French police hunt for armed robber who held guards hostage in jail break

A prison door that was blasted apart by explosives. Photo: EPA

French police were yesterday hunting a notorious armed robber, nicknamed "The Writer", who staged a dramatic jailbreak in northern France after briefly taking several guards hostage.

Monday, 15 April, 2013, 4:33am

French robber takes hostages and blasts way out of jail

Police officers invastigate around the destroyed door of the Sequedin prison. Photo: AFP

A robber with links to organised crime blasted his way out of jail with explosives yesterday as he took prison wardens hostage in northern France, officials said.

14 Apr 2013 - 8:09am

France launches major offensive on Mali Islamists

French soldier takes part in a joint drill with Cote d'Ivoire soldiers ahead of the latters' departure for Mali, in Toumodi, 200 kilometers northwest of Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. Photo: AFP

A French force of 1,000 soldiers in a major offensive has swept a valley thought to be a logistics base for Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists near the Malian city of Gao.

9 Apr 2013 - 12:58pm

Man held for sawing off tusk of elephant skeleton at Paris museum

The damaged exhibit at Paris' Museum of Natural History. Photo: AFP

A man was arrested for allegedly breaking into Paris' Museum of Natural History and using a chainsaw to cut off a tusk from a centuries-old elephant skeleton.

Police said a neighbour of the Left Bank museum alerted authorities after hearing the sawing sound in the early hours at the weekend.

1 Apr 2013 - 4:34am

Eiffel Tower evacuated after bomb threat

A police cordon is set near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Photo: Xinhua

Nearly 1,400 people were sent away from the tourist attraction following a request from tower operators after the warning, a Paris police official said. 

31 Mar 2013 - 12:27pm

Sarkozy investigated in party-funding affair

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: EPA

Ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation on Thursday for “abuse of weakness” in a 2007 party funding case involving elderly L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, the public prosecutor said.

23 Mar 2013 - 3:07am

French in tough fight in northern Mali

French Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a ceremony in Paris for a French soldier recently killed in Mali. Photo: AFP

France’s defence minister says French troops are involved in “very violent fighting” in the mountains of northern Mali, and that it’s too early to talk about a quick pullout from the West African country despite the growing cost of the intervention.

26 Feb 2013 - 6:18pm

Paris says will not negotiate with hostage-takers

A security guard shows photos of Tanguy Moulin-Fournier and wife Albane (centre) and their four children, kidnapped this month while visiting the Waza National Park.. Photo: AFP

France will not negotiate with gunmen claiming to be from Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram who have taken a French family of seven hostage, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.

26 Feb 2013 - 6:20pm

Tainted horsemeat 'probably' sold to French, says minister

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll. Photo: AFP

Horsemeat containing a drug potentially harmful to humans has probably entered the food chain, says France, as Italy becomes the latest country to be drawn into the contaminated meat scandal.

25 Feb 2013 - 6:22am

France tops US in women on corporate boards: study

Fireworks burst over the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Photo: AFP

France has overtaken the United States in placing women on the boards of the world’s 200 largest companies, according to a study released on Friday.

The average percentage of female directors among Fortune Global 200 companies, the world’s largest by revenues, came to a modest 15 per cent, according to the study by the Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI).

23 Feb 2013 - 10:48am

EU ministers gather for talks on horsemeat row

A customer walks through the frozen prepared meals section at a Tesco store in London. Some Tesco Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese was found to contain 60 per cent horsemeat, after DNA tess were carried out. Photo: EPA

European farming ministers and the European commissioner for health were due to meet in Brussels on Wednesday amid growing anger and recriminations over mislabelled meat products.

13 Feb 2013 - 11:16pm

France bombs Islamist hideout as Mali insurgency deepens

French soldiers holding F1 assault rifles patrol in Gao, Mali. Photo: AFP

France has bombed an Islamist rebel hideout in northern Mali’s largest city, intensifying a security lock-down against guerilla attacks as the French-led campaign entered its second month.

Witnesses said a French attack helicopter destroyed the central police station in Gao in a pre-dawn assault on Monday.

12 Feb 2013 - 2:09pm

France launches probe into suspects linked to African jihad network

French soldiers patrol on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris as part of the "Vigipirate" heightened security plan. Photo: Reuters

A judicial official said Saturday that the four, aged 22 to 37, are being investigated for criminal association with a terrorist enterprise.

10 Feb 2013 - 1:13pm

Suicide bomber hits north Mali, troops clash in capital

Malian soldiers transport a dozen suspected Islamist rebels on Friday after arresting them north of Gao. Photo: AFP

In Mali’s first ever suicide bombing, an attacker drove up to a group of Malian troops in Gao, the largest town in the north, and detonated an explosive belt, wounding one soldier, said First Sergeant Mamadou Keita.

8 Feb 2013 - 9:32pm

French troops begin withdrawal from Timbuktu

French armoured vehicles are seen heading towards the Niger border before making a left turn north in Gao, northern Mali. Photo: AP

French troops began to withdraw from Timbuktu on Thursday after securing the fabled city as they ramped up their mission in another northern Mali city, searching for Islamic extremists who may be mixing among the local population.

8 Feb 2013 - 2:53pm