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A powerful explosion and fire apparently caused by a gas leak at a Paris bakery Saturday injured 36 people, including 12 in critical condition, blasted out windows and overturned cars, French authorities said.

Firefighters pulled injured victims out of windows and evacuated residents as smoke billowed over Rue de Trevise in the 9th arrondissement of north-central Paris.

Paris fire department spokesman Eric Moulin told reporters at the scene that five people were in life-threatening condition, including two firefighters.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said that the cause appears to be an accidental gas leak. He said that Paris firefighters were already at the scene to investigate a suspected gas leak at the bakery when the explosion happened.

An investigation was opened to determine the exact cause of the blast, he said.

Witnesses described the overwhelming sound of the blast and people trapped inside nearby buildings. Charred debris and broken glass covered the pavement around the apartment building housing the bakery, which resembled a blackened carcass.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said “the situation is under control.” After visiting the scene, he described his “shock” at seeing the damage, and said around 200 firefighters and police were involved in the operation.

A helicopter landed in the area to evacuate the wounded. Silver-helmeted firefighters and red firetrucks filled the street and inspected adjoining courtyards. A vehicle from gas company GRDF was stationed nearby.

Pedro Goncalves, an employee at the Hotel Mercure opposite the bakery, said he saw firefighters enter the bakery in the morning but he and his co-workers “thought maybe it’s a joke, a false alarm” and they went back to work. About an hour later, he said a blast rocked the surrounding streets.

“In the middle of nothing, I heard one big explosion and then a lot of pressure came at me (and) a lot of black smoke and glass,” he said. “And I had just enough time to get down and cover myself and protect my head.”

Goncalves said he “felt a lot of things fall on me” and that he was struck by shattered glass. He had a few cuts on his head, and spots of blood on his sweater and undershirt.

“Thank god I’m OK,” he said, saying that the blast was so powerful that he heard whistling in his ears in the aftermath. Goncalves said that he ran for the exit and then went to check on the hotel’s clients, adding that some of them had head injuries and were bleeding. He said that the hotel was “destroyed” in the blast.

Another witness told The Associated Press that she was awakened by the blast, and feared it was another terrorist attack.

The bakery is around the corner from the Folies-Bergere theater and not far from the shopping district that includes the famed headquarters of Galeries Lafayette.

The explosion came as the French capital is on edge and under heavy security for yellow vest protests around the country.

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Shares in Asia set to slip despite Wall Street surge overnight

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Stocks in Asia were set to slip at the open despite an overnight surge on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting a gain of more than 200 points.

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EU will offer Brexit delay, but length depends on UK parliament

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The European Union will grant Britain an extension to its Brexit negotiating period, but the length of the delay will depend on whether Prime Minister Theresa May is able to win a vote in parliament on an exit agreement next week, draft summit conclusions said.

The updated conclusions for an EU leaders’ summit, which have yet to be finalised, said the bloc would grant an extension to May 22 if May is able to get the existing Brexit divorce deal approved by the British parliament.

If she is unable to do so, Britain would only be give a Brexit delay until April 12. At this point the country would face a disorderly Brexit, or could ask for another extension if it agreed to hold European Parliament elections on its soil on May 23-26.

“The European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week,” said the updated draft of the EU leaders’ agreement on Brexit, which was seen by Reuters.

“If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward at the latest by this date.”

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Apple rallies as investors anticipate streaming service announcement

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Apple’s stock is on a tear this week as it releases a string of products in the lead-up to its highly anticipated event on Monday.

The stock had its biggest rally Thursday since January, closing up 3.7 percent at $195.09 per share for its ninth positive day in the past 10 trading days.

Apple fell just short of taking back the title of the world’s largest public company from Microsoft. Still, Apple is once again approaching $1 trillion in market value, adding about $33 billion to its market capitalization Thursday, bringing it to $919.9 billion.

While Apple has put the spotlight on its hardware this week, announcing new iPads, iMacs and AirPods three days in a row (with a fourth product possibly coming Friday), the focus of Monday’s event is expected to be on a new streaming video service. Teasing the event with the slogan, “It’s show time,” Apple is expected to introduce a new streaming TV service that will give iPhone and iPad users access to free original content and subscription channels such as Starz and CBS All Access, CNBC previously reported.

Investors are already seeing a big upside to Apple’s expected venture into streaming. Needham upgraded the stock on Thursday and raised its price target from $180 to $225.

In a note to investors, Needham analysts wrote that if users adopt Apple’s streaming service, it “should lower churn and drive higher lifetime value.” It could even attract new customers to its products and services, they wrote.

Citigroup also raised its price target on the stock from $170 to $220 on Thursday, even though analysts said in a note they don’t anticipate the launch of Apple’s streaming service “to be a big catalyst for the stock.” They noted, rather, that the streaming is meant to drive recurring revenue for the company, in continuation of its services strategy.

Wedbush raised its price target from $200 to $215 Thursday, saying, “Monday’s announcement is just the tip of the iceberg for [Apple CEO Tim] Cook’s broader streaming content strategy to take hold and in our opinion adds a significant potential catalyst to the Apple services growth story for years to come.” The analysts hedged slightly, noting that Apple “is definitely playing from behind the eight ball in this content arms race with Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and AT&T/Time Warner all going after this next consumer frontier.”

Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.

— CNBC’s
Michael Sheetz
contributed to this report.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

Watch: Apple announces new AirPods with wireless charging and voice control

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