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Catacombs Closed to PublicEdit
The government announced today that the famous Paris Catacombs would be closed to the public until further notice, citing increased criminal activity and possible terrorist connections to the area. "The Catacombs have become a haven for any number of unseemly elements," said Inspector Gabily of the Metropolitan Police, "and we are taking all necessary steps to contain this threat to the peace and welfare of Paris citizens."
The Catacombs are part of an extensive network of tunnels that mostly lie beneath the 5th, 6th, and 14th arrondissements, originally part of larger excavations undertaken by the Romans to remove valuable deposits of gypsum and limestone from the area. The Catacombs themselves date back to 1786 when bones were removed from the grossly overcrowded Cemetery of Innocents to be stored in the quarries of Mont-Rouge; since that time, innumerable additional burials have resulted in the vast ossuary that exists today.
The publicly accessible sections of the Catacombs are only a small part of the complete tunnel system whose many entrances and exits have made it a popular diversion for cataphiles wishing to explore the underground history of the city.
Police Raid CatacombsEdit
Earlier today the police raided the Catacombs, entering through Denfert-Rochereau, Port Royal, Trocadero, and a number of other, unidentified locations, in an attempt to round up elements of the terrorist group Silhouette. Sources within the Metropolitan Police Department indicated that since the institution of martial law the number of terrorist incidents has declined, but Silhouette still remains active in its so-called "Campaign of True Lies."
"Far from being a harmless group of reactionaries, Silhouette presents a clear and ongoing threat to the public welfare," said Inspector Gabily, currently leading the case.
Despite extensive surveillance prior to the raid, however, police found minimal evidence of Silhouette's presence, instead capturing a number of drug dealers, prostitutes, and other suspected criminals. "All in all, we consider the operation a success," insisted Gabily. "We've made a strong statement that Paris -- above or below -- will not be a haven to radicals and thieves."
Somnolente Ile Scandal ResurfacesEdit
Accusations of cover-ups within President Bourges-Maunoury's administration have recently appeared in several tabloid publications, linking key members of his Council of Ministers to the Somnolente Ile scandal that resulted in President Serra's exit from politics five years ago. Somnolente Ile, an exclusive resort in Côte d'Azur, was the site of a clandestine meeting between then President Serra and reputed members of the Zuganov crime family in an attempt to funnel almost three billion credits of tainted money through French banks.
The deal was reportedly brokered by a cabal of major banking interests—including deceased financier Beth DuClare, though her involvement was never proved. Some sources went so far as to suggest that the entire meeting was the result of a plot hatched by the "Bilderbergs," a supposedly secret society formed of wealthy and powerful industrialists shortly after World War II.
President Bourges-Maunoury has dismissed the accusations as "ludicrous," calling such stories "the lowest example of irresponsible journalism" before refusing further comment.