Weekly News Roundup

December 7, 2018

Friday, December 7

Central Paris will be in lockdown this weekend as the Government orders dozens of museums, shops and tourist sites including The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre to close as French protesters prepare for a fourth weekend of demonstrations.

Thousands of riot police have been put on standby in anticipation of last week’s violence by far right and far left agitators who hijacked rallies by legitimate protesters.

Culture Minister Franck Riester says the Louvre museum, Orsay museum, the two operas, and the Grand Palais are among the sites that will be closed a week after rioters looted and defaced the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Eiffel Tower will also be closed on Saturday due to the protests.

“We cannot take the risk when we know the threat,” Riester told RTL radio on Thursday

With protesters calling on social media for “Act IV” – a fourth weekend of protest – Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 65,000 police would be drafted in to stop a repeat of last Saturday’s mayhem in Paris.

Then, rioters torched cars and looted shops off the Champs Elysees boulevard.

At least four of the weekend’s first division football matches have been cancelled.

Paris police asked dozens of shop and restaurant owners around the Champs Elysees and Bastille areas to close on Saturday and requested local authorities in 15 areas around the capital to remove anything in the streets that could be used as projectiles.

The government is also considering using troops currently deployed on anti-terrorism patrols to protect public buildings.

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The 18-month investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller — which has cast a long shadow over most of Donald Trump’s presidency— is  believed to be edging closer to the end with a flurry of activity expected in coming weeks.

So far Mr Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential elections has resulted in indictments against dozens of individuals and three companies, as well as a handful of guilty pleas.

On Friday (US time), Mr Mueller is set to release his sentencing memo for former campaign manager Paul Manafort after filing the heavily redacted memo for former national security adviser Michael Flynn earlier this week.

In the coming weeks, Cohen and Flynn are also scheduled for sentencing on December 12 and 18 respectively.

But does this mean the long-running investigation is finally wrapping up? .

No-one knows for sure, however, if the investigation is about to reach its end game but indications are that it’s about to happen..

In light of several recent developments, such as Cohen pleading guilty to lying to Congress last week, many observers have speculated that the probe is drawing to a close.

Retired FBI special agent Frank Montoya Jr told the ABC the Cohen plea was indicative of how much the special counsel knows that nobody else does, and how far he had come with the investigation.

“I’ll caveat saying that we’re near the end by saying that if something else comes up, then they’re going to take the time to look at it before they finalise things,” Mr Montoya said.

“These cases usually actually take a while — this one has only been going on for about one-year-and-a-half and they’ve made great progress.”

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Political comedy Vice has led movie nominations for the Golden Globes with six nods, followed by musical A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Historical comedy The Favourite and road trip movie Green Book have also earned multiple nominations.

Limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace won the most nominations in the television category with four nods.

The Golden Globes, chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be handed out at a ceremony in Beverly Hills on January 6.

Vice, a satirical look at the career of former United States vice-president Dick Cheney, won nominations in all major categories, including for lead actor Christian Bale and director Adam McKay.

Gaga and Cooper were both nominated in the lead actor race for their remake of A Star is Born, which also won a directing nomination for Cooper and one for Shallow as best original song.

Vice will compete in the best musical or comedy race with Crazy Rich Asians, Green Book, The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns.

The best film drama contest race is made up of two racial injustice movies — If Beale Street Could Talk, and director Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman — along with superhero movie Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron’s much admired Roma was nominated in the foreign language category.

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