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French report
by Euro Reporter
2014-03-22 11:12:40
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France inquiry after Paris children found 'living wild'

french_400French authorities are investigating an Indian couple for neglect after their three small children were found living in appalling conditions in their flat. An inquiry began after the mother's indifferent attitude to the birth of her baby girl on New Year's Day aroused suspicion among medical staff. Social services found her brothers, aged two, five and six, living in the flat in a suburb of northern Paris. It seems the boys had never left the flat in all their lives. The two eldest had developmental problems, could not speak properly and had difficulty walking, as well as being undernourished.  They had simple mattresses for beds and there was no furniture, let alone toys, a judicial source told French daily Liberation. All four children were taken into care in February.

The father, 33, and the mother, aged 27, are in custody being investigated on suspicion of depriving their children of care - a charge which could see them jailed for seven years and fined 100,000 euros (£83,500; $138,000). News of the children being found has emerged in the French media only this week. It appears that none of the boys attended school or received vaccinations or any other medical attention. Neither parent worked but they received child benefit, Liberation reports. It seems the family had been living in the seventh-floor flat in the deprived district of La Courneuve in the Seine-Saint-Denis suburb of Paris for six years.

Neighbours in the block of flats said they had never seen the elder boys. Foster parents are now taking care of the two youngest children while the eldest are receiving specialist care. One question being asked is why no follow-up was given to the boys, who had been born in France, the BBC's Hugh Schofield reports from Paris. "Sometimes I saw the father as I was leaving for work but I never saw the children," an unnamed neighbour told Liberation.  "I would hear some noise, sometimes children crying, but that was all."


France offers 4 warplanes for Baltic air patrols

France is offering to send warplanes to help provide air patrols over the Baltic states and Poland, officials said Friday, amid growing tensions between the West and Russia and despite a looming big-ticket military deal between Paris and Moscow. Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, visiting NATO allies Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, announced France's willingness to support an alliance air-patrol mission in the Baltic States. The announcement suggested France was lining up with the most hawkish countries in the European Union over Russia's attempt to annex the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine — a move that has spooked some other former Soviet republics that are now independent nations.

The offer echoed those of the United States and Britain. "France has heard the requests of its allies, and I told my Estonian colleague that France is ready to strengthen air defences ... by sending four fighters from the French air force," Le Drian told reporters in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

A French contribution could also include air support for fellow NATO member Poland, and include warplanes, AWACs surveillance aircraft and radar, a French defence official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Le Drian said the AWACs would operate out of bases near the crisis area — "particularly in Poland and Romania." Despite the tensions, officials in Paris have said that France still plans to go through with a three-year-old deal to provide two warships to Russia — the first of which is set for delivery in October. The 1.2-billion-euro ($1.6-billion) deal marked the biggest-ever sale of NATO military hardware to Moscow.


$5 million stolen Rembrandt found in France after 15 years

A stolen Rembrandt masterpiece valued at more than $5 million has been found in Nice and returned to its rightful owners after 15 years in the wilderness. The haunting chiaroscuro oil painting, "Child with a Soap Bubble," was raided from the Draguignan Museum in July 1999 by robbers who slipped in through an adjacent library amid celebrations for the Bastille Day holiday.

Authorities recovered the 17th-century work Tuesday inside a Nice home and returned it to curator Jeanine Bussieres Thursday in an emotional ceremony. "We are thrilled... This Rembrandt was one of our masterpieces. The child in the picture is smiling because he has a soap bubble. But yes, he could be smiling now because he's been returned to us,"

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