TIME France

Jihad Jeanette? French Teen Arrested En Route to Syria

The 16-year-old girl was attempting to join Islamist rebels, the French Interior Minister said

A 16-year-old girl suspected of trying to travel to Syria to join Islamist rebels was arrested at an airport in France, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Sunday.

Cazeneuve said in a statement that the teenager was arrested Saturday at the Nice airport, in southeastern France, before she was able to board a flight to Turkey.

A 20-year-old man was also arrested for allegedly recruiting the girl and paying her airfare, the statement said. The girl’s family “knew nothing of her intentions,” Cazeneuve said.

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MONEY Jobs

WATCH: Quelle Horreur! France Might Expand Work Week Beyond 35 Hours!

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has suggested doing away with the traditional 35-hour work week in France.

TIME celebrities

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Got Married in France Last Weekend

Finally

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Superstar couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were secretly married in France on Saturday, a spokesperson told the Associated Press on Thursday.

The duo reportedly first came together on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith about a decade ago, but they were only engaged in 2012. Now, their marriage is official.

Jolie and Pitt were married in Château Miraval in the south of France in a small ceremony attended by family and friends, including the couple’s six children, the AP reports.

The couple is set to get back together on the screen next year in a drama that Jolie wrote and will direct called By the Sea, set for release next year.

[AP]

TIME France

French President Dissolves Government

France New Government
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, right, and Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg visit French defense and electronic company Thales in Gennevilliers, outside Paris, on April 10 Christophe Ena—AP

Hollande's approval ratings are in the teens

(PARIS) — French President François Hollande dissolved the government on Monday after an open feud in his Cabinet over the country’s stagnant economy.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls offered up his Socialist government’s resignation after accusing the economy minister of crossing a line with his blunt criticism of the government’s policies. Hollande accepted the resignation and ordered Valls to form a new government by Tuesday.

France has had effectively no economic growth this year and Hollande’s approval ratings are in the teens. The country is under pressure from the European Union to get its finances in order, but Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg has questioned whether the austerity pressed by the EU will kick start French growth.

“A major change in our economy policy,” was what Montebourg had said was needed from the president and prime minister.

With those words, Montebourg drew the anger of the Socialist leadership, which said Montebourg’s job was to support the government, not criticize it from within.

“He’s not there to start a debate but to put France back on the path of growth,” Carlos Da Silva, the Socialist Party spokesman, told Le Figaro newspaper.

TIME France

Paris Gunmen Hold Up a Saudi Prince’s Motorcade and Steal 250,000 Euros

"It's quite an unusual attack," a police source told the AFP news agency

Robbers armed with Kalashnikov rifles stole 250,000 euros ($335,000) and “sensitive” documents after raiding the motorcade of a Saudi prince that was en route from the Saudi embassy in northern Paris to Le Bourget airport, AFP reports.

The items were stolen from a supply vehicle in Porte de la Chapelle that was later incinerated.

“It’s quite an unusual attack. They were obviously well-informed. It’s true that it’s quite a rare way of operating,” a police source told AFP. No injuries were reported during the incident and suspects have yet to be found.

[AFP]

TIME France

Small French Town Resistant to Change Name From ‘Death to Jews’

A Jewish group has petitioned to change the name of La-mort-aux-Juifs

A Jewish organization is petitioning French officials that a small hamlet outside of Paris change its name from what translates in English as “Death to Jews.”

“[The fact that the name] was unnoticed during seventy years since the liberation of France from the Nazis and Vichy is most shocking,” Shimon Samuels, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s international relations, wrote to France’s Interior Minister.

Here’s the town on Yahoo! Maps:

But the deputy mayor of Courtemaux, the village of 289 people that oversees the contested hamlet, is resistant to a name change, arguing that the tradition should be respected.

“It’s ridiculous. This name has always existed,” Marie-Elizabeth Secretand told AFP. “No one has anything against the Jews, of course. It doesn’t surprise me that this is coming up again. Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names.”

Secretand also noted that the municipal council was petitioned to change the name of the town, which consists of two houses and a farm, 20 years ago, but that request was denied.

Still, Samuels urges a name change due to “the current surge in public and violent expressions of anti-Semitism” — Europe has seen a dramatic uptick of anti-Semitism ranging from protests to acts of violence in the past month — and for the town’s own monetary gains. Samuels noted that home values in La-Mort-Aux-Juifs is 14.1% less than the Courtemaux average.

In May, a Spanish town called Castrillo Matajudios (Little Hill Fort of Jew Killers) changed its name to Mota de Judios (Hill of the Jews).

TIME gender equality

France Eases Abortion Restrictions in Sweeping Equality Law

France's Women, Youth and Sports Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem arrives to attend a dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris May 5, 2014.
France's Women, Youth and Sports Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem arrives to attend a dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris May 5, 2014. Gonzalo Fuentes—Reuters

Called "historic" step in gender equality push

France passed legislation this week allowing women to get abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy with no questions asked, lifting previous restrictions as part of a sweeping and historic law meant to increase gender equality in the country.

Previously, a French woman could only get an abortion if her condition put “her in a situation of distress.” The new law, signed Tuesday by French President François Hollande, also ensures women can access information about obtaining abortions, Reuters reports. The legislation provides protections for domestic abuse victims and supports more equal division of childcare and representation in politics. And it strives to creates a more equal job environment by encouraging men to take paternity leaves.

“At a time when women in many parts of the world, including in the United States and Spain, are seeing their rights restricted, violated, and disrespected, France has set an important example for the rest of the globe with its progressive stance toward reproductive health care,” Lilian Sepúlveda, director of the Global Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “Ensuring a woman’s right to control her fertility is fundamental to achieving gender equality. But passing today’s law is just the first step—we now look to French policymakers to ensure women see the benefits of this historic law implemented this year.”

When the law was initially introduced, France’s minister for women’s rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told the Guardian: “I don’t believe that history is going to spontaneously take us forward, so going towards more equality needs us to be politically proactive.”

[Reuters]

TIME Mali

Doomed Air Algérie Flight Asked to Turn Back Before Crash

French military helicopters fly above the crash site of Air Algerie flight AH5017 near the northern Mali town of Gossi
French military helicopters fly above the crash site of Air Algérie Flight 5017 near the northern Mali town of Gossi on July 24, 2014 Souley Mane Ag Anara—Reuters

Air Algérie Flight 5017, which went down in Mali, was the third airliner to suffer a disastrous crash in a week

Shortly before ground controllers lost contact with Air Algérie Flight 5017, the airliner’s crew requested to abandon its journey to Algiers and head back to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, eyeing foul weather on the radar.

The plane crashed in a remote corner of Mali shortly thereafter, killing all 118 passengers and crew members on board.

Its black-box flight recorders arrived in Paris on Monday, Agence France-Presse reports, offering investigators insight into the July 24 tragedy — the third airline disaster in just over a week, coming after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine and the unsuccessful landing of TransAsia Airways Flight 222 in Taiwan.

Authorities had previously known that the Air Algérie plane requested a change of route but not a return to its point of origin.

[AFP]

TIME Foreign Policy

White House: EU, US to Impose New Russia Sanctions

(WASHINGTON) — The United States and European Union plan to impose new sanctions against Russia this week, including penalties targeting key sectors of the Russian economy, the White House said Monday.

The show of Western solidarity comes as the U.S. accuses Russia of ramping up its troop presence on its border with Ukraine and shipping more heavy weaponry to pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukrainian cities.

President Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain, Germany, France and Italy discussed the crisis during a rare joint video teleconference on Monday. The discussion follows days of bilateral talks on how to implement tougher sanctions after the downing of a passenger jet in eastern Ukraine, an attack the U.S. says was carried out by the separatists.

The U.S. and European sanctions are likely to target Russia’s energy, arms and financial sectors. The EU is also weighing the prospect of levying penalties on individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who appears to only be deepening Russia’s role in destabilizing Ukraine.

“It’s precisely because we’ve not yet seen a strategic turn from Putin that we believe it’s absolutely essential to take additional measures, and that’s what the Europeans and the United States intend to do this week,” said Tony Blinken, Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

Europe, which has a stronger trade relationship with Russia than the U.S., has lagged behind Washington with its earlier sanctions package, in part out of concern from leaders that the penalties could have a negative impact on their own economies. But a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said following Monday’s call that the West agreed that the EU should move a “strong package of sectoral sanctions as swiftly as possible.”

French President Francois Hollande said in a statement that the Western leaders “regretted Russia has not effectively pressured separatists to bring them to negotiate nor taken expected concrete measures to assure control of the Russian-Ukrainian border.”

The U.S. penalties are expected to be imposed after Europe finalizes its next moves. Neither set of penalties is expected to fully cut off Russian economic sectors from the West, an options U.S. officials have said they’re holding in reserve in case Russia launches a full-on military incursion in Ukraine or takes a similarly provocative step.

As the West presses ahead with new sanctions, U.S. officials say Russia is getting more directly involved in the clash between separatists and the Ukrainian government. Blinken said Russia appeared to be using the international attention focused on the downed Malaysia Airlines plane as “cover and distraction” while it moves more heavy weaponry over its border and into Ukraine.

“We’ve seen a significant re-buildup of Russian forces along the border, potentially positioning Russia for a so-called humanitarian or peace-keeping intervention in Ukraine,” Blinken said. “So there’s urgency to arresting this.”

Nearly 300 people were killed when the Malaysian plane was shot down by a missile on July 17. The West blames the separatists for the missile attack and Russia for supplying the rebels with equipment that can take down a plane.

Other leaders participating in Monday’s call were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The White House said the leaders also discussed the stalled efforts to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the need for Iraq to form a more inclusive government and the uptick in security threats in Libya.

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