After a week of sunny days and cold nights, much of France’s air has become a sort of toxic stew. And Paris is by no means the only region affected. The northern cities of Caen and Rouen are also laying on free public transport until Sunday, with Reims and Grenoble offering a free commute for today alone. Such measures might seem drastic seen from the United States—they will cost the Paris region €4 million per day and will include making the city’s bike-share scheme free to use—but in France they are already being damned as too little, too late. Right-leaning daily Le Monde has criticized the plans as “timid.” The week-long delay in implementing them, it says, reflects 20 years of inertia in France during which the motorist lobby and manufacturers of diesel-powered vehicles have stifled legislation and debate.
A walk across New Hampshire showed that citizens don’t just hate the current system—they’re willing to act. The trick is creating a true grassroots movement.
Read more. [Image: Associated Press]
It’s a gruesome story.
After vanishing for eight days, just as an emboldened protest movement extracted key concessions from a reeling Ukrainian government, Dmytro Bulatov is now lying prone on a hospital bed. The 35-year-old activist—one of the leaders of Automaidan, a group of pro-European Union motorists working alongside the 'Euromaidan' street protesters—says unidentified men with Russian accents abducted him, cut off part of his ear, cut up his face, hung him up by his wrists, and left him to die outside Kiev in the bitter cold. Instead, Bulatov pounded on a villager’s door and was rushed to the hospital.
"They crucified me, they nailed down my hands," he said on Ukraine’s Channel 5.
The government has reacted ominously. Officials have opened a criminal investigation into the incident, but they have also sent police and prosecutors to the hospital, placed Bulatov on a wanted list, and speculated that his kidnapping was “staged with the aim of committing a provocation.”
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Glen Garanich]
An eight-hour truce has been declared by protesters in Kiev after a day of violence in which at least three people died and an opposition leader said he was willing to face “a bullet in the forehead” if Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, did not launch snap elections. Read more
Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters
The drug, widely used in the Middle East but unknown elsewhere, is keeping fighters on their feet during gruelling battles and generating money for more weapons. Read more
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
A 27-year-old Los Angeles pharmacist has sued the Los Angeles Police Department over injuries she sustained when she was thrown from a moving squad car. The New York Daily News reported that Kim Nguyen says she fell from the car as she struggled to escape sexual assault by a police officer.
“He was grabbing my left inner thigh, trying to — I’m assuming — opening my legs,” she said in her deposition about the incident.
Horrifying surveillance video shows a half-naked Nguyen tumbling from the police car into the street. She was badly injured and only regained consciousness when she emerged from a six-day medically induced coma.
Her injuries included a badly broken jaw, a brain concussion and soft tissue injuries all over her body.
The nightmare began when she and two male friends were waiting for a cab at 2:00 a.m. outside a restaurant in Los Angeles. The trio, Nguyen said, had been drinking.
A squad car pulled up to the curb and officers handcuffed her and bundled her into the back seat, saying she was being arrested for public intoxication. The car pulled away from the curb without either of Nguyen’s companions.
According to Nguyen’s deposition, one officer remained in the back seat of the squad car. He fondled her chest and yanked her head around by the ears before pulling up her skirt and trying to force her legs open.
It was then, she said, that the door behind her abruptly swung open and she was thrown from the vehicle.
Her attorney Arnoldo Cassillas said to KCAL that his client spent two weeks in the hospital with her jaw wired shut. All of her teeth were shattered in the fall and had to be pulled. She is suing for criminal negligence.