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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
France plans new anti-terror law
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy has been impressed by London investigations
The French government has backed a draft anti-terror bill proposing more powers to track suspects.

The bill recommends increased use of video surveillance in stations and airports, and tougher sentences.

A BBC correspondent says Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has been keen to increase the powers available to the authorities since the London bombings.

French President Jacques Chirac supported the proposed bill saying that the country faced "a real threat".

But there has been some criticism from civil liberties groups who have questioned the measures' effectiveness.

Last month, Mr Sarkozy described the threat of a terrorist attack on Paris as "very high".

Telephone records

The BBC's Alasdair Sandford, in Paris, says Mr Sarkozy has been impressed by the success of closed-circuit footage in identifying the London suspects, and the new French measures provide for greater use of video surveillance in stations, airports and other public places.

Telephone operators would have to keep records for a year to help investigators' inquiries, and internet cafes would have to keep more detailed information.

The maximum prison sentence for associating with a terrorist organisation would be raised from 20 to 30 years.

The bill is due to be debated in the French parliament next month.

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