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Posts tagged ‘Le Figaro’

Obama, Hollande Resurrect US-French Relations.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to dismiss the notion that France has replaced Britain as the main U.S. partner in Europe, but it was clear during the state visit of President Francois Hollande that the two have the closest relationship between the nations’ leaders since Presidents Bill Clinton and Francois Mitterrand two decades ago.

Laure Mandeville, Washington, D.C., bureau chief of the venerable French publication Le Figaro, best captured this situation when she pointed out to Obama at his joint news conference with Hollande, “You have actually praised France very warmly today and granted our president the first state visit of your second term …

“Does that mean that France has become the best European ally of the U.S. and has replaced Great Britain in that role?”

Obama replied that he has two daughters who are “both gorgeous and wonderful. And that’s how I feel about my outstanding European partners. All of them are wonderful in their own ways.”

However, as Obama and Hollande went through a welcoming ceremony at the White House, their news conference, and a state dinner, reporters from France and the United States recalled the sharp tensions between their countries after the U.S. strike against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003.

The strong opposition by then-President Jacques Chirac to the Iraq offensive resulted in a modern-day low point of relations between Paris and Washington. In the United States, this was symbolized by the congressional cafeterias offering “Freedom Fries” in lieu of French fries.

All that was in the dim past Tuesday during the first state visit of a French president to the United States since 1996.

Hollande said Obama’s election as president in 2008 “had been welcomed in France” because “America was able to make something possible, to make progress possible.”

He went on to recall his decision last summer to stand with Obama on a strike on Syria, saying, “We were prepared to resort to force, but we found another option — negotiation.”

From France and the United States being “extremely attentive” in helping Lebanon deal with its massive influx of refugees, to his commitment to the cause of climate change, Hollande repeatedly underscored his solidarity with the American president.

The French Socialist president was warm and positive, even regarding the spy controversy by National Security Agency renegade Edward Snowden.

“Following the revelations [of European eavesdropping by the NSA] that appeared due to Mr. Snowden,” Hollande told reporters, “President Obama and myself clarified things. This was in the past.”

Hollande said, “Mutual trust has been restored, and that mutual trust must be based on respect for each other’s country, but also based on the protection of private life, of personal data — the fact that any individual, in spite of technological progress, can be sure that he is not being spied on.”

Obama’s response to Le Figaro’s Mandeville notwithstanding, there is a strong case to be made that Obama works more closely with France’s Hollande than with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Where Hollande stood firm with Obama on Syria, Cameron was unable to join any military alliance against the Assad regime when the British House of Commons voted down his proposal.

In addition, it is obvious that France is now the key conduit in trying to help Obama craft a new U.S. relationship with Iran.

Hollande said as much when he told reporters: “Nothing prevented us from having bilateral contacts, and I had some bilateral contacts. In New York I received [Iranian] President [Hassan] Rouhani during the General Assembly. So it is perfectly legitimate for discussions to take place.”

Ken Weinstein, president of the Hudson Institute, summarized the Obama-Hollande friendship to Newsmax.

“Unlike President Bush, Barack Obama has a tough time turning foreign leaders into confidants — and his judgment, as when he chose [Turkish Premier] Erdogan as a preferred interlocutor, has been wrong,” Weinstein said.

“It’s clear that Obama and Hollande have a real and deep rapport. Both need each other — Obama for guidance on Syria, where his policies have failed, and to show that he does have European allies after Snowden, and Hollande, these days, to prove that he isn’t a laughingstock but a world leader.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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‘The Middle East Is A Powder Keg, And The Fire Is Approaching Today’ – Assad.

Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has largely remained in the shadows amid allegations that his regime killed more than 1,000 people in a chemical weapons attack, claimed in an interview with a French newspaper that his accusers — including the White House and the French government — have no evidence.


“Anyone accusing must give proof,” Assad told Le Figaro  in interview excerpts published online Monday. “We have challenged the United States and France to come forward with a single proof.”

The Obama administration and French President Francois Hollande have charged Assad’s regime with perpetrating the horrific Aug. 21 chemical strike, which U.S. officials say killed some 1,426 people, including hundreds of children.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said that samples collected by first responders after the attack have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.

And yet Assad remained defiant in his interview with Le Figaro, telling the newspaper that “Obama and Hollande have been incapable” to offer proof of his regime’s culpability “even in front of their people.”

But the White House on Friday released an intelligence report (.pdf) claiming “high confidence” that the Syrian government deployed the illegal chemical weapons. The report cited a “large body of independent sources” but acknowledged that not all the evidence could be declassified.

In a vague remark, Assad said: “I do not say that the Syrian army possesses or not these weapons.”

“Let’s suppose that our army wishes to uses these arms of massive destruction: is it possible that it would do it in a zone that it is itself based and where solders are injured as noted by the inspectors of the United Nations when they visited the hospital where they were treated?”

He added: “Is that logical?”

When asked how he would respond to potential military strikes against key Syrian targets, Assad suggested that the region will spiral into chaos, saying: “The Middle East is a powder keg, and the fire is approaching today.”

“We should not only talk about a Syrian riposte but what will happen after the first strike. No one knows what will happen. Everyone will lose control of the situation once the powder keg explodes. Chaos and extremism will spread. The risk of a regional war exists.” source – MSNBC

by NTEB News Desk

Prayer Banned in Paris, Western Australia.

prayer ban
Paris, France, outside of the Louvre Museum. (Kike Calvo via AP Images)

With prayer movements rising up across the nation, it comes as no surprise that prayer is seeing a wave of new public attacks.

The latest examples come from France and Australia.

For example, you can do plenty of sinning in the streets of Paris, but it is now officially against the city rules to pray.

As of last week, the French government warned that police will use force if people of any faith pray in the public square, according to The Telegraph.

It’s a move to keep the French capital’s public spaces “secular.”

“My vigilance will be unflinching for the law to be applied.

Praying in the street is not dignified for religious practice and violates the principles of secularism,” the minister told Le Figaro newspaper.

“All Muslim leaders are in agreement.”

Although the ban was implemented to deal with road blockages during Muslim prayer, the ban nonetheless restricts Christians from praying in public as well.

The prayer ban may not end in Paris, either.

There are whispers that similar rules will be put in place in Nice and Marseilles.

It could spread throughout all of France.

Meanwhile, the Lord’s Prayer has been banned from a primary school in Western Australia.

Despite a decades-long tradition of praying the prayer, Edgewater Primary School has banned students from reciting the prayer after parents complained.

“We acknowledge that of the parents who did respond to the survey, many wanted to retain the Lord’s Prayer and it is right that we continue to recite it at culturally appropriate times such as Christmas and Easter, as part of our education program,” Julie Tombs, principal of the school, wrote in a letter to parents.

“However, at this school we have students from a range of backgrounds and it is important to consider all views and not promote one set of religious beliefs and practices over another.”


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