Police union head says race didn’t play a role in Breonna Taylor shooting, believes investigation was “thorough”


Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, has filed a request for a new grand jury and an independent prosecutor to review her daughter’s death. The 26-year-old was shot and killed in her home during a Louisville police raid in March.

The development follows “CBS This Morning’s” exclusive interview with two grand jurors in the case. They said they were never presented with the option of deliberating murder or manslaughter charges, which contradicts statements made by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Ryan Nichols, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police chapter that represents the Louisville Metro Police Department, spoke with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King about the investigation. He also responded to what Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said unfolded when police raided Taylor’s home.

Read part of their conversation below.


Ryan Nichols: A tragedy did, in fact, happen. A police officer was critically injured, a young woman was fatally injured. And, you know, the long, thorough investigation ensued … and that’s the process that should happen.

Gayle King: You know, there are two sides, of course, to every story. But what is not in dispute is that Breonna Taylor is dead. That she was killed in a hail of police gunfire. … But let’s go to Kenneth Walker and his encounter with police. Thirty-two shots fired that night after he fired what he said was one warning shot, not knowing what was happening in his apartment.

Nichols: So I do believe that the officers were definitely justified in returning fire.

King: Thirty-two shots, Ryan? Thirty-two shots?

Nichols: Well, in a situation like that when you return fire to stop a threat, typically you may not be aware of how many rounds someone else is firing, how many other officers are firing. And perhaps, you may not have an accurate count of the rounds you fired in a high-stress situation like that.

King: How do you explain the incident report from the night that said that there was no forced entry in the apartment? We know that’s not true. They said that there were no shots that were fired when Breonna Taylor was hit at least five times.

Nichols: Obviously, the information had not been completely filled out in the portion of the incident report that was released. Not by any means suggesting that the police were saying none of those things occurred because it was obvious they had. Not being part of that investigation, I think probably the report should not have been released at that time.

King: You have the attorneys for Kenneth Walker claiming cover-up. You have the grand jurors who talked to us a couple of days ago. I want to get your response to their belief that there was and is a cover-up by the Louisville Police Department about what happened that night.

Nichols: I don’t believe there’s a cover-up of anything that occurred. … Can I definitely say affirmatively that no mistakes on anything were made? Obviously not. But I don’t believe that there was any type of cover-up. And if there was, that that would definitely be found out by the many entities that are conducting these investigations.

King: Are you comfortable, Ryan, with the grand jury’s findings in the case?

Nichols: I have faith that the attorney general did a thorough and complete investigation, and has a competent, qualified staff to do that.

King: You’re calling Attorney General Cameron’s investigation a complete and thorough investigation. Other people would disagree with you about that. That’s why the more you hear about this case, the more questions are being raised. Do you see that?

Nichols: Yes, ma’am, I understand that. There’s other agencies and entities that are still looking into things from other aspects of the investigation. If they conclude that it was a tragic incident, but nothing illegal happened, then we have to be willing to deal with that and move forward from that also.

King: You don’t believe this has — race played a role here at all?

Nichols: No, I don’t think this occurred as a result of any type of racial issue or this was determined by race somehow.

King: Do you think outside of this case that the Louisville Police Department has a problem with racial bias?

Nichols: No, I think we’re a very diverse department. … We try to stay up with the national best practices.

King: In 2020, 45% of the arrests have been Black people, but they only make up 23% of the Louisville population. And you go from that to the tragedies that occur, how do you explain that?

Nichols: Well, so I don’t have all the specific numbers of — if you’re talking shooting tragedies or anything like that that occur.

King: Well, we can agree that there is a difference in the number when it comes to Black victims and White victims at the hand of the police. Can we at least agree on that?

Nichols: Sure. … So the circumstances that lead up to every specific incident, whether it’s an officer-involved shooting here or anywhere else … you know, an investigation occurs.

King: How do you explain how many police officers do not seem to be held accountable in these type of incidents?

Nichols: Well, I would say that once those investigations occur, that police are and definitely should be held accountable.

King: But they’re not though, Ryan Nichols. They’re not held accountable.

Nichols: Well, ma’am, if the law here is such that nothing illegal occurred on either side of that door that night, and our attorney general did find some charges to pursue and is going to pursue those charges as it relates to one officer, how is the accountability not occurring?

King: What’s the morale of your police department these days?

Nichols: So morale has — is low here. … They want to be here and they don’t want citizens to have to live in fear of violence of any kind. And so it’s very frustrating.

An attorney for Sergeant John Mattingly also said Cameron conducted a careful, thorough investigation and came to the right decision. Nichols said when it comes to change, his union is always interested in fair and balanced reforms that enhance policing. The FBI and the Department of Justice have open investigations into the Breonna Taylor case. 



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NIA Raids NGOs, Trusts in Kashmir and Delhi in Connection with Terror Funding Case: Officials


Srinagar: After choking the funding of separatist groups, the NIA carried out fresh raids for the second day on Thursday on some more organisations as part of its investigations into NGOs within and outside Jammu and Kashmir that are allegedly being used as modes for “terror funding”. In continuation of the searches carried out on Wednesday, seven more locations in Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Kulgam in the union territory and two locations in Delhi were raided, National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesperson and Deputy Inspector General Sonia Narang said in a statement.

She said the searches were conducted in connection with a case pertaining to certain registered and unregistered NGOs and Trusts raising funds in the name of charitable activities and then using those funds for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. The case was registered by the NIA on receipt of “credible information” that certain NGOs and Trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through donations and business contributions in the name of various welfare activities such as public health and education.

The NIA alleged that these funds are sent to Jammu and Kashmir through various channels such as hawala and cash couriers and are used to carry out and sustain secessionist and terrorist activities in the erstwhile state. Among those raided by the NIA on Thursday were JK Yateem Foundation at Srinagar and Kulgam, The Salvation Movement at Srinagar run by Zafar Akbar Bhat, Human Welfare Foundation at Delhi and Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir Voice of Victims at Baramulla run by Abdul Qadeer, Falah-e-Aam Trust at Budgam run by GM Bhat and Charity Alliance at Delhi run by Zafar ul Islam, who is also former chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission.

The NIA spokesperson said several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized during the searches. Reacting to the raids, Khan said his home and offices were raided by the NIA this morning from 7-11 am during which the officials took many papers, all laptops, hard disks of all desktops, cash found etc. “They showed me an order on their mobile, issued by one Yadav of NIA to conduct the raid linking me and my NGO with Kashmir terror,” he said.

Khan said he had “no relationship or even contacts with Kashmiri militants and have not even visited Kashmir for many years. “It seems an attempt to implicate me in some terror or riot case,” he tweeted. He said he has been “thrown to stone age. No laptop, no mobile, no desktop. The NIA people said order for raid came from the very top and they were woken up at 4 am for this great task of raiding a journalist. They had no patience. They jumped the wall to enter my house like they did with (P C) Chidambram.” The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) also strongly condemned the NIA raids at the offices of prominent English daily Greater Kashmir and a number of NGOs in Kashmir.

Terming the raids by the NIA as part of political vendetta against the people, the PAGD cautioned the Centre that the raids were “unwarranted” and “unjustified”. “The consequent harassment is bound to deepen uncertainty and alienation of the people and urged it to desist from such vindictive measures,” the amalgam of seven mainstream parties, including the NC and PDP, said.

Meanwhile, the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) expressed concern over the pre-dawn NIA raids on Greater Kashmir’s premises in Srinagar’s Press Enclave. “Though the NIA after a five-hour wait said the raid was on GK trust, the GK management said the investigating agency checked the computers and took away the hard drives,” the KEG said.

The NIA had on Wednesday searched 10 locations in the Valley and one in Bangalore in connection with the same case of diversion of funds. Those whose premises were searched include Khurram Parvez (coordinator of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society), his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bangalore-based associate Swati Sheshadri as well as Parveena Ahanger, chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). The offices of the NGO Athrout and GK Trust, owned by prominent English daily Greater Kashmir’s Fayaz Kaloo, were also searched, the statement added. The APDP issued a statement saying all information and material sought by the raiding team was provided to them. “The team examined all documents relating to APDP’s work. They subsequently seized several documents and some electronic devices. Ahanagar’s (heading APDP) mobile phones were also seized,” the statement said.

They alleged that the documents and devices seized by the NIA team contain details of the names, identities and incidents of human rights abuses by security personnel. “There is a grave apprehension that the same may be accessed by other agencies, and/or lead to adverse consequences and reprisal against victims and families who have testified and are pursuing justice,” it said. The statement further said the APDP neither receives foreign funding nor engages in any illegal activities and the raid has no basis and only “exposes the state’s desperation to deter APDP from pursuing justice for hundreds of victims of human rights violations committed by state actors in Kashmir.” After the NIA’s crackdown on separatist groups in Kashmir, Pakistan’s ISI has been searching for ways and means to fund terror activities, the anti-terror probe agency has claimed.



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The forgotten London Trocadero overshadowed by Piccadilly Circus where children in the 1990s and 2000s spent hours of fun


For tourists visiting London for the first time, essential Tripadvisor sightseeing tips range from Big Ben to The London Eye or Madame Tussauds.

Yet, a little known palatial white building that sits just off Piccadilly Circus was once THE place to go.

The London Trocadero, commonly referred to as ‘Troc’, was an entertainment complex on Coventry Street, featuring bustling arcades, futuristic elevators, the Pepsi Max Drop and its crowning glory – SEGA World.

Decked out with high-tech chrome and one-of-a-kind experiences, Troc was packed at weekends and during the school holidays.

Now home to gift shops and souvenir hawkers, how did this 90s mainstay become lost in the sands of time?

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Londoners who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s will have fond memories of the Trocadero entertainment complex at Piccadilly Circus
Londoners who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s will have fond memories of the Trocadero entertainment complex at Piccadilly Circus

The Grand Opening

Originally opened in 1896, the baroque building began life as The Trocadero Restaurant operated by J. Lyons & Co, a company best known for their chain of tea shops and corner houses.

Surviving two world wars, the restaurant featured full concerts and later cabarets cementing its place as an entertainment hub of the West End.

But by the 1960s, The Trocadero Restaurant’s popularity had waned and the building closed in 1965.

Then came the supercharged relaunch in 1984.

Back to the Future

Troc was decked out with high-tech chrome and one-of-a-kind experiences
Troc was decked out with high-tech chrome and one-of-a-kind experiences

 

Stripped and gutted, the Trocadero reopened as the largest entertainment complex in the United Kingdom at the time.

First a Guinness Book of World Records Exhibition, quickly followed by Nickelodeon UK and sponsorship from Pepsi and Sega.

And then came SEGA World.

Launched in 1996, SEGA World featured a large amusement arcade and, of course, the infamous supersized statue of Sonic the Hedgehog over the front entrance.

Tom Herbert, now aged 35 from a small market town in between Peterborough and Stamford, visited Troc when it hosted the SEGA World expedition in 1998.

He was 13 at the time and went for his brothers birthday.

“My enduring memory of the day was playing Sonic the Gedgehog (the arcade game with the track ball).

“The overall atmosphere, on the cusp of the new millennium at time, made it really feel like a building from the future.”

Subsequently, Pepsi sponsored the Pepsi Max Drop and the Pepsi IMAX cinema (the first 3D IMAX cinema in the UK), securing Troc’s place in legend.

But Troc’s fall from grace was as quick as its meteoric rise.

90s Boneyard

Following the loss of SEGA’s sponsorship in 1999, the closure of the Guinness Records exhibition in the mid-1990s and the Pepsi-sponsored IMAX cinema in 2000, the entertainment complex became a shadow of its former self.

In 2005, Troc was used as a backdrop for Madonna’s ‘Hung Up’ video, it had finally been ‘hung out’ to dry.

The building today is dominated by gift shops and souvenir hawkers and there were recent plans to convert the basement into a mosque.

But there are many who still remember Troc’s glory days.

Daniel Major, who runs the Twitter page @RetroCollect, recently posted several nostalgic photos which acquired 2.3K retweets and 5.6K likes.

Could Troc one day regain its status as London’s centre of entertainment? Only time will tell.





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Supreme Court Issues Flurry Of Last-minute Election Orders


WASHINGTON: North Carolina, yes. Pennsylvania, yes. Wisconsin, no. Thats how the Supreme Court has answered questions in recent days about an extended timeline for receiving and counting ballots in those states.

In each case, Democrats backed the extensions and Republicans opposed them. All three states have Democratic governors and legislatures controlled by the GOP.

At first blush, the difference in the outcomes at the Supreme Court seems odd because the high court typically takes up issues to harmonize the rules across the country. But elections are largely governed by states, and the rules differ from one state to the next.

A big asterisk: These cases are being dealt with on an emergency basis in which the court issues orders that either block or keep in place a lower-court ruling. But there is almost never an explanation of the majority’s rationale, though individual justices sometimes write opinions that partially explain the matter.

There also is a difference in how the justices act based on whether they are ruling on a lawsuit that began in state or federal court.

Conservative justices who hold a majority on the Supreme Court object to what they see as intrusions by federal judges who order last-minute changes to state election rules, even in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The power to alter absentee ballot deadlines and other voting issues rests with state legislatures, not federal courts, according to the conservative justices.

The court also is divided, but so far has been willing to allow state courts interpreting their own state constitutions to play more of a role than their federal counterparts.

Last week, four conservative justices would have put on hold a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling allowing three additional days to receive and count mailed ballots. Three justices in Wednesday’s order about North Carolina’s absentee ballots would have blocked a six-day extension.

The justices did not finally resolve the legal issues involved, but they could do so after the election. A more thorough examination could come either in a post-election challenge that could determine the presidential winner if, for example, Pennsylvania proves critical to the national outcome, or in a less tense setting that might not affect the 2020 vote, but would apply in the future.

Even a decision that only looked ahead to future elections would be concerning given that state courts have often been more protective of the right to vote under state constitutions then the federal courts have under the U.S. Constitution, University of Kentucky law professor Joshua Douglas said.

One more asterisk: new Justice Amy Coney Barrett has not taken part in any of these last-minute orders, but could participate going forward.

Here are some state-specific explanations of what has taken place over the past 10 days:

___

PENNSYLVANIA

Last week, before Barrett had been confirmed, the justices divided 4-4, a tie vote that allowed the three-day extension ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to remain in effect.

On Wednesday, the court said it would not grant a quick, pre-election review to a new Republican appeal to exclude absentee ballots received after Election Day in the battleground state.

But it remained unclear whether those ballots will ultimately be counted.

The courts order left open the possibility that the justices could take up and decide after the election whether a three-day extension to receive and count absentee ballots ordered by Pennsylvanias high court was proper.

The issue would take on enormous importance if Pennsylvania turns out to be the crucial state in next weeks election and the votes received between Nov. 3 and Nov. 6 are potentially decisive.

The Supreme Court ruled hours after Pennsylvanias Department of State agreed to segregate ballots received in the mail after polls close on Tuesday and before 5 p.m. on Nov. 6. Without keeping those ballots separate, Pennsylvania might have risked having the state’s overall vote count called into question.

Three conservative justices signaled their interest in the court’s eventual review of the case.

___

NORTH CAROLINA

The court on Wednesday refused to block an extra six days to receive and count absentee ballots in North Carolina.

The State Board of Elections lengthened the period from three to nine days because of the coronavirus pandemic, pushing back the deadline to Nov. 12. The boards decision was part of a legal settlement with a union-affiliated group. The extension was approved by a state judge.

Lawmakers had previously set Nov. 6 as the deadline for mailed ballots because of the pandemic.

There’s no order or recommendation in North Carolina that ballots received after Nov. 6 be kept apart.

Justice Neil Gorsuch said courts should not be second-guessing the legislature. The election board and the state judge worked together to override a carefully tailored legislative response to COVID, Gorsuch wrote.

___

WISCONSIN

In Wisconsin, ballots must arrive by Election Day, Nov. 3, to be counted.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to reinstate a lower-court order that would have added six days to the deadline, identical to the extension granted primary voters in April. A federal appeals court already had blocked the additional days.

This time, it was the court’s liberals who objected. As the COVID pandemic rages, the Court has failed to adequately protect the Nations voters, Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent.

Again, there was nothing from the court explaining its order, but Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Gorsuch all wrote separate opinions.

“Different bodies of law and different precedents govern these two situations and require, in these particular circumstances, that we allow the modification of election rules in Pennsylvania but not Wisconsin, Roberts wrote, before the court had acted in the North Carolina case.

Kavanaugh’s opinion drew outsized attention because he invoked the court’s Bush v. Gore case that effectively resolved the 2000 presidential election in favor of Republican George W. Bush.

The Supreme Court has never cited Bush v. Gore in an opinion of the court. In 2000, in its unsigned majority opinion the court wrote, Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances.

But three lawyers who worked for Bushs cause in 2000, Roberts, Kavanaugh and now Barrett, sit on the court.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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US approves extradition of Carlos Ghosn’s accused escape plotters to Japan


BOSTON: The US State Department has approved turning over to Japan two Massachusetts men to face charges that they helped smuggle former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn out of the country while he was awaiting trial on financial crimes.

Lawyers for US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, disclosed the department’s decision in a court filing in federal court in Boston as they sought to delay the transfer, which could happen later on Thursday.

Lawyers for the Taylors did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did the White House and State Department.

The State Department’s decision came after a federal magistrate judge in September rejected the two men’s challenge to their potential extradition following their arrests in May at the request of Japanese authorities.

Prosecutors say the Taylors facilitated a “brazen” escape in which Ghosn fled Japan on Dec 29, 2019, hidden in a box and on a private jet before reaching Lebanon, his childhood home, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn was awaiting trial on charges that he engaged in financial wrongdoing, including by understating his compensation in Nissan’s financial statements. Ghosn denies wrongdoing.

The State Department notified the Taylors’ lawyers of its decision on Wednesday. The attorneys in a last-minute motion on Thursday urged a federal judge to halt them from be transported to Japan on a 1pm flight from Boston to Narita, Japan.

They said they learned of those “outrageous” flight plans from Japanese media.

US Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, a prominent Republican who has taken interest in the case, wrote on Twitter that he was “outraged” by the decision. “This former Special Forces member and his son will not be treated fairly,” he said.



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BJP Yuva Morcha Gen Secy Fida Hussain, 2 Other Party Workers Shot Dead by Militants in J&K’s Kulgam


Image for representational purposes.

Image for representational purposes.

BJP worker Umar Hajam and the other person, possibly a saffron party member too, have been admitted at a hospital, sources said.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: October 29, 2020, 21:59 IST
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Kulgam BJP Yuva Morcha General Secretary Fida Hussain, another party worker and a civilian were shot dead by militants on Thursday.

BJP worker Umar Hajam and the other person, possibly a saffron party member too, succumbed at a hospital, sources said.

Condoling the incident, former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Saddened to hear about the killing of three BJP workers in Kulgam. Condolences to their families. At the end of the day, its people of J&K who pay with their lives because of GOI’s ill thought out policies.”

Another leader from the Valley, Omar Abdullah called the incident “terrible”. “I unequivocally condemn the targeted killing of the 3 BJP workers in a terror attack. May Allah grant them place in Jannat and may their families find strength during this difficult time,” he said.

Recently, several leaders associated with the ruling party have been attacked in the Valley. In July, BJP leader Sheikh Waseem Bari and two members of his family were killed after militants opened fire at them in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Bari was earlier the district president of the party.

(details awaited)



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Trump pushed for Barrett confirmation “so she could help him win” election, Senator Chris Coons says


Democratic Senator Chris Coons is calling for newly-appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from a recent slew of cases regarding voting rules in certain battleground states

The Delaware lawmaker questioned Barrett’s ability to make impartial decisions in those cases, saying in an interview on CBSN Thursday that President Trump “pointedly and publicly” urged Republicans to push through her confirmation “so she could help him with the election.” 

Barrett was confirmed to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat in a mostly party-line vote on Monday, with Republican Senator Susan Collins siding with Democrats. The confirmation vote came just eight days before Election Day, after millions of Americans had already cast early ballots.

“They raced through a nominee, a highly partisan nominee, in just a few weeks before an election,” Coons said. “Republicans, I’ll remind you, four years ago spent 10 months saying ‘Oh, we couldn’t possibly seat a Supreme Court justice during an election year.'”

Coons vehemently opposed Barrett’s confirmation, arguing that she would be “a conservative judicial activist… farther to the right than even Justice Scalia.”

“Long-settled cases that protect issues that are of top-of-mind for Americans — like health care and privacy and reproductive rights, yes, but also areas like labor rights, consumer protection, environmental protection, criminal defense rights — all of these are at risk now,” he said.

Barrett was the first Supreme Court nominee in at least 150 years to have been confirmed on a recorded vote with not a single vote of support from the minority party — in this case, Democrats.

Coons warned that Americans may not grasp “just how conservative the entire federal judiciary has now become after four years of activism by President Trump.”

“The Federalist Society and the Trump White House moved into high gear and jammed through more conservative, young and, in more than a dozen cases, demonstrably unqualified federal judges than any in history,” he said, adding that the average age of a Trump-appointed judge is 48.

He said Republicans’ “obstruction” of President Obama’s judicial appointments have “led to federal courts that are now filled with young, out-of-the-mainstream conservative judges who will be on these courts for a generation.”

“It’s not just these justices that have been put on the Supreme Court, it’s dozens and dozens of circuit court and district court judges who were deemed unqualified to serve by the American Bar Association or who had disturbing, extremist views,” Coons said.

Asked if he would support “court packing” under a Biden presidency — a highly controversial campaign issue used by Republicans hoping to defend the White House — Coons answered he preferred the term “rebalancing the courts.”

“I frankly think it’s time for us to take a step back and have a bipartisan commission, as Joe Biden is suggesting, to look hard at how we preserve the independence of our courts and rebalance them,” he said.



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Vendée Globe to set sail without spectators amid virus clampdown



Issued on:

The start of the 9th Vendée Globe, the single-handed round-the-world yachting race, will take place as planned on November 8 in spite of a new coronavirus lockdown in France, organisers announced on Thursday.

The seaside town of Sables-d’Olonne, where the 33 monohulls are stationed, will lock down at midnight on Thursday and no supporters will be allowed in to witness the start.

“The start of the Vendée Globe will take place as planned on November 8 at 1:02 pm behind closed doors, without an audience,” the organisers said on their website a day after French President Emmanuel Macron had announced a new national lockdown to battle Covid-19. 

The start, which attracted 300,000 people in 2016, will be broadcast live on the official website and on “numerous” television channels.

“The Vendée Globe 2020-2021 will remain as a symbol, that of our will to continue living despite the difficulties that our country is going through and in the scrupulous respect of the sanitary rules set by the State,” organisers said.

Initially there was a limit of 5,000 visitors to the village, which opened on October 17, and to 9,000 people along the channel on the day of departure.

This is in stark contrast to the 2.25 million people that usually visit the village in the weeks leading up to departure. 

In 2016, the immediate economic benefits were estimated at 35 million euros ($41 million) by the organisers. 

Thirty-three skippers are involved in this race, won four years ago by Frenchman Armel Le Cleac’h.

(AFP)



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