Frenchman becomes web star in underpants

A shovel-wielding Frenchman has become an unwitting star of the internet after social media users took the chance to edit a photo of him wearing his underwear.

Frenchman becomes web star in underpants
The shovel-wielding Frenchman turns on the cameraman. Photo: AFP
The original pictures were taken in south western France after activists and some journalists were protesting about the poaching of finches in the town of Audon.
The protesters were on the scene destroying traps intended for a species of finch that has been protected since 1976, reported Le Parisien newspaper.
However, the group was met by local man with a shovel, who was wearing nothing more than a T-shirt and his underwear. 
An AFP photographer on the scene captured a few images of the man's violent shovel attack on the group, pictures which were then published widely across French media. 
The images, however, proved too tempting for French social media users, who were quick to photoshop the Frenchman into different scenes from film history and popular culture.
The Frenchman found himself in Star Wars, the Walking Dead, in sports events from around the world, and even at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here's a selection of the images:
The story has since gone international, covered by  sites such as BuzzFeed America.
By Monday evening, the hashtag #SlipGate remained the top trend on Twitter in Paris. See more images here

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Facebook agrees with France to pay €106 million in back taxes

US social media giant Facebook on Monday said it had agreed with the French government to pay €106 million in back taxes for its French operations over a 10-year period from 2009, and to pay 50 percent more tax in the current year.

Facebook agrees with France to pay €106 million in back taxes
Many of the US digital giants have their EU headquarters in low-tax-regime countries. Photo: AFP

“We take our tax obligations seriously, pay the taxes we owe in all the markets in which we operate and work closely with tax administrations around the world to ensure compliance with all applicable tax laws and resolve any disputes,” a Facebook France spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement said that since 2018, Facebook changed its sales structure so that “income from advertisers supported by our teams in France is registered in this country”.

“This year we are paying €8.46 million in income tax, an increase of almost 50 percent compared to last year,” it said. 

“We have also entered into an agreement with the tax authorities covering the years 2009-2018, under which we will make a payment of €106 million.”

The payment by American digital giants of tax on revenues in the country in which they are accrued has been the subject of a longstanding conflict between France and the United States. 

Big EU countries say the so-called GAFA – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – are unfairly exploiting tax rules that let them declare profits in low-tax havens, depriving governments of a fair share of their fiscal payments.

Many of the US digital giants have their EU headquarters in low-tax-regime countries. 

The dispute between France and the United States on the digital giants' tax has escalated to the extent that the United States in July unveiled heavy import duties on France.

The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer found France's digital services tax was discriminatory and “unfairly targets US digital technology companies,” and said it would impose punitive duties of 25 percent on $1.3 billion worth of French products.

But it will hold off on collecting the fees to allow time for the dispute to be resolved.

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In the meantime, France, Britain, Spain, Italy and others have imposed taxes on the largest digital companies.

US officials have slammed these moves as discriminating against American firms, and say any new levies should come only as part of a broader overhaul of international tax rules.

In January, 137 countries agreed to negotiate a deal on how to tax tech multinationals by the end of 2020, under the auspices of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.