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OFFBEAT

Gambler: state should stop me playing poker

A French gambling addict is suing the government for €100,000 because it failed to prevent him from accessing online poker sites, his lawyer said on Monday.

Gambler: state should stop me playing poker

The 37-year-old from the city of Reims registered with the interior ministry last year to be voluntarily banned from casinos and online gambling sites, but was still able to access them, lawyer Emmanuel Ludot told AFP.

“It’s all well and good to moralise about online games but we all know that they rely on the addiction and sickness of players,” Ludot said.

He said the ministry registered the man, whose identity was not released, under the wrong address when he asked to be banned, “which allowed him to continue playing”.

The interior ministry refused to comment on the case because legal proceedings were under way.

Under French law gambling addicts can register with the ministry to be banned from casinos and from being allowed access to Internet gambling sites, which must consult the ban list before allowing players to sign up.

There are currently about 36,000 people registered on the list.

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OFFBEAT

France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.

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