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OFFBEAT

Paris commuters delayed after… mother gives birth on RER train

RER rail passengers in the French capital faced delays on Monday morning -- no, not because of strikes (this time) -- but instead because a woman was forced to give birth to a baby boy on the busiest train line in Europe.

Paris commuters delayed after... mother gives birth on RER train
Illustration photo: RER/AFP

Paris commuters might be used to delays on the city's train network but it's probably the first time they've been held up because a baby was being born. 

The drama occurred at around 11 am at Auber station on the RER A line, which runs from east to west through the city and is considered the busiest line in Europe.

Passengers were made aware of the reason for the delay with screens at stations explaining the reason for the delay as 'the unexpected birth of a baby at Auber station” (see Tweet below).
 
“We can confirm that everything is going well. Emergency services are currently on the train helping the mother,” announced the network on its Twitter feed. 
 
The President of the Ile-de-France region, Valerie Pécresse tweeted: “All sorts of events occur on the RER, some of them happier than others! A long and happy life to the baby.”
 
And it looks like the newborn is already likely to be the envy of some of its fellow commuters with the network announcing that the baby would benefit from free travel until his 25th birthday. 
 
 
News of the birth quickly went viral on Twitter, with some lamenting the fact the baby's first breath of air in the world would be underground on the RER. Others pondered whether the baby would be born Auber whilst others wondered if the birth was linked to a video that went viral some months ago that appeared to show two people having sex on an RER train.
 
Due to the birth the traffic was interrupted between stations Charles-de-Gaulle and Nation however normal services were expected to resume at around midday.
 
The RER A line carries more than 1.2 million passengers a day.
 
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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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