Iranians Defy Crackdown As Another Teen Reported Killed

 

Iranians staged new protest actions Thursday in defiance of a crackdown by the authorities as a rights groups said an 18-year-old became the latest teen killed in clashes in the northwest.

Iran has for over six weeks been gripped by protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the notorious morality police — a movement that poses the biggest challenge to the Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution.

The clerical leadership under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, has responded with a crackdown that as well as killing dozens has seen 1,000 people charged so far and according to activists risking the death penalty.

With the movement no signs of abating, the problems for the authorities are compounded by the tradition in Iran of holding a “chehelom” mourning ceremony 40 days after a death, meaning each new killing can fuel new protest actions.

Norway-based group Iran Human Rights said large numbers in the city of Karaj outside Tehran were Thursday attending a 40-day ceremony for Hadis Najafi, a 22-year-old woman activists say was killed by security forces in September.

IHR said police had blocked the highway leading to the cemetery to prevent even larger numbers attending.

“This year is the year of blood, Seyyed Ali (Khamenei) will be toppled,” the video showed them chanting.

‘Show trials’

The Kurdish rights organisation Hengaw reported a sequence of protests had taken place Wednesday in the Kurdish-populated regions of northwestern Iran where Amini hailed from, including the city of Sanandaj which has become a major protest flashpoint.

It said Momen Zandkarimi, 18-year-old from Sanandaj, was killed by direct fire from Iranian security forces.

Due to the pressure from Iranian security agencies who fear his funeral could turn into a protest, his body has been moved to another village for burial, it added.

According to an updated death toll issued Wednesday by IHR, 176 people have been killed in the crackdown on protests sparked by Amini’s death.

Another 101 people have lost their lives in a distinct protest wave in Zahedan in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province.

Of all those killed, 40 were under 18 years of age, it added.

Thousands have been arrested nationwide, rights activists say, while Iran’s judiciary has said 1,000 people had already been charged over what it describes as “riots”.

The trial of five men charged with offences that can carry the death penalty over the protests opened Saturday in Tehran.

“The charges and sentences have no legal validity and their sole purpose is to commit more violence and create societal fear,” said IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, condemning the “show trials”.

Hadi Ghaemi, head of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, warned that courts handing down death sentences would be a “blatant attempt to terrorise the Iranian people into silence”.

‘Brutal crackdown’

Activists condemned as a forced confession a video published by state-run Iranian media of Toomaj Salehi, a prominent rapper arrested at the weekend after backing the protests, in which a blindfolded man saying he is Salehi admits to making “a mistake”.

Freedom of expression group Article 19 said it was “extremely disturbed Iran state media are sharing forced confessions” with the subject “under clear duress”.

He is currently being held incommunicado under the control of intelligence agents in Tehran’s Evin prison, his uncle Iqbal Iqbali told news site Iran Wire.

At least 51 journalists have been detained in the protest crackdown, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Fourteen are confirmed to have been released on bail.

Journalist Yaghma Fashkhami became the latest prominent figure to be arrested, his wife Mona Moafi wrote on Twitter.

There is also growing concern over the wellbeing of Wall Street Journal contributor and freedom of expression campaigner Hassan Ronaghi, who was arrested in September and according to his family is on hunger strike with two broken legs sustained in custody.

On Wednesday, US Vice President Kamala Harris saluted the “bravery” of the women-led protests, as she said Washington would work to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

“Iran has demonstrated through its denial of women’s rights and brutal crackdown on its own people that it is unfit to serve on this commission,” Harris said.

Macron Meets Parents Of Murdered 12-Year-Old Found In Box

A photograph shows bunches of flowers displayed outside the building in Paris on October 17, 2022, where lived a 12-year-old schoolgirl, named Lola, three days after her body was discovered in a trunk in the 19th district. – A woman and a man are presented to an examining magistrate on October 17, 2022 in Paris with a view to an indictment for murder and rape with acts of torture and barbarism. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

 

 

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday met the parents of a 12-year-old girl whose brutalised body was found in a trunk in a killing that shocked France, his office said.

Macron “offered his condolences and assured them of his complete solidarity and support in the ordeal they are going through, and which has shaken all of us,” the Elysee added.

A 24-year-old woman with a history of psychiatric disorders has been charged with the rape and murder of the young girl, identified only as “Lola”, and is being held in custody.

Prosecutors said Monday that in a rambling interview, the suspect had described luring Lola into her sister’s apartment — located in the same building where the girl lived — and forcing her to take a shower, before sexually assaulting and ultimately killing the 12-year-old.

An autopsy report said Lola died of “cardio-respiratory failure with signs of asphyxiation and cervical compression”, as well as suffering wounds on her neck and elsewhere on her body.

Investigators quickly got on the suspect’s trail after Lola’s father, the building’s custodian, spotted her interacting with his daughter in CCTV recordings that he checked when Lola did not return from school on Friday afternoon.

The suspect was arrested in northwestern Paris suburb Bois-Colombes early on Saturday morning.

A 43-year-old man who acknowledged driving the suspect away from the crime scene with the trunk containing Lola’s body has also been charged with concealing a corpse.

 

A photograph shows bunches of flowers with a hand-written message which reads as “Rest in peace Lola”, displayed outside the building in Paris on October 17, 2022, where lived a 12-year-old schoolgirl, named Lola, three days after her body was discovered in a trunk in the 19th district. – A woman and a man are presented to an examining magistrate on October 17, 2022 in Paris with a view to an indictment for murder and rape with acts of torture and barbarism. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

 

– Far-right ‘making hay’ –
Some politicians have already begun using the case to attack the government’s immigration policy, as the suspect, an Algerian, was under an order to leave France after overstaying her student visa.

Far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen as well as the conservative Republicans party brought up the case in Tuesday’s regular government questions session in the National Assembly (lower house).

“You owe it to us to come up with urgent answers and uncompromising solutions to make sure the law is applied and respected in our country,” Le Pen told Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told lawmakers that while the suspect was subject to an order to leave France, it was not yet known whether her lawyer had appealed the decision — which could have meant she was within her rights to stay.

“I’ll speak as I find. Doing petty politics, using the coffin of a 12-year-old girl as a stepping stone, is shameful,” he added.

Addressing the right of the chamber, Dupond-Moretti said that “you’re always there when tragedy strikes, you’ve been making hay out of it for years.”

At Least 82 Killed In Iran’s Zahedan Crackdown Since Sept 30 – Amnesty

Activist Forouzan Farahani shaves her head in protest over the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran outside The New York Times building in New York City on September 27, 2022. – More than 75 people have been killed in the Iranian authorities’ crackdown against unrest sparked by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody, a rights group said on September 26. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

 

At least 82 people have been killed by Iranian security forces in the city of Zahedan in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province since protests erupted there on September 30, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

In a violent crackdown after Friday prayers on September 30, security forces killed at least 66 people, including children, Amnesty said.

Since then, 16 people have been killed in an ongoing clampdown on protests, it added, warning the real toll is likely to be even higher.

With Iran already convulsed by protests over the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the Tehran morality police, the protests in Zahedan were triggered by anger over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander in the region.


READ ALSO: 17 Dead, Dozens Missing In Greece Migrant Sinkings


Amnesty said that security forces fired “live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas” at protesters, bystanders and worshippers when a group of people gathered for a protest outside a police station after Friday prayers on September 30 in Zahedan.

“Evidence gathered by Amnesty International shows that the majority of victims were shot in the head, heart, neck and torso, revealing a clear intent to kill or seriously harm.”

It added that the firing had come from the “police station rooftop”. At least three children were killed on September 30, it added.

Iranian officials have characterised the unrest as attacks by “extremists” on police stations that left five members of the Revolutionary Guards dead.

But Amnesty said that beyond “a minority” of protesters throwing stones towards the police station, it had found “no evidence” the conduct of protesters posed a serious threat to security forces.

Nine Genocides Around The World

This photo taken on September 16, 2022, shows a tourist taking picture of skulls of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime at the Choeung Ek killing fields memorial in Phnom Penh. (Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP)

 

The UN-backed court set up to try Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge leaders over the country’s genocidal 1970s regime issued its last verdict on Thursday, when it upheld the genocide conviction of the regime’s last leader.

Here is a summary of other genocides recognised by the international community and courts or individual states:

Namibia: first genocide

Germany in 2021 acknowledged it had committed genocide in colonial-era Namibia in southwest Africa.

German settlers killed tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908, a massacre historians called the 20th century’s first genocide.

Armenia

Armenia says Ottoman Turk forces killed up to 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1917, during World War I.

It has long sought international recognition of this as genocide, backed by around 30 countries.

The charge is vehemently rejected by Turkey, which admits nonetheless that up to 500,000 Armenians were killed in fighting, massacres or by starvation during mass deportations from eastern Anatolia.

Cambodia

During a four-year reign of terror by the Maoist Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, some two million people died from starvation, mass executions and overwork.

In 2018, a UN-sponsored tribunal in Cambodia convicted the two top surviving leaders of the regime, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, of genocide.


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Nuon Chea has since died and 91-year-old Samphan appealed but on Thursday the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) upheld his conviction.

The ruling will be the last given by the tribunal, winding up a 16-year-process dogged by criticisms for costliness, slowness, and bringing limited solace to survivors.

Rwanda

The Rwandan genocide began in early April 1994, shortly after the ethnic Hutu president was killed when his plane was shot down in an attack blamed by the government on Tutsi rebels.

At least 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and some moderate Hutus, were slaughtered over the following 100 days, according to the United Nations.

The UN set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. It issued the world’s first genocide conviction in 1998.

Since then, courts in the United States, Canada and several European countries have also convicted Rwandan fugitives over their role in the bloodshed.

Srebrenica

The 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces was recognised as a genocide by the International Court of Justice, the UN’s top legal body, in 2007.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and military chief Ratko Mladic were handed life sentences for genocide by a special UN court.

Sudan

In 2021, Sudan said it planned to hand over to the International Criminal Court ex-president Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for genocide over fighting that erupted in the western Darfur region in 2003.

The UN estimates that the Darfur conflict left 300,000 people dead.

Yazidis in Iraq

Islamic State jihadists in 2014 carried out a massacre of Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking community in northwestern Iraq.

In 2021, a German court convicted an Iraqi jihadist of “genocide”.

The parliaments of several Western states have also termed the crimes “genocide”.

Rohingya in Myanmar

Around one million members of Myanmar’s mostly Muslim Rohingya community fled the Buddhist-majority country for Bangladesh since August 2017, amid reports of rape, murder and arson.

Myanmar has been accused of “genocide” by The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The International Criminal Court has also opened a probe, and in March the US declared the violence against the Rohingya constituted genocide.

Uyghurs in China

Lawmakers in several western countries have denounced a “genocide” by China of the Uyghur minority in western Xinjiang province.

Rights groups say at least one million people from mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in “re-education camps” in Xinjiang.

A UN report earlier this month said the abuses could constitute “crimes against humanity” but avoided the term genocide.

China has denied any wrondoing, saying it is running vocational training centres to counter extremism.

With Elizabeth II, 20th Century Is Also Laid To Rest

The Royal family members attend the State Funeral Service for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP)

 

The laying to rest of Queen Elizabeth II, whose 70-year reign witnessed the aftermath of World War II, the Cold War and dizzying technological change, marks a further step in a leave-taking with the 20th century.

The British monarch exercises little real power but Elizabeth was a titanic figure on the 20th-century stage, whose first prime minister was wartime leader Winston Churchill, met the first man in space Yuri Gagarin, and made landmark visits to newly independent nations as the British Empire fell apart.

Her death at the age of 96 was even more symbolic coming just over a week after the passing of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, 91, another among increasingly few surviving icons of the last century, who let the USSR dissolve and eastern Europe escape Moscow’s grip.


READ ALSO: Britain And The World Bid Adieu To Queen Elizabeth II


Their disappearances comes as the world is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has revived fears of nuclear war, and waking up to how climate change could wreck the hopes of this and future generations.

“These were absolutely central figures whose like we will be hard-pressed to see again,” said Gilles Gressani, director of the French geopolitical journal Le Grand Continent.

“We are living in an interregnum — a space between two reigns, two eras,” he added.

“We often have this angst and anxiety; we know well that the world is changing because of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, terrorism, economic crises and the climate crisis.”

Losing the threads

Queen Elizabeth II will be buried Monday alongside her father, King George VI, and other family members at Windsor Castle outside London, after a state funeral attended by world leaders in the heart of the British capital.

Gradually, the world is losing the threads that still tied it to the 20th century, and just a few iconic figures remain alive.

The great cultural giants are also taking their leave — Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century and the father of the French New Wave, died last week by assisted suicide.

Nelson Mandela, who campaigned to end apartheid in South Africa and then became its first majority-rule president, died in 2013. Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who led his country for half a century and was an icon of the Cold War, died in 2016.

Jimmy Carter, 97, is the sole former US president still alive to have ruled exclusively in the 20th century, during a convulsive single mandate that saw the overthrow of the shah in the Islamic revolution in Iran.

His successors Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush died in 2004 and 2018 respectively.

The current Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetans based in exile in India since 1951, when a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule failed, is 87 and still working.

And Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, who in 1989 took over after the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, remains in a post that is appointed for life.

‘End of World War II’

Some of the greatest bridges now retained with the 20th century are cultural.

Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, 79, still performs with his group while Beatles icon Paul McCartney, 80, continues with an illustrious solo career that included a rapturously received set at the Glastonbury Festival this year.

The queen herself was a symbol of a shift to modernity, with her coronation in 1953 the first major event televised around the world, and her first televised Christmas message in 1957 blazing a trail for other world leaders.

But above all, the death of the queen represents a major rupture with the memory of World War II, a conflict that her father King George VI endured along with his daughters and other Londoners in bomb-scarred London.

“The queen participated directly in the victory of 1945. Being one of the victors of 1945 left a strong mark on the identity of the United Kingdom and the queen embodied that until her death,” said Thomas Gomart, director of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).

“For me, the death of Elizabeth II, in a way, marks an end point for World War II,” he said.

FULL LIST: Recent UEFA Champions League Winners


The UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Recent winners of the UEFA Champions League after Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2021-22 final in Paris on Saturday:

2021-22: Real Madrid (ESP)

2020-21: Chelsea (ENG)

2019-20: Bayern Munich (GER)

2018-19: Liverpool (ENG)

2017-18: Real Madrid (ESP)

2016-17: Real Madrid (ESP)

2015-16: Real Madrid (ESP)

2014-15: Barcelona (ESP)

2013-14: Real Madrid (ESP)

2012-13: Bayern Munich (GER)

2011-12: Chelsea (ENG)

2010-11: Barcelona (ESP)

2009-10: Inter Milan (ITA)

2008-09: Barcelona (ESP)

2007-08: Manchester United (ENG)

READ ALSO: Real Madrid Beat Liverpool To Win 2021/2022 Champions League

Most European Cup/Champions League wins per club

Real Madrid (ESP) — 14 (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022)

AC Milan (ITA) — 7 (1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007)

Liverpool (ENG) — 6 (1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005, 2019)

Bayern Munich (GER) — 6 (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013, 2020)

Barcelona (ESP) — 5 (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015)

Ajax (NED) — 4 (1971, 1972, 1973, 1995)

 

AFP

Paris Officer Charged Over Fatal Election Night Shooting

The site of the shooting in Paris

 

 

A French policeman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after shooting dead a driver who sought to evade police and a passenger in Paris Sunday, hours after Emmanuel Macron celebrated re-election nearby, a judicial source said.

The 24-year-old officer used his assault rifle to try to stop the car as it hurtled towards his colleagues on the picturesque Pont Neuf bridge, later claiming that he acted in self-defence.

But he was immediately taken in for questioning by the police’s internal investigations agency, and prosecutors determined it was more likely that the officer had responded with excessive force.

Around a dozen rounds were fired, with “five or six shots hitting the occupants,” according to a police report of the incident seen by AFP.

The officer was presented before a judge who decided late Wednesday to charge him with involuntary manslaughter for the death of the driver, the legal source said.

Lesser charges of “wilful violence by a person in authority” were issued over the death of the front-seat passenger, and the injury of a person in the back seat.

He was ordered to turn in his gun and prohibited from any police duties involving contact with the public.

The decision was slammed as “unacceptable” by the right-leaning Alliance police officers’ union, which called for a demonstration to defend “the presumption of legitimate defence” in front of the historic Paris courthouse on Monday.

The police report said the car was parked the wrong way with its hazard lights flashing on the banks of the Seine, prompting the five-person foot patrol to investigate, according to the police report.

When confronted, the driver suddenly sped off towards one officer who managed to jump out of the way.

The two occupants who were killed had extensive criminal records, including for drug charges.

While police in France went unarmed while on routine patrols for years, authorities began issuing assault rifles after the mass jihadist terror killing in Paris on November 13, 2015, which were followed by a wave of other deadly Islamist attacks.

Security forces have been on high alert since the marathon trial for the November 2015 attacks, France’s worst post-war atrocity, opened in September.

The 20 defendants include Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving attacker, who after years of silence claimed in testimony this month that he had a last-minute change of heart and decided not to set off his explosive vest.

UEFA Strips Russia Of Champions League Final Hosting Rights

 

Paris will host this season’s Champions League final after Saint Petersburg was stripped of the match due to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, UEFA announced on Friday.

The showpiece occasion of the European club season will be played at the Stade de France on Saturday, May 28, European football’s governing body said after holding an emergency meeting in response to the crisis.

“UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to the French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment to have European club football’s most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis,” a statement said.

“Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement.”

The final was supposed to be played at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, which already hosted several matches at last year’s European Championship and at the 2018 World Cup held in Russia.

UEFA made no reference to its relationship with Gazprom, the Russian state energy giant that is a key sponsor of European football’s governing body.

However, UEFA did announce that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in international competitions must play home matches at neutral venues “until further notice”.

FIFA may now move to force Russia to play their World Cup qualifying play-off against Poland on March 24 on neutral ground.

Spartak Moscow, in the Europa League, are the only club from either Russia or Ukraine s

-AFP

Saudi Paris Embassy Says Arrested Suspect Has No Link To Khashoggi Case

In this file photo taken on December 15, 2014, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi attends a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. (Photo by MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH / AFP)

 

The Saudi embassy in Paris said Tuesday that a Saudi national arrested as a suspect in the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has no connection with the case.

French police earlier Tuesday arrested a man suspected of being a member of the hit squad that murdered Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, and investigators were seeking to confirm that the man carrying a passport in the name of Khalid Alotaibi was indeed the man being sought in connection with the gruesome murder.

“The person who was arrested has nothing to do with the case in question,” the embassy said in a statement. “Therefore, the kingdom’s embassy expects his immediate release”.

READ ALSO: Saudi Arabia Reports First Case Of Omicron Variant In Gulf

The embassy said that the Saudi judiciary had already issued verdicts against “all those who participated in the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi” and that they were serving their sentences.

In September 2020, a Saudi court overturned five death sentences issued after a closed-door trial in Saudi Arabia, sentencing the accused to 20 years in prison instead.

On the French side, checks were meanwhile still underway on Tuesday evening to ensure that police were holding the right man, a source close to the case said, noting that his detention could last up to 48 hours.

AFP

Nigerians Are Competitive Abroad Due To Good Education From Home – Buhari

President Buhari addresses other world leaders during the Opening ceremony of the Paris Peace Forum in France on 11th Nov 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians all over the world are very competitive, noting that they acquired the trait from home where the citizens have been properly educated and immersed in business rudiments.

The President stated this on Friday when he met with the Minister of State Foreign Affairs of United Arab Emirates (UAE), His Excellency Shaikh Shakboot Alnahyan, at the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum.

According to a statement by his special media aide, Femi Adesina, President Buhari described his countrymen and women as “competitive both at home and abroad,” and urged them to always abide by the rules of their host countries.

Said the President: “Nigerians are all over the place, very competitive. And the competitiveness starts from home, where they have acquired good education, gone into businesses, and then take all that abroad.”

He encouraged Nigerians in Diaspora to “subject themselves to the rules and standards of the country in which they live either as working class, or doing businesses.”

Read Also: Osinbajo To Nigerian Exporters: Take Advantage Of AfCFTA

He welcomed the offer by UAE to partner with Nigeria in the areas of renewable energy, agriculture, infrastructure logistics, and provision of vaccines to further control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Shakboot Alnahyan said his country “thinks very highly “of President Buhari’s leadership, noting that he was striving to “build a better future for generations to come.”

He said there were lots of Nigerians in his country, “who add much value,” assuring that the headwinds of the recent past in the relationship “are now behind us.

We want to secure, deepen and strengthen the association for the future. We have a lot in common. We may be taking small steps, but they are leading somewhere.”

On proposed investments in Nigeria, Alnahyan said it would be a win-win situation, “which would bring hope and opportunities for people in both countries. We want to come and add quality and value.”

He equally commended the Nigerian government for its robust tackling of violent extremism.

Post-Pandemic Experimentation At Paris Fashion Week

Models present creations by Chanel as part of Paris Fashion Week in Paris, on October 5, 2021. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

 

Paris Fashion Week wraps up Tuesday after nine days of innovative experiments that showed how the industry is embracing technology and new approaches for a post-pandemic future.

While many fashion houses stuck to online presentations, the biggest names such as Dior, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney — even Yves Saint Laurent, which had been first to quit live shows when the pandemic hit — got back to the catwalk.

But new twists often reflected the lessons learned during lockdowns and increasing environmental concerns.

 

What Is Real?

Among the most inventive runway shows in years came from Balenciaga, who fooled their own guests into becoming part of the spectacle.

Arriving via a red carpet, they were unaware that the official models were walking among them until a big screen relayed their entrance and highlighted which outfits were part of the show.

 

Models present creations by Etam during the Etam Live Show 2021 as part of the Paris Fashion Week at the Garnier Opera in Paris, on October 4, 2021. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

 

The line between guest and model disappeared as it emerged that some of the celebrities had been on secret modelling duty, including racing driver Lewis Hamilton and actress Isabelle Huppert.

The New York Times called it a “knife-sharp belly laugh of an experiment on… our digital lives, where posing has become the norm (and) voyeurism is a constant.”

 

Immersive Shows

One advantage of pandemic-era online presentations is that they have given viewers time to really appreciate the clothes.

Dior embraced that idea, using an elaborate gameshow-style rotating stage which allowed the models and their outfits to be seen from multiple angles.

Christian Louboutin, creator of the famous red-soled pumps, offered a fully immersive experience, plunging the audience into digital landscapes before presenting the shoes on podiums, jazzed up with digital effects, while dancers put them through their paces.

 

Face-To-Face

Young French star Marine Serre, who has put on spectacular shows in the past, opted to stick with an online presentation this time.

But she also screened the film for several hundred guests at a special evening in Paris “to give it some warmth and appreciation,” she said.

 

A model presents a creation by Chanel as part of Paris Fashion Week in Paris, on October 5, 2021. (Photo by Lucas BARIOULET / AFP)

 

The clothes were on display to see and touch, while Serre herself was on hand to discuss directly with guests.

British veteran Paul Smith also took an intimate approach, inviting guests to his headquarters.

He offered commentary on each outfit, saying: “I think the way we’ve done it today is correct for the house. It’s nice to have a one-to-one.”

 

Ethical Concerns

Though the fashion industry is often accused of empty posturing on the environment, some designers insist they are determined to really make a difference.

Stella McCartney displayed the first-ever bag made from “Mylo” mushroom leather.

It was part of a collection that went heavy on natural vibes, with even the music being inspired by fungi.

Gabriella Hearst also highlighted her green credentials, saying 58 percent of her designs for Chloe were from low-impact materials.

And Dutch label Botter used recovered plastic waste from the sea for its aquatic-inspired collection.

AFP

Paris To Charge Motorbikes Parking Fees From 2022

People cycle with their bike down the Rue de Rivoli, by the Louvre museum, in Paris on May 19, 2020 as France eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus). THOMAS COEX / AFP
File: THOMAS COEX / AFP

 

The owners of motorbikes and motorised scooters will have to pay to park their rides in Paris starting next year, a city hall official said Tuesday.

Deputy mayor David Belliard, a member of the Greens party, said the two-wheelers could use marked car parking spots and rates would be half of those charged to automobile owners.

At their current level, this would translate into 2 euros ($2.40) per hour of street parking in the centre of Paris for motorcycles, falling to 1.20 euros nearer the outskirts.

Some 100,000 people ride their motorbike or scooters every day in Paris, according to Le Parisien newspaper.

Electric vehicles, including e-scooters, will continue to park free in the French capital, Belliard said.

Paris will also add around 5,000 dedicated parking spots for motorcycles and scooters to the current 40,000, Belliard said.

Pavement parking, a major headache in a city with mostly narrow sidewalks, will still be banned, he said, warning that police would “severely” sanction offenders.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo promised to introduce motorcycle parking fees during her 2020 re-election campaign.

Last month, she announced that car traffic would be drastically reduced in the heart of Paris next year, the latest step in her goal of greening one of the densest urban landscapes in Europe.

The plan would ban most vehicles from the Paris Centre district, formerly the first four arrondissements of the capital, that includes the two islands on the Seine river and the winding narrow streets of the Marais.

Critics blame her anti-car policies for traffic headaches for residents and for people living in suburbs lacking viable public transport options for getting to work in the city.

Belliard also said Tuesday that the city would convert half the capital’s roughly 65,000 car parking spots into cycling paths, green areas and terraces, or use the space to widen pavements.

But handicapped motorists, car sharers, delivery workers and taxis will get more dedicated parking spaces than now, he said.

AFP