Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's hard-right Front National, is currently leading the most polls for the first round of the 2017 French presidential election.
But the 25-year old Marion Marechal-Le Pen, granddaughter of the infamous FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen and niece of current party leader Marine Le Pen, will be tested at the ballot long before then.
She's running in provincial elections in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, a part of southern France on the border with Italy. The elections will determine France's regional presidencies.
Her grandfather ran for the seat in 2010, racking up 20.39% of the vote, nearly twice the 11.42% that the party achieved nationally.
But she's doing much, much better, according to an article from France24. In fact, a poll released by Ipsos on Sunday put the youngest Le Pen on a lofty 40% of the vote, with elections now just two weeks away (on December 6). Her nearest competitor, Christian Estrosi of the centre-right Republican party, sits at 30%. The candidate representing President Francois Hollande's socialist party lags far behind on 16%.
The level of intimidation faced lorry drivers passing through Calais at the hands of migrants is “out of control” and “totally unacceptable”, a spokesman for Britain’s road haulage industry has said. His association has now set up a hotline for drivers to report threatening behaviour by migrants, but drivers using the route have dismissed it as “useless,” saying “it’s a war out there!”
Around 6,000 migrants are currently gathered at Calais, looking for an opportunity to make it across the English Channel into Britain. As their numbers swell, so they are becoming more brazen in their attempts to climb on board lorries headed to the UK.
Drivers have described being threatened at knife and gun point, being beaten with baseball bats and having their trailers slashed as migrants force their way on board, describing the situation as “a war”.
France, Charles de Gaulle once wrote, is a secular republic with a Catholic heart. On October 30, readers of France’s main center-right newspaper, Le Figaro, woke up to the headline “La révolution silencieuse des catholiques de France.” What followed was a description of how those whom Le Figaro calls France’s néocatholiques have come to the forefront of the nation’s political, cultural, and economic debates. ...
So who are the post-Lustiger bishops shaking up French Catholicism? First, there is Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris. Viewed as Lustiger’s spiritual son, he is carrying out his predecessor’s program, certainly in a less bulldozer-esque manner, but in ways that continue to make the Archdiocese of Paris an active presence in the capital. The Latin tag fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (“resolute in action, gentle in manner”) aptly describes Vingt-Trois’s pastoral style.
More bulldozer-like is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyons. He has the distinction of being not only a Sorbonne graduate, but also a marathon-runner who spent several years as a missionary in Madagascar. Whether it’s his homilies, regular television appearances, or Middle East trips to highlight Christian persecution, Barbarin is a veritable force of nature. Another of the new breed of bishops is Bishop Dominque Rey of Fréjus-Toulon. Possessing a doctorate in economics, Rey worked in France’s finance ministry—where France’s most talented civil servants are traditionally sent to begin their careers—before entering the seminary. Not only has Rey attracted plenty of vocations. Numerous lay movements also flourish in his diocese. Similarly, the summer university associated with the Observatoire sociopolitique de Fréjus-Toulon, a think-tank created by Rey in 2005, has become the must-go place for many French students.
Inside his heavily guarded official residence on the left bank, Manuel Valls, the tough-talking prime minister who has orchestrated France’s hardline security response to the Paris terrorist attacks, was uncompromising that the country’s war on terror would last a long time amid a “permanent” threat of more attacks.
If François Hollande has declared “France is at war” and set out to travel the world this week in search of an international coalition against Islamic State (Isis), it is the straight-talking “strongman” Valls who has crafted and pushed tough security measures at home and set about explaining them to a fearful and grieving nation.
Valls has spearheaded the nationwide state of emergency that will last at least three months, giving special powers to police to act without judicial oversight, and he has gone further than Hollande in his heightened language warning of the risk of a chemical attack. French radio even reported that at one point during crisis meetings about the Paris attacks on a stadium, bars and the Bataclan theatre – in which 130 people were killed in three hours – an impassioned Valls walked up to Hollande and shook him.
At an informal meeting with a handful of foreign media outlets, including the Guardian, Valls said France’s war would be long and lasting but “we will win on all fronts” abroad – against Isis – and at home, against the radicalised young people taking up arms against their fellow French. He believed Europe was “facing its destiny” and must prove it could deal with both the terrorism threat and the refugee crisis if voters were not going to turn towards populism. He said France would take no more refugees beyond the 30,000 already agreed for the next two years.
France’s leading Muslim body called Tuesday for imams to require a permit to preach in a bid to root out extremists, and for a new religious body to fight back against jihadist propaganda.
Anouar Kbibech (pictured above), president of the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM), said the country’s imams should be given a certificate — “like a driving licence” — that ensured they promoted a “tolerant and open Islam”.
The CFCM said it would hand out the permits by testing theological knowledge and adherence to French principles, and make them sign an “imams’ charter” in which they agreed to “respect the laws of the Republic”.
Kbibech did not say whether he thought the process should be obligatory for all imams.
“The time for action has come. The Muslims of France will play their part,” said Kbibech.
He also said the CFCM would set up a “religious council” that would challenge jihadist ideology using theological arguments.
Coming 11 days after the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, Kbibech said those who engaged in violence would “never have the support of France’s Muslims”
The missing Paris jihadist had a taste for gay sex, drugs and PlayStation.
As the international manhunt for 26-year-old Belgian Salah Abdeslam continued, patrons of a gay bar in Brussels told The Sunday Times of London that he was a regular there — known for boozing, smoking hash and flirting with other men.
“We had him down as a rent boy,” a bartender named Julien said of Abdeslam, who’s been on the run since the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris.
Others said he was known for long days playing video games in the bar owned by his killed terrorist brother Brahim in the poor Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.
The brothers’ tastes would appear to make them unlikely ISIS extremists. The terror group brutally punishes homosexuality — often hurling gay men off buildings or stoning them to death — and alcohol or drug use.
“...there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).” We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it as many times as it takes for the naive, largely aloof American public to catch on: the quote excerpted above is the smoking gun when it comes to Washington’s ISIS “strategy.”
Note that no tin foil hats or conspiracy theories are needed. The passage shown above is from a 2012 declassified Pentagon report on the situation in Syria (you can read it in full here). What it says is that US intelligence was well aware of the possibility that Sunni extremists working to destabilize the Assad government might move to establish a proto-state in eastern Syria based around orthodox, ultra-conservative, Sunni Islam. It also says “the supporting powers to the opposition” (i.e. the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey) would be delighted with such an outcome as it would “isolate” Assad on the way to dealing a strategic death blow to Iran’s Shiite crescent (i.e. Tehran’s regional ambitions). That’s the only possible interpretation of the quote shown above and it’s completely consistent with the information contained in a leaked diplomatic cable sent in 2006 by acting Deputy Chief of Mission in Syria William Roebuck which contained the following “advice” on how to go about destabilizing the Assad government:
France is adding civil and military security forces to ensure the safety of delegations traveling to Paris for United Nations climate talks starting Nov. 30, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. Conference participants, including about 140 heads of state, will be in a closed, protected area as they work toward an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Some public demonstrations planned to coincide with the COP21 talks were canceled on security concerns after coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 killed 130 people. “The security of everything within the rooms of the conference we will guarantee 100 percent, because it will be under our control, but we can’t completely ensure the safety of the external part,” Fabius told reporters after meeting with Brazil President Dilma Rousseff in the South American nation’s capital. The Sustainable Innovation Forum at the climate conference is scheduled to be held Dec. 7-8 at the Stade de France, the national stadium and one of the sites targeted in the terror attacks.
There were multiple chances to stop the men who attacked Paris.
In January, Turkish authorities detained one of the suicide bombers at Turkey's border and deported him to Belgium. Brahim Abdeslam, Turkish authorities told Belgian police at the time, had been "radicalized" and was suspected of wanting to join Islamic State in Syria, a Turkish security source told Reuters.
Yet during questioning in Belgium, Abdeslam denied any involvement with militants and was set free. So was his brother Salah – a decision that Belgian authorities say was based on scant evidence that either man had terrorist intentions.
On Nov. 13, Abdeslam blew himself up at Le Comptoir Voltaire bar in Paris, killing himself and wounding one other. Salah is also a suspect in the attacks, claimed by the Islamic State, and is now on the run.
In France, an "S" (State Security) file for people suspected of being a threat to national security had been issued on Ismail Omar Mostefai, who would detonate his explosive vest inside Paris' Bataclan concert hall. Mostefai, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, was placed on the list in 2010, French police sources say.
Turkish police also considered him a terror suspect with links to Islamic State. Ankara wrote to Paris about him in December 2014 and in June this year, a senior Turkish government official said. The warning went unheeded. Paris answered last week, after the attacks.
With 19 municipal mayors and six different police authorities, Brussels is a tangle of bureaucracy. It's also home to the suspected perpetrators behind Friday's Paris attacks. The failure of Belgian authorities has become a security problem for all of Europe.
The terror attack was the consequence of the opening of the borders on the European Continent, said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. He added that police authorities in European Union member states exchange too little data. Michel also questioned the Schengen Agreement, which regulates the freedom of borderless travel within the EU. "We are now confronted with a new threat level in Europe," he said.
But these words didn't come this weekend, following the massacre in Paris of 132 people across the French capitol city on Friday night. They came after Islamists murdered the editors of the Paris-based French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in January. Back then, the perpetrators also had links to Belgium. It wasn't the first time either. Police arrested 13 jihadists in Belgium and two even died in a shootout at the time. Belgium now finds itself at the center of a major terror investigation once again. The suspected masterminds of the Paris terror attack came from Brussels' Molenbeek neighborhood, and at least one further perpetrator lived here. Security officials arrested several suspects during raids in the district over the weekend.
The greater Brussels area has long been considered to be a hotbed for radical Islamists. Troubled neighborhoods like Molenbeek and Anderlecht are known as being homes to secluded communities of immigrants in which radicals can easily go underground. So has Belgium become the center of terror in Europe and a security risk for the entire Continent
At La Belle Équipe, a restaurant on Rue de Charonne where 19 people died, the flowers were drenched and fading and the votive candles had all been extinguished by the downpour, but one young woman would not leave. She lit her candle and held it close to her heart, protecting the light with a corner of her coat as rain coursed down her hair in rivulets. She held it, and held it, unwilling to let the light be extinguished, hoping that eventually the rain would pass, as it often does in Paris
The Syrian Brotherhood, crushed by the Assads in the early 1980s after a failed uprising, scattered its senior figures across Europe from Aachen to Granada to a farm near the little town of Artigat, where the Clains went for inspiration.
As early as 2003, according to Le Monde, the Clains started setting themselves up in Belgium. In 2009, the Clain brothers and a couple of their buddies were talking about an attack on the Bataclan in Paris, the site of the worse carnage on Friday the 13th.
“This hall, whose owners at the time were Jewish, organized every year a concert supporting the Magav, the Israeli border police, which triggered the anger of many radical associations and little groups,” says Le Monde.
In the meantime, Fabien Clain was part of the underground railroad channeling would-be jihadists and martyrs to Iraq to fight the American forces there. He routed them through Belgium and Syria. But his cell was exposed and in 2009 Clain was sentenced to five years in prison. Released after serving three of those years, he spent some time teaching religion classes (of course) in Normandy, then slipped away to Syria — or, in fact, the nascent Islamic State — in early 2014
Watch the 2008 video French News Online found and published in this report (now confirmed by Le Monde above):
So far, Socialist President François Hollande has declared war on ISIS and stepped up security at home. But he's also doubled down on France's commitment to accept, over two years, 30,000 refugees displaced by the civil war in Syria.
"We have to reinforce our borders while remaining true to our values," he said on Wednesday.
Le Pen, of course, would slam the door on refugees. She would also shut down "radical mosques" in France.
She rejects the idea of the European Union and has called the treaty that guarantees passport-free travel across European borders "madness."
The politics of fear
Marine Le Pen has modernized the National Front party, which was created by her father, and made it relevant in mainstream French politics. (Reuters)
The beauty for Le Pen is that none of this sounds opportunistic. It is only what the National Front has always stood for.
A catastrophic year such as this, which began with the murderous attack at Charlie Hebdo in January, was all the National Front needed to slide into position as the I-told-you-so party in a campaign now based on fear.
The ballot question is whether to fear the flood of refugees coming into Europe or whether, as President Franklin Roosevelt said, "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."
In his book The Geopolitics of Emotion, the French political scientist Dominique Moisi reminds us that "fear is a force for survival. The rabbit that is unafraid of the hunter will not live long." That is the side taken by Le Pen and the National Front.
A French Muslim’s emotional plea for his community to lead the battle against Islamic terrorism is getting a lot of traction.
In a video that has gone viral throughout his country, Bassem Braiki, who is from the city of Vénissieux in eastern France, strongly condemned the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 and wounded hundreds.
“I am addressing all the French Muslims: Let’s protect our beautiful religion. Let’s go and track these impostors who pretend to be Muslims and kill people. It’s not the authorities who are going to get rid of them. … It’s us,” Braiki said, as translated by the Independent.
Braiki entreated his fellow Muslims to report any suspicious activity to the authorities without worrying about being seen as a “turncoat.” He also lamented that plenty of people will inevitably confuse peaceful Muslims for terrorists but said intelligent people will know that these attacks were “not about Islam.”
“It’s us Muslims who are vindicating the values of the Republic. It is for us to refer anything suspicious to the authorities,” he said. “It is for us, Muslims of France, who have religion in our hearts and obey Islam’s principles — a religion of peace and sharing.”
European countries are stretched to their limits in the refugee crisis and cannot take in any more new arrivals, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was quoted as saying in a German newspaper on Wednesday.
Europe is grappling with its worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Germany so far has taken in the bulk of some 1 million people expected to arrive this year.
“We cannot accommodate any more refugees in Europe, that’s not possible,” Valls told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, adding that tighter control of Europe’s external borders would determine the fate of the European Union.
“If we don’t do that, the people will say: Enough of Europe,” Valls warned.
The comments were published only hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel was scheduled to meet French President Francois Hollande in Paris.
Merkel was initially celebrated at home and abroad for her welcoming approach to the refugees, many of whom are fleeing conflict in the Middle East. But as the flow has continued the chancellor has come under increasing criticism.
Some conservatives say Merkel’s decision to open up Germany’s borders to Syrian refugees in September has spurred more migrants to come.
The refugee debate has become more politically charged after the deadly attacks in Paris that stoked fears Islamic State militants could exploit the migrant crisis to send extremists to Europe.
Valls avoided criticising Merkel directly for having suspended European asylum rules to allow in Syrian refugees stranded in Hungary. “Germany has made an honourable choice there,” he said.
But he signalled that Paris was taken by surprise by Merkel’s decision: “It was not France that said: Come!”
In the hours after the terrorist attacks in Paris left 130 dead, Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the United States, thanked all Americans for their solidarity except for one: Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate who pointedly said that the mass shootings had occurred in “one of the toughest gun control countries in the world.” Mr. Araud promptly pronounced Mr. Trump a “vulture” on Twitter. “This message is repugnant in its lack of any human decency,” he told his 27,500 followers. Mr. Araud deleted the post within an hour, deciding, he later said, that it was not the time for such sparring. But he makes no apology for the sentiment or the way he expressed it — the latest example of how France’s top diplomat in the United States relishes tossing out protocol when the interests of his country are at stake.
“I’m a fighter, which for an ambassador is unusual, so I retaliated,” Mr. Araud said this week during an interview in the Winter Salon of the grand Tudor Revival mansion that is his residence in Washington. “I did it because it was just at the moment of the attack, so I was totally disgusted. I’m absolutely not ashamed of what I said.”
Mr. Araud, 62, the first openly gay French ambassador to Washington and quintessentially French down to his (sterling silver) cuff links, relishes showing off his country’s cuisine and culture at parties that bring together the city’s top politicians, academics, business leaders, artists and writers. But he is the antithesis of a buttoned-up diplomat issuing scripted statements of harmony.
Instead he is known as an effective and sometimes combative advocate for France.
“He’s a very talented, intelligent ambassador who serves his country well, but he knows how to throw an elbow,” an Obama administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about Mr. Araud. “On occasion, that has caused brief moments of friction.”
He can be a strong negotiator, as was the case during intensive talks earlier this year between Iran and six world powers, including the United States and France, on a deal to lift sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. Mr. Araud criticized the emerging agreement, suggesting it was not tough enough, and publicly questioned whether a deadline at the end of June for striking it was binding. His words undercut what American negotiators regarded as critical leverage at the most sensitive of moments.
“That was directly contrary to what we wanted to do, and it was unhelpful,” said Philip Gordon, who until March was the top Middle East official at the National Security Council. But in an era when the United States and France have mostly common interests and have been aligned on strategic issues, he added, the bluntness can also be an asset.
“He is refreshingly candid, and I stress ‘refreshing,’ because often diplomats can be quite cautious and ultra-diplomatic,” Mr. Gordon said. “I don’t think anyone would say that about Gérard.”
The French and German economy ministers have proposed setting up a 10 billion euro ($10.65 billion) fund to pay for tighter security, external border controls and care of refugees, French minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.
Speaking in Berlin, Macron said that he and his counterpart Sigmar Gabriel had written to French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggesting the creation of the fund, which other European countries could join.
He said a joint response would avert the risk of France and Germany pursuing different agendas and weakening Europe.
"The risk is that our people, our political parties, our governments decide to treat this problem separately or even work against each other," Macron said, noting that France was preoccupied with security after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and Germany with the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Macron said that he and Gabriel would present a more detailed text by mid-December that would build on proposals they made in June regarding closer integration of the euro zone.
How did Molenbeek become Europe’s jihadi base? Essentially, it has to do with Belgium’s messy governance and the culture of denial that pervades the debate about Islam in the country. Molenbeek is a vibrant community, with narrow streets and a busy street life. There is a teahouse on every corner, a quiet mosque on every block, where people can congregate undisturbed. There are cheap apartments galore, no questions asked. Just like the guerrilla can hide in the jungle, jihadis feel safe in the disorganized Kashba of Molenbeek. The highway and the city’s busiest international railroad station are a stone’s throw away. It’s the perfect logistical base.
It is nearly impossible to explain to an outsider, but Belgium is a country of six governments, Brussels a city with 19 mayors. These many administrative posts are not filled with competent people. Security services are fragmented and tend to compete with one another. The lack of a strong, central authority may be one of the many quirks of this sometimes charmingly dysfunctional country, but just as it resulted in many botched trials — notably of the Brabant Killers, or “Nijvel Gang” who committed a series of violent raids between 1982 and 1985, and the Dutroux scandal in 1995, to name just two — it also creates the perfect breeding ground for potential terrorists.
A poll conducted just after the the November 13 Paris shootings has put far-right candidate Marion Maréchal Le Pen well in the lead to win the presidency of the southern Provence-Alpes-Cote-d'Azur region (PACA) in December's regional elections.
Marion Maréchal Le Pen, granddaughter of National Front (FN) founder Jean-Marie Le Pen and the youngest sitting member of the National Assembly, will get 40% of the ballot in a first round of the vote, according to the Ipsos poll (elections in France go to a second round if no candidate gets more than 50% in the first round).
Just behind her is former minister and current Nice mayor Christian Estrosi, leading the centre-right coalition of The Republicans-UDI-MoDem, which got 30% in the first round and 34% in the second, according to the poll.
According to Camus, Hollande has impressed the French electorate by taking a “much more presidential tone”.
“After January's Charlie Hebdo killings, Hollande was all compassion,” he said. “This time, Hollande has been all action. This plays well to an electorate that is getting tired of Sarkozy.”
But it is also a boost for the FN, which wants to capitalise on the attacks to push its anti-immigrant and anti-Europe message
A PARIS suicide bomber was helped on to a Greek island and clothed by French volunteers before making his way through Europe to his target, it emerged yesterday.
The IS fanatic, known as Ahmad Almohammad from a fake Syrian passport found at Stade De France, had sailed to Leros with a group of English-speaking pals.
Officials said they were helped ashore with nearly 200 refugees after deliberately driving a knife through their boat as they neared land on October 3. Two were then discovered with fake Syrian passports and arrested.
But Almohammad, 25, was ushered through and moved to a camp staffed by French charity Médecins Sans Frontières
Leros harbourmaster Sakellarios Biliris remembered his group sabotaging their boat.
He said: “No one saw anything wrong with his passport. The situation was chaotic. One week 3,500 refugees came here.”
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, French Muslims — from anonymous Internet users to heads of organisations — are calling for unity from their fellow Muslims in denouncing terrorism....
It is for us – Muslims who go to mosque, Muslims who advocate the values of the Republic – to clean up the image of Islam and to track down these sons of b******,” he said.
“It is up to us, when we see something even slightly suspicious, to report it to the authorities ... It is up to us not to remain deaf, dumb and blind... The solution will come from us, Muslims of France.”
The outcry on social media comes as several French political leaders, like Jean-Pierre Raffarin, called for the "Republic’s Muslims" to raise their voices in opposition to the “un-Islamic” practices and beliefs of the IS group.
"It is essential that there be a signal that radicalism is a disease of Islam, that it is not Islam and moderate Muslims – temperate, secular, who believe in the Republic – need to be heard, to be seen in society. We want to fight this together,” urged Senator Raffarin on Thursday, from Vienna.
...There is no serious consideration of a government of national unity in pursuit of Hollande’s strategy, but his stance puts the rightwing opposition on the back foot, with little room for manoeuvre but to support him – and advance more stringent measures. This has begun, cutting to the core of the question: how did the killers mount such an operation undetected, and how to prevent another? This is a discourse that invokes a little-discussed kernel of France’s efforts to trace its assailants: the so-called S Files...
As last week progressed, one proposal came from the wings to centre stage. It had been suggested in September by Arno Klarsfeld, son of the Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld. He proposed on a website called Causeur that those identified on the S Files be put into “administrative detention”. “Do we have to wait for the next catastrophe, or can we try to prevent it?” asked Klarsfeld, citing passages in the European convention “in time of war”, and prime minister Valls’ invocation of “war” before Friday the 13th.
Ten days ago, the idea of some Guantánamo Bay arrangement in the heart of Europe would have been considered preposterous, and Klarsfeld’s proposal vanished. But last week, Laurent Wauquiez, number three in Nicolas Sarkozy’s opposition Republicans, resurrected the idea. “Behind the attacks,” he said, “there are always people already identified by the authorities in the S Files, known to our services for their radicalisation but not arrested on the pretext that French law does not permit it. I propose precisely that we change our laws so as to permit us to act before these things happen, and place them in internment centres where they cannot harm us. I think it’s a sensible proposition which the French people will understand.”
The Paris attacks that killed 130 people and injured hundreds of others are still capturing headlines. They also occupy the top spot in social media the world over.
The attack came days after suicide bombers blew up about 40 people in a Beirut suburb and before that a Russian plane was blown up over Sinai killing more than 200 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for all of these murderous acts.
I received several phone calls from Western journalists asking for the Saudi point of view on these murderous attacks to which my reply was that all of us condemn these inhumane and ugly acts which do not serve any purpose, but on the contrary malign our society and our religion.
One caller asked if we will apologize. I almost screamed at him. Apologize for what?! Are we responsible for the actions of mysterious groups that destroy and kill? Are we responsible for all the evil acts being committed and falsely attributed to Islam?! I am not going to apologize, I said....
Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-at-large of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia
The EU will change the Schengen borders code to introduce systematic checks for EU citizens at the external borders of the EU free travel area.
At an extraordinary meeting in Brussels Friday (20 November) EU justice and interior ministers asked the commission to make a proposal early next year when the commission presents its Smart Borders package to upgrade technologies at Schengen entry points.
In the meantime, member states decided "to implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders".
That means border guards will systematically check in the Schengen Information System (SIS) whether EU travelers are considered dangerous and merit being searched by the police. Until now, only the authenticity of the passport has been verified.
The measure was pushed by France in the wake of the attacks in Paris last Friday (20 December) after it became clear that some of the terrorists travelled freely from Syria on EU passports.
"We need to check Europeans because the threat comes from within," a French official said.
The founder of France’s far-right National Front (FN) Jean Marie Le Pen has urged France to reinstate the death penalty and commit convicted terrorists to the guillotine, French weekly news magazine Marianne reports.
Speaking at a press conference held at his palatial home in the west Parisian suburb of Saint Cloud, the controversial politician (who no longer plays an active role in the party run by his daughter Marine le Pen) outlined his proposals to stop Islamist attacks, such as the ones that claimed 130 lives last week in the French capital.
"We must restore the death penalty for terrorists," Le Pen said, before adding "with decapitation." Some of his other proposals included deporting illegal immigrants and creating 100,000 more places in prison to deter further extremist attacks.
Judging by social media reactions he is undoubtedly not alone here!
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