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Angoulême (France) (AFP) - One of the world's leading comics festivals opened in France on Thursday under tight security as it dedicated this year's event to the murdered cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo. The festival in the southwestern town of Angouleme also created a first when it gave its coveted Grand Prix lifetime achievement award to a manga artist, with Japan's Katsuhiro Otomo scooping the prize. This year's guests -- including some of the biggest names in comics and graphic novels from around the world -- found themselves under unprecedented protection after the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7 that left 12 dead. "The 2015 festival will be a time for remembering but we also want to show that life goes on," festival director Franck Bondoux said.