French rappers fined for airport brawl that held up flights

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Rapper Booba is seen in Orly Airport in Paris, France August 1, 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media on October 9, 2018. (Reuters)
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A brawl between rappers Booba and Kaaris is seen in Orly Airport in Paris, France August 1, 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media on October 9, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 09 October 2018
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French rappers fined for airport brawl that held up flights

  • Booba and Kaaris clashed in a gang fight in Aug. 1
  • The two defendants were not present in court for Tuesday’s sentencing

PARIS: Two French rappers who clashed in a gang fight at Paris’s Orly airport, delaying flights and damaging a departures lounge, were fined 50,000 euros ($57,000) each on Tuesday but escaped jail time.
Their trial shone a light on the lifestyle of rappers, whose swaggering lyrics are often part of a bad-boy image which heightens their notoriety and music sales, but sometimes ends up being played out for real.
Passengers took mobile phone videos as the rap stars — who go by their stage names Booba and Kaaris — and their minders swung fists and lashed out with kicks in the Aug. 1 punch-up.
The two defendants, whose notoriety for their music and lyrics has been amplified by hostile verbal exchanges on social networks, were not present in court for Tuesday’s sentencing.
In addition to the fines, a judge gave the two suspended prison terms, meaning they will not serve time behind bars.
The sentencing came days after a separate case in which another musician shot from obscurity to infamy with the release of a video called “Hang White People,” which has been pulled from Internet platforms ahead of a trial set for January.
In the United States, birthplace of “gangster rap” and hardcore hip-hop, brawls and even gun killings are not unheard of among some rap artists. But in France, outright public violence between rival artists is rare.
The two who clashed at Orly sang a notoriously ribald hit together before turning into sworn enemies who, until last August, had mostly waged a war of words on social networks.
The airport incident erupted when Booba, 41, and Kaaris, 38, bumped into each other while waiting to fly to Barcelona. A running battle ensued in which they and their crews traded blows, crashing through the cosmetics, perfume and chocolate shelves of a duty-free store.
Eleven people were arrested and sent to trial on charges of aggravated violence.
Estimates of damage at the airport lounge ran into the tens of thousands of euros, while hundreds of passengers had their flights delayed after the terminal was briefly shut down. ($1 = 0.8744 euros)


Macron sparks Turkish anger by meeting Syrian Kurds

Updated 25 min 20 sec ago
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Macron sparks Turkish anger by meeting Syrian Kurds

  • Macron assured the Kurdish envoys of French support in their fight against the remaining militants
  • Ankara accused the French leader of “seeking to confer artificial legitimacy on a faction of terrorist groups”

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday hosted representatives of the Kurdish-led force that defeated Daesh extremists in Syria, drawing a sharp rebuke from Turkey’s foreign ministry.
Macron assured the Kurdish envoys of French support in their fight against the remaining militants, but Ankara accused the French leader of “seeking to confer artificial legitimacy on a faction of terrorist groups.”
“We condemn the reception by French President Emmanuel Macron of a delegation of so-called ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF),” Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in the statement.
In late March the US-backed SDF flushed out Daesh fighters from their last bastion in Syria but Kurdish-led force still warns that the militants remain a threat in places.
The SDF is an umbrella Kurdish-Arab force dominated by Kurds from the People’s Protection Units (YPG). It is regarded with huge distrust by neighboring Turkey which sees the YPG as a terror group.
Macron assured the visiting SDF representatives, who were not named, of the “active support of France in the fight against Daesh which continues to be a menace for collective security,” the presidency said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for Daesh.
Particularly important is the support in the “handling of terrorist fighters held as prisoners along with their families.”
European capitals are keeping a careful eye on the Daesh prisoners held by the SDF after the defeat of the militants, given many are dual nationals.
Macron also vowed that financial support would be allocated to “respond to the humanitarian needs and the socio-economic stabilization of civilian populations in Syria.”
The SDF were the West’s key ally in defeating Daesh and waged the bulk of the fighting on the ground.
But they fear being abandoned by their patrons now Daesh has been beaten, after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
France’s past contacts with the SDF’s Syrian Kurds had already angered Turkey which regards the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has waged a 35-year insurrection against the Turkish state.
Macron on Friday made clear of the importance to Paris of “the security of Turkey and a de-escalation along the Syrian-Turkish border,” the French presidency said.
But Aksoy said Macron’s move did not sit well with the French-Turkish alliance, and warned that “Turkey will not hesitate to take measures deemed necessary to protect its national security.”