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CARNAGE IN CENTRAL PARIS FOLLOWING EXPLOSION

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The explosion happened on the Rue de Trevise in the 9th arrondissement commercial district on Saturday morning at around 9am local time.

Police cars and dozens of fire-fighting trucks are parked along the streets, and abandoned bicycles, rubbish bins and building materials have been spread across central streets.

The cause of the blast is not known although there are unconfirmed reports it may have been caused by a gas leak at a bakery.

Police are yet to confirm the suspected cause of the blast or any casualties but pictures show firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze and evacuate some people from the building using ladders.

Emergency workers also treated some of the injured at the scene.

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All Charges Against Jussie Smollett Dropped

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CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett say charges alleging he lied to police about an attack have been dropped.


Smollett’s attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a Tuesday morning statement that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean.” Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.

A spokeswoman for Cook County prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to messages requesting comment.

Police and prosecutors have said the black and gay actor falsely reported to authorities that he was attacked Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and to promote his career.

The prosecutor who made the surprise decision to drop charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett for allegedly making false assault claims said the dropped and expunged charges are not an indication of the actor’s innocence.

“We didn’t exonerate him,” Joe Magats, the top assistant to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, said in a statement tweeted out by New York Times correspondent Julie Bosman.

The prosecutor said he “saw no problems with the police investigation or the evidence against Smollett,” Bosman tweeted, adding that the actor’s charges were dropped “in return for his agreement to do community service” and for the forfeiture of “his bond to the city of Chicago.”

“We work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime,” Magats said. “Public safety is our number one priority. I don’t see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety.”

“We stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him and we stand behind the charges in the case,” the prosecutor said. “The mere fact that it was disposed of in an alternative manner does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities in the case or the evidence.”

Magats’ statement contrasts claims made by Smollett’s lawyers, who said the dropped and expunged charges were not part of a deal and that the actor would not be doing any additional community service.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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US Chief Justice John Roberts Rejects Bid To Halt Trump Bump Stock Ban

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday rejected a bid by gun rights activists to put on hold President Donald Trump’s administration’s ban on “bump stock” gun attachments that enable semi-automatic weapons to be fired rapidly.


Justice Sonia Sotomayor has not yet acted on another similar request.

The ban goes into effect on Tuesday but lower courts have yet to rule on an appeals brought by gun rights activists. An appeals court in Washington already has said that the ban will not go into effect in relation to the specific people and groups involved in that case.

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Gun Rights Groups Ask Supreme Court To Halt Trump Bump Stock Ban

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Gun rights groups are asking the Supreme Court to stop the Trump administration from beginning to enforce its ban on bump stock devices, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns.


The groups asked the court Monday to get involved in the issue and keep the government from beginning to enforce the ban for now. The ban set to go into effect Tuesday has put the Trump administration in the unusual position of arguing against gun rights groups. It’s unclear how quickly the court will act.

President Donald Trump said last year that the government would move to ban bump stocks. The action followed a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman attached bump stocks to assault-style rifles he used to shoot concertgoers. Fifty-eight people were killed.

Developing…this will be updated.

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