Border controls to be boosted, Macron says
President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that France is reinforcing its border controls in the wake of attacks that hit the country in recent weeks.
Macron said the number of police personnel and troops in charge of border controls will double from 2,400 to 4,800. They will focus on fighting illegal immigration and smuggling activities, he said during a visit to a frontier post in Le Perthus, on the border with Spain.
“We see very clearly that terrorist actions can actually be led by some people who use migratory flows to threaten our territory. So we must reinforce our controls for reasons of national security,” Macron said.
Macron notably referred to the Islamist extremist attack on Notre Dame Basilica in the city of Nice that killed three people last week. The chief suspect, Ibrahim Issaoui, is a 21-year-old Tunisian who transited through Italy in September en route to France. Issaoui is in a French hospital after being wounded by police as they arrested him.
In addition, Macron said he will push for changes to make controls at the European Union’s external borders more efficient.
France raised its security alert to the maximum level after the Oct. 29 Nice attack.
It was the third attack since Charlie Hebdo republished the caricatures of the prophet of Islam in September as the trial opened in the 2015 militant attacks at the paper’s offices and a kosher supermarket. The gunmen in that attack claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda, both of which recently called anew for strikes against France.
— Associated Press
Polish cleric accused of coverup faces probe
The Vatican has ordered an investigation into allegations that a now-retired archbishop in Poland was negligent in investigating reports of sexual abuse of minors by priests in his Gdansk archdiocese.
The Vatican Embassy in predominantly Roman Catholic Poland said the archbishop of Warsaw had been assigned to conduct the probe and that the preliminary investigation into Slawoj Leszek Glodz has been completed.
The embassy provided no details about the outcome in a statement issued this week.
Pope Francis accepted Glodz’s resignation on his 75th birthday in August. Glodz, who had also served as the chief chaplain of Poland’s armed forces, denies any negligence.
Abuse survivors included Glodz in a report identifying two dozen current and retired Polish bishops accused of protecting predator priests. The report was delivered to Francis on the eve of his 2019 global abuse prevention summit at the Vatican.
— Associated Press
Man receives life term in failed French church attack: A Paris court sentenced a 29-year-old Algerian man to life in prison for killing a woman and trying to bomb a church near the French capital in a failed 2015 attack that investigators said was plotted by Islamic State extremists in Syria. Sidi Ahmed Ghlam testified at his trial that, at the time, he had “embraced” Islamic State ideology. He expressed regret over choosing that path but denied killing the woman outside the church in the Paris suburb of Villejuif. He was arrested after he shot himself in the leg and called an ambulance. Ghlam’s sponsors in Syria were thought to be linked to deadly attacks in France that year.
Moscow office of Navalny’s organization searched: Russian bailiffs raided the offices of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s organization while he is recovering in Germany from a nearly fatal poisoning. Navalny’s associates linked the move to a court ruling that obliged his Anti-Corruption Foundation to pay damages to a school catering company reportedly linked to a tycoon with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Navalny, an anti-corruption investigator and Putin’s most well-known opponent, fell ill Aug. 20 during a flight in Russia and was flown to Germany two days later. Tests confirmed that the poison used on Navalny was a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.
Bill seeks to expand Russian ex-presidents’ immunity from prosecution: Former Russian presidents’ immunity from criminal prosecution could be extended to any offenses committed in their lifetimes, not merely while in office, under a bill submitted to parliament. The bill is one of several being introduced in the wake of constitutional changes that, among other things, allow President Vladimir Putin to run again when his term ends in 2024. Former presidents already have lifetime immunity for any crimes committed in office. The new bill would also make it harder to revoke ex-presidents’ expanded immunity.
— From news services