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OFFBEAT

‘Spiderman’ climbs France’s tallest building

Video: A climber dubbed the French Spiderman has successfully scaled the tallest skyscrapper in France. 

‘Spiderman’ climbs France’s tallest building
Absynthe Productions

“The last ten meters were difficult, but I had to keep some reserves of energy for that last part,” says 49-year-old Alain Robert, after scaling the 231-meter First building in Paris without safety ropes. 

“I’m happy to be alive,” he told newswire AFP.

Famed for climbing buildings without permession, Robert scaled the First building to raise awareness about hair loss. He scaled the building in Paris’s business district La Defense in less than an hour, despite occasional gusts of wind. 

The French Spiderman isn’t always quite so successful. He was in a coma for five days after one 15-meter fall in 1982, and has fractured and broken several bones.

Robert has also damaged his internal ear, which means he now suffers from vertigo. French health authorities have assessed him as 66% disabled.

Asked how he overcomes his handicap, Robert says he uses the 34 percent that’s left to climb buildings. 

Watch Alain Robert climb La Défense: 

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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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