

Philippot1Philippot, who is the Front National's vice-president, was pictured with his boyfriend on a trip to the Austrian city of Vienna last week.

The incident has caused outrage in France, where the private lives of politicians usually remains beyond public scrutiny.

Closer's article was headlined: "At last a real weekend away from Paris."

Inside, the magazine's article was entitled "Yes to love for all."

This is a play on the words "Marriage for All," which was the name of the controversial 2013 bill legalizing gay marriage in France.

The Telegraph has more on the reaction in France:

MarineThe rare breach of Gallic press protocol is an embarrassment for the FN, whose attitude towards homosexuals has historically ranged from ambivalent to downright homophobic. [...]

Politicians across the board slammed the revelation as an unacceptable breach of Mr Philippot's private life.

FN leader Marine Le Pen denounced what she called "a very grave violation of individual liberties".

The Front National party opposed last year's gay marriage law, and its former leader Jean-Marie Le Pen once described homosexuality as a "biological and social anomaly" and was reportedly fond of making jokes about AIDS. Since taking over the party from her father, however, Marine has attempted to modernize the FN to attract conservative gays in France. 

Closer's editor, meanwhile, is standing behind the story, saying that high-profile heterosexual public figures receive just as much private scrutiny from the outlet. 

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Elected Opposition Party Leader

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made headlines recently for his call to repeal the country's same-sex marriage law that was passed last year, has been elected as leader of the UMP opposition party.

BBC reports:

SarkozyMore than 150,000 party members - over 50% - voted in the election, despite the process being slowed down by a cyber attack.

Mr Le Maire, a former agriculture minister, received just less than 29.2% and a third candidate, MP Herve Mariton 6.3%.

Mr Sarkozy posted a message to supporters on his Facebook page (in French).

"I would like to thank all the UMP members who did me the honour of electing me leader of our political family," he said.

"Their mobilisation, at a level unequalled in the history of our movement, is the best response to two years of internal quarrels and divisions."

Back in September, in his first interview since announcing his intention to return to politics, the thrice-married Sarkozy blasted President François Hollande's socialist government for "humiliating families" by legalizing gay marriage. 

Sarkozy is widely expected to mount a campaign in the 2017 presidential election.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Calls for Repeal of Country's Gay Marriage Law

At a debate organized by a conservative group yesterday, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy told supporters that the country's same-sex marriage law should be repealed.

The Guardian reports:

SarkozyReferring to the “mariage pour tous” or “marriage for all” legislation passed by France’s Socialist government last year, he said it needed “rewriting from top to bottom”.

His comments prompted catcalls from the 3,000-strong audience of the group Common Sense, and cries of “Repeal! Repeal!”. Sarkozy, appearing rattled, responded: “If you’d rather one says repeal the law and make another one … in French, that’s saying the same thing. It comes to the same result.

“But hey, if that makes you happy, then frankly, it doesn’t cost much.”

Sarkozy went on to say that he was in favour of some form of marriage for same-sex couples, but something different from that for heterosexuals, and that he opposed surrogacy for same-sex couples. [...]

Sarkozy’s comment and apparent policy-making on the hoof brought angry reactions from the governing Socialist party, which accused him of “appealing to the most reactionary instincts of his core supporters”. A spokesperson said Sarkozy wanted to create “a new form of segregation” with his two-tier marriage proposal.

Sarkozy is in the midst of an attempted political comeback and is vying to lead the country's centre-right UMP party into the 2017 presidential election. 

Back in September, during his first television interview since announcing his intention to return to politics, Sarkozy accused the socialist government of "humiliating families and humiliating people who love the family" by introducing the legislation allowing same-sex marriage. 

Sarkozy is on his third marriage. 

Meet France's New, Openly Gay Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud


Over the summer, Gerard Araud, 61, became the first openly gay French ambassador to the United States. Now, in Vogue profile, he lets loose with undiplomatic candor about U.S. policies in Iraq, his "fiery Twitter feed", and a personal pass on gay marriage. “I am not interested at this moment in marriage for myself,” Araud says, regarding his relationship of 19 years with photographer Pascal Blondeau. “But I don’t see any reason why anyone should be denied this right.”  In his home country, marriage equality became legal in 2013 after some violent protests.

Araud, a career diplomat who started working in Washington in the early '80s, was previously France's outspoken representative to the United Nations, where he developed a close friendship with the U.S. rep Samantha Power. He even talks about how they still keep in touch via cute text messages (i.e. "On behalf of the French mission, I have to tell you: you are beautiful"). While Power appreciates the compliments, she praises Araud on his mastery of diplomacy and his strength as a savvy international strategist. This being Vogue, there is less discussion of this topic than the fashionable Araud's feelings regarding the boxy, black suits that diplomats are prone to wear, not to mention his role in the gut renovation of the famed French residence in Washington. But his frank nature comes across loud and clear and is remarkable given his post as one of the highest profile diplomats in D.C.

Cehck out the full article here

[photo via Twitter]

FBI Questions Vine Prankster for Filming in Speedo on Airplane: VIDEO

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French Vine star Jerome Jarre was taken in for questioning by the FBI, after he pulled a prank where he wore a speedo and inflatable pool toy on his American Airlines international flight from Mexico City to Miami.

An alarmed flight attendent called the police after seeing Jarre. has a round-up of the prankster's tweets to his fans for help/outcry while he was being questioned by the FBI. In the end, Jarre says the agent questioning him said this was the silliest case he'd ever had to deal with, and Jarre faced no charges or punishment.

You may know Jarre from his celebrity pranks and especially the time John Stamos saw his cheek kiss and raised him a smooch on the mouth.

Below is the video of the would-be prank, and the abrupt shutdown by the flight attendant. I can think of at least two people who might not have been so bothered by the antics.

Video is AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "FBI Questions Vine Prankster for Filming in Speedo on Airplane: VIDEO" »


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