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    France Tag

    Rioting has been taking place recently in France, but trying to get a clear idea of what's behind the demonstrations isn't easy. The first thing to say is that the riots certainly seem to be anti-Macron. But there are plenty of reasons to be anti-Macron, some emanating from the left and some from the right or from some other impulse or belief system.

    Marine Le Pen's right-wing National Rally has overtaken French President Emmanuel Macron's En Marche for the first time ahead of the next year's EU Parliament elections. The latest poll numbers place France's ruling centrist En Marche party at 19 percent, and the newly constituted National Rally -- formerly the Front National -- at 20 percent.

    France's nationalist politician Marine Le Pen and Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini have announced plans to create a "Freedom Front" electoral coalition ahead of next year's European parliamentary vote. Speaking with Le Pen at a press conference on Monday, Salvini called for a "common sense revolution" to defeat EU's political elite in the May 2019 elections. "Europe's enemies are those cut off in the bunker of Brussels," Italy's League party leader Salvini told reporters. "The Junckers, the Moscovicis, who brought insecurity and fear to Europe and refuse to leave their armchairs."

    Riots erupted in the French city of Nantes following the death of a 22-year-old man, who was shot after running over a police officer at a vehicle stop. Cars and buildings--including a local court--were set on fire in the city's Breil district, an area with "largely immigrant populations," media report say.

    French police have started to prepare to take down illegal migrant camps in central Paris as several unauthorized encampments have recently sprung up along the city's canal Saint-Martin. 'Tent camps have mushroomed in recent weeks along canals used by joggers and cyclists in eastern and northeastern Paris, raising concerns for safety and public hygiene,' the UK newspaper Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

    The European Union is considering laws to protect European companies trading with Iran in the wake of new U.S. sanctions. The EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced plans to enact a set of laws that "seek to prevent European companies from complying with any sanctions the US may reintroduce against Iran," Germany's state-run broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Friday.

    President Trump gave a great speech at the NRA on Friday, and given the venue, his speech was primarily focused on our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  Some of what he had to say, however, has ruffled some feathers in the UK and France. The speech is very campaign-esque and as such is fun to watch.  He covers everything from jobs, North Korea, Kanye, and Mueller to the focus of his speech: gun rights in America.

    Ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel's one-day visit to Washington scheduled for Friday, German media have complained about the lack of ceremonial pomp accorded to the visiting leader. German media outlets were incensed by the fact that French President Emmanuel Macron, who is also touring the US this week, was receiving an preferential treatment from the White House. Germany, given its economic strength, considers itself a bigger player in Europe than France.

    Following President Trump's announcement that the United States, the United Kingdom, and France had launched a joint missile strike in Syria, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow told her audience that the strikes might be motivated as a means of distracting from domestic problems Trump is facing.  Apparently, she is concerned that even this impression will "taint" military operations. In her best "no, you are not dreaming Trump really won" voice, Maddow announced that the timing of the strikes and her sense that it seems to be a diversion weakens our military's "impact and effectiveness."  National security, she intones, is at risk.
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