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Paris mayor orders cleanliness blitz
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) March 27, 2017

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Monday unveiled a grand plan to clean up the French capital, putting teeth into the campaign by stepping up enforcement operations.

The city will be "uncompromising with those who sully the public space," she said, addressing one of the main complaints of residents and tourists alike.

The Socialist mayor said the squad of police handing out fines -- dubbed the "incivility brigade" -- will be increased by 50 percent by mid-2018.

The City of Light, which will learn in September whether it will host the 2024 Olympic Games, will invest 22 million euros ($24 million) in new street cleaning equipment, she said.

Another 1.5 million euros is earmarked for pest control.

Teams will carry out an evening sweep in addition to the morning garbage collection rounds, the mayor said.

Seven mobile teams will circulate to keep key areas clean, notably tourist sites.

According to city records, 33,000 people were fined in 2015 for offences such as littering, stamping out cigarettes in the street and dumping, paying 68 euros each.

The number rose to 37,000 last year.

Colombian town votes against gold mine, in vain
Bogota (AFP) March 27, 2017
The Colombian government on Monday shot down a small town's attempt to block a multinational mining company from opening a gold mine there, saying a residents' referendum held no legal weight. Fearing water pollution and the destruction of local forests, some 6,000 residents of Cajamarca, in central Colombia, voted against the mine on Sunday, 98 percent to 1.2 percent. But Mining Ministe ... read more

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