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July 26, 2012

Six die in France helicopter crash at Verdon Gorge

Six die in France helicopter crash at Verdon Gorge

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

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An AS532 Cougar helicopter has crashed in the south-east of France, killing all six occupants onboard. The aircraft, owned by manufacturing company Eurocopter, descended in the Verdon Gorge — located in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence — at roughly 13:30 CEST (1130 UTC) yesterday. Police lieutenant Benoit Gounine told Reuters “[t]he accident occurred in a place that’s very difficult to access, which is complicating our work”.

A spokesperson for Eurocopter said the occupants of the helicopter were company engineers and test pilots. The aircraft, which launched from a heliport near Marseille, was being taken on a test flight and was due to be delivered to a customer later. Gilles Bruniaux, security development director at Eurocopter, said the helicopter occupants were “hardened professionals”.

Although investigations into the cause of the incident are ongoing, initial examinations by police and witness reports suggest the helicopter impacted with an electricity cable before descending. The owner of a restaurant close to the impact site told Agence France-Presse “customers having lunch on the terrace started yelling — there was an explosion and lots of black smoke”.

Verdon Gorge, one of the most famous in Europe, has a depth of 700 metres (2300 feet). The gorge is notable for its popularity with hikers.



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October 27, 2006

Youths burn buses in Paris one year after riots

Filed under: Archived,Europe,France,Marseille,Paris,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Youths burn buses in Paris one year after riots

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Youths attacked & burned three buses in western Paris suburbs.

A gang of about 30 youths stopped each bus with a road block, forced passengers off, doused the bus with petrol and set it ablaze, destroying the bus and causing damage to cars parked nearby. When firefighters arrived, the youths threw stones at them.

No injuries were reported in the Paris attacks, but one woman was seriously burned in a related attack in Marseilles. There has been one arrest for the Paris attacks.

The attacks mark the one year anniversary of the 2005 French riots, when cars and public buildings were set on fire, mostly by young North African Muslims immigrants.

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August 24, 2006

Confrontation between Greenpeace and fishermen off Marseille

Confrontation between Greenpeace and fishermen off Marseille

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Abeille Flandre

The ship of the organisation Greenpeace, the Rainbow Warrior II, was blockaded off Marseille by a fleet of 30 fisherman ships. The fishermen protested against the campaign by Greenpeace regarding an alleged over-fishing of blue-fin tuna.

The fishermen encircled the Rainbow Warrior II, leaving her only the room to receive supply from the land by means of small boats. The confrontation was settled when Greenpeace accepted that a ship of the French Navy, the oceanic tug Abeille Flandre, escort her to another harbour for supply, before leaving for Spain.

After blockading the ship, the fishermen blockaded the commercial harbour of Marseille, blocking traffic of passengers.

The préfecture maritime has required an investigation by the parquet regarding the multiple infractions which the Navy reported; these include the fishermen blocking and boarding the Rainbow Warrior II, the Rainbow Warrior II twice violating orders from the préfecture maritime not to stay off Marseille, and “problematic manoeuvers” on both sides.

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September 28, 2005

French ferry raided by military forces

French ferry raided by military forces – Wikinews, the free news source

French ferry raided by military forces

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

French military commandos boarded a ferry boat on Wednesday morning that had been taken over by ferry company strikers from the Société nationale Corse-Méditerranée (SNCM). The strike erupted after the French government announced its intention to privatize the company, which had been losing money for decades. The strikers seem to belong to the Corsican workers’ union, a trade union close to Corsican nationalists.

The strikers captured the ship, called Pascal-Paoli, in Marseille. They sailed her to Bastia where she was intercepted by a ship of the Marine Nationale and boarded by special forces. The military team included members of the GIGN (the French Gendarmerie’s rescue and anti-terror unit) and, according to some sources, naval special forces.

The prosecutor’s office at Marseille has opened a criminal enquiry for “evident crime”, with the charge of piracy — a crime which, according to article L224-6 of the French Penal Code, is punished by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. If the charges are retained, the initiators of the event will face a jury trial before an assize court. There are, however, questions as to whether this criminal qualification applies in this case, since the strikers did not resort to violence in stealing the ship.

The strikers are in protest against the French government’s intention to sell SNCM to the investment fund Butler Capital Partners, led by businessman Walter Butler. Mr Butler claims that he can put SNCM back into financial shape within 4 years. Opponents of the privatization plan contend that the sale price is an amount greatly inferior to what it is worth, even if only for its assets.

The French government has had significant problems with money-losing state-owned companies in the past. SNCM is, however, a special case, due to the delicate political situation in Corsica. By comparison, the private company Corsica Ferries is in good financial shape. Some sympathetic protesters, however, caused damage to Corsica Ferries offices.

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