France’s ‘Spiderman’ joins fire brigade as citizenship awaits

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This handout photo taken and released by the Paris Fire Brigade (Brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris - BSPP) on May 29, 2018, shows Mamoudou Gassama (2nd L), the 22-year-old Malian "Spiderman" feted for saving a child hanging from a balcony, visiting the Paris Fire Brigade headquarters and Champerret fire station in Paris. (AFP)
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Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama (R) shows his temporary residence permit after receiving it at the Prefecture of Bobigny, northeast of Paris on May 29, 2018, one day after he was honored by the French President for scaling an apartment building to save a 4-year-old child dangling from a fourth-floor balcony. (AFP)
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French President Emmanuel Macron (L) speaks with Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris, on May, 28, 2018. (AFP)
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Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama (3L) surrounded by journalists, walks down stairs with Seine-Saint-Denis Prefet Pierre-Andre Durand (2L) as he arrives to receive a temporary residence permit at the Prefecture of Bobigny, northeast of Paris on May 29, 2018, one day after he was honored by the French President for scaling an apartment building to save a 4-year-old child dangling from a fourth-floor balcony. (AFP)
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Mamoudou Gassama was captured on video scaling an apartment block to bring a child hanging from a balcony to safety. (Reuters)
Updated 30 May 2018
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France’s ‘Spiderman’ joins fire brigade as citizenship awaits

  • Many residents were unaware the shy youth was living at the hostel and happy to see him hailed for his bravery by President Emmanuel Macron and being placed on a fast track to French citizenship.
  • On his arrival in France in September 2017 after traveling the Mediterranean migrant route, Gassama was given a mattress on the floor in a room occupied by his 54-year-old brother Birama and three relatives from his home village of Yaguine in western Mali

PARIS: Mamoudou Gassama, the 22-year-old Malian “Spiderman” feted for saving a child hanging from a balcony, took his first step toward French citizenship Tuesday and joined the fire brigade as accolades continued to pour in over his daring rescue.
Video footage of Gassama scaling four storys of the building with his bare hands has catapulted the young man to global fame, and earned him the promise of citizenship from President Emmanuel Macron.
Wearing white sweatpants and a black cap, the hero of a rescue video viewed by millions of people appeared slightly overwhelmed by the media furor as he filed his application for legal residency in the Paris suburb of Bobigny.
Hailing the bravery of the youth who had been living in France illegally, the head of the local authority, Pierre-Andre Durand said: “How can anyone fail to be impressed by what he did, not admire it?
“He helped someone in danger, which is not such a common thing in our society.”
Gassama became an overnight sensation after the video of him plucking a four-year-old boy to safety Saturday went viral.
On Monday he was honored by President Emmanuel Macron with a medal for bravery, the promise of citizenship and the offer of a job with the fire service.
Gassama arrived in France via Italy and the perilous Mediterranean migrant route.
His official permit allowing him to work will arrive within a month, and his citizenship papers in about three months, officials said Tuesday.
The athletic Malian also visited a fire station to sign up for a 10-month internship with the Paris fire and rescue services, expected to pay close to 600 euros ($690) a month.

The family of the young boy he saved thanked him Tuesday for his quick thinking.
The boy’s paternal grandmother, who like his mother lives in Reunion, told RMC radio Tuesday that she was “very moved” by the images of the rescue and sent “huge thanks” to Gassama.
“He’s really a hero,” she said. “He did not stand by and watch, he saved my little sweetpea.”
The boy’s father, who had been living alone with him in Paris, had left him alone to go out to the shops and then remained on the street to play Pokemon Go, according to French investigators.
He was arrested on charges of neglecting his parental duties but released again on Monday.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said he had admitted his guilt and expressed “profound regret.”
The boy’s mother learned the news of the rescue on Reunion Island — the French Indian Ocean territory where she and the father were born and where she still lives.
Reacting to Gassama’s intervention on Antenne Reunion radio she said: “We can only thank him and thank heaven he was so reactive.”
“Things could have turned out much worse so I am relieved,” she said, adding that she was impatient to be reunited with her son and husband.

Gassama told Macron during a visit on Monday that he “did not think twice” before springing into action.
Lawmakers are debating a controversial bill that would speed up the deportation of economic migrants and failed asylum-seekers, thousands of whom live in squalid camps in the capital.
“There’s a bit of hypocrisy or cynicism,” added Claire Rodier of the GISTI association which supports immigrants. She saw a contrast between the treatment of Gassama and “the repressive policy of this government against migrants and those without documents.”
 


ASEAN may be forced to choose between US, China: Cambodia PM’s son

Updated 21 November 2018
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ASEAN may be forced to choose between US, China: Cambodia PM’s son

  • Cambodia has become an unlikely staging ground for geopolitical influence in Asia
  • The economic ripples of the trade spat between China and the US could destabilize global supply chain links in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK: Southeast Asian nations may soon have to “choose sides” between the US and China in their ongoing trade war, the political heir to Cambodia’s strongman ruler Hun Sen warned Wednesday in rare public comments.
Impoverished Cambodia has become an unlikely staging ground for geopolitical influence in Asia.
In recent years it has turned into a key China ally, heading off criticism of the superpower over its claims to disputed seas in exchange for billions of dollars in investment and loans.
While China has cozied up to Cambodia, the United States and the European Union have admonished Hun Sen, the nation’s ruler for 33 years, for his increasingly authoritarian rule.
In a rare speech outside of his country, his son, Hun Many warned the US-China trade spat may create lasting divisions in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“Perhaps one day ASEAN would have to choose between US or China,” Hun Many said in Bangkok.
“How would we see the trade war spill or expanded in other areas? Surely it will pressure individual members of ASEAN or ASEAN as a whole to choose sides.”
The economic ripples of the trade spat between China and the US could destabilize global supply chain links in Southeast Asia, while a slump in Chinese spending would impact its trading partners.
Cambodia’s strongman Hun Sen has welcomed Chinese investment to pump-prime his country’s economy.
At the same time, he has accused the US of trying to foment revolution in Cambodia by supporting his critics.
Both the US and EU decried the July elections, which were held without a credible opposition and gave Hun Sen another term in power.
When asked which of the superpowers Cambodia would side with, the Australian-educated Hun Many demurred.
“At the end of the day, it depends on those who are involved to take a more responsible approach for their decisions that affects the entire world,” he said.
Earlier this week, Hun Sen swatted away concerns that Beijing will construct a naval base off the southwest coast of Cambodia, which would provide ready access to the disputed South China Sea.
Beijing claims most of the flashpoint area, infuriating the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan who all have competing claims to its islands and potentially resource-rich waters.
Hun Many, who described himself as a “proud son,” is widely believed to be in the running to one day replace his father.
His elder brother, Manit, is the head of a military intelligence unit while Manet, the oldest, was promoted in September to the chief of joint staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces as well as the commander of the infantry army headquarters.
But Many brushed aside the notion.
“It is way too soon to say that I am in the next generation of leaders,” he said.