Yesterday the Bulgarian government announced the results of its investigation into the July 18, 2012 bus bombing that killed 5 Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver in the city of Burgas. At least two members of what appears to have been a three-man team belong to Hezbollah. More specifically, explained Bulgaria’s interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, they were part of Hezbollah’s “military wing”—a peculiar turn of phrase that hints at the political implications of the Bulgarian investigation, which may have a major impact on European Union foreign policy as well as Hezbollah’s ability to operate on the continent. And yet the most serious repercussions may be felt inside Lebanon, where Hezbollah is already feeling the pressure.Read more
After a meeting today in Paris with the French president, Francois Hollande, Vice President Joe Biden praised "the incredible competence and capability" of the French military. He was specifically referring to the recent military action taken by the French in Mali.
"And as the [French] President indicated, we discussed an array of issues starting and including Mali and North Africa more broadly.Read more
At the Presidential Palace in Paris, France this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden complimented the French president, Francois Hollande, for sounding exactly like President Barack Obama on "climate change." The only difference, according to Biden? Hollande speaks French, and Obama speaks English.Read more
Determined not to lose Mali to Islamist forces, France’s president Francois Hollande ordered a rapid deployment of air and ground forces in Mali to block well-armed and motivated fighters of the Ansar Dine movement led by the veteran Tuareg leader Iyad Ag Ghali from crossing the Niger river and marching on Bamako.Read more
At Harry's Bar, 5 rue Daunou, 2eme, Paris—in the deepest of deep blue precincts!—Mitt Romney is doing surprisingly well in the early vote, trailing Barack Obama by only about 10 percentage points.Read more
It is not even close: In a world poll of the U.S. presidential race, President Barack Obama is the clear favorite over Governor Mitt Romney. By a margin of 50-9 percent, Obama is favored in the poll of 21,797 respondents in 21 countries around the world.Read more
We've been skeptical of the arguments by some of our brethren on the right that Barack Obama is a quasi-socialist or a crypto-socialist ... or just a plain old socialist. But now the New York Times is weighing in, in favor of the proposition.Read more
President Obama called French president Nicolas Sarkozy to say thanks and good bye, the White House press secretary announced.Read more
The French prefer “tenacity” to “cooperation” by a measure of 51-44 percent, according to a poll about political attitudes published this election season. By 57-41 percent they like “hard work and courage” better than “social justice and solidarity.” Such attitudes have not been widespread in France since the war. On Friday, Dominique de Villepin, the foreign minister who led France out of the Iraq war coalition in 2003, professed himself “frightened” of France’s right-wingers. As Attorney General John Mitchell said of the United States in 1970, “This country’s going so far to the right you’re not evenRead more
He was never supposed to be president. For years, rather charmingly, François Hollande didn’t even seem to care, unlike, say, the single-minded Nicolas Sarkozy, who had thought of little else since his early 20s.
Alain Juppe, France’s foreign minister, forcefully condemned the coup d’état that overthrew Mali’s president, Amadou Toumani Toure, a few days ago, and called for elections as soon as possible in the context of the restoration of constitutional order. Elections, the first round of the presidential election, were scheduled for April 29. Toure was not a candidate, having served his constitutional two-term limit and being eager, by all accounts, to retire.Read more
If you understood how French president Nicolas Sarkozy found himself holed up in a barroom in Bayonne last Thursday afternoon, it would take you a long way towards figuring out what is going to happen in France’s two-round presidential election, coming up in April and May. Sarkozy, who heads France’s conservative UMP party, was making a surprise visit to the Basque country, along the border with Spain. The Socialists, who have not held the presidency since 1995, got wind of his visit. Together with local Basque separatists, they succeeded in blocking the center of Bayonne.Read more
Two employees of the Sofitel hotel in New York walk into what appears to be a storage room, exchange a few words, and then break into a “dance of joy” – as it is has been termed in the French media – ending with an emphatic shoulder bump.Read more
Before the latest issue of the French humor magazine Charlie Hebdo could even hit newstands, its office was firebombed. Apparently some did not find the humorists' depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammad to be very funny and decided to say so by throwing a Molotov cocktail through the office windows early this morning.Read more
As Maine is New England’s Texas, France is Europe’s U.S.A. It’s big. It’s ornery. Like us, the French are notably more inward-looking than Europe’s other populous, geographically big, and prosperous states. Despite France’s co-leadership of the European unification project, a new German Marshall Fund study shows the French have the least confidence in EU leadership, are more anti-EU than any other EU country except the U.K., and have the largest percentage who think the euro has been bad for their economy—a solid 60 percent majority. France may symbolize cosmopolitanism to the world but doesn’t itself partake. Over 92 percent of the French never leave the hexagone during their long vacations.Read more
In Western Europe, Fukushima’s power reactor disaster has produced a loud round of anti-nuclear power reactions. Germany says it will phase out atomic power by 2022, and the Swiss insist they will shutter their reactor fleet by 2034.Read more
On June 2, the convicted Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti walked out of a Brazilian prison a free man. He did so after Brazil’s supreme court upheld the decision of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to refuse to extradite Battisti to Italy. A member of the left-wing terror group Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC) during Italy’s blood-ridden “years of lead” in the 1970s, Battisti had been on the run from Italian justice for nearly thirty years, since escaping from a prison near Rome in October 1981.Read more
Ever since the news broke, a week ago Saturday, of the IMF head’s surprise arrest, for alleged attempted rape, in the first-class cabin of an Air France jet minutes from takeoff on the JFK tarmac, the Dominique Strauss-Kahn meltdown has caused France to experie
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