February 2nd, 2013
06:27 AM ET

Hollande visits Mali to thank French troops battling militants

(CNN) - French President Francois Hollande arrived in Mali on Saturday, where his nation's troops are battling Islamist militants alongside African forces.

France is leading an offensive against militants it its former colony. The three-week ground and air campaign has sent militants who had seized the northern region fleeing into the vast desert.

Hollande landed in Sevare accompanied by his defense and foreign ministers, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported.

From there, he joined Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore for a visit to the fabled city of Timbuktu. French-led forces liberated the historical city this week after a yearlong grip by Islamist militants.

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Filed under: Africa • Europe • France • Mali • World
January 28th, 2013
11:55 AM ET

French-led forces now 'control' Timbuktu, France says

[Updated 11:55 a.m. ET] French Defense Ministry spokesman Thierry Burkhardt says French and Malian forces are now in control of Timbuktu and Gao.

[Posted at 4:30 a.m. ET] French-led troops in Mali have seized control of the airport in Timbuktu from Islamist militants and are fighting their way into the city center, a spokesman for the Malian military said Monday.

Malian and French forces have together been battling the Islamists to loosen their grip on the country's north, which the militants have controlled for months.

The United States has also stepped up its involvement in the conflict by conducting aerial refueling missions on top of the intelligence and airlift support it was providing.

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Filed under: France • Islam • Mali
U.S. Air Force has flown 7 Mali cargo missions
U.S. military personnel stow a French armored vehicle aboard a C-17 aircraft at the Istres military airport in France on Thursday prior to take off for Mali.
January 24th, 2013
12:59 PM ET

U.S. Air Force has flown 7 Mali cargo missions

The U.S. Air Force has now flown seven C-17 missions into Mali, carrying 200 passengers, mainly French troops, and 168 tons of equipment, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Robert Firman said Thursday.

Meanwhile, discussions over the U.S. providing refueling services for French aircraft continue, a defense official tells CNN, saying such missions are likely to be approved in the coming days.

French forces are aiding the Malian military in fighting an Islamist insurgency in Mali.

Broken limbs, torn lives in Mali

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Filed under: France • Mali • U.S. Air Force
January 21st, 2013
01:00 PM ET

French police arrest suspect in killing of Kurdish activists

Police in France have arrested a man in connection with the killing of three Kurdish activists in Paris this month, prosecutors said Monday.

The suspect, Omer Guney, is a 30-year-old Turkish national who, prosecutors said, has been a member of the Kurdish nationalist PKK for two years - the same group co-founded by one of the victims.

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Filed under: France • Justice • Turkey • World
January 15th, 2013
01:29 PM ET

French president on Mali: We needed to stop the rebels

[Updated at 1:29 p.m. ET] Islamist rebels would have taken Mali's capital had France's military not intervened in the African nation in the last few days, French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday.

"If we had not taken up our responsibility and if on Friday morning we had not acted with this intervention, where would Mali be today?" he asked.

The French defense minister told CNN that up to 800 troops are in Mali to help Malian forces in an offensive against Islamist militants, and that up to 1,700 total French forces - including the 800 in Mali - are involved in a variety of capacities, such as offering logistical support from various French military bases across Africa.

Hollande, speaking on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, said France intends to "make way as quickly as possible" for an African force.

Read more about France's military intervention, which began Friday.

France's Brigitte Bardot might want Russian citizenship, too
This February 2001 file photo shows animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot in Romania.
January 4th, 2013
10:38 AM ET

France's Brigitte Bardot might want Russian citizenship, too

First it was Gerard Depardieu. Now another famed French movie star, Brigitte Bardot, might be interested in Russian citizenship.

The 78-year-old Bardot, an animal rights campaigner, will request Russian nationality Friday if plans to euthanize two elephants at a zoo in the French city of Lyon go ahead, her foundation said.

She has asked French President Francois Hollande to intervene on behalf of the elephants, who are believed to have tuberculosis. She told French newspaper Le Parisien that the former circus elephants could be helped with the right veterinary care and that her foundation could help find them a more suitable place to live.

This comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Russian citizenship to Depardieu, who was angry about French plans to raise taxes.

September 19th, 2012
07:37 AM ET

French diplomatic missions, schools closed in 20 countries, Foreign Ministry says

French embassies and schools will be closed in about 20 countries Friday as a security precaution, French Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday, after the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons apparently depicting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

Magazine director Stephane Charbonnier said his staff is "not really fueling the fire," but rather using its freedom of expression "to comment (on) the news in a satirical way."

"It happens that the news this week is Mohammed and this lousy film, so we are drawing cartoons about this subject," Charbonnier told CNN affiliate BFM-TV on Wednesday. "It's more turning in derision this grotesque film than to make fun of Mohammed."

The "lousy film" he's referring to is "Innocence of Muslims," an amateurish, 14-minute video that mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer. The video drew international attention last week and spawned heated protests in more than a dozen countries.

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Filed under: France
September 17th, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Angry royals take Kate's topless photo battle to court

More topless photos of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, spilled into public view Monday as Britain's royal family planned to ask a French court to stop further publication of the pictures.

The legal battle raged while the duchess and her husband, Prince William, carried on with an official tour of the South Pacific, including meetings with Solomon Islanders - some of them topless.

The new photos were published Monday by the Italian gossip magazine Chi, which is owned by the same company that last week published several pictures of a topless Catherine sunbathing in private during a vacation at a private chateau belonging to William's uncle in Provence, in southern France.

The grainy images, shot from a distance, show Catherine on a balcony and appear to be no more revealing than those published last week by the French magazine Closer, the Guardian newspaper reported.

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Filed under: Diamond Jubilee • France • Italy • Kate Middleton • Prince William • Royal family • United Kingdom
September 7th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Police seek clues in French shooting

French police investigating the mysterious shooting deaths of four people in the foothills of the Alps hope autopsies to be performed Friday will provide new clues to the identity of the killer.

Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud has opened a judicial investigation for murder and attempted murder in the case, Joelle Robert of the Annecy prosecutor's office told CNN.

She declined to confirm media reports that Maillaud has said he is investigating a potential family feud, among other leads.

A man and two women, all thought to be British nationals, were found dead in a car, two of them shot in the head, on Wednesday in a parking lot in the Haute-Savoie area of eastern France, near Lake Annecy.

The fourth victim, French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, was found with a gunshot to the head in the same parking lot off a forested road.

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Filed under: France • Iraq • United Kingdom
Soccer stars Ribery, Benzema accused of soliciting underage prostitute
Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery, along with another soccer player, will face a trial after being accused of soliciting a prostitute.
August 14th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Soccer stars Ribery, Benzema accused of soliciting underage prostitute

Soccer players Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema will face a trial for allegedly soliciting an underage prostitute, according to the Paris prosecutor's office.

Andre Dando, the investigating magistrate, told CNN that  "some of the defendants will be prosecuted for 'aggravated pimping', although I cannot disclose which ones at this time."

Dando said that the trial is months away and would likely carry over into 2013.

Ribery plays for Bayern Munich and Benzema plays for Real Madrid. Both are members of the French national team.

The case emerged earlier this year after police raided a night club near the Champs Elysees in Paris and detained 18 girls on suspicion of prostitution.

One of the girls, Zahia Dehar, appeared on the cover of Paris Match in April and told the magazine she had sexual relations with several players on the national team, including Ribery, whom she had met at the club. She said in the interview she hadn't told them she was younger than 18 at the time.

In an initial court hearing on the case, Ribery admitted he had sex with Dehar but insisted he did not know she was a minor. Benzema has made no public comment.

August 14th, 2012
09:53 AM ET

France: Rioting in Amiens leaves police hurt, buildings damaged

Sixteen police officers were injured in violent clashes with young people in the city of Amiens in northern France overnight, authorities said Tuesday.

Three public buildings were also badly damaged during several hours of disorder, CNN affiliate BFM-TV reported.

Amiens Mayor Gilles Demailly told BFM that the damage amounted to millions of euros.

The scene in the wake of the disorder was one of desolation, he said.

Images from the neighborhood showed burned-out cars and the charred wreckage of a kindergarten and a sports center.

Clashes were reported in the same area Sunday night, BFM reported. The latest violence, involving about 100 young people, broke out late Monday evening and carried into the early hours of Tuesday.

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Filed under: France • World
July 13th, 2012
11:35 AM ET

3 Americans die in private-jet crash in France

Three Americans died when a private jet crashed at a small airport in the south of France, a local official said Friday.

Two men, aged 24 and 51, and a 30-year-old woman were on board the plane when it crashed at Castellet airport, said Didier Couve, spokesman for the Prefecture of the Var department.

The three were the only people on the plane, Couve said.

A spokeswoman for the airport said emergency services are on site.

July 12th, 2012
08:24 AM ET

At least 9 dead in French avalanche, police say

At least nine mountain climbers were killed when a six-foot-thick wall of snow came crashing down on them in the French Alps on Thursday, French police said.

At least four people are missing, and two were found alive in the snow after the avalanche, French police said.

The dead climbers include people from Germany, Britain, Spain and Switzerland, police said.

The nationalities of the missing are unknown, police said. There were also French climbers in the party.


Filed under: France • Mountain climbing
July 5th, 2012
09:12 AM ET

Series of pilot errors contribute to Air France Flight 447 crash, officials say

[Updated at 9: 12 a.m. ET] A series of errors by pilots and a failure to react effectively to technical problems contributed to the crash of Air France Flight 447, which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 and killed all 228 on board, France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis said in its final report on the disaster.

[Posted at 7:56 a.m. ET] More than three years after Air France Flight 447 plunged into the southern Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people aboard, authorities are preparing to release their final report on the fatal crash.

France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) said the data indicated that the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed because the aircraft's speed sensors gave invalid readings, but there are other theories on why the plane went down.

When did Flight 447 go down?

Flight 447 - which was en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro - made its last contact with Brazil's Atlantic Control Center (ACC) at around 01:33 GMT on June 1, 2009, informing the center of the plane's position as it crossed the Atlantic.

Soon after, Brazil's air control contacted Dakar's control center in North Africa and reported that AF 447 was entering an area on its route known for constant bands of severe turbulence, officials said.

There was no further contact with the plane.

History's deadliest plane crashes

Do we know why Flight 447 crashed?

Last year's BEA report said the airplane climbed to 38,000 feet when "the stall warning was triggered and the airplane stalled." It then descended, crashing into the Atlantic. The descent lasted 3 minutes and 30 seconds and the engines remained operational, said the report.

Studies of the debris and bodies that were found soon after the crash led the BEA to conclude the plane hit the water belly first, essentially intact. Oxygen masks were not deployed, indicating that the cabin did not depressurize, the BEA said in a 2009 report.

Tests have already brought into question the performance of pitot tubes, which measure the pressure exerted on the plane as it flies through the air, and are part of a system used to determine air speed.

Before it crashed, Flight 447 sent out 24 automated error messages that suggested the plane may have been flying too fast or too slow through the thunderstorms, officials have said.

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Filed under: France
July 5th, 2012
07:42 AM ET

Thursday's live events

The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET (est.) - Air France crash report briefing - Three years after Air France Flight 447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people aboard, French authorities will release their final report on the tragedy.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Elections • France • On CNN.com today • Politics • World
June 20th, 2012
06:15 AM ET

Gunman shot to end France hostage-taking incident, police say

[Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET] A hostage-taking incident in the French city of Toulouse has ended with shots fired, the gunman wounded and the last two remaining hostages freed, police union spokesman Christophe Crepin said Wednesday.

The gunman, who said he was with al Qaeda, took four people hostage at a bank five hours earlier, police said.

He released one of them, a woman, after about three hours, Crepin said, and a second hostage was released about an hour after that

[Posted at 6:15 a.m. ET] A man was holding four people hostage Wednesday in a bank in the southern French city of Toulouse, authorities said.

The incident occurred at the CIC bank.

The man fired one shot, and police are at the scene, police said.

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Filed under: Crime • France • Hostages
June 18th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

France's Hollande tightens grip on power with election win

New French President Francois Hollande tightened his grip on power Monday as the Interior Ministry confirmed that his Socialist party and its allies won an absolute majority in parliamentary elections Sunday.

Hollande allies claimed 314 seats in the 577-member National Assembly - the lower house of the French parliament - according to early confirmed results by the French Interior Ministry.

The results signal a clear French shift to the left, bolstering Hollande's position to push through an anti-austerity agenda after years of government budget cuts.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party experienced its biggest losses since 1981, winning just 229 seats.

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Filed under: France
June 7th, 2012
09:26 AM ET

Bahrain envoy to France denies assaulting staff

Bahrain's ambassador to France has denied accusations of assault after the French Foreign Ministry confirmed that a formal complaint had been made against a foreign envoy.

The diplomat, Nasser Al-Belooshi "forcefully" denied allegations made by former employees, calling them "inaccurate and unfounded," according to the official Bahrain News Agency.

The ambassador "remains at the disposal of the French authorities to shed light on these false accusations," the news agency said Wednesday.

The denial came a day after French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said a prosecutor in the city of Nanterre had opened an investigation against an ambassador. Valero did not name the envoy or say what country he came from.



Filed under: Bahrain • Crime • France
June 6th, 2012
09:03 AM ET

D-Day: Take a moment to remember

It was 68 years ago today that D-Day, one of the most decisive battles, marked the beginning of the end for World War II. On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops swept up the fortified beaches of Normandy, France, helping to defeat the Nazi regime in Europe.

But it was not without great loss. Nearly 10,000 troops were killed or wounded. It is the largest seaborne invasion in history.

The invasion's code name was Operation Overlord, commanded by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wanted the troops to land in Normandy because it was west of where the German troops and artillery were gathered.

The invasion was initially planned for June 5, 1944, but rough seas forced a postponement. Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword were used as code names for the landing beaches.

D-Day itself is code, as well: D-Day and H-Hour stand for the secret time/day an operation is scheduled to begin. FULL POST

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Filed under: France • History • Military • U.S. • Veterans
May 21st, 2012
05:20 AM ET

French police to open inquiry into new allegations against Strauss-Kahn

French prosecutors have widened an investigation into former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's alleged participation in a prostitution ring.

Authorities said Monday that Lille police will open a preliminary inquiry into acts alleged to have taken place between 15 and 18 December 2010 in Washington D.C..

CNN was waiting to hear back from Strauss-Kahn's lawyers Monday morning.

The French newspaper Liberation reported earlier this month that the allegations stemmed from statements made by two women it describes as "escort girls," who were interviewed by Belgian police as part of an investigation into a prostitution ring run out of the Carlton Hotel in Lille, near France's border with Belgium.

According to the newspaper's account of the depositions, the women said they had accompanied two associates of Strauss-Kahn on a visit to Washington, where they had stayed at the W Hotel.

One of them alleged that Strauss-Kahn had used force against her during a sexual encounter at the hotel, despite her protests.

The newspaper did not specify how it obtained the statements. CNN could not independently confirm the report.

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Filed under: District of Columbia • Dominique Strauss-Kahn • France • Justice
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