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$20,000 Umbrella to Protect Unpopular France President Sarkozy from More Attacks

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What can anyone say -- it worked for the "Penguin" in Hollywood's Batman Returns: French President Nicolas Sarkozy is using a new bullet-proof umbrella designed to protect the unpopular president from live fire, missiles, and even acid attacks.

He may stand less than five and one-half feet tall but French president Sarkozy towers at the top of the 'unpopular' list -- as the most unpopular in Gallic history. Sarkozy's shorter stature may help him hide behind the umbrella's protection, but also brings about an ego bust: accompanying security guards must be taller than the 5'5" Sarkozy, to hold the new protection above the president's head.

The bulletproof umbrella weighs more than four times the average weather shield, nearly five pounds (2.2 kg) versus the standard umbrella weight of about just over a pound (500 grams). Local French police have put the president's new bullet-proof protection to the test: it'll withstand a stool broken over its top, or even a busted champagne bottle. Sarkozy's new umbrella may serve him very well, in case anyone decides to launch a loose bottle of wine at France's highly unpopular leader.

Oddly, the $20,000 umbrella -- devised to battle death -- has been dubbed the "Para Pactum," a Latin phrase equivalent to "prepare for peace." The black umbrella is coated with Kevlar, one of the world's strongest materials. Originally used as a stand-in for steel used in car racing wheels, Kevlar has held a dynamic role for police and law enforcement agencies across the world. The relatively lightweight material has long been utilized in saving lives through its bullet-proof nature, used in police vests for decades.

Designed to withstand bullets, Sarkozy's newest accessory is also designed to protect from closer assaults or assassination attempts on France's current president. Inclusion of carbon and silver is the umbrella's design reduce force or impact of bullets -- but also protects against close-range assaults with other weapons like knives, launched projectiles including rocks, and even potential acid assaults on the French president.

France's elite RAID police unit has tested the umbrella and believes it will prove invaluable to Sarkozy. Nicolas Sarkozy has good reason to be wary according to previous experience: a RAID source told the Daily Mail: "He’s [Sarkozy's] had all kinds of missiles aimed at him from above, especially on visits to high-rise housing estates where he’s particularly unpopular."

All the hoopla may make someone wonder where such an umbrella could be manufactured and purchased, a question answered by The Real Parpluies de Cherbourg. The umbrella-maker's products have been dubbed "the Rolls Royce of umbrellas." They certainly carry the appropriate price tag. The Normandy-based umbrella company is responsible for one of the world's most unusual forms of protection -- which the manufacturer claims to be effective against "live fire." Interestingly the umbrella manufacturer, The Real Parpluies de Cherbourg, has only been in business since 1986 -- named after a musical bearing the same name. Despite its short heritage, the company is well-respected and seems destined for a long life -- if it can protect the life of Sarkozy, as it claims.

The use of materials found in Formula 1 and space research have been utilized in the umbrella designed for Nicolas Sarkozy. While this bulletproof umbrella has a specific need and carries a hefty price tag, all that research won't be in vain: it's already been sold to other world leaders, and there's a potential market with celebrities. As to which celebrities could possibly be as unpopular as Sarkozy is still up for debate.

For anyone who argues that Hollywood isn't positively influential, let the French president's highest form of protection speak for itself. Yes, Sarkozy's newest form of security bears a striking similarity to the bullet and gas-firing umbrella used by the infamous "Penguin" character in "Batman Returns." Now if someone could only find a way for Sarkozy to fire back, rather than just withstand an onslaught of bullets. The Daily Mail says polls reflect an overwhelming 75% of French people aren't having a hunch that Sarkozy will continue in his role as leader after the upcoming 2012 presidential elections.

Sarkozy's lead role in a UN-backed intervention of Libya hasn't made the president any more popular. He's not expected to be re-elected after inviting Colonel Gaddafi as a guest to the gay city of Paris, in 2007, an event that's said to have led to Sarkozy's sale of million of pounds in arms weapons to the Libyan regime.

With a price tag of near $20,000 (10,000 pounds) it's not exactly the "luggage" anyone wants to accidentally leave behind in a trunk, like violinist Hahn-Bin. The 22-year-old Korean violinist was returning to his Chinatown apartment in Manhattan from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts when he accidentally left his 18th-century instrument -- worth some $600,000 -- in a New York taxi cab. The violin came home and was returned but, then again, the musician is well-liked.


The Real Parpluies de Cherbourg - Umbrellas Normandy
Phone: 33-2-33-93-23-77
Fax: 33-2-33-08-09-23
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