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More than a dozen wounded in France bomb ‘attack’

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President Emmanuel Macron called a package blast on a pedestrian street in the heart of France’s city of Lyon on Friday an “attack” after the device wounded more than a dozen people just two days ahead of the country’s hotly contested European Parliament elections.

Police were hunting a man believed to be in his early 30s on a mountain bicycle who witnesses and security cameras saw in the area immediately before the explosion.

The number of injured stood at 13 people, with 11 taken to hospitals, a source close to the inquiry said. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

A police source said the package contained “screws or bolts”. It had been placed in front of a bakery near a busy corner of two popular streets at around 17:30 pm (1530 GMT) on a balmy spring evening.

The blast occurred on a narrow strip of land between the Saone and Rhone rivers in the historic centre of the southeast city. The area was evacuated and cordoned off by police.

“There was an explosion and I thought it was a car crash,” said Eva, a 17-year-old student who was about 15 metres (50 feet) from the site of the blast.

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“There were bits of electric wire near me, and batteries and bits of cardboard and plastic. The windows were blown out,” he said.

– ‘A huge ‘boom” –

Macron, speaking in a live Facebook interview, said: “It’s not for me to give a toll but it appears there are no fatalities. There have been injuries, so obviously I’m thinking of these injured and their families.”

The attack upended last-minute campaigning ahead of the European Parliament vote on Sunday with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe cancelling his appearance at his centrist party’s final rally Friday night.

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A terrorism probe was opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which has jurisdiction over all terror cases in the country. Interior Minister Christophe Castener was on his way to Lyon.

“An eight-year-old girl was wounded…. We’re fairly relieved because apparently there were no serious injuries but on the other hand, we are certain it was an explosive device,” said Denis Broliquier, mayor of the city’s Second Arrondissement.

He said the suspect sought by police had been seen on video surveillance cameras.

Shortly after evacuating the area, police expanded the security perimeter after two abandoned bags were found in a children’s park at the nearby Bellcour square, though bomb disposal teams later determined they were harmless.

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“I was working, serving customers, and all of a sudden there was a huge ‘boom’,” said Omar Ghezza, a baker who works nearby.

“We though it had something to do with renovation work. But in fact it was an abandoned package,” he said.

– High alert –

France has been on high alert following a wave of deadly jihadist terror attacks since 2015 which have killed more than 250 people.

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“It’s an area in the very centre of Lyon, a major street,” the city’s deputy mayor in charge of security, Jean-Yves Secheresse, told BFM television.

“These areas are highly secured, the police are continually present,” as were patrols by soldiers deployed in a long-running anti-terror operation, he said.

Lyon is the third-biggest city in France. The population of the city plus its extensive suburbs is 2.3 million.

The most recent package bomb in France dates back to December 2007, when an explosion in front of a law office in Paris killed one person and injured another. Police never found who carried out that attack.

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Progressive reformer claims victory in fiercely-contested Queens DA race

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Progressive reformer Tiffany Cabán has declared victory in her campaign versus Melinda Katz in the Queens District Attorney race.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Cabán held a lead of 1,090 votes, The New York Times reports.

Cabán was backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Katz was backed by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who chairs the Queens Democratic Party, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)

https://twitter.com/CabanForQueens/status/1143721257353076737

https://twitter.com/CabanForQueens/status/1143721448168710151

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2020 Election

New 2020 poll shows Trump trailing all Democrats — some by double-digits

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President Donald Trump trails all of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical matchups of the 2020 presidential race, according to the result of a new poll released Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on Salon.

The survey, conducted by Emerson Polling, found that the president lags behind former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by 10 points nationally — 45 percent to 55 percent. He also trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren by six points — 47 percent to 53 percent —and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg by four points — 48 percent to 52 percent.

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Beto O’Rourke’s ‘war tax’ policy proposal is straight out of ‘Starship Troopers’

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Amid an overcrowded Democratic presidential candidate field, it's hard to distinguish yourself from the pack if you don't slot easily into the scale that runs from "pro-corporate centrist" to "left-populist." If you're former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke —  who falls somewhere in the middle, politically, and somewhere towards the top, looks-wise — you pull a militaristic policy proposal out of your hat that recalls some of the most campy pseudo-fascist sci-fi ever written.

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