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OFFBEAT

‘Dead’ Frenchman fights to prove he’s still alive

A Frenchman who was declared dead after a bizarre case involving a mysterious dead body is embroiled in a legal battle to prove that he's actually still alive.

'Dead' Frenchman fights to prove he's still alive
Nicolas Vigier/Flickr
Louis Palacios, 74, was declared dead by authorities after a corpse found on his land in May was identified as his own.
 
But now, four months on and Palacios is back from the dead, so to speak, and embroiled in a battle to prove that he is in fact still alive.
 
His highly unusual pickle began when officials identified the body found on his land as Palacios, while in reality it belonged to a homeless man who had been living there for years.
 
After he was officially declared deceased, the 74-year-old from the Tarn department in southern France found himself cut off from his social security and pension payments, as well as blocked from his bank accounts and unable to validate his driving license. 
 
Louis Palacios. Screengrab/France 3 
 
Since then, he has been embroiled in a battle with the French courts to prove that he is in fact still alive.
 
In order to be recognised among the living Palacios must get a “certificate of life” by appearing before the local magistrate. 
 
But unfortunately for Palacios, the French authorities are being characteristically slow over the matter. 
 
And even after the hearing takes place on Monday, Palacios will still have to spend two more weeks as a dead man before being recognised as legally alive. 
 
 
 
 
 

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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