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French teen charged over brandishing fake gun at teacher in Paris suburb

A French teenager who was filmed threatening his teacher with a fake gun in a tough Paris suburb was charged Sunday with aggravated violence, prosecutors said.

The incident, which was filmed and uploaded onto social media by one of the 15-year-old's classmates, took place Thursday at a high school in the southeastern suburb of Creteil.
   
It drew widespread condemnation, including from President Emmanuel Macron and members of his cabinet as well as the right-wing opposition condemned the 
incident.
   
The daily Le Parisien reported that the student admitted to pointing the imitation gun at the teacher, but said it was meant “as a joke” and that he was not aware he was being filmed.
 
 
He presented himself to police on Friday accompanied by his father.
   
The video shows the boy standing over the seated teacher, brandishing what turned out to be an air gun.
   
“You've marked me absent. Mark me as present,” he shouts as another student tries to plead his case with the teacher, who appears more weary than panicked 
and continues working on her laptop while exchanging a few inaudible remarks with the class.
   
She filed a police complaint on Friday.
  
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a joint statement Sunday they would convene a top-level meeting next week to discuss ways to end violence in schools in low-income city suburbs.
   
“School is the cradle of the Republic and it is where we learn to respect the Republic,” Castaner said during a visit to a police station in eastern Paris, vowing to “recapture the Republic square metre by square metre” from lawless elements.
Le Parisien said the teenager was angry that the teacher marked him down as absent when he had been merely late for class.
   
Another teenager suspected of bringing the fake weapon to school was also questioned by police but released without charge.
   
Macron on Saturday warned in a tweet (see above) that threatening a teacher was “unacceptable” and said he had ordered his ministers to take “all necessary measures” to prevent a repeat of the incident.
   
France has so far been spared the kind of gun violence that has plagued schools in the United States and parts of northern Europe.

FACEBOOK

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.

READ ALSO: Trump's US wine tariffs 'threaten 100,000 jobs in French countryside'

 

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.

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