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Dozens injured as packed French train hits fallen tree

Dozens of people have been injured - eight seriously - after a packed passenger train collided with a fallen tree at 85mph in southern France.

Carriages were strewn with debris while the front of the train crumpled in the collision, which happened around 3.45pm near Montpellier.

The tree fell across a stretch of tracks near the village of Saint-Aunes after a heavy hail storm. Credit: Reuters

The tree had fallen across the tracks in a torrential hail storm before the train, carrying 200 passengers, came down the line.

Paramedics treated 50 people for minor injuries, while at least one of the more seriously injured was flown to hospital by helicopter.

Local media said initial reports the train derailed in the crash were unfounded.

Women fined for wearing 'burkinis' on French beach

A woman wears a 'burkini' swimsuit in Marseille, France Credit: Reuters

At least ten Muslim women have been stopped by police and four fined for wearing 'burkini' swimsuits in a French resort town.

The Conservative mayor of Cannes introduced a temporary ban on the cover-ups last month on the grounds that they violated national laws on secularism and posed a security risk.

A town hall spokeswoman said that since then ten women had been stopped by police, with six agreeing to leave the beach and the other four fined 38 euros each.

France has outlawed women from covering their face in public - though this would not extend to the burkini which normally covers the hair but not the face.

Bans on the full-body beachwear have been introduced by several French towns this summer in a move that has sparked fierce national debate.

Police cannot oblige women to leave the beaches for wearing a burkini, and the same person can only be fined once a day.


Investigation into Charlie Hebdo 'death threats'

A man reads Charlie Hebdo magazine Credit: Reuters

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into death threats against French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which was the target of a deadly attack by extremists in 2015.

"Written death threats" on the paper's Facebook page are being examined by Paris investigators, said spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre.

Several dozen such posts were apparently posted to the page in response to a cover cartoon mocking Muslims at the beach.

A separate complaint was opened for other written threats against the newspaper in June.

An attack on the Charlie Hebdo newsroom killed 12 people on January 7 2015.

Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility, saying it was in revenge for the newspaper's depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.

Hollande: Terror should not weaken France's Olympic bid

President Hollande arrives in Rio. Credit: Reuters

The terror attacks which have hit France in the past 18 months should not weaken the country's bid to host the 2024 Olympics, President Francois Hollande has said.

Every candidate city faces the question of terrorism. No country is immune.

Indeed the threat is there, but our country is ready to face up to it. And who knows what the world will look like in 2024?

– President Francois Hollande

President Hollande arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday to promote France's bid ahead of the opening ceremony.

Several festivals have been cancelled in France this summer as they do not meet security standards.

On Friday, Lille said it was cancelling this year's Lille Braderie, a flea market which dates back to the 12th century, while in Paris an Afghan migrant was arrested on suspicion of plotting an attack on the capital.

More than 200 people have been killed in terror attacks in France since January 2015.

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