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DRUGS

French police make big cannabis hauls

More than nine tonnes of cannabis have been seized by authorities in France so far this year, due to more international coorperation according to specialists.

In the last four months 9,380kg of cannabis has been discovered by customs officers during vehicle raids, according to a study by AFP.

The latest raid was last weekend, when the air and border police (police de l’air et des frontiers) seized 658kg of cannabis from a car in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques area.

During the whole of last year 30.5 tonnes was seized in the country.

Specialists attribute this high level of discovery to “an increase in international cooperation and a better knowledge of the [drugs] network.”

Spain, one of the main countries for transit of drugs between Morocco and France, has been able to concentrate resources into organised crime since the Basque separatist organisation, ETA, announced an end to their violence.

Specialist also say custom officials have also improved their knowledge of drugs traffickers, and have been able to seize a lot of their assets over the past few years, including apartments and bank accounts.

As a result, the €65million confiscated has been sunk into the service.

There are about 1.2million regular smokers of cannabis in France, according to the the board for drugs and drug addiction (l’Observatoire français des drogues et des toxicomanies).

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DRUGS

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

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