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‘Everybody needs to meet to talk’: Parisians enjoy coffee, company and haircuts as lockdown lifted

On the sidewalks of the Marais, the vibrant central Paris neighborhood that is both quaint and chic,..

On the sidewalks of the Marais, the vibrant central Paris neighborhood that is both quaint and chic, local residents, merchants, and workers enjoyed each others company on the first day of the easing of Frances Covid-19 lockdown. FRANCE 24 reports.

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A little after 11am this morning, Frank Barron, 40, was enjoying a latté at Fringe, a small coffeeshop on the Rue de Turenne, for the first time in almost two months. He had to stand on the sidewalk, but his drink, with an artful, leaf-like design on its surface, came in a ceramic mug.

Barron told FRANCE 24 that making coffee at home, which hes been doing since Frances lockdown began on March 17, isnt the same as drinking it at a neighborhood spot. But that isnt just because of the java – its also due to the camaraderie with neighbors.

Barron was standing next to Cyril Muller, 38, another resident of the Marais, a neighborhood that consists of parts of Pariss 3rd and 4th arrondissements (districts) and is known for its quaint streets and compact museums, art galleries and boutiques. The Picasso Museum is here; so is, arguably, the best falafel in town.

Marais resident Valérie Geoffroy receives her sandwich order from Guy Abergel at Chez Hanna, a Middle Eastern restaurant on the Rue des Rosiers on May 11, 2020. © Philippe Theise

Muller, a spice distributer, said that streetside conversations are an important part of city life.

“I missed it,” he said. “Everyone needs to meet to talk.”

Standing behind a barrier of a table and a pastry shelf, Fringe owner Jeff Hargrove, 56, said it felt strange to be able to serve customers at the door, but not inside.

“Our place is more welcoming, cozy, but we have to keep these distances,” he said.

Hargrove wont be able to seat customers until the French government allows cafés and restaurants throughout the country, including the wider Paris region, where it believes that Covid-19 is still actively circulating, to fully reopen.

For now, it makes him happy to see his customers, many of whom are local residents, at a distance.

“Actually, Ive not had anyone I dont know,” he said.

A few doors further up, Jonathan Benhamou, 32, a salesman at Danyberd, a mens clothing store, said that two of his regular customers had already visited since the shop opened.

“They gained weight, so they had to buy new suits,” he said.

Out on the sidewalk, a man and a woman stopped, arched their bodies back and smiled in recognition, and a cheerful conversation ensued.

The man, James Rose, 56, – who happened to be Barrons partner – said that “seeing friends for real” was pleasing after so long.

Nadège Maguet, 54, a local postal worker walking by, said she has been seeing residents along her routes for 25 years.

“I know their children, their grandparents. All the family,” she said.

Nadège Maguet, a mail carrier who works in the Marais, displays one of the pictures local children made for her during France's Covid-19 lockdown to thank her for bringing the mail on May 11, 2020. The image features a shooting star and the word "Merci" in large letters.
Nadège Maguet, a mail carrier who works in the Marais, displays one of the pictures local children made for her during France's Covid-19 lockdown to thank her for bringing the mail on May 11, 2020. The image features a shooting star and the word "Merci" in large letters. © Philippe Theise

During the lockdown, Maguet played music on her cellphone as she wheeled her cart, which sometimes prompted people to open their windows and say hello.

Children living in the Marais made her colourful pictures to thank her for delivering the mail. One picture, which she displayed on her phone, showed a yellow shooting star on a light blue background with a large-lettered “Merci” (Thank you), and a smaller “Nadège” above a heart.

Maguet said that Mondays greater number of face-to-face exchanges made her feel good.

“Its human,” she said.

Thank-you messages

Around the corner on Rue des Filles du Calvaire, César Levy, 38, sat amid abstract metal sculptures and minimalist paintings in 193 Gallery, the exhibit spaceRead More – Source

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Madeleine McCann presumed dead, German prosecutor says

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 14:59Modified: 04/06/2020 – 14:59

Madeleine McCann, the British girl who d..

Issued on: Modified:

Madeleine McCann, the British girl who disappeared in Portugal in 2007 aged just three, is assumed to be dead and an imprisoned German child abuser is the murder suspect, a German prosecutor said on Thursday.

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McCann vanished from her bedroom on May 3 during a family vacation in the Algarve while her parents were dining with friends nearby in the resort of Praia da Luz.

Her disappearance sparked an international search, with missing posters of the little girl's face papered across the world and celebrity appeals for information that could help track her down and bring her abductors to justice.

"We assume that the girl is dead," Braunschweig state prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said. "The public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig is investigating a 43-year-old German national on suspicion of murder."

German police said on Wednesday the suspect, who had lived near Praia da Luz, had made a spontaneous decision to kill McCann during a break-in of the apartment where she was sleeping. They were treating the case as suspected murder.

No body has ever been found. But the German statements that the young girl was assumed dead were the most authoritative thus far on her fate. Family and supporters had always held out the hope that she might still be alive somewhere.

McCann's parents said they wanted to find peace but that the German suspect was potentially very significant.

"All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice," her parents, Kate and Gerry, said in a statement issued before the German prosecutor spoke.

"We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace."

Drugs and burglary

Prosecutor Wolters said the suspect was a sex offender with multiple convictions, including for sexual abuse of chiRead More – Source

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Covid-19 in Hungary: Are emergency powers being used against the opposition?

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 12:36Modified: 04/06/2020 – 12:36

In Hungary, many opposition-run municipa..

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 12:36Modified: 04/06/2020 – 12:36

In Hungary, many opposition-run municipalities accuse the government of taking advantage of the emergency decrees passed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and using the legislation for political purposes. Many large cities, including the capital Budapest, elected an opposition mayor during the local elections of October 2019. The ruling Fidesz party is accused of using its new powers to curb the management of those opposition-run cities, whether it's bRead More – Source

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Putin declares state of emergency over Siberian diesel spill

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 11:47Modified: 04/06/2020 – 11:47

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wedn..

Issued on: 04/06/2020 – 11:47Modified: 04/06/2020 – 11:47

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered a state of emergency and criticised a subsidiary of metals giant Norilsk Nickel after a massive diesel spill into a Siberian river.

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The spill of over 20,000 tonnes of diesel fuel took place on Friday. A fuel reservoir collapsed at a power plant near the city of Norilsk, located above the Arctic Circle, and leaked into a nearby river.

During a televised video conference, Putin lambasted the head of the Norilsk Nickel subsidiary that runs the power plant, NTEK, after officials said it failed to report the incident.

"Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact? Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media? Are you quite healthy there?" Putin asked NTEK chief Sergei Lipin in an unusually stern dressing-down.

Norilsk Nickel said in a statement that NTEK had reported what happened in a "timely and proper" way.

Krasnoyarsk region governor Alexander Uss told Putin he only "learned of the real situation" on Sunday after "alarming information appeared in social media".

Putin said he agreed that a national state of emergency was needed to call in more resources for the cleanup effort.

Russia's Investigative Committee, which deals with major incidents, announced that it launched three criminal probes over environmental violations and detained an employee of the power plant.

It released video footage shot on a mobile phone that appears to show fuel cascading down from the reservoir and under a fence.

World Wildlife Fund expert Alexei Knizhnikov told AFP the environmental group was the one who alerted cleanup specialists after confirming the accident through its sources.

"These are huge volumes," he said. "It was difficult for them to cover it up."

The volume of the spill is vastly larger than a major 2007 spill in the Kerch strait of the Black Sea that involved 5,000 tonnes of oil, the WWF expert said.

The Kerch spill, which at the time was the largest Russia had experienced, required the intervention of the military and hundreds of volunteers.

Troops could help clean-up

Knizhnikov said diesel fuel is lighter than oil, so it is likely to evaporate rather than sink, but it is "more toxic to clean up".

Environment Minister Dmitry Kobylkin said only the emergencieRead More – Source

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