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The iconic windmill crowning the Moulin Rouge, Paris’s renowned cabaret club, suffered a setback as its sails collapsed onto the street below, causing the first three letters of its sign to also fall off. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported from the incident, which occurred in the early hours of the morning.

Despite regular maintenance checks by the cabaret’s technical teams, the cause of the collapse remains unclear. Moulin Rouge director Jean-Victor Clerico emphasized that foul play is not suspected, attributing the incident to a technical malfunction.

While the loss of the windmill’s sails is a significant event, Parisians and visitors alike reflect on the historical and cultural significance of the Moulin Rouge. Established in 1889 at the foot of Montmartre hill, it quickly became synonymous with the vibrant nightlife of Paris, attracting artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who immortalized its allure during the Belle Époque era.

The cabaret’s legacy endured through various artistic representations, including Toulouse-Lautrec’s iconic posters and Baz Luhrmann’s film “Moulin Rouge!”, which introduced its story to a contemporary audience. Known for its can-can performances and risqué atmosphere, the Moulin Rouge remains a cherished landmark despite this recent setback.

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Amid concerns over potential Islamic State (IS) threats to European sporting events, including a recent online warning, French authorities have intensified security measures in Paris. This move coincides with worries about the safety of upcoming events such as the Champions League quarter-final match and the impending Olympic Games.

While Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin acknowledged the elevated threat level, he also emphasized France’s experience in countering extremist activities, citing recent foiled attacks. Despite the heightened security, some fans remain undeterred, expressing a determination not to let fear dictate their lives.

Across Europe, governments are grappling with the growing threat posed by IS-K, particularly in light of the upcoming European Football Championship. Germany, in particular, has ramped up security measures, including border checks, amidst concerns over internal security.

Balancing security concerns with maintaining a sense of normalcy presents a challenge for France, especially with the Olympics fast approaching. While some voices caution against overreacting to IS threats, others stress the importance of not yielding to fear and maintaining public confidence.

France’s extensive experience with Islamist incidents has led to the deployment of significant security forces, including Operation Sentinelle and military personnel. Despite assurances from security officials, concerns persist, compounded by tensions with Russia and its alleged efforts to undermine French credibility through cyber campaigns.

President Macron has warned of Russia’s potential to disrupt the Olympics through various means, including cyber operations aimed at spreading misinformation. The French government has publicly denounced attempts to manipulate public opinion, attributing such actions to Kremlin-backed efforts to sow discord.

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France is instituting a mobile security force to assist schools grappling with challenges, a move prompted by the resignation of a Paris school head amidst death threats. The headteacher stepped down after being falsely accused of assaulting a student during a dispute over her wearing of an Islamic headscarf. Education Minister Nicole Belloubet has emphasized that the establishment of this mobile force aims to provide reassurance to teachers and bolster security measures, particularly in the wake of heightened tensions following the tragic killings of two teachers.

The mobile school force, comprising approximately 20 education officers, will be deployed within 48 hours to schools facing acute crises, offering support in terms of security, reassurance, and educational expertise. This initiative comes in response to the need for immediate assistance in situations where local authorities require additional support to maintain order and safety within school premises. By swiftly mobilizing this team, the government aims to address concerns and provide tangible support to schools navigating challenging circumstances.

The recent incident involving a Paris school head underscores the complexities surrounding issues of cultural and religious diversity within the French education system. Despite the absence of evidence supporting the student’s accusations, the headteacher resigned due to safety concerns arising from subsequent threats. Politicians from across the political spectrum have condemned the situation, with Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announcing legal action against the student for making false allegations. This incident highlights the broader societal challenges faced by educators in upholding secular principles while fostering inclusivity and respect within schools.

Amidst a surge in threats conveyed through digital messaging systems, the education ministry has suspended the ENT system, used by teachers and students, due to a proliferation of threats. Over 320 threats have been reported nationwide, with authorities attributing the surge to hacked personal accounts. Several arrests have been made in connection with online threats, including individuals aged 17 and 21. Despite these challenges, efforts are underway to restore normalcy, with authorities hopeful that the digital messaging system will be reinstated after the spring break. These measures reflect a concerted effort to address the complex interplay of security, technology, and societal tensions within the French education landscape.

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The iconic Parisian event known as the Café Waiters’ Race, where service staff speedily navigate through the city while balancing trays of hot drinks and croissants, has made a triumphant return after a hiatus since 2011.

Originating in 1914 as the Course Des Café, this tradition has seen nearly 300 Parisian waiters, donned in their work attire, racing a 1.2-mile course to and from the city hall adjacent to the Seine river. The challenge mandates participants to carry the tray, laden with a quintessential French breakfast of coffee, croissant, and water, with precision and poise, ensuring not a single drop is spilled. Upon reaching the finish line, judges meticulously inspect trays for any spillage.

This year, Samy Lamrous claimed victory in the men’s category, completing the course in a swift 13 minutes and 30 seconds, while Pauline Van Wymeersch triumphed in the women’s division with a time of 14 minutes and 12 seconds. Both winners were honored with medals bestowed by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, along with a complimentary night’s stay in a luxurious hotel.

Eau de Paris, the city’s water authority and the event’s sponsor, expressed their delight, stating, “This Sunday, nearly 300 waitresses and waiters took on an original challenge in the heart of Paris and brought a legendary event back to life! Here are the medal-winning athletes. Congratulations to all!”

While the Parisian race holds historical significance, similar events were once popular in London and Berlin. However, the inaugural race in 1914 cemented Paris as its birthplace. Following a pause in 2011 due to sponsorship issues, other French towns like Marseille continued the tradition, keeping the spirit alive.

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In France’s most significant cyberbullying case to date, twenty-eight individuals have been sentenced to jail terms of up to 18 months for harassing influencer Magali Berdah. The harassment, orchestrated partly by French rapper Booba’s campaign against “thieving influencers,” had severe impacts on Berdah’s mental well-being, as stated by the court in Paris.

Booba, also known as Élie Yaffa, faces his own legal proceedings for aggravated harassment, which he denies. Berdah, renowned as “the queen of influencers” in France, has faced relentless online abuse encouraged by Booba’s posts, according to her lawyers.

The court emphasized that each defendant willingly participated in the cyberbullying, resulting in jail sentences ranging from four to 18 months, with some terms suspended. Berdah, expressing relief at the verdict, described it as a “beautiful victory,” highlighting the anguish the bullying caused her over two years.

The convictions, according to Berdah’s legal team, underscore the accountability of individuals for their actions online, emphasizing that nobody is immune from consequences behind a keyboard. In addition to fines and court costs, the defendants were ordered to pay a total of 54,000 euros in compensation to Berdah.

Booba has denied leading an online “mob,” despite accusations. Notably, he has been involved in previous controversies, such as a 2018 brawl at a Paris airport with fellow rapper Kaaris, resulting in both receiving suspended jail sentences.

Separately, Berdah faces legal proceedings for money laundering, with her marketing company Shauna Events under investigation for fraud.

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In Paris, a defamation lawsuit against the long-standing filmmaker Roman Polanski was scheduled to commence on Tuesday, brought forward by British actress Charlotte Lewis.

The lawsuit stems from Polanski’s remarks to Paris Match magazine in 2019, where he accused Lewis of fabricating a sexual assault allegation against him from four decades ago. Polanski, now 90, had fled the United States in 1978 after admitting to unlawful sexual activity with a thirteen-year-old girl. Despite numerous allegations of abuse from other women, Polanski has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Polanski, residing in Paris, has opted not to attend the trial personally, with his legal representation handling the proceedings. On the other hand, Lewis, currently living in the UK, was expected to be present.

Lewis initiated the legal action four years ago, expressing her readiness for the trial despite the prolonged and distressing process. In 2010, she had accused Polanski of assaulting her at the age of 16 during a casting trip to Paris in 1983, although she later appeared in one of his films.

Polanski’s defense in the defamation case refers to a 1999 article in a now-defunct British tabloid, where Lewis allegedly expressed admiration for him. However, Lewis maintains that the quotes attributed to her were inaccurate.

The defamation complaint led to automatic charges against Polanski under French law. The filmmaker, celebrated for works like “Chinatown” and “The Pianist,” has remained a controversial figure, evading extradition attempts by US authorities due to his French and Polish citizenship.

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French authorities discovered 72 firearms and over 3,000 rounds of ammunition at the residence of iconic actor Alain Delon, located in Douchy-Montcorbon, approximately 135km south of Paris. The actor, renowned for his tough-guy roles in classics like “The Samurai” and “Borsalino,” did not possess the necessary permit to legally own these weapons.

The search was initiated after a court-appointed official observed a firearm at Delon’s home and reported it to a judge. Delon, aged 88, has been in poor health since suffering a stroke in 2019 and is facing family disputes that have garnered public attention. His children have publicly aired grievances, leading to legal battles and accusations.

Concerns arose when his children accused his former live-in assistant of “moral harassment,” a claim that was disputed by the assistant’s lawyer. Delon’s most recent notable appearances include receiving an honorary Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 and attending the funeral of his friend and fellow actor Jean-Paul Belmondo in Paris later that year.

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The Eiffel Tower, one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, recently experienced a six-day closure due to strikes by workers protesting the management practices of its operator, Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE). These strikes disrupted plans for visitors and resulted in significant financial losses for the company.

The primary grievances of the striking workers revolved around SETE’s business model, which they alleged overestimated future visitor numbers while neglecting essential maintenance and renovation needs. Union representatives accused SETE of prioritizing short-term profitability over the long-term preservation of the monument.

Initially planned as a five-day strike, workers voted to extend it to six days after rejecting SETE’s initial proposal. This decision underscored the depth of dissatisfaction among employees regarding the company’s management practices and the condition of the Eiffel Tower.

However, after negotiations between SETE and the unions, an agreement was eventually reached. This agreement included provisions for regular monitoring of the company’s business model and significant investment in maintenance and renovation until 2031, totaling approximately €380 million. Additionally, there were discussions about potentially classifying the Eiffel Tower as a “historical monument” to enable state funding for necessary works, as suggested by French Culture Minister Rachida Dati.

This recent strike at the Eiffel Tower echoes a previous protest in December, coinciding with the centenary of Gustave Eiffel’s death. Gustave Eiffel, a renowned civil engineer, is best known for his design of the Eiffel Tower, which was intended to showcase France’s industrial prowess during the 1889 Paris Exposition.

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French prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation following actress Judith Godrèche’s complaint against filmmaker Benoît Jacquot, alleging historical rape. Godrèche, now 51 years old, claims that Jacquot, aged 77, raped her when she was just 14 in 1986, with subsequent offenses occurring during a relationship that extended into the 1990s. The complaint was officially submitted by her lawyer to the Juvenile Protection Brigade in Paris.

Godrèche, who gained recognition for her roles in Jacquot’s films such as “The Beggars” (1987) and “The Disenchanted” (1990), had previously hinted at their relationship in an autobiographical TV program titled “Icon of French Cinema.” Last month, she publicly identified Jacquot on social media after watching a documentary where he discussed his relationship with an adolescent.

In response to the allegations, Jacquot has firmly denied them, as stated in an interview with Le Monde newspaper. He has chosen not to provide further comment, reiterating his stance from the newspaper.

Godrèche, recognized for her performances in films like “The Overnight” (2015) and “The Spanish Apartment” (2002), has a notable career in French cinema. Meanwhile, Jacquot has been directing films since the mid-1970s, with his 2012 film “Farewell, My Queen” premiering at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival.

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Environmental protesters targeted the iconic Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, throwing soup at the protected artwork to emphasize their call for the right to “healthy and sustainable food.” The 16th Century masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, housed behind protective glass, remained undamaged despite the unconventional protest.

Video footage captured two female protesters, affiliated with a group called Riposte Alimentaire (Food Counterattack), tossing liquid at the painting and raising questions about the perceived prioritization of art over the fundamental right to nutritious food. The protesters, clad in T-shirts reading “food counterattack,” stood in front of the artwork, asserting concerns about the agricultural system and the challenges faced by farmers.

The Louvre promptly assured the public that the painting was unharmed, thanks to the security measures in place. The Salle des Etats, where the Mona Lisa is displayed, was evacuated, and the room reopened to visitors after cleaning at 11:30 local time. The museum announced its intention to file a complaint regarding the incident.

The group Riposte Alimentaire released a statement, posted on social media platform X, explaining that the protest was part of their broader efforts to integrate “food into the general social security system.” They argued that the current food model stigmatizes the most vulnerable and fails to respect the fundamental right to food. The group proposed the issuance of a monthly food card worth €150 (£128) for citizens to use on food.

France’s Minister for Culture, Rachida Dati, condemned the act, stating that “no cause” could justify targeting the Mona Lisa, emphasizing the painting’s status as part of the heritage for future generations. The incident occurred amid ongoing farmer protests in Paris, where demonstrators sought relief from rising fuel costs and simplified regulations, blocking key roads in and out of the city.

The Mona Lisa, housed in the Louvre since the early 1950s, has been shielded behind safety glass. In 2019, the museum installed a more transparent form of bulletproof glass to enhance its protection. This incident echoes a 2022 event when an activist threw cake at the painting, urging people to “think of the Earth.” The Mona Lisa’s history includes a notorious theft in 1911, with recovery two years later after the perpetrator attempted to sell it in Italy.

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