‘Racist’ white powder letter sent to Meghan Markle: report

In this file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry talks to Meghan Markle as they watch a dance performance by Jukebox Collective in the banqueting hall during a visit to Cardiff Castle, Wales. (AP)
Updated 22 February 2018
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‘Racist’ white powder letter sent to Meghan Markle: report

LONDON: A letter with white powder was sent to Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle, the Evening Standard newspaper reported on Thursday, saying it was also believed to contain a racist message.
The paper said that officers from the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command were called in after the letter was received on Feb. 12 at a sorting office in St. James’s Palace in central London.
But analysis of the powder found that it was harmless.
Contacted by AFP, Prince Harry’s press service at Kensington Palace declined to comment on the report.
“Police are investigating after a package containing a substance was delivered to St. James’s Palace on Monday, 12 February,” police said in a statement.
“The substance was tested and confirmed as non-suspicious. Officers are also investigating an allegation of malicious communications which relates to the same package,” the statement said.
The Evening Standard said police were believed to be examining whether the incident was linked to a package containing white powder that was sent to the British parliament on Feb. 13.
The couple are due to marry in Windsor on May 19.
When their relationship was first revealed in 2016, Harry issued a strongly-worded statement against media harassment of his mixed-race girlfriend.
Harry’s communications secretary Jason Knauf said at the time that Markle had been the subject of “a wave of abuse and harassment.”
“Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” Knauf said then.


Father of boy saved in Paris ‘Spiderman’ drama in court

This file photo taken on June 18, 2018 shows Malian immigrant in France turned hero, Mamoudou Gassama addressing the media within a meeting with Mali's president in Bamako. (AFP)
Updated 24 min 48 sec ago
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Father of boy saved in Paris ‘Spiderman’ drama in court

  • The man’s lawyer Romain Ruiz said prosecutors had taken “particularly reductive” elements of the story out of context, but added that the 37-year-old father admitted he had “done something really stupid”

PARIS: When a Malian illegal immigrant rescued a child dangling from a Paris balcony, he was hailed worldwide as a hero — but the little boy’s father will appear in court Tuesday charged with negligence. Mamoudou Gassama, the migrant nicknamed “Spiderman” after footage of his daring rescue went viral in May, has since been rewarded with French citizenship and a job in the fire service. But the four-year-old’s father, who has not been named, faces a potential criminal conviction for leaving the child unattended in their 6th-floor apartment, popping out to buy groceries. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said at the time of the incident that the father also delayed his return because he wanted to play the popular Pokemon Go game on his phone. The man’s lawyer Romain Ruiz said prosecutors had taken “particularly reductive” elements of the story out of context, but added that the 37-year-old father admitted he had “done something really stupid.” “He is leaving his fate up to the court,” Ruiz said.
He added that the father had left home “for between 30 minutes and an hour” and had taken “precautions” to keep the child safe in his absence. The little boy clambered onto the balcony and appears to have fallen, before miraculously managing to grab the rail of a balcony lower down. Footage of the incident, filmed by a bystander below, shows him hanging over the edge, a neighbor on the adjoining balcony desperately trying to hold onto him. Gassama, 22, then scales the building Spiderman-style and pulls him to safety.
In theory, parental negligence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison under France’s penal code, and a fine of up to 30,000 euros ($35,300).
But such a sentence is thought unlikely in the case of this father, who has been allowed to keep custody of his son. The boy’s mother was away at the time of the May 26 incident on a trip to France’s Reunion island in the Indian Ocean. Both parents were said at the time to be extremely shaken by the incident but hugely grateful to Gassama.