France

MEPs unite against Le Pen

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Politicians across Europe are planning to unite to stop French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen becoming the “father” of the European Parliament.

Mr Le Pen is expected to be the oldest member of the parliament if re-elected in June, meaning he would chair sessions until a new president is elected

But Socialist and Green party members have proposed a rule change to block him taking up the role.

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Teenager has Paris Metro covered

By Ben Jaglom, February 18, 2009

University College School pupil Charlie Gould has helped to raise over £2,000 for charity by spending almost 16 hours passing through every stop on the Paris Metro.

The 15-year-old South Hampstead Synagogue member was joined by a fellow pupil, Fred Isaac, and teacher Andrew Wilkes on the French expedition. Charlie and Fred had been unsuccessful in an attempt last year to cover every stop on the London Underground.

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France ‘facilitated’ Nazi-era crimes

February 18, 2009

The highest court in France has for the first time recognised the state’s responsibility in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews during the Nazi era. The Council of State said that the collaborationist Vichy regime had “allowed or facilitated the deportation from France of victims of antisemitism” and called for the “formal admission of the state’s responsibility”.

Around 76,000 French Jews were deported to Nazi camps.

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Anti-Israel violence erupts across world

January 8, 2009

Violence against Jews, and protests and demonstrations linked to the Gaza conflict, have occurred around the world.

The French Jewish community has suffered a number of attacks. The most serious incidents were in Toulouse, where a burning car was crashed into the gates of a synagogue on Monday. According to police, a second car was about to be rammed into the shul but the attackers abandoned the vehicle when an alarm went off. Police found petrol bombs in the vehicle.

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Israel rejects ceasefire call

By Daniella Peled, December 31, 2008

Israel has rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

France had called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian aid to reach the beleaguered Stri, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that the plan failed to include any guarantees that Hamas would stop firing rockets at Israeli communities.

However, sources said the truce might be reconsidered if its terms were amended.

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Sarkozy’s Wiesel award

September 26, 2008

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was given the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity annual Humanitarian Award in New York. The president "has contributed greatly to impoverished countries," said Mr Wiesel, a Nobel prize-winner and Auschwitz survivor.

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Essex woman knocked down

August 21, 2008
A Chigwell, Essex, mother of three was badly injured after she was knocked down by a car while on holiday in France. Sharon Bowman, 55, was due to be flown home to the UK this week.

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Sarkozy’s son in ‘antisemitic’ satire

By Shirli Sitbon, August 7, 2008

The son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been plunged into the centre of a national controversy after he was attacked by a satirist for planning to marry a Jewish woman.

In his article, cartoonist Siné mocked the political agenda of Jean Sarkozy, and implied the young man had decided to wed a Jew and convert to Judaism in order to push forward his career.

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Charges in Paris attack

July 17, 2008

French police have filed preliminary charges against three suspects in connection with a serious assault on a Jewish teenager in Paris. The 17-year-old boy was in a coma for two days following the June 21 attack in an eastern neighbourhood just outside Paris.

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Paris welcomes Assad — but Syrian leader snubs Olmert

By Shirli Sitbon, July 17, 2008

Syrian leader Bashar Assad was a controversial guest of honour at France’s Bastille Day celebrations — and snubbed his fellow guest, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Mr Assad was among more than 40 heads of state at Sunday’s launch of the Union for the Mediterranean, a French initiative to bring together the 27 states of the EU with the Balkans and their Arab neighbours.

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