French voters have started casting ballots for the presidential election in a tense first-round poll that is seen as a test for the spread of populism around the world. More than 60,000 polling stations opened on Sunday for voters who will choose between 11 candidates in the most unpredictable election in generations. Polling stations open in Paris. (AP/Bertrand Combaldieu)
Opinion polls point to a tight race among the four top contenders vying to get into the May 7 presidential run-off that will decide who becomes France s next head of state. Polls suggest far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist and former economy minister, were in the lead. However, conservative Francois Fillon, a former prime minister, appeared to be closing the gap, as was far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.
A voting machine displays the names of the 11 candidates. (AP/Bertrand Combaldieu) France s 10% unemployment rate, its struggling economy and security issues topped concerns for the 47 million eligible voters. If Ms Le Pen or Mr Melenchon win a spot in the run-off, it will be seen as a victory for the rising wave of populism reflected by the votes for Donald Trump and Brexit.
People line up before casting their vote. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)
Mr Macron and Mr Fillon are committed to European unity and would reform employment rules.
Early voting began on Saturday in France s overseas territories.
A Dulcote2 man who threw several fireworks, hitting a quarry security guard with one, and then attacked his van before stabbing him on the finger with a metal centre punch has been given a conditional discharge by magistrates. Christopher Randle had been drinking when he launched the attack claiming he was fed up with workers from the quarry constantly tooting their horns as they drove past his caravan. The victim was shocked when he heard the first firework going over the top of his van, and when he got out to see what was happening a second one was set off and hit him on the right side of his body.
When the defendant later returned holding a metal object he hit out with it, connecting with the security guard’s hand causing an injury to his finger.
Randle, 50, of Bishops Park Way, pleaded guilty to assaulting Gavin Molloy by beating him and causing damage to his Iphone at Dulcote on March 13 when he appeared before the court5 at Yeovil6. Emma Lenanton, prosecuting, said that Mr Molloy was working as a security guard at a quarry near Wells when he was approached by Randle at the main gate and a verbal disagreement took place between them. “A short time later the victim was sat in his van when he saw a firework go over the top of his vehicle so he got out and saw Randle stood in the direction it had come from,” she said.
“A second firework was set off which hit Mr Molloy on the right hand side of his body but no injury was caused, and it then hit the back of his van so he got back inside and locked the door. “Randle walked towards the door and tried to open it and then started kicking and banging the window before walking away.” The defendant then returned and went back to the driver’s door and the victim could see he had a metal object in his hand and he started to hit the window with it.
Mr Molloy called his manager who rang the police and he then got out of the van and could see Randle still had the object.
He had his Iphone in his hand and the defendant then hit out with the centre punch, connecting with the victim’s hand and finger and causing his phone to be knocked onto the ground cracking the screen. The victim’s manager arrived at the scene and assisted him in restraining Randle, removing the metal object, and the police then arrived and arrested him. During interview the defendant said he had taken co-codamol and drunk around eight pints of cider and was heavily under the influence of alcohol.
“He said it did it just for fun and told the police he was simply trying to wind the security guard up,” added Miss Lenanton. In a statement made by Mr Molloy he said that his finger was still sore a few days after the incident and he had to pay 150 for a new screen for his Iphone. Randle told the court that he had got a bit drunk and the offence was just “stupidity”.
He said: “The security guards had been tooting their horns at me on a previous occasion and I was just too drunk and got stupid and wound him up to have a bit of fun, however I understand it’s serious,” he said.
“I want to apologise as I was being very silly and it is all a bit vague as I have a bit of an alcohol problem. “I live in a caravan round the corner from the quarry and three cars have been tooting their horns at me and were winding me up, so I wound them up after finding a few fireworks I had left over from Christmas.” The magistrates imposed a six month conditional discharge on Randle and ordered him to pay 150 compensation to Mr Molloy for the damage to his phone along with 85 costs and an 85 victim surcharge.
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Police are hunting robbers who targeted a security van in Hessle1 this afternoon. Witnesses described a heavy police2 presence while Barclays Bank in Ferriby Road has been shut. Police have now confirmed they are looking for a red Renault Clio which raced from the scene at 1.20pm. A spokesman for Humberside Police3 said: “We are currently responding to a robbery of a security van on Ferriby Road, Hessle.
“Shortly before 1.20pm two men approached a security guard near his van and threatened him before stealing a case. “The offenders then left the area in a red Renault Clio . The security guard was unhurt but has been left in shock.
Witnesses have described seeing large police activity in the town centre this afternoon. One witness said: “I didn’t see anything and must have missed it by a few minutes . I heard they’re looking for a red car.
“The police still there although only a few cars and police now . The bank is all shut up with shutters down.” Another witness described how the police suddenly descended on the town. She said: “We were in Hessle near the Weir and there was a police car that came and cornered off the bank then about four more vans and cars came .
They are looking for a red Clio in question for a bank robbery.”
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- ^ Morgan Simmester, 15, banned from Kingswood Retail Park without an adult after crime spree (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)