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CRIME

Mum held over French toddler’s death

A woman arrested in France on Friday was being detained as part of a murder investigation into the death of a toddler identified as her daughter, prosecutors said.

The unidentified woman was apprehended in the eastern Paris suburb of Saint-Mande after a public appeal for her whereabouts following the November 20th discovery of the body of the girl on a Normandy beach.

The suspect was refusing to talk to police, but DNA tests showed her parental link to the toddler, regional assistant prosecutor Nathalie Bagny told AFP.

Surveillance video images had shown the woman and the child taking a train from Paris to the Normandy coastal town of Berck-sur-Mer on November 19, then the woman returning alone the next day, some hours after the girl’s body was discovered.

Dozens of people were to hold a “white” march on Saturday in homage of the dead girl, believed to be around one year old and whose identity has not been made public, according to local officials.

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POLICE

France vows to tackle motorbike ‘rodeos’ after children injured

The French government has pledged a new crackdown against illicit motorbike cruising by youths in suburbs across the country, after two children were seriously injured by a rider near Paris.

France vows to tackle motorbike 'rodeos' after children injured

The rowdy late-night races and stunts known as “rodeos” have become increasingly popular in particular in low-income neighbourhoods, leading to complaints about traffic and noise from local officials and many residents.

On Friday evening, a 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy were hit by a rider while playing tag outside their home in Pontoise, northwest of the capital.

French daily Le Figaro reported on Monday that the girl suffered a blow to the head and remained in serious condition in hospital, while the boy had a broken leg.

The accident came after a 19-year-old man was killed in June after being hit by a bike rider in the western city of Rennes.

“I have asked the police to step up their interventions this month,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in the southern city of Marseille.

Nonetheless the rodeos are often tolerated or defended as a gritty urban subculture that provides an outlet for disaffected youths, with an upcoming film, “Rodeo”, that appears to glorify the gatherings and  generated a strong buzz at the Cannes film festival last May.

Police have carried out 8,000 operations to break up rodeos in the past two months, leading to 1,200 arrests and the seizure of around 700 motorbikes and other vehicles including all-terrain “quads”.

In 2018, parliament passed a law increasing penalties for the riders to up to five years in prison.

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