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French Police Deploy Semi-Automatic Weapons and Live Ammo Against Yellow Vests

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In an unprecedented move, French riot police have hit the streets with semi-automatic weapons and live ammunition to stop Yellow Vest protesters.

Officers seen carrying Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles equipped with 30-cartridge live ammunition magazines were filmed near the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris on Saturday, showing the extent to which Macron is willing to mete out state violence to secure his rule.

The move is just the latest sign that the government of President Emmanuel Macron is dead-set on deploying every possible repressive measure capable of stamping out the dynamic social movement, and comes as the combative protests and seemingly inextinguishable rage of the Gilet Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, approaches its 10th week on the streets of France.

The protesters have already won several demands yet they have continued to mobilize unabated for further systemic changes in the country ruled by the neoliberal right-centrist president.

Yellow Vest protesters have lambasted what they see as the implied threat that they could be sprayed with live ammunition and noted that the weapons were atypical for crowd control units of the French National Police.

“The [National Police] with the guns were wearing riot control helmets and body armor – they were not a specialized firearms unit,” protester Gillet Caron said.

“Their job was simply to threaten us with lethal weapons in a manner which is very troubling. We deserve some explanations.”

The G36 is a common rifle in NATO countries’ militaries and is more commonly used by the specialized squadrons of the police and anti-criminal brigades in France, who are the equivalent of the special weapons and tactics or SWAT teams among their U.S. police counterparts.

The deployment of the assault rifles comes after conservative former minister Luc Ferry demanded that the state be given more largesse to use extraordinary measures and decisively rub out the Yellow Vest movement. The former education minister told reporters last week:

“What I don’t understand is that we don’t give the means to the police to put an end to this violence.”

When told that the guns would lead to grievous injuries or worse among protesters, Ferry responded:

“So what? Frankly, when you see guys beating up an unfortunate policeman on the floor, that’s when they should use their weapons once and for all. That’s enough!”

The French National Police, known by their French acronym CRS, has already earned widespread revilement for their heavy-handed use of plainclothes officers and excessive use of less-lethal weaponry including tear gas canisters, stun grenades and flash-ball projectiles.

On Saturday’s Day of Rage, which marked the 9th consecutive week of protests, fireman and father of three Olivier Beziade was shot in the back of the head by police officers as he participated in demonstrations while wearing the high-visibility jacket associated with the movement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPWjwEE9bRE

Beziade is now in a medically-induced coma after suffering a grievous brain injury from the flash-ball and may have lifelong complications due to the blow.

According to his wife Cindy, Beziade was trying to escape clouds of teargas before the police appeared around a corner and began firing at fleeing protesters.

“They shot at us like rabbits,” she said.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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