September 18th, 2013
06:13 AM ET

U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Syria

U.N. investigators are planning to return to Syria soon to follow up on several more allegations of chemical weapons use.

Ake Sellstrom, the head of the inspection team that visited after an August 21 attack, told CNN that the second visit could take place as early as next week.

The news will likely please Russia, who slammed a recent U.N. chemical weapons report as "one-sided" and called for inspectors to return to Syria.

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Filed under: France • Russia • Syria • U.S. • United Nations • World
May 8th, 2013
03:51 PM ET

33 arrests in Belgium diamond heist

More than 30 arrests have been made in the diamond heist last February at Brussels Airport and some of the stolen diamonds have been recovered, a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

Police arrested 24 people Tuesday in Belgium, eight in Switzerland, and one in France, said Jean-Marc Meilleur, the office's spokesman. Police in Belgium raided about 40 houses in Brussels on Wednesday.

Authorities discovered some of the stolen diamonds in Switzerland, and money in Belgium, Switzerland and France, Meilleur said. Luxury cars were seized in Belgium, he said.

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Filed under: Belgium • France • Switzerland
April 25th, 2013
08:32 PM ET

U.N. Security Council signs off on 12,600 peacekeepers for Mali

(CNN) - The U.N. Security Council signed off Thursday on a 12,600-member peacekeeping force in Mali that will be authorized "to use all necessary means" to protect civilians and cultural artifacts. "We know it's going to be a fairly volatile environment," Herve Ladsous, the U.N. undersecretary for peacekeeping operations, said.
The resolution was proposed by France, which deployed about 4,000 troops to Mali in January to drive out Islamist militants who attempted to take control of the country.

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Filed under: France • Mali • World
April 23rd, 2013
05:19 AM ET

Car bomb strikes French embassy in Tripoli

A car bomb exploded just outside the French embassy in Tripoli early Tuesday morning, injuring two French security guards and a local girl, officials said.

The blast was so powerful it blew the front wall off the embassy. Windows of nearby buildings in this upscale, largely residential neighborhood were also blown out.

Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi said a 13-year-old girl in a nearby house was injured in the attack and will be taken to Tunisia for treatment.

A criminal investigation is under way to try to determine who was behind the attack, and why.

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Filed under: Crime • France • Libya • World
April 23rd, 2013
04:56 AM ET

France: Final vote due on same-sex marriage

France is set to become the latest nation to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday, despite vocal opposition from conservatives, when legislation goes before lawmakers in the lower house for a final vote.

The bill, which would also give same-sex couples the rights to adopt, was approved in the Senate earlier this month.

Since no amendments have been made during debate in the lower house, it will be the final vote on the legislation. The measure is expected to pass.

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Filed under: France • Gay and lesbian • Same-sex marriage
April 23rd, 2013
03:41 AM ET

Bomb explodes near French embassy in Tripoli

A bomb exploded outside the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya, early Tuesday morning, witnesses told CNN.

Two French security guards were injured in the attack, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Witnesses told CNN the front wall of the embassy was blown off, and the embassy itself has extensive damage.

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Filed under: France • Libya
April 15th, 2013
08:23 AM ET

Interpol issues notice for escaped gangster

Interpol has issued an international wanted notice for a French gangster who authorities say used explosives as part of a brazen escape from a prison in Lille over the weekend, the organization said Monday.

Redoine Faid held five people, including four guards, at gunpoint at the detention center in the city in northern France on Saturday, officials said. He then burst his way to freedom by detonating explosives that destroyed five doors, penitentiary union spokesman Etienne Dobrometz told CNN affiliate BFMTV.

Interpol announced Monday that it issued its wanted notice, known as a red notice, within hours of Faid's escape. A European arrest warrant covering 26 countries also was issued for him Saturday.

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Filed under: Crime • France
French Senate to debate same-sex marriage
Tens of thousands of people protest against France's same-sex marriage bill on March 24 in Paris.
April 4th, 2013
03:40 AM ET

French Senate to debate same-sex marriage

The French Senate will debate a controversial bill Thursday that would extend the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples.

The lower house has already approved the legislation, in the face of large demonstrations from those opposed to the measure.

If it passes the Senate, it would mark the biggest step forward for French gay rights advocates in more than a decade.

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Filed under: Adoption • France • Gay and lesbian • Same-sex marriage
March 28th, 2013
04:49 PM ET

France to reduce force in Mali

France will cut its troop levels in the west African nation of Mali from 4,000 service members to about 1,000 by the end of the year, French President Francois Hollande said Thursday evening during a live interview with CNN affiliate France 2.

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Filed under: Africa • France • Mali • World
March 19th, 2013
08:55 PM ET

Report: French hostage killed in Mali

A French hostage held in Mali has been executed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Mauritania's ANI news agency reports.

The agency attributed the information to an AQIM spokesman.

Six other French hostages are still being held in Mali.

French and allied forces, including Malian and Chadian troops, have made significant inroads in recent weeks combating Islamist extremist fighters.

Islamist extremists carved out a large haven in northern Mali last year, taking advantage of a chaotic situation after a military coup by the separatist party MNLA. The militants banned music, smoking, drinking and watching sports on television. They also destroyed historic tombs and shrines.

French involvement in the conflict began on January 11, the day after militants said they had seized the city of Konna, east of Diabaly in central Mali, and were poised to advance south toward Bamako, the capital.

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Filed under: Africa • France • Mali • World
France: We must arm Syrian rebels now
French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius addresses members of parliament on March 12, 2013 in Paris.
March 14th, 2013
03:47 AM ET

France: We must arm Syrian rebels now

With the carnage in Syria mounting out of control, there's only one thing left to do, France says: Lift a European Union embargo and start arming rebels.

"We must convince our partners, particularly in Europe, that we have no other choice but lift the arms embargo in favor of the (opposition) Syrian Coalition," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius wrote in an op-ed for the French newspaper Liberation.

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Filed under: France • Syria
Heavy snow snarls travel in northern Europe
Cars drive in Tuesday morning traffic on the N118 road around Paris during a heavy snow storm on France.
March 12th, 2013
09:13 AM ET

Heavy snow snarls travel in northern Europe

Today isn't the easiest day for travel in northern Europe.

Swaths of the region are in the grip of snow, ice and high winds Tuesday, causing serious disruption to road, rail and air travelers.

High-speed train operator Eurostar, which runs services linking Paris, Brussels and London, among other destinations, warned of serious disruption and urged passengers to stay at home.

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March 6th, 2013
08:14 PM ET

French soldier killed in Mali

A French soldier was killed during a clash with Islamist fighters early Wednesday in northern Mali, the French Defense Ministry said. Four French soldiers have been killed in Mali since the beginning of France's military intervention there in January.

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Filed under: France • Malta
March 1st, 2013
11:52 AM ET

Prominent al Qaeda figure in Mali killed

One of al Qaeda's most influential figures in North Africa has been killed by French and Chadian forces, a U.S. official saidFriday.

French military sources had earlier said that Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, a deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, was killed in an airstrike in Mali late last month.

Abou Zeid was one of the group's most ruthless commanders, having seized at least a dozen foreigners for ransom. At least two have been killed; several French citizens remain captive.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • France • Mali
France: We won't negotiate with kidnappers
Cameroonian security officials stand at the vehicle a French family was driving before being kidnapped.
February 26th, 2013
05:20 AM ET

France: We won't negotiate with kidnappers

France will not negotiate with the Islamist rebels who kidnapped a French family in Cameroon, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday.

"We do not negotiate on these bases, with those groups," Le Drian said on French radio station RTL. "We will use all possible means to secure the release of hostages."

The radio announcement comes a day after rebels in Nigeria released a chilling video of the family that was abducted in neighboring Cameroon.

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Filed under: Cameroon • France
February 24th, 2013
01:02 PM ET

French journalist killed while covering Syrian civil war

French journalist Olivier Voisin has died from injuries suffered while working in Syria, the office of French President Francois Hollande said Sunday.

Voisin suffered a head wound and later died at a hospital in Turkey, French officials said in a written statement.

Voisin, a photographer, was working for Reporters Without Borders and was embedded with a Syrian opposition group. The media organization said Voisin was covering the civil war in Idlib when he was wounded in an explosion Thursday.

"His death is a tragic reminder of the risks taken by journalists to inform our fellow citizens, regardless of the dangers. This exemplary commitment deserves recognition for all," the French statement said.

The violence in Syria continues after nearly two years of fighting with no end in sight.

On Sunday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said 57 people were killed in fighting across the country. Of the casualties, 23 civilians were killed in the capital of Damascus or one of its suburbs, according to the group.

CNN cannot confirm casualties as access to the country has been severely restricted.

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Filed under: France • Syria • World
February 23rd, 2013
12:34 PM ET

French minister: Tainted horse meat has likely been eaten

Three horse carcasses tainted with a veterinary drug harmful to humans have "probably" entered the food chain, France's agriculture minister confirmed Saturday.

The three carcasses are among six flagged up by UK authorities earlier this month as having tested positive for the drug phenylbutazone, also known as bute, after they were shipped to France.

The faint traces of bute found in these carcasses "do not pose a risk to health," Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said.

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Filed under: France
February 10th, 2013
01:19 PM ET

Horsemeat scandal spirals across Europe

A scandal over horsemeat found in frozen beef products is spiraling across Europe as several governments launch investigations and a company involved says it has determined who "the villain" is.

The police probes and legal maneuvers responding to the discovery are quickly becoming a tangled web - much like the complex supply chain of the meat products themselves.

Swedish food producer Findus has been a focus of the uproar since it announced Thursday that it had withdrawn its lasagna from UK stores as a precaution. The products were pulled Monday after French supplier Comigel raised concerns about the type of meat that was used, Findus Sweden said.

But Findus is only one of several companies that receives products from Comigel. Others inculde Axfood, Coop, and ICA, all of which announced they have pulled certain meat products from the shelves due to the possibility they contain horsemeat.

Comigel has not responded to CNN's repeated requests for comment.

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Filed under: Business • Europe • France • Sweden • World
February 5th, 2013
06:04 PM ET

France to start pulling troops from Mali in March

France expects to begin pulling its troops out of Mali in March, the French foreign minister told the Metro newspaper for a story published today.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said troops will continue operations in northern Mali, where he said "some terrorist havens remain."

At Mali's request, France launched an offensive last month against militants in its former colony. The ground and air campaign has sent Islamist fighters who had seized the northern region fleeing into the vast desert.

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Filed under: France • Mali
February 3rd, 2013
01:08 AM ET

Etch A Sketch creator Andre Cassagnes dies

While tinkering in his garage, French electrician Andre Cassagnes dreamed up a drawing toy that kids could shake up and start over.

Little did he know that more than 50 years later, the toy that became the Etch A Sketch would continue to delight children.

Cassagnes died January 16 in a Paris suburb at age 86, according to a statement released Saturday by The Ohio Art Company. His cause of his death was not disclosed.

Cassagnes created what would become the Etch A Sketch in his garage in 1950. The drawing toy was made up of a joystick, glass and aluminum powder.

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Filed under: France • U.S. • World
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