Bullets, death threats sent to French finance minister

The sender said two of the bullets were meant for Le Maire and the third for his budget minister. (Reuters)
Updated 11 September 2019
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Bullets, death threats sent to French finance minister

  • It was not immediately clear who sent the threats
  • The minister intended to file a complaint with the police

PARIS: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has received three letters containing death threats, including one this week with bullets enclosed, one of his aides said on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear who sent the threats or what their motive was, but the letters had coincided with an increase in violence toward politicians, the aide added.

Anti-government “Yellow Vest” demonstrations unleashed some of the worst rioting in Paris in decades in late 2018 and the first half of this year. Protesters have also vandalized the offices of some ruling-party lawmakers.

“We accept democratic debate, that people might disagree with out policies, but this goes too far,” the aide said. He said the first letter was sent to police in the Basque country city of Bayonne in August, threatening to “pulverise” Le Maire’s summer holiday house during the Aug. 24-27 G7 summit, hosted by France’s president in nearby Biarritz.

The second was sent direct to Le Maire’s residence in Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle, this time threatening to target the minister himself. The Ministry of Finance received a third letter containing three bullets on Tuesday. The sender said two of the bullets were meant for Le Maire and the third for his budget minister, Gerald Darmanin.

“This time they’re 9mm. But when the time comes, it will be 11.43,” the letter said, referring to a larger caliber pistol bullet. Asked if the ministers’ security had been strengthened, the aide said each were shadowed by a security officer, in line with standard protocol in France.

The minister intended to file a complaint with the police, the aide added.


Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

Updated 17 September 2019
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Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

  • Staff said Tuesday they found no sign of illness or injury on the 19-year-old panda’s body
  • A zoo veterinarian said pandas have a life expectancy of 14-20 years

BANGKOK: Zoo staff in northern Thailand have donned black and white clothing and observed a minute of silence to mourn the sudden death of their popular male giant panda, who was on a long-term loan from China.

Officials said Chuang Chuang collapsed Monday in his enclosure at the Chiang Mai Zoo shortly after standing up following a meal of bamboo leaves.

Staff said Tuesday they found no sign of illness or injury on the 19-year-old panda’s body, and that he had recently passed a health checkup.

A zoo veterinarian said pandas have a life expectancy of 14-20 years. Chuang Chuang and his female mate arrived in Chiang Mai in 2003 on a 10-year loan that was later extended for another 10 years.