Senior Correspondent, France
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Nov 18, 2011

Exclusive – France’s Hollande plans big deficit drive

PARIS (Reuters) – Socialist Francois Hollande, favourite to become next president of France, is working on a 50 billion euro package of tax hikes and spending curbs that will be rolled out rapidly if he wins election six months from now, a Hollande adviser told Reuters.

In a major departure from traditional left-wing policies, an

election programme being drafted by Hollande’s team commits the Socialists to a hefty deficit-reduction plan from the outset of his five-year term, coupled with a plan to boost economic growth in the following four years, according to two advisers.

Nov 11, 2011

Strauss-Kahn demands hearing in prostitution inquiry

PARIS (Reuters) – Lawyers for disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn Friday urged French magistrates to speak to him as soon as possible about a prostitution scandal in which his name has figured, saying he was being “lynched” in the media while they delayed.

Strauss-Kahn was once favorite to become France’s next president but saw his IMF career and electoral ambitions wrecked in May when he was arrested in New York and accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid.

Nov 7, 2011

France forced to cut budget again as election looms

PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) – France announced 65 billion euros
of tax hikes and budget cuts over five years on Monday, as
President Nicolas Sarkozy seeks to protect the country’s
creditworthiness in financial markets without killing his
chances of re-election in six months time.

The main goal was to protect a top-notch credit rating that
allows France to fund itself as cheaply as possible at a moment
when the debt market crisis that started in Greece threatens to
engulf far bigger fish such as Italy.

Nov 7, 2011

France tightens belt as growth slows

PARIS (Reuters) – France announced more than 18 billion euros of budget savings for 2012 and 2013 on Monday, imposing further pain on voters to protect its credit rating and curb its deficit in a gamble for President Nicolas Sarkozy six months from an election.

Sarkozy’s center-right government says extra spending cuts and tax hikes are urgently needed to keep French finances from going off the rails after it cut its growth forecast for next year to 1 percent from 1.75 percent.

Nov 7, 2011

France tightens belt as growth slows

PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) – France announced more than 18
billion euros of budget savings for 2012 and 2013 on Monday,
imposing further pain on voters to protect its credit rating and
curb its deficit in a gamble for President Nicolas Sarkozy six
months from an election.

Sarkozy’s centre-right government says extra spending cuts
and tax hikes are urgently needed to keep French finances from
going off the rails after it cut its growth forecast for next
year to 1 percent from 1.75 percent.

Nov 3, 2011

French paper reprints Mohammad cartoon after firebomb

PARIS (Reuters) – A French satirical weekly whose office was firebombed after it printed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad has reproduced the image with other caricatures in a special supplement distributed with one of the country’s leading newspapers.

The weekly Charlie Hebdo defended “the freedom to poke fun” in the four-page supplement, which was wrapped around copies of the left-wing daily Liberation Thursday, a day after an arson attack gutted Charlie Hebdo’s Paris headquarters.

Nov 2, 2011

French weekly firebombed after it portrays Mohammad

PARIS (Reuters) – A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover.

This week’s edition shows a cartoon of Mohammad and a speech bubble with the words: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.” It has the headline “Charia Hebdo,” in a reference to Muslim sharia law, and says Mohammad guest-edited the issue.

Oct 30, 2011

Air France cancels flights but fewer than feared

PARIS (Reuters) – Air France said on Sunday a cabin staff strike over job conditions had caused less disruption than it had feared during a busy weekend and predicted cancellation of about 15 percent of flights on Monday.

To keep as many planes in the air as possible in the middle of a holiday period, the airline limited short-haul flights to 100 passengers on Saturday and Sunday so that numbers of flight stewards respected safety norms. That meant many aircraft were running with empty seats while people were turned away.

Oct 30, 2011

Sarkozy under fire for seeking China cash for Europe

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s opposition Socialists have attacked President Nicolas Sarkozy for seeking Chinese help in solving the euro zone debt crisis, tapping into voters’ concerns six months before a French presidential election.

Party leader Martine Aubry said Europe had been shown to be weak by turning to Beijing, following up on accusations by Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande that France had become “double dependent” on Germany and China.

Oct 29, 2011

Air France cancels flights as 5-day strike hits

PARIS (Reuters) – Air France canceled about one in five flights and warned of wider disruption as a five-day strike by flight attendants over employment terms began on Saturday, in the middle of a busy holiday weekend.

A spokeswoman for the airline said it aimed to ensure 80 percent of some 1,000 daily flights, short- and long-haul, at the two major Paris airports, Orly and Charles de Gaulle.