Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The French Edition --- Wednesday, February 7 in the news.......

  • French motorists may be driving more recklessly than usual because they are counting on the traditional pardon by the incoming president after the election in May, the transport minister said. If there is no pardon for traffic offences the French will not fight it, instead they will hold a candlelight vigil at Normandy, awaiting the landing of American and British troops.

  • A leading member of the French Socialist Party called for France to recognise crimes from the colonial era in Algeria rather than to apologise for them as Algiers asked. Meanwhile, a leading member of the World Tourism Organisation has called for France to recognise its crimes against tourism rather than apologise for 'being French'.

  • Opening arguments began Wednesday in a defamation trial against a French satirical weekly that reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed last year, stoking outrage and violence across the Muslim world. The publication's director, Philippe Val, called the case a "medieval trial," saying religions should be subject to "critique and to democratic debate." The French will call on character witnesses from around the world, with some French caricatures to be produced as an example of upholding freedom of artistic expression, including a frog in a beret having a smoke with a bottle of wine and cheese beside him, holding a white flag.

  • A French-led plan to create a stronger U.N. agency must not be allowed to sidetrack the world from the overriding goal of fighting global warming, the U.N.'s top climate change official said on Tuesday. The French criticised the climate change official, claiming the plan would do just that, and that building a stronger agency would become a solid defence against global warming, just like the Maginot Line did against the Germans.

  • France's budget deficit fell to 36.16 billion euros ($A60.5 billion) in 2006 from 43.5 billion ($A72.7 billion) in 2005, according to data released, the third year running that the deficit has fallen. France attributed its success to cutting back on mime funding.

  • French Premier Dominique de Villepin has charged the United States with failure in Iraq, and asked the Bush Administration to initiate troop withdrawal from that country immediately. When asked how the Americans could do that without leaving the country to chaos, the Frenchman responded "It's very easy to surrender, we have offered our expertise to the Americans already."