Tag: France

Undocumented Immigrant Mamoudou Gassama, 22, Saves Child Dangling From Balcony in France, Becomes National Hero (VIDEO)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The video footage is astounding: in a matter of seconds, young hero Mamoudou Gassama, scales four stories of a Paris apartment building to rescue a child dangling from a balcony.

Hero Mamoudou Gassama (photo via nypost.com)

According to washingtonpost.com, Gassama, a 22 year-old undocumented immigrant from Mali, is being feted as a French national hero despite having been in France for less than six months. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced that the city would support his effort to stay in France, and President Emmanuel Macron welcomed him to the Élysée Palace on Monday. According to Newsweek, Macron granted Gassama full French citizenship, and Gassama has also been offered a job as a firefighter in the French capital.

At a moment when life is becoming increasingly difficult for immigrants in France, Gassama — christened “Le Spider-Man” on French social media — has become an overnight celebrity after his Saturday night heroics.

“He explained to me that he arrived from Mali several months ago, dreaming of building his life here,” Hidalgo said via Twitter. “I told him that his heroic gesture is an example for all citizens.”

Gassama recounted the chain of events on Saturday night to France’s Le Parisien newspaper. Around 8 p.m., he was with his girlfriend in Paris’s 18th arrondissement, or district. As he was walking down Marx-Dormoy street, he saw a crowd gathered below a building, with people screaming and pointing up. Then he saw the boy, who authorities later said was 4.

“I climbed up to save him, voilà,” Gassama told Le Parisien. “I did it because it was a kid. I love children very much. I didn’t think about the floors,” he said, referring to the building he scaled. “I didn’t think about the risk.”

For many, the question was how the 4-year-old boy had managed to climb over the balcony’s railing in the first place. The child’s mother was not in Paris at the time, and his father, who had apparently left the boy home alone, was questioned by authorities, a judicial source told Agence France-Presse.

Serena Williams Advances to French Open Final, has Shot at Tying Major Record

Serena Williams (USA) reacts after defeating Kiki Bertens (NED) to advance to the 2016 French Open Final. (Photo: Susan Mullane, USA TODAY Sports)
Serena Williams (USA) reacts after defeating Kiki Bertens (NED) to advance to the 2016 French Open Final. (Photo: Susan Mullane, USA TODAY Sports)

article by Nick McCarvel via usatoday.com

PARIS – Is the world No. 1 – winner of 21 Grand Slam singles title and arguably the best women’s tennis player to ever play the game – the underdog in the French Open final?

In a way, yes.

Serena Williams has dug, scraped and fought her way back into the championship match here on Saturday – far from her best – and is set to take on No. 4 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, a big-hitting Spaniard who has picked up steam this fortnight in her quest for a maiden major trophy.

When the two clash on Court Philippe Chatrier Saturday for the Roland Garros title, it’s the 34-year-old Williams who will have to play catch up.

“If she plays like this, she’s not going to win,” Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou said Friday after another shaky Williams win. “But I don’t expect her to play that level tomorrow. The mental approach has to change. She has to show it.”

That’s the book on Williams: She rises to the occasion, time after time. She did it last year, winning five three-set matches en route to the French Open crown while suffering from the flu. She has done it this week, triumphing in three sets over Yulia Putintseva on Thursday in the quarterfinals and saving a pair of set points against Kiki Bertens on Friday. She’s a convincing 21-5 in major finals in her career.

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College Senior Anthony Sadler Jr. Helps Stop Terrorist on Train in Europe

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Anthony Sadler Jr., a student from Rancho Cordova, California, was on a high-speed train in Europe on Friday when an attacker carrying a machine gun wounded three people before Sadler and his friends were able to help take him down.

According to officials, the gunman was tackled and disarmed by Sadler, Alek Skartalos, Spencer Stone – two friends in the U.S. military – and another man and subsequently arrested.

“I’m just a college student,” Sadler told Reuters. “It’s my last year in college. I came to see my friends on my first trip in Europe and we stopped a terrorist. It’s kind of crazy.”

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, in speaking about the incident, said the Americans “were particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances,” and that “without their sangfroid we could have been confronted with a terrible drama.”

The three men were given medals, which were presented by the local mayor.

“I think it all happened just instinctively,” Anthony Sadler Sr. said of his son’s heroic actions. “He did what he felt was necessary.”

Anthony Sadler was one of three Americans who stopped what could have been a horrific terrorist attack on a Belgium train. (Facebook)
Anthony Sadler was one of three Americans who stopped what could have been a horrific terrorist attack on a Belgium train. (Facebook)

“Even as a kid, if he saw an old lady putting groceries in the car, he would go and ask if he could help … he saw someone in trouble, he’d just step in,” said Lottie Valentine, Sadler’s great-aunt.

Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, was traveling with childhood friends Stone, of Carmichael, California, and Skarlatos, a National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, when they heard a gunshot and breaking glass.  Sadler told The Associated Press that they saw a train employee sprint down the aisle followed by a gunman with an automatic rifle.

“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, ‘Spencer, go!’ And Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said. “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a boxcutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”

Another passenger helped tie the gunman up, and Stone then quickly turned to help another passenger who had been wounded in the throat, stopping his bleeding until paramedics came, Sadler said.

Sadler’s family said they were praying for his safe return home. The family also confirmed Sadler was being held at an undisclosed location in France until he can safely return back to California.

Sadler Sr. added that he was proud of his son and is still wrapping his head around the news.

“He leaves here a young man on an excursion to broaden his world view and have fun with his buddies and he comes back as France’s national hero,” Sadler Sr. said.

Read more: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/national-international/Californian-Among-Train-Passengers-Who-Subdued-Terrorist-322569852.html#ixzz3je4cYd6L 

Born on This Day in 1892: Pioneering Aviator Bessie Coleman (VIDEO)

Bessie Coleman

Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and the first person of African-American descent to hold an international pilot license.  Coleman was born in Atlanta,Texas, the tenth of thirteen children to sharecroppers George, who was part Cherokee, and Susan Coleman.

In 1915, at the age of 23, she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she lived with her brothers and she worked at the White Sox Barber Shop as a manicurist, where she heard stories from pilots returning home from World War I about flying during the war. She could not gain admission to American flight schools because she was black and a woman. No black U.S. aviator would train her either. Robert S. Abbott, founder and publisher of the Chicago Defender, encouraged her to study abroad.

Coleman raised money, studied French, and then traveled to Paris on November 20, 1920.  She learned to fly in a Nieuport Type 82 biplane, with “a steering system that consisted of a vertical stick the thickness of a baseball bat in front of the pilot and a rudder bar under the pilot’s feet.”  On June 15, 1921, Coleman became not only the first African-American woman to earn an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, and the first American of any gender or ethnicity to do so, but the first African-American woman to earn an aviation pilot’s license. Determined to polish her skills, Coleman spent the next two months taking lessons from a French ace pilot near Paris, and in September 1921 sailed for New York. She became a media sensation when she returned to the United States.

To learn more about Coleman’s life and career, click here or watch the Smithsonian Channel video above.

article via wikipedia.com

Former Brown University President Ruth Simmons Awarded the French Legion of Honor

Ruth SimmonsRuth Simmons, the former president of Smith College and the former president of Brown University, received the French Legion of Honor. The award, the highest honor bestowed by the French government, is given to individuals who have contributed to the advancement of French arts and culture. The citation of the award stated that “she has continuously fought against inequality and discrimination, promoting and relentlessly teaching human rights and values that France has always honored and supported.”

Dr. Simmons continues to serve on the Brown University faculty as a professor of comparative literature and Africana studies. Fluent in French, she holds a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literature from Harvard University.

article via jbhe.com

France’s Baby Dance Battle Features 6-Year-Old Dance Phenom B-Girl Terra (VIDEO)

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The Hip-Hop community has influenced dance culture consistently for over 30 years and some of the best moves have been gleaned from the Eighties and are still celebrated in competition today.  If you see a dance battle, nine times out of ten, break dancing will be a part of the show.

France puts on an annual dance battle called  Chelles Battle Pro.  The competition took place Saturday and the baby with the most swag and skill of the B-Boy crew The Soul Mavericks, was the electrifying 6-year-old dance phenom, Terra.

She broke it down with every difficult move from the hesistant crawl, to headstands with hops, and endless spins holding her leg, all with bold bravado that should’ve sent her opponent running off the stage with his tail between his legs.  According to Digital Journal, she joined the all male dance crew last year along with her 8-year-old sister Eddie. Check her out for yourself.  You won’t believe her explosive character and moves.  You will be shocked that she didn’t win the competition.

article by J.C. Brooks via eurthisnthat.com

France Repatriates Stolen Nigerian Artifacts to Nigeria

It is no longer news that many Nigerian artifacts are in Europe and America held by both public institutions such as Museums, Universities and Galleries as well as by private individuals, but what is new is the collaborative efforts being made by the Nigerian government and the countries where these artifacts are taken in the first place to repatriate them back to the country where they rightly belong.

One of these collaborative diplomatic efforts yielded a positive result yesterday when the French Embassy in Nigeria handed over five Nok Terracotta figures seized by the French Customs service in Paris. Nok arts came to light in 1928, when Co. J. Dent Young found a small terracotta head amongst the gravel from tin mining operations near the village of Nok in Jos Plateau of central Nigeria and since then these cultural materials were named after the village where the finds were made.

It is indeed unfortunate that so much Nok materials have been looted over time to supply the international art market which is supposed to be the exclusive cultural artifacts of the Nigerian people.  So when the French Ambassador to Nigeria Jacques Champagne de Labriolle handed over 5 stolen artifacts of Nok origin to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCCM) last Tuesday many stakeholders in the art sector landed the move, describing it as a right step in the right direction.

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