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story.lead_photo.caption Workers attach black ribbons Monday to the EU and French flags outside of Paris’ Assemblee Nationale shortly before a 1-minute silent tribute for former French President Jacques Chirac who died last week at 86.

France holds day of mourning for Chirac

PARIS -- France bid a final adieu to Jacques Chirac on Monday as the former French president received military honors on a national day of mourning.

French President Emmanuel Macron presided over the military ceremony on a mild, sunny morning near the site of Napoleon's tomb in the courtyard of Les Invalides. A military band played the national anthem, "La Marseillaise," before Macron inspected the troops. Chirac's casket, covered with France's tricolor flag, was then carried to the center of the cobbled courtyard.

Macron, who did not speak, later attended the final service at the Church of Saint-Sulpice in downtown Paris alongside family members, French politicians and foreign officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Jordan's King Abdullah II. Queen Elizabeth II, 93, did not travel to the French capital but sent her condolences to Chirac's family and "the people of France."

Chirac's coffin was driven to Saint-Sulpice, where pianist Daniel Barenboim played a Schubert "Impromptu" as mourners lined the procession route to his funeral service. When the hearse carrying Chirac drove by, the crowd broke into applause.

Those assembled took pictures, shed tears and held signs reading "Thank you for saying no to the war in Iraq" as they watched the flag-draped coffin onscreen.

As president from 1995-2007, Chirac was a consummate global diplomat but failed to make structural changes in the French economy or defuse tensions between police and minority-group youths, which exploded into riots across France in 2005. Once nicknamed "Super Liar," Chirac saw his popularity soar after he left office.

Mexican state closes notorious prison

MEXICO CITY -- The Mexican border state of Nuevo Leon has closed one of the country's most notorious prisons.

Gov. Jaime Rodriguez says a park and state archives will replace the Topo Chico prison. In February 2016, 49 prisoners died in rioting at the lockup when two factions of the Zetas cartel clashed.

Inside, authorities found luxury cells with saunas, air conditioning, refrigerators, aquariums, a bar and food stands.

Rodriguez said Monday that successive state administrations had failed to act despite knowing the prison was overpopulated and out of control.

On Sunday, Rodriguez was on hand to observe the transportation of the final group of prisoners.

Peruvian president disbands legislature

LIMA, Peru -- Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra dissolved congress Monday, shutting down the opposition-controlled legislature that he accuses of stonewalling attempts to curb widespread corruption.

In a televised address, Vizcarra told the South American nation that he had decided to call new legislative elections after lawmakers held a vote to replace almost all the members of the Constitutional Tribunal.

"We are making history that will be remembered by future generations," he said. "And when they do, I hope they understand the magnitude of this fight that we are in today against an endemic evil that has caused much harm to our country."

Opposition leaders denounced the move as the work of a "dictator" and approved a resolution to suspend Vizcarra for "breaking the constitutional order." Minutes later they swore in Mercedes Araoz, the vice president who recently broke with Vizcarra.

The acts likely carry only symbolic weight since congress is considered vacated.

Vizcarra, then the vice president, rose to the presidency last year after President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned. Kuczynski's private consulting firm had received undisclosed payments from Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant that doled out millions of dollars to politicians around Latin America in exchange for lucrative public works contracts.

Somali rebels attack U.S., U.N. forces

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels on Monday launched two attacks on U.S. and European military targets, officials said.

In the first attack, an estimated 25 fighters of the al-Shabab rebel group were killed when they attempted to storm the Belidogle military airstrip which hosts Somali and U.S. forces, said a Somali intelligence officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The attack started with suicide bombings at the gate and around the airstrip and were followed by heavy gunfire across the air base in the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, said Gen. Ahmed Yusuf, a senior Somali military officer based in Lower Shabelle region.

Al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaida, has claimed the responsibility for the attack.

The U.S. military uses the Belidogle airstrip base to launch drones that attack al-Shabab targets and to train Somali troops.

The second attack was by a suicide car bomber targeting Italian peacekeepers in Mogadishu. The explosion missed a convoy of the European Union peacekeepers but injured Somali civilians who were nearby, according to reports.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

Photo by AP/FARAH ABDI WARSAMEH
A woman surveys the destruction of a car bomb attack Monday on a European Union military convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia.

A Section on 10/01/2019

Print Headline: France holds day of mourning for Chirac Somali rebels attack U.S., U.N. forces Mexican state closes notorious prison Iraq, Syria reopen vital border crossing

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