Blinken and Kerry headed to France in wake of Aussie sub deal friction

Blinken and Kerry headed to France in wake of Aussie sub deal friction

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives opening remarks as he meets with local labor leaders the IBEW Local #5 for a roundtable, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Rebecca Droke, Pool) **FILE** more >

Print

By Guy Taylor

The Washington Times

Friday, October 1, 2021

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will aim to ease the U.S.-France diplomatic rift with a trip to Paris next week, amid ongoing French outrage over President Biden‘s recent inking of a nuclear-powered submarine deal with Australia that undercut a previous $65 billion deal Canberra had signed with France.

The State Department did not mention the submarine deal fracas in announcing Mr. Blinken‘s visit, which is slated to occur Monday through Wednesday. A department statement Friday said a key focus of the trip will be discussions toward bolstering the bilateral relationship on a number of issues, “including security in the Indo-Pacific.”

Mr. Blinken will follow the France visit with a trip to Mexico next Thursday and Friday to lead a U.S. delegation participating in a high-level security dialogue there.

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The France visit will be watched closely for signs of friction with the government of President Emmanuel Macron, who has used anger over the submarine deal to push fellow European countries to assert their independence from the current security reliance on the United States.

The Biden administration has downplayed the diplomatic tension with Paris while signaling it will press forward with the new security alliance with Australia and Britain.

As part of the new alliance, the U.S. will provide Australia with nuclear-powered technology for eight new submarines in a bid to bolster the West’s military assets in China’s backyard. Australia canceled a previous deal to buy French-built diesel-electric submarines. France was kept out of talks on the new strategic alliance and was only alerted just before the submarine deal shift was announced.

The Macron government responded by briefly recalling France‘s ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia — the first-ever such recall by Paris of an ambassador to Washington.

Mr. Macron ordered the ambassador to return to Washington last week, following a phone call with President Biden, after which the two leaders issued a joint statement saying French and U.S. officials would work on trying to restore “confidence” to the longstanding U.S.-France alliance.

The State Department said Friday that Mr. Blinken, who spent time growing up in France and speaks French, will chair a “Ministerial Council Meeting” of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and commemorate the OECD’s 60th anniversary.

Mr. Kerry, a former secretary of state himself who is now Mr. Biden‘s special envoy on climate issues, is traveling to Paris just weeks before the opening of a global summit on climate change in Britain

The State Department said the U.S. delegation will engage in discussions with French officials on a range of topics, including “the climate crisis, economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the transatlantic relationship, and working with our allies and partners to address global challenges and opportunities.”

• Joseph Clark contributed to this story.

Nicolas Sarkozy convicted by French court in campaign financing case

Sarkozy convicted by French court in campaign financing case

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In this Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, file photo, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via AP, File) more >

Print

By Sylvie Corbet and Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

Associated Press

Thursday, September 30, 2021

PARIS (AP) — French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was convicted Thursday and sentenced to a year of house arrest for illegal campaign financing of his unsuccessful 2012 reelection bid, will appeal the ruling, his lawyer said.

The court said Sarkozy would be allowed to serve the one-year sentence at home by wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, noted that the sentence corresponds to the maximum his client faced. He said he had spoken with Sarkozy, who had asked him to appeal.

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“The verdict won’t be enforceable” pending appeal, he added.

Sarkozy, France’s president from 2007 to 2012, had vigorously denied wrongdoing during the trial in May and June.

Sarkozy wasn’t present at the Paris court for the ruling. He is accused of having spent almost twice the maximum legal amount of 22.5 million euros ($27.5 million) on the reelection bid that he lost to Socialist Francois Hollande.

The court stated that Sarkozy “knew” the legal limit was at stake and “voluntarily” failed to supervise additional expenses.

Thursday’s verdict comes after Sarkozy, 66, was found guilty on March 1 of corruption and influence peddling in another case. He was given a year in prison, and two years suspended, in that case but is free pending appeal.

It is the first time in France’s modern history that a former president has been convicted and sentenced to a prison term for actions during his term. Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money during his time as Paris mayor and was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

In the campaign financing case, prosecutors concluded that Sarkozy knew weeks before the 2012 election that his expenses — which are strictly limited under French law — were getting close to the legal maximum. They accused him of having ignored two notes from his accountants warning about the money issue.

The court on Thursday said despite being aware of the risk of exceeding the limit, he chose to organize many rallies, including giant ones. “These rallies have been approved by Nicolas Sarkozy and he took advantage of them,” the court said.

During the trial, Sarkozy told the court the extra money didn’t go into his campaign, but instead helped make other people richer. He denied any “fraudulent intent.” He also insisted he didn’t handle the day-to-day organization because he had a team to do that and therefore couldn’t be blamed for the amount of spending.

In addition to the former president, 13 other people went on trial, including members of his conservative Republicans party, accountants and heads of the communication group in charge of organizing the rallies, Bygmalion.

They have all been found guilty, with sentences going from a suspended prison sentence to two years of house arrest with an electronic bracelet. Various charges include forgery, fraud and complicity in illegal campaign financing.

Some have acknowledged wrongdoing and detailed the system of false invoices that aimed to cover up the overspending.

Sarkozy retired from active politics in 2017, but is still playing a role behind the scenes. French media have reported that he is involved in the process of choosing a conservative candidate ahead of France‘s presidential election next year.

Westside Gunn – Munch Lyrics

[Intro]
Honestly we’re out of gas
So? What are we gonna do now?
Conductor

[Verse 1: Westside Gunn]
Ayo, so many niggas I love got life (Life)
So I’ma just rock all my ice (Ice)
Drive McLaren, why your bitch keep starin’? (Skrrt)
Keith Haring (Ah), a week in Paris, I’m out in Paris
Dice games at the Eiffel, you know how life go (Ah)
I came home, violated, you know the cycle
Fiends hit the dough through funnel like she seen Michael (Hee-hee)
This that black Jesus hangin’ in your mother livin’ room, Christ flow
Might get a fiend rental ’cause the night slow (Skrrt)
Spin a few blocks, and grab the ooh-wop
COs block and lock the cells down, go make my doo-wop
Don’t get your crew shot (Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom)
Chewy got a G.I.A. certified stone in his nose, you’d think he 2Pac
I’m at the juice spot (Juice spot)
Ayo, DOOM said all caps (Ah), I’m in your bushes in all black
At Bal Harbour, we the mall rats
Goyard store with the MAC, full matte (Brr, brr, ah)
Gucci floormat, this shit raw rap, you ain’t even all that (Uh uh)
My Blood homie rockin’ stars on him like rob the store back
Lemon pepper hot mix, all flats, you never wore that (Uh uh, ah)

[Verse 2: Tiona Deniece]
‘Cause how many days you got in front of ya?
Live the way you wanna
‘Cause how many days you got in front of ya?
‘Cause we gon’ get paid until the summer’s up
‘Cause it’s all love (All love, all love)
Said it’s all love (All love, yeah)
It’s all love, father forgive him
And I pray for those that try to offend me
Lord knows that I brought it with me
(Conductor, we have a problem) On God, I’ll leave it empty

[Outro]
Conductor, we have a problem
Conductor, we have a problem
Conductor, we have a problem
Conductor, we have a problem

G-Eazy – Time Lyrics

[Intro: G-Eazy]
April 27th, 2019
I hope you hear, I hope this reaches you, uh
All the money in the world, I can’t find where they selling time
One button, that rewind, I’m just taking sip of this wine, let me catch you up
It’s been some time, let’s me catch you up
Yeah, uh, uh

[Verse 1: G-Eazy]
I don’t know where to start
But something told me, write this down and just speak from the heart
It’s been fourteen years since I found you all alone in the dark
But losin’ you brought us together when it could’ve tore us apart
Mom still ain’t good, she misses you, shе thinks ’bout you daily
We got a dog after you passed, and shе nicknamed her Missy
She lives alone out in New Orleans, she always tells me she miss me
But such is life, this story’s real, it’s not a movie by Disney
She’ll probably tell you I wrote a song and put your story inside it, fuck
I forgot to tell you, I’m like famous rapper now
Signed a record deal, I made all of my dreams come true
I toured the world, made platinums albums, and I still stayed true
It’s so much to catch up on now as I think out loud
When you passed, I was fuckin’ up, still I was a problem child
But we had promises to each other, yeah, I swore and I vowed
I went to college, I graduated, I would’ve made you proud
I’m ’bout to turn thirty, James is ’bout to turn twenty-seven
He’s findin’ himself still, but I know he’ll find out in a second
He graduated from the same school that I went to in NOLA
He lives right up the street from moms, it’s crazy as he’s gotten older
He’s matured beyond his years, he’s the best I guy I know
I find the older I get, it’s like the less that I know
This world’s confusin’, sometimes I feel all depressed, filled with gloom
The more and more I understand why you had to hide in that room, fuck
It’s been some time since I had someone I could tell this shit
Celebrity life is full of everyone expectin’ shit
In 2019, life is crazy, and it’s evident, wait
You won’t believe this part but Trump was the president

[Pre-Chorus: G-Eazy]
And Leo finally got his Oscar after all
And the Warriors were finally the best team in basketball
Anyways that’s all for now, I’ll keep it short and sweet
I’ll save the rest until the next time we meet (I miss you, Melissa)

[Chorus: Matthew Shultz]
I found peace
Hope this moment’s brief
Shaded memories
I can hardly speak
I found peace (In our/all dreams)
I just grit my teeth
Through teary eyes, I see
Smiling back at me
I found peace

[Verse 2: G-Eazy]
Yeah, uh
Been seven months since you left
Some nights it hits me harder than others, that’s when I get depressed
I play your shit, but I had to stop readin’ old texts
I shed tears, sometimes still, fuck it, I’ve been a mess
Knowin’ myself, I was too proud to ever tell this to you
But since you popped out first, I used to be a lil’ jealous of you
I used to hate sometimes, Jameel said, “That’s not healthy of you”
But I was broke and unsuccessful, what you expect me to do?
See us, two white boys rappin’, felt like they would always compare us
Except you sell out shows across the world from Oakland to Paris
And I was still at my mom’s crib, that means I live with my parents
I couldn’t sell shit out in my town, I was slightly embarrassed
Fast forward some years, I finally caught up a bit
I always wonder ’bout that time, like if you fucked with my shit
And then we finally met in Europe, playin’ festival shows
You watch my set sidestage, I’m tryna flex at them shows
Until I went and watched yours, you burnt that shit down
We talked shit and caught up afterwards, you fucked with my sound
We clicked, immediately, time passed in a blink
Talkin’ shit, I can’t believe that was the first time we linked
What I was going through with Ash’, you went through with Ariana
And you would check in on me daily, help me deal with that drama
Come to think of it, we talked like every day last summer
You were like a big brother, crazy that you was younger

[Pre-Chorus: G-Eazy]
It’s, only a dream until it happens to you
But no one ever told me these things would be happening too, fuck
Anyways that’s all for now, I’ll keep this short and sweet
I’ll save the rest until the next time we meet (I miss you, Mac)

[Chorus: Matthew Shultz]
I found peace
Hope this moment’s brief
Shaded memories
I can hardly speak
I found peace (In our/all dreams)
I just grit my teeth
Through teary eyes, I see
Smiling back at me
I found peace

[Outro: G-Eazy]
All the money in the world, I can’t find where they selling time
One button, that rewind, I’m just taking sip of this wine, let me catch you up
It’s been a while, let’s me catch you up
Yeah, uh, uh
(Scoop Dezel)

G Eazy – Time Lyrics

[Intro: G-Eazy]
April 27th, 2019
I hope you hear, I hope this reaches you, uh
All the money in the world, I can’t find where they selling time
One button, that rewind, I’m just taking sip of this wine, let me catch you up
It’s been some time, let’s me catch you up
Yeah, uh, uh

[Verse 1: G-Eazy]
I don’t know where to start
But something told me, write this down and just speak from the heart
It’s been fourteen years since I found you all alone in the dark
But losin’ you brought us together when it could’ve tore us apart
Mom still ain’t good, she misses you, shе thinks ’bout you daily
We got a dog after you passed, and shе nicknamed her Missy
She lives alone out in New Orleans, she always tells me she miss me
But such is life, this story’s real, it’s not a movie by Disney
She’ll probably tell you I wrote a song and put your story inside it, fuck
I forgot to tell you, I’m like famous rapper now
Signed a record deal, I made all of my dreams come true
I toured the world, made platinums albums, and I still stayed true
It’s so much to catch up on now as I think out loud
When you passed, I was fuckin’ up, still I was a problem child
But we had promises to each other, yeah, I swore and I vowed
I went to college, I graduated, I would’ve made you proud
I’m ’bout to turn thirty, James is ’bout to turn twenty-seven
He’s findin’ himself still, but I know he’ll find out in a second
He graduated from the same school that I went to in NOLA
He lives right up the street from moms, it’s crazy as he’s gotten older
He’s matured beyond his years, he’s the best I guy I know
I find the older I get, it’s like the less that I know
This world’s confusin’, sometimes I feel all depressed, filled with gloom
The more and more I understand why you had to hide in that room, fuck
It’s been some time since I had someone I could tell this shit
Celebrity life is full of everyone expectin’ shit
In 2019, life is crazy, and it’s evident, wait
You won’t believe this part but Trump was the president

[Pre-Chorus: G-Eazy]
And Leo finally got his Oscar after all
And the Warriors were finally the best team in basketball
Anyways that’s all for now, I’ll keep it short and sweet
I’ll save the rest until the next time we meet (I miss you, Melissa)

[Chorus: Matthew Shultz]
I found peace
Hope this moment’s brief
Shaded memories
I can hardly speak
I found peace (In our/all dreams)
I just grit my teeth
Through teary eyes, I see
Smiling back at me
I found peace

[Verse 2: G-Eazy]
Yeah, uh
Been seven months since you left
Some nights it hits me harder than others, that’s when I get depressed
I play your shit, but I had to stop readin’ old texts
I shed tears, sometimes still, fuck it, I’ve been a mess
Knowin’ myself, I was too proud to ever tell this to you
But since you popped out first, I used to be a lil’ jealous of you
I used to hate sometimes, Jameel said, “That’s not healthy of you”
But I was broke and unsuccessful, what you expect me to do?
See us, two white boys rappin’, felt like they would always compare us
Except you sell out shows across the world from Oakland to Paris
And I was still at my mom’s crib, that means I live with my parents
I couldn’t sell shit out in my town, I was slightly embarrassed
Fast forward some years, I finally caught up a bit
I always wonder ’bout that time, like if you fucked with my shit
And then we finally met in Europe, playin’ festival shows
You watch my set sidestage, I’m tryna flex at them shows
Until I went and watched yours, you burnt that shit down
We talked shit and caught up afterwards, you fucked with my sound
We clicked, immediately, time passed in a blink
Talkin’ shit, I can’t believe that was the first time we linked
What I was going through with Ash’, you went through with Ariana
And you would check in on me daily, help me deal with that drama
Come to think of it, we talked like every day last summer
You were like a big brother, crazy that you was younger

[Pre-Chorus: G-Eazy]
It’s, only a dream until it happens to you
But no one ever told me these things would be happening too, fuck
Anyways that’s all for now, I’ll keep this short and sweet
I’ll save the rest until the next time we meet (I miss you, Mac)

[Chorus: Matthew Shultz]
I found peace
Hope this moment’s brief
Shaded memories
I can hardly speak
I found peace (In our/all dreams)
I just grit my teeth
Through teary eyes, I see
Smiling back at me
I found peace

[Outro: G-Eazy]
All the money in the world, I can’t find where they selling time
One button, that rewind, I’m just taking sip of this wine, let me catch you up
It’s been a while, let’s me catch you up
Yeah, uh, uh
(Scoop Dezel)

G-Eazy – Everything Is Everything Lyrics

[Intro: G-Eazy]
Haha
Yeah, uh

[Verse 1: G-Eazy]
I hate you, I say, “Damn, I miss you”
Shootin’ in Paris for that French Vogue issue
Wish I could teleport there just to kiss you
She models VS, yeah, she’s so official
Life switched off, when’d it get so blissful?
Paper plane dreams, thought it all so simple
I told my ex that I love her while papered with a [?]
She said, “You chose this after all we’ve been through
A fuck boy, how could you be so forgetful?
You think they all real and they’ll stay with you
And if you’re that dumb, no matter, never fuck with you
You think you’re that rеal ’til that limelight hits you”

[Refrain: G-Eazy]
Triy the shoe on еven if it don’t fit you
They all see the problems, they all wanna fix you
Now it’s a Saturday night, we gon’ dance in that light
While I think to myself, goddamn, this ain’t right, this ain’t right

[Chorus: Goody Grace, G-Eazy]
She said, “I’m over you” (This ain’t right)
That’s what you told me (It can’t be right)
But I know the truth
She wants all me (Yeah)
Everything is everything they say (Yeah)
Everything is everything they say (Yeah)

[Verse 2: G-Eazy]
It all depends on what you value
Figure this out on your own, nobody shows you how to
They tell me, “You’re a product of the people that’s around you”
My exes singin’ bullshit on the air, I live without you
Wow, did anything stay with you?
When I fuck up, I think I might still miss you
Slipped one night, I sent a text and I hit you
Hit me back a message like, “The fuck is wrong with you?”
Which one, argue, I ain’t tryna argue
I know I lost you somewhere, but how far are you?
Life is a movie, you a always star
Should would tell me, wanted them houses and cars

[Refrain: G-Eazy]
‘Til you would try on the life, even if it don’t fit you
They all see the problems, they all wanna fix you
Now it’s a Saturday night, we gon’ dance in that light
While I think to myself, goddamn, goddamn, this ain’t right

[Chorus: Goody Grace, G-Eazy]
She said, “I’m over you” (It can’t be right)
That’s what you told me
But I know the truth
She wants all me (I see you, like)
Everything is everything they say (Just pick a side and just stick to the side)
Everything is everything they say

[Bridge: Goody Grace, G-Eazy]
Everything is everything they say
Uh-huh
They say there’s three sides to every story
Everything is everything they say
The right side and the wrong side and my side
Everything is everything they say
Can I, can I just tell my story?
Everything is everything they say
Even if you don’t hear this shit, it’s whatever, yeah

[Verse 3: G-Eazy]
Uh, you used to say we’re meant to be, this was our destiny
Playin’ back our last fight, that’s when she said to me
“I was just a step to you, you wanna step on me
The last time you broke my heart, that was the death of we”
She said, “Congrats, you did it now, your dreams came true”
Let’s get lost, you took to heart the words I sang you
I guess heights like these ain’t got the same view
‘Cause now I’m thinkin’ I really lookin’ at the same you
Chasin’ ghosts, feel like I’ve seen this phantom before
Feel like I recognize this feelin’, I’ve had it before
I tried to give my all to her, now she’s askin’ for more
She put me in the dog house, I crashed on the floor
Vanilla sky, guess you finally saw my ugly side
Some dirt come to the surface, it feels tough to hide
I feel the effects, I just got butterflies
Been openin’ that door, but there’s nothin’ there on the other side
Yeah

[Outro: Goody Grace, G-Eazy]
Everything is everything they say
Everything is everything they say
Feel like The Matrix, how I open the door and there’s a brick wall behind it
Everything is everything they say
Everything is everything they say
Why am I chasin’ ghosts? I guess I’m tryna keep you close
Everything is everything they say
Everything is everything they say

G Eazy – Everything Is Everything Lyrics

[Intro: G-Eazy]
Haha
Yeah, uh

[Verse 1: G-Eazy]
I hate you, I say, “Damn, I miss you”
Shootin’ in Paris for that French Vogue issue
Wish I could teleport there just to kiss you
She models VS, yeah, she’s so official
Life switched off, when’d it get so blissful?
Paper plane dreams, thought it all so simple
I told my ex that I love her while papered with a [?]
She said, “You chose this after all we’ve been through
A fuck boy, how could you be so forgetful?
You think they all real and they’ll stay with you
And if you’re that dumb, no matter, never fuck with you
You think you’re that rеal ’til that limelight hits you”

[Refrain: G-Eazy]
Triy the shoe on еven if it don’t fit you
They all see the problems, they all wanna fix you
Now it’s a Saturday night, we gon’ dance in that light
While I think to myself, goddamn, this ain’t right, this ain’t right

[Chorus: Goody Grace, G-Eazy]
She said, “I’m over you” (This ain’t right)
That’s what you told me (It can’t be right)
But I know the truth
She wants all me (Yeah)
Everything is everything they say (Yeah)
Everything is everything they say (Yeah)

[Verse 2: G-Eazy]
It all depends on what you value
Figure this out on your own, nobody shows you how to
They tell me, “You’re a product of the people that’s around you”
My exes singin’ bullshit on the air, I live without you
Wow, did anything stay with you?
When I fuck up, I think I might still miss you
Slipped one night, I sent a text and I hit you
Hit me back a message like, “The fuck is wrong with you?”
Which one, argue, I ain’t tryna argue
I know I lost you somewhere, but how far are you?
Life is a movie, you a always star
Should would tell me, wanted them houses and cars

[Refrain: G-Eazy]
‘Til you would try on the life, even if it don’t fit you
They all see the problems, they all wanna fix you
Now it’s a Saturday night, we gon’ dance in that light
While I think to myself, goddamn, goddamn, this ain’t right

[Chorus: Goody Grace, G-Eazy]
She said, “I’m over you” (It can’t be right)
That’s what you told me
But I know the truth
She wants all me (I see you, like)
Everything is everything they say (Just pick a side and just stick to the side)
Everything is everything they say

[Bridge: Goody Grace, G-Eazy]
Everything is everything they say
Uh-huh
They say there’s three sides to every story
Everything is everything they say
The right side and the wrong side and my side
Everything is everything they say
Can I, can I just tell my story?
Everything is everything they say
Even if you don’t hear this shit, it’s whatever, yeah

[Verse 3: G-Eazy]
Uh, you used to say we’re meant to be, this was our destiny
Playin’ back our last fight, that’s when she said to me
“I was just a step to you, you wanna step on me
The last time you broke my heart, that was the death of we”
She said, “Congrats, you did it now, your dreams came true”
Let’s get lost, you took to heart the words I sang you
I guess heights like these ain’t got the same view
‘Cause now I’m thinkin’ I really lookin’ at the same you
Chasin’ ghosts, feel like I’ve seen this phantom before
Feel like I recognize this feelin’, I’ve had it before
I tried to give my all to her, now she’s askin’ for more
She put me in the dog house, I crashed on the floor
Vanilla sky, guess you finally saw my ugly side
Some dirt come to the surface, it feels tough to hide
I feel the effects, I just got butterflies
Been openin’ that door, but there’s nothin’ there on the other side
Yeah

[Outro: Goody Grace, G-Eazy]
Everything is everything they say
Everything is everything they say
Feel like The Matrix, how I open the door and there’s a brick wall behind it
Everything is everything they say
Everything is everything they say
Why am I chasin’ ghosts? I guess I’m tryna keep you close
Everything is everything they say
Everything is everything they say

Biden plans to reach out to France’s Macron after submarine snub

Biden plans to reach out to France’s Macron after submarine snub

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French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a meeting in memory of the Algerians who fought alongside French colonial forces in Algeria’s war, known as Harkis, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2021. Macron’s speech is … more >

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By Jeff Mordock

The Washington Times

Monday, September 20, 2021

President Biden is seeking to speak over the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron in the next few days, a senior administration official confirmed Monday.

The two leaders have not spoken since Mr. Biden struck a nuclear submarine deal with Australia and the United Kingdom. That deal cost France a $66 billion deal to provide Australia with conventional, diesel-powered submarines.

Speaking with reporters on a conference call, the official said Mr. Biden wants to communicate his desire to work closely with France in the Indo-Pacific region where China’s military expansion poses a threat.

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The official said the U.S. doesn’t share Paris’ view about how the deal with Australia and the United Kingdom developed, but does understand its position.

Mr. Biden is headed to New York where he will address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. However, Mr. Macron is not traveling to New York and will attend virtually, the White House said.

The canceled deal with France has left French government officials furious.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves LeDrian said he was “angry and bitter” about the deal and had strong words for both Australia and the United States.

Mr. Le Drian called the deal “a stab in the back,” saying it isn’t done between allies. He also said the “brutal and unilateral decision” resembled some of the moves by former President Trump, who often angered U.S. allies with his “America First” agenda.

France has recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia. It has also canceled a gala in Washington to celebrate the ties between the two nations. 

France’s Notre Dame cathedral stable enough to start rebuilding

France’s Notre Dame cathedral stable enough to start rebuilding

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FILE – I this May 31, 2020 file photo, people walk on the forecourt of Notre Dame’s Cathedral, in Paris. France’s Notre Dame Cathedral is finally stable and secure enough for artisans to start rebuilding it, more than two years … more >

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By Associated Press –

Saturday, September 18, 2021

PARIS (AP) — France’s Notre Dame Cathedral is finally stable and secure enough for artisans to start rebuilding it, more than two years after the shocking fire that tore through its roof, knocked down its spire and threatened to bring the rest of the medieval monument down, too.

The government agency overseeing the reconstruction announced in a statement Saturday that the works to secure the structure – which began the day after the April 15, 2019 fire – are at last complete.

Carpenters, scaffolding experts, professional climbers, organ mechanics and others took part in the effort, which included special temporary structures to secure the iconic towers, vaults and walls of the huge roofless structure, and a special “umbrella” to protect it from the weather.

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Negotiations will now begin with companies bidding to take part in the mammoth reconstruction effort, the statement said. It will include some 100 different tenders for various projects. Work to restore the organ will begin in the fall, with other works expected to begin in the winter.

The agency is maintaining President Emmanuel Macron’s goal of allowing visitors back inside in 2024, the year Paris hosts the Olympics.

The announcement was made on a weekend that France and countries across Europe celebrate Heritage Days, when historical landmarks, government buildings and other sites are opened to the public.

France recalls ambassadors to US, Australia over sub deal

France recalls ambassadors to US, Australia over sub deal

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FILE – In this Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 file photo, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks in Weimar, Germany. France said late Friday, Sept. 17 it was immediately recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after Australia scrapped … more >

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By Sylvie Corbet

Associated Press

Friday, September 17, 2021

PARIS (AP) — France said late Friday it was immediately recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after Australia scrapped a big French conventional submarine purchase in favor of nuclear subs built with U.S. technology.

It was the first time ever France has recalled its ambassador to the U.S., according to the French foreign ministry.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a written statement that the French decision, on request from President Emmanuel Macron, “is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements” made by Australia and the United States.

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He said Wednesday’s announcement of Australia’s submarine deal with the U.S. is “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners.”

A recall of ambassadors is highly unusual between allied countries. In 2019, Paris recalled its envoy to neighboring Italy after the country’s leaders made critical public comments about the French government. Last year, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Macron needed mental health treatment. 

Earlier Friday, a top French diplomat spoke of a “crisis” in relations with the U.S.

The diplomat, who spoke anonymously in line with customary government practice, said that for Paris “this is a strategic question concerning the very nature of the relationship between Europe and the United States about the Indo-Pacific strategy.”

He would not speculate on the effects the situation would have on France’s relationship with the U.S. “There’s a crisis,” he stressed. 

Macron has not commented on the issue since President Joe Biden’s announcement of a strategic Indo-Pacific alliance with Australia and Britain, leading France to lose a nearly $100 billion deal to build diesel-electric submarines.

France has pushed for several years for a European strategy for boosting economic, political and defense ties in the region stretching from India and China to Japan and New Zealand. The EU unveiled this week its plan for the Indo-Pacific.

The French diplomat said Friday that Macron received a letter from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday morning announcing the decision to cancel the submarine deal. 

French officials then decided to reach out to the U.S. administration “to ask what was going on,” he said. He added that discussions with Washington took place just two to three hours before Biden’s public announcement.

Le Drian on Thursday expressed “total incomprehension” at the move and criticized both Australia and the U.S.

“It was really a stab in the back. We built a relationship of trust with Australia, and this trust was betrayed,” he said. “This is not done between allies.”

He also compared Biden’s move to those of his predecessor, Donald Trump, under Trump’s “America First” doctrine. 

Paris had raised the issue of the Indo-Pacific strategy during the June 25 visit to Paris of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, expressing the importance of its submarine program with Australia, the diplomat said.

“We said that is was for us a very important and critical component in our Indo-Pacific strategy,” he said. Blinken met with Macron during the visit.

The French diplomat said Australia never mentioned to France before its will to shift to nuclear-powered submarines, including during a meeting between Macron and Morrison in Paris on June 15.

2015 Paris attacks suspect: Deaths of 130 ‘nothing personal’

2015 Paris attacks suspect: Deaths of 130 ‘nothing personal’

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This courtroom sketch shows key defendant Salah Abdeslam, in the special courtroom built for the 2015 attacks trial, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Paris. The trial of 20 men accused in the Islamic State group’s coordinated attacks on Paris in … more >

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By Lori Hinnant

Associated Press

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

PARIS (AP) — The key defendant in the 2015 Paris attacks trial said Wednesday that the coordinated killings were retaliation for French airstrikes on the Islamic State group, calling the deaths of 130 innocent people “nothing personal” as he acknowledged his role for the first time.

Salah Abdeslam, who wore all black and declined to remove his mask as he spoke in a custom-built courtroom, has been silent throughout the investigation. Observers were waiting to see if he would offer any details during the trial.

Nine Islamic State group gunmen and suicide bombers struck within minutes of one another at several locations around Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, targeting fans at the national soccer stadium and cafe-goers and ending with a bloodbath inside the Bataclan concert hall. It was the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II and among the worst terror attacks to hit the West, shaking the country’s sense of security and rewriting its politics.

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Abdeslam is the only survivor of that cell, most of whose members were French or Belgian. After his suicide vest malfunctioned on the night of the attacks, he fled to his hometown of Brussels.

On Wednesday, a screen in the courtroom showed a photo of the car Abdeslam abandoned in northern Paris after he dropped off the three suicide bombers at the national stadium. Abdeslam’s target was unclear, but when Islamic State claimed responsibility the next day, the statement alluded to an attack in the neighborhood where he left the car that never took place.

The two people Abdeslam called upon to drive through the night from Brussels to Paris to pick him up are among the 20 on trial. Six of those are being tried in absentia.

Abdeslam, who was arrested months after the attacks, said the killings were a response to French airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. France was part of the international coalition that formed as the extremists conquered vast territory in both countries.

“We fought France, we attacked France, we targeted the civilian population. It was nothing personal against them,” Abdeslam said. “I know my statement may be shocking, but it is not to dig the knife deeper in the wound but to be sincere towards those who are suffering immeasurable grief.”

The same network struck the Brussels airport and subway system in March 2016, killing another 32 people. Among those on trial in Paris is Mohammed Abrini, who left the city the night before the 2015 attacks and took part in the Brussels one. He acknowledged a role on Wednesday.

“I recognize my participation … (but) in this evil that happened in France, I am neither the commander nor the architect. I provided no logistical nor financial help,” Abrini said.

The specter of the man who was the architect of the attacks, the late Abdelhamid Abaaoud, loomed large in the first days of the trial.

The courtroom saw him in a video escaping into the metro. An investigator testified that he was on the phone to the attackers and to someone in Brussels throughout the assaults.

Antiterrorism investigators spotted Abaaoud in surveillance video walking into the Paris metro with another of the gunmen. They recognized Abaaoud by his fluorescent orange shoes — and it was a key moment in the case.

“As soon as we see this video, it changes everything because we realize there are still at least two terrorists still alive,” the investigator testified. His name was not released publicly, as is common in French antiterrorism trials.

Abaaoud and the remaining gunman died days later in a police shootout and suicide explosion.

The same investigator also testified to the devastation that officials felt as the attacks unfolded.

“The sentiment we had that evening at the Bataclan was one of failure. … I’m not sure we had the means to prevent everything. But when we went into the Bataclan that was the feeling,” he said.

Opponents of France’s virus passes protest for 4th week

Opponents of France’s virus passes protest for 4th week

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Anti-Vax protesters gather to protest against the vaccine and the vaccine passport, during a demonstration in Paris, France, Saturday Aug. 7, 2021. Some thousands of people are expected to march in Paris and other French cities on Saturday to protest … more >

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Associated Press

Saturday, August 7, 2021

PARIS (AP) — Thousands of people were expected to march in Paris and other French cities during a fourth consecutive week of protests against COVID-19 entrance requirements and what opponents see as restrictions on personal freedom.

The demonstrations on Saturday come two days after France’s Constitutional Council upheld most provisions of a new law that expands the locations where health passes are needed to enter.

Starting Monday, the pass will be required to access cafes, restaurants, long-distance travel and, in some cases, hospitals. It was already in place for cultural and recreational venues, including cinemas, concert halls and theme parks with capacity for more than 50 people.

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A crowd of protesters walked peacefully in the west of Paris on Saturday afternoon while surrounded by police in full riot gear. Three more separate gatherings were planned in the French capital, and dozens of street protests were organized in other French cities.

Some demonstrators are also protesting the government making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for health care workers by Sept. 15.

Polls show that most people in France support the health passes, which are issued to individuals either vaccinated against the coronavirus or who have proof of recovering from COVID-19 or negative results from a recent test.

Opponents say the pass requirement limits their movements outside home and implicitly renders vaccines obligatory.

Over 36 million people in France – about 54% of the population – are fully vaccinated. At least 7 million have gotten their first vaccine shot since French President Emmanuel Macron announced the health pass on July 12.

France is registering over 21,000 new confirmed virus cases daily, a steep climb from one month ago. More than 112,000 people with the virus have died in the country since the start of the pandemic.

A growing number of European countries have started implemented virus pass requirements, each with slightly different rules.

Protests have been held last month in neighboring Italy against a pass to access indoor dining, gyms, theaters, cinemas and other gathering places. The so-called “Green Pass” entered into force on Friday.

Denmark pioneered vaccine passes with little resistance. In Austria, the pass is needed to enter into restaurants, theatres, hotels, sports facilities and hairdressers.

French police clash with anti-virus pass protesters in Paris

Anti-virus pass protesters, police clash in Paris: ‘We mustn’t be told what to do’

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A protestor holds up a banner which reads "freedom" as she stands between police during a demonstration in Paris, France, Saturday, July 31, 2021. Demonstrators gathered in several cities in France on Saturday to protest against the COVID-19 pass, which … more >

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By BOUBKAR BENZABAT and ELAINE GANLEY

Associated Press

Saturday, July 31, 2021

PARIS (AP) – Thousands of people protested France‘s special virus pass by marching through Paris and other French cities on Saturday. Most demonstrations were peaceful but some in Paris clashed with riot police, who fired tear gas.

Some 3,000 security forces deployed around the French capital for a third weekend of protests against the pass that will be needed soon to enter restaurants and other places. Police took up posts along Paris’ Champs-Elysees to guard against an invasion of the famed avenue.

With virus infections spiking and hospitalizations rising, French lawmakers have passed a bill requiring the pass in most places as of Aug. 9. Polls show a majority of French support the pass, but some are adamantly opposed. The pass requires a vaccination or a quick negative test or proof of a recent recovery from COVID-19 and mandates vaccine shots for all health care workers by mid-September.

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For anti-pass demonstrators, “liberty” was the slogan of the day.

Hager Ameur, a 37-year-old nurse, said she resigned from her job, accusing the government of using a form of “blackmail.”

“I think that we mustn’t be told what to do,” she told The Associated Press, adding that French medical workers during the first wave of COVID-19 were quite mistreated. “And now, suddenly we are told that if we don’t get vaccinated it is our fault that people are contaminated. I think it is sickening.”

Tensions flared in front of the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub in northern Paris during what appeared to be the largest demonstration. Lines of police faced down protesters in up-close confrontations during the march. Police used their fists on several occasions.

As marchers headed eastward and some pelted police with objects, police fired tear gas into the crowds, plumes of smoke filling the sky. A male protester was seen with a bleeding head and a police officer was carried away by colleagues. Three officers were injured, the French press quoted police as saying. Police, again responding to rowdy crowds, also turned a water cannon on protesters as the march ended at the Bastille.

A calmer march was led by the former top lieutenant of far-right leader Marine Le Pen who left to form his own small anti-EU party. But Florian Philippot’s new cause, against the virus pass, seems far more popular. His contingent of hundreds marched Saturday to the Health Ministry.

Among those not present this week was Francois Asselineau, leader of another tiny anti-EU party, the Popular Republican Union, and an ardent campaigner against the health pass, who came down with COVID-19. In a video on his party’s website, Asselineau, who was not hospitalized, called on people to denounce the “absurd, unjust and totally liberty-killing” health pass.

French authorities are implementing the health pass because the highly contagious delta variant is making strong inroads. More than 24,000 new daily cases were confirmed Friday night – compared to just a few thousand cases a day at the start of the month.

The government announcement that the health pass would take effect on Aug. 9 has driven many unvaccinated French to sign up for inoculations so their social lives won’t get shut down during the summer holiday season. Vaccinations are now available at a wide variety of places, including some beaches. More than 52% of the French population has been vaccinated.

About 112,000 people have died of the virus in France since the start of the pandemic.

___

Patrick Hermansen and Michel Euler in Paris contributed.

___

Follow all AP stories on the global pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

Cuban embassy in Paris attacked with gasoline bombs, foreign minister says

Cuban embassy in Paris attacked with gasoline bombs, foreign minister says

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Cuba´s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez speaks during a press conference in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Rodriguez spoke after a rare outpouring of weekend protests over high prices and food shortages in the island nation where little dissent against … more >

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By

Associated Press

Monday, July 26, 2021

HAVANA — The Cuban Embassy in Paris was attacked with gasoline bombs, Cuba‘s foreign minister said Monday night.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez did not offer any details of the incident in a post on his Twitter account announcing the attack. There was no indication of whether any damage or injuries occurred.

“I hold the U.S. Government responsible for its continuous campaigns against our country that encourage these behaviors and for calls for violence, with impunity, from its territory,” Rodriguez said.

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Over the past three weeks, Cuban embassies in many cities around the world have been the scene of demonstrations both against and for Cuba‘s government in reaction to protests that erupted across the island on July 11 and 12.

Cuba has accused the U.S. government of fomenting a social media campaign aimed at destabilizing the Caribbean nation, which is going through a severe economic crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. sanctions.

Anger as French protesters compare vaccines to Nazi horrors

Anger as French protesters compare vaccines to Nazi horrors

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A view of the empty tent of a vaccination center after an arson attack on Saturday evening in Urrugne, southwestern France, Monday, July 19, 2021. Two COVID-19 vaccination centers were ransacked in less than 48 hours in France, over the … more >

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Associated Press

Monday, July 19, 2021

PARIS (AP) — A French Holocaust survivor has denounced anti-vaccination protesters comparing themselves to Jews who were persecuted by Nazi Germany during World War II. French officials and anti-racism groups joined the 94-year-old in expressing indignation.

As more than 100,000 people marched around France against government vaccine rules on Saturday, some demonstrators wore yellow stars recalling the ones the Nazis forced Jews to wear. Other demonstrators carried signs evoking the Auschwitz death camp or South Africa’s apartheid regime, claiming the French government was unfairly mistreating them with its anti-pandemic measures.

“You can’t imagine how much that upset me. This comparison is hateful. We must all rise up against this ignominy,” Holocaust survivor Joseph Szwarc said Sunday during a ceremony commemorating victims of antisemitic and racist acts by the French state, which collaborated with Adolf Hitler’s regime.

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“I wore the star, I know what that is, I still have it in my flesh,” Szwarc, who was deported from France by the Nazis, said with tears in his eyes. “It is everyone’s duty to not allow this outrageous, antisemitic, racist wave to pass over us.”

France’s secretary of state for military affairs, who also attended the ceremony, called the protesters’ actions “intolerable and a disgrace for our republic.”

The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism said the protesters were “mocking victims of the Holocaust” and minimizing crimes against humanity committed during World War II.

Saturday’s protests involved a mix of people angry at the government for various reasons, and notably supporters of the far right. Prominent French far-right figures have been convicted in the past of antisemitism, racism and denying the Holocaust.

The government is introducing a bill Monday requiring all health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and requiring COVID passes to enter restaurants and other venues.

At a large protest in Paris on Saturday against vaccine rules, one demonstrator pasted a star on his back reading “not vaccinated.” Bruno Auquier, a 53-year-old town councilor who lives on the outskirts of Paris, drew a yellow star on his T-shirt and handed out arm bands with the star.

“I will never get vaccinated,” Auquier said. “People need to wake up,” he said, questioning the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

Auquier expressed concern that the new measures would restrict his two children’s freedom and pledged to take them out of school if vaccination becomes mandatory.

Polls suggest most French people support the measures, but they have prompted anger in some quarters. Vandals targeted two vaccination centers in southwest France over the weekend. One was set on fire, and another covered in graffiti, including a reference to the Nazi occupation of France.

France has reported more than 111,000 deaths in the pandemic, and new confirmed cases are increasing again, raising worries about renewed pressure on hospitals and further restrictions that would damage jobs and businesses.

France cautiously celebrates Bastille Day, clouded by the coronavirus

France cautiously celebrates Bastille Day, clouded by the coronavirus

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Members of the Republican Guard march in formation on the Champs Elysees prior to the Bastille Day parade in Paris, Wednesday July 14, 2021. Bastille Day is the French national holiday that commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution on … more >

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By Angela Charlton

Associated Press

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

PARIS (AP) — Bastille Day is back, sort of.

France celebrated its national holiday Wednesday with thousands of troops marching in a Paris parade, warplanes roaring overhead and traditional parties around the country, after last year’s events were scaled back because of virus fears.

This year those fears are still lurking, but the government decided to go ahead with the parade on the Champs-Elysees anyway, as part of a broader effort to return to pre-pandemic activity.

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The number of onlookers was limited, and they were restricted to a small section of the parade. In addition, each person attending had to show a special pass proving they have been fully vaccinated, had recently recovered from the virus or a had negative virus test. Similar restrictions will be in place for those gathering to watch an elaborate fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday evening.

Spectators converged on Paris from around France, glad to be able to see the show in person even if frustrated with the restrictions and long lines for virus security checks.

“I came especially for my son who is marching today,” said Gaelle Henry from the northern city of Lille. “It’s nice to be able to get out a little bit and finally get some fresh air and think that all the people are here, and that we are getting back to normal a little bit.”

Masks were ubiquitous among the smaller-than-usual crowds along the avenue, and de rigueur for the dignitaries watching the show under a red-white-and-blue awning emulating the French flag. The marching soldiers were unmasked – the French military said they have all been fully vaccinated or freshly tested for the virus.

Some cheers rose up as President Emmanuel Macron rode atop a military reconnaissance vehicle along the cobblestoned Champs-Elysees, past restaurants, luxury boutiques and movie theaters that were shuttered for much of the pandemic. The clatter of hundreds of horseshoes accompanied military music as uniformed guards on horseback escorted the president.

Organizers of this year’s event dubbed it an “optimistic Bastille Day” aimed at “winning the future” and “celebrating a France standing together behind the tricolor (flag) to emerge from the pandemic.” While that optimism was widely felt in France a few weeks ago, clouds have returned to the national mood as the delta variant fuels new infections and prompted Macron to announce new vaccine rules this week.

Leading the parade were members of a French-driven European force fighting extremists in Mali and the surrounding Sahel region. Macron announced last week that France is pulling at least 2,000 troops from the region because of evolving threats, and focusing more efforts on the multi-national Takuba force instead.

Among others honored at the parade were military medics who have shuttled vaccines to France’s overseas territories, treated virus patients or otherwise helped fight the pandemic.

A total of 73 warplanes, medical helicopters and other aircraft traversed the skies over the Paris region.

“This moment of conviviality, of reunion, on the eve of our National Day, is first and foremost for us the opportunity to address our brothers in arms and their families, and give them a message of gratitude,” Macron said in a speech to the French military on Tuesday.

Last year’s parade was canceled and replaced by a static ceremony honoring health care workers who died fighting COVID-19.

France has lost more than 111,000 lives to the pandemic, and the government is pushing hard to get more people vaccinated to fight resurgent infections driven by the delta variant.

Bastille Day marks the storming of the Bastille prison in eastern Paris on July 14, 1789, commemorated as the birth of the French Revolution.

___

Patrick Hermansen contributed to this report.

Pope Francis eats his breakfast, takes walk two days after intestinal surgery

Pope Francis eats breakfast, takes walk two days after intestinal surgery

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In this June 30, 2021, file photo, Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience with a limited number of faithful in the San Damaso Courtyard at the Vatican. In a brief announcement Sunday, July 4, 2021, the Vatican said … more >

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By Nicole Winfield

Associated Press

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis ate breakfast, read the newspapers and took a walk Tuesday as he continued recovering from intestinal surgery, the Vatican said.

A statement from the Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said tests performed following the pontiff’s Sunday surgery to remove half of his colon yielded “good” and normal results.

“His Holiness Pope Francis rested well during the night,” Bruni said. “This morning he had breakfast, read some newspapers and got up to walk. The post-operative recovering is regular. Routine control tests are good.”

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Francis, 84, underwent three hours of surgery Sunday for what the Vatican said was a narrowing of the large intestine. The Vatican said doctors removed the left side of his colon.

He is expected to stay in Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic, which has a special suite reserved for popes, through the week, assuming no complications.

The Vatican has given few details about the pope’s diagnosis or the procedure he underwent, saying only that he had entered the hospital for planned surgery for a diverticular stenosis, or narrowing of the colon.

It’s a common problem that affects some 80% of people over age 80 but can require surgery if the lining of the colon becomes so scarred that it begins to obstruct it, said Dr. Yann Parc, head of staff at the Saint Antoine Hospital in Paris. Parc was not involved in the pope’s care.

The surgery generally entails removing the left side of the colon and then joining up the remaining healthy parts of the large intestine.

“It looks like the pope had this pathology, and understandably the Italian surgeons have removed that part and stitched it to the rectum to recreate a normal digestive transit,” Parc said.

Doctors have said a risk of the operation is that the connection between the joined-up parts of the colon can sometimes fail, causing more pain and possibly an infection. Such a failure is very rare and would require another surgery.

Francis has enjoyed relatively robust health, though he lost the upper part of one lung in his youth due to an infection. He also suffers from sciatica, or nerve pain, that makes him walk with a pronounced limp.

He had a busy schedule in the run-up to Sunday’s surgery, including participating in a daylong July 1 meeting with Lebanon’s Christian patriarchs, suggesting he was not in excruciating pain before the procedure.

Francis’ next routine appointment with the public would normally be on Sunday, July 11. He customarily appears on Sundays at a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, blesses the faithful below and speaks for a few minutes, often about current events.

If he remains hospitalized, Francis might opt to do what one of his predecessors did while recovering at Gemelli. During some of his many stays there, St. John Paul II sometimes appeared at his hospital room’s window to wave and bless well-wishers gathered outside.

___

AP visual journalist Jeffrey Schaeffer contributed from Paris.

Bilderbuch – Baba Lyrics

[Songtext zu „Baba“]

[Refrain]
He
He, Monika
Sag es einmal noch zart
Sag leise Baba
He
He, Monika
Wie früher, ah ah
Sag leise Baba

[Strophe 1]
Sie spaziert durch ihr Quartier
Durch den Strohhalm schlürft sie ihr Bier
Braucht kein Cash
Sie hat
Was richtig flasht
Ihr Brand
Ist Second Hand
Wie man es aus Milano, Paris kennt
Für sie ist heute spät
Halb zehn
Zeit zu gehn'

[Refrain]
He
He, Monika
Sag es einmal noch zart
Sag leise Baba
He
He, Monika
Wie früher, ah ah

Sag leise Baba
[Instrumental Break]

[Strophe 2]
Wir waren die Nächte ewig auf
Vom Kokai-Kokai-Coca Cola
Du, Ich und dein Motorola
Brrrr, Akku vorbei
Sie sagt, Sie hat zu viel geraucht
Und Ihr Buffalo Boot dämpft
Die letzte Memphis aus
Für sie ist heute spät
Kurz vor zehn
Zeit zu gehn'

[Interlude]

[Refrain]
He
He, Monika
Sag es einmal noch zart
Sag leise Baba
He
He, Monika
Wie früher, ah ah
Sag leise Baba
Yalla

[Outro]

Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut net emissions by 45%

Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut net emissions by 45%

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Milieudefensie Director Donald Pols, holding a copy of the verdict, celebrates the outcome in the court case of Milieudefensie, the Dutch arm of the Friends of the Earth environmental organization, against Shell in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, May 26, 2021 … more >

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By Mike Corder

Associated Press

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court on Wednesday ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions by a net 45% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels in a landmark case brought by climate activism groups, which hailed the decision as a victory for the planet.

The Hague District Court ruled that the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has a duty of care to reduce emissions and that its current reduction plans were not concrete enough.

The decision could set a precedent for similar cases against polluting multinationals around the world. Activists gathered outside the courtroom erupted into cheers as the decision was read out loud.

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“The climate won today,” said Roger Cox, a lawyer for the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth, which was one of the organizations behind the case. 

“This ruling will change the world. Worldwide, people are in the starting blocks to take legal action against oil companies following our example,” Cox added.

The Hague court did not say how Royal Dutch Shell should achieve the ordered cutback, saying the energy giant’s parent company “has complete freedom in how it meets its reduction obligation and in shaping the Shell group’s corporate policy.” 

In a written reaction, Shell said it expects to appeal the “disappointing court decision.”

The company said it is already “investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels. We want to grow demand for these products and scale up our new energy businesses even more quickly.”

At a hearing in December, Shell lawyer Dennis Horeman said a ruling against the company could create a situation “in which countless parties can hold each other accountable for their role in that (energy) transition through the courts” and give judges “a central role in an active and delicate political process.”

Shell says it has set “an ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner.”

The court said in an English language summary of its ruling that Shell was not currently in breach of its obligation to reduce emissions, as the environmental groups had argued, because the parent company was tightening its emissions policy.

But it ruled that Shell’s policy “is not concrete, has many caveats and is based on monitoring social developments rather than the company’s own responsibility for achieving a CO2 reduction.”

“Therefore, the court has ordered RDS to reduce the emissions of the Shell group, its suppliers and its customers by net 45%, as compared to 2019 levels, by the end of 2030, through the corporate policy of the Shell group.”

A group of seven environmental and human rights organizations and some 1,700 Dutch citizens filed the case in 2018, calling on the court to order Shell to cut emissions in line with the global goals set out in the Paris climate agreement. That equates to Shell cutting emissions 45% by 2030.

The court ruled on the claims by six of the groups.

The case in the Netherlands is the latest in a string of legal challenges filed around the world by climate activists seeking action to rein in emissions, but it is believed to be the first targeting a multinational company.

One of the first successful climate cases also was in the Netherlands, where the Supreme Court two years ago upheld a 2015 ruling requiring the government to cut emissions at least 25% by the end of 2020 from benchmark 1990 levels.

In February, a Paris court ruled that the French government had failed to take sufficient action to fight climate change in a case brought by four nongovernmental organizations. Last month, Germany’s top court said the federal government must set clear goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2030.

Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, called the ruling in The Hague, “a monumental victory for our planet, for our children and a big leap towards a livable future for everyone.”

Lil’ Wayne – My Darling Baby Lyrics (ft. Drake)

Can I dig it,
when you baby me,
oooh oooh, oooh,
my darl..
oooh
my darling baby,
your in…

[Lil Wayne]
Uh, more beautiful than the World,
Word, matter of fact beautiful ain’t the word,
unexplainable is the beauty of her,
and i will be the race car hitting her curves,
errrrr,
i drive her crazy, stupid retarded,
yeah and then i park it,
she got a smile on her that put a smile on me,
she cater to me she get all destiny child on me,
she ride for me even though i got miles on me,
she gon ride till the day they put flowers on me,
thats my darling,
and i love it, yeh,
thats my, yeh,
so sweet she bad for me,
but she so good I’ll take the cavity,
falling for her like how safe is gravity,
i’ll make your girl about face and marry me,
hahahaha, yeh
I do, do you,

[Drake]
but ahhh, the things I’m willing to do for her,
I wish I could have a threesome with two of her,
I would sing a love song if I knew the words,
but I’ll be damned if another n-gga do it first,
cos you the one, damn i think i see the sun,
I guess that mean you gotta run,
well holla at me when you done,

[Chorus]
Can i dig it,
when you baby,
woop woop woop,
my darling baby,

[Drake]
uhh,
she nothing like every other dime,
I think about her and couple things come to mind,
thoughts like if she end up my baby mother fine,
cos we only use a rubber like every other time,
oooh, i bet she so embarrassed,
I had to take her ass to Paris,
give her the moments that she cherish,
you know

[Lil Wayne]
yep
she got it coming to her like an heiress,
and anything she want I Will like Farris,
oops i meant ferris and in the coupe i tint very light,

so them hating b-tches can see me and you at every light,
oooh, and i hope its one of them long lights,
I mean I hope its one of them long nights,
no wrong turns, aint no such things as a wrong right,

[Drake]
uh yeah,
you make me feel so good,
and every time we cut I swear it heals so good
its been over a year that sh-t is still so good,
no adjusting for you, you know just what to do and all,
yea, oh and i love it,
see Im trying to make it public,
I think the glass slipper does fit,

[Lil Wayne]
and yesterday I told her she a muthaf-cker,
and how her new haircut is so becoming of her,
oh thats your girl, well Imma make a women of her,
never do to another what we do one another,
now thats a numbers for ya, and i’ll give up my summers for ya,
yeah I’ll spend my winters and my springs on it,
and put a ring on it, eyy,

[Chorus]

[Drake]
uhh, just say yes not no,
the club is overrated baby lets not go,
lets stay home and burn a couple calories,
f-ck the house up and make the maid earn a salary,
yeah I cook you dinner if you cook me breakfast,
they say that nobodies perfect but you look perfected,
i really love to be the one you took a step with,
so trust me when I tell you it’d be worth the effort

[Lil Wayne]
shes unbelievable like a purple leopard (?)
just give me the formula watch me work the method,
hehe, Weezy F, i prefer the best sh-t,
and babe you the f-cking best,
you deserve a trophy,
you could be my four leaf clover
my clothes aren’t tight n-gga their cosy,
and when she turn around they say Whoa like Joey,
thats my baby,
and I love it,
yeah, young money,

Antony Blinken brings Joe Biden’s anti-Trump climate policy to Iceland

Blinken brings Biden’s anti-Trump climate policy to Iceland

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Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, centre right, greets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken centre left, as he arrives for meetings at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Blinken is touting the Biden administration’s … more >

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By Matthew Lee

Associated Press

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — On a trip overshadowed by the crisis in the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday touted the Biden administration’s abrupt shift in its predecessor’s climate policies as he visited Iceland for talks with senior officials from the world’s Arctic nations. 

In Reykjavik for a meeting of foreign ministers of the eight members of the Arctic Council, Blinken heralded President Joe Biden‘s return to the Paris climate accord and determination to combat climate change. 

Yet the worsening violence between Israel and the Palestinians hung over the discussions. A small group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators holding banners and flags protested outside the conference center where Blinken met Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson.

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“We are very focused on reinvigorating our closest alliances and partnerships, and also our engagement in multilateral institutions, and being here really represents both aspects of that effort,” Blinken told the foreign minister. He lauded Iceland for its strong support for human rights, climate change mitigation and the role it plays in NATO.

The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world and has been particularly hard hit by rising sea levels from melting sea ice and glaciers. Former U.S. President Donald Trump had alienated Arctic countries and others with his dismissal of the phenomenon and his withdrawal from the 2015 Paris agreement.

Trump’s former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, also stunned many in the environmental community at an Arctic Council meeting two years ago in Finland with a call for countries to embrace and harness climate change, particularly the opening of new sea lanes due to melting ice, for commercial gain.

Blinken will tour several Icelandic geo-thermal energy sites later Tuesday before holding a series of bilateral meetings with other Arctic Council foreign ministers on Wednesday. Among them will be Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in what will be the highest-level face-to-face talks between the two countries since Biden took office.

Blinken will see Lavrov amid a sharp deterioration in ties between Washington and Moscow sparked by Russia’s build-up of troops along the border with Ukraine, cyberattacks and allegations that Russia interfered in U.S. presidential elections in 2016 and 2020. The two nations are also at odds over influence in the Arctic, with Russia insisting its large Arctic landmass makes it the pre-eminent power in the region.

Moscow and Washington are also embroiled in a bitter dispute over the status of their respective embassies and consulates after tit-for-tat expulsions this year. Russia has given the U.S. until Aug. 1 to get rid of all non-American staff at its diplomatic missions, something the U.S. says will make it nearly impossible for its facilities to function.

Blinken and Lavrov’s talks will also serve as a preview for an expected summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin next month. 

Senior officials say Biden is interested in testing the proposition that the U.S. and Russia can work collaboratively on certain issues, like climate change, the Mideast, Iran and North Korea, despite bitter disagreements on others.

France wants tougher punishment for those who attack police

France wants tougher punishment for those who attack police

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Police officers pay homage to a slain colleague at a police station in Avignon, southern France, Sunday, May 9, 2021. Police officers and civilians gathered to commemorate the death of a police officer who was killed Wednesday at a known … more >

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By Elaine Ganley

Associated Press

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

PARIS (AP) — “Dead or Alive.” The chilling words were scrawled on photos of three police officers in their uniforms posted last month on a wall in a Grenoble suburb, in southwest France.

To French police, this is just one more sign of an upsurge in violence specifically targeting police that is making it harder for them to keep France safe.

A police officer was shot to death last week in the historic district of the southern city of Avignon, a summer tourist mecca. The murder in broad daylight struck a chord among the French, with thousands of people joining police to pay homage Sunday to the 36-year-old officer, Eric Masson, at Avignon police headquarters.

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Prime Minister Jean Castex is presiding Tuesday over a ceremony to pay tribute to Masson. It will be the second national homage to a police official in less than two weeks, after the fatal stabbing April 23 of an official inside the entrance of her station in the Paris suburb of Rambouillet by a man authorities say was an Islamic radical.

Experts, however, note that more French police were killed in past decades than today, but that police tactics have hardened in recent years, leading to a deficit in confidence amid claims of systemic racism within the police, racial profiling and videos showing apparent abuse and sometimes deadly violence.

Still, French law enforcers have been repeatedly targeted in recent months, and some say that anti-police violence has exploded among delinquents, often drug dealers flush with weapons. The two main suspect in Masson’s killings both had records linked to drugs.

And this has struck a political chord.

“It’s a reality that there is violence in our society and it’s swelling, and that each day the role of our police is made more difficult by this violence,” President Emmanuel Macron said over the weekend.

Security is a perennial issue in elections and with regional elections next month and next year’s presidential election, the topic has special traction. The centrist Macron, who is expected to try for a second term, has made going after drug dealers a priority.

Last month, he blasted drug trafficking as “the economic matrix of violence” in an interview with the conservative-leaning newspaper Le Figaro. “To eradicate them by all means has become the mother of battles,” he said.

So while U.S. legislators are working on a sweeping effort to rein in police powers in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota last year, France‘s government has been increasing police powers instead.

Britain is following a similar path with a bill to give police more powers to control increasingly disruptive protests. Police chiefs say an outdated law leaves them without sufficient means to cope. The wide-ranging bill has itself triggered protests, including some violent clashes with police amid critics’ fears the measure would significantly curb freedom of speech and assembly.

In France, police regularly fall prey to night ambushes, in Paris suburbs known for crime and drugs, or in the north, including Turcoing, where Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin served as mayor. This week, violence erupted in the Mediterranean town of Frejus. In a classic scenario, youth throw fireworks and projectiles at police, and even firetrucks arriving to extinguish a garbage can fire, as bait to draw in police.

“Violence against police has doubled in 20 years,” said Thierry Clair, deputy chief of the police union UNSA, saying that verbal insults or spitting aren’t uncommon.

But Sebastian Roche, a sociologist and expert on police, says that police are less at risk of being killed today than they were three decades ago. He said that 30 officers were killed on average per year in the 1980s, compared to about 10 in recent years.

Another specialist, Laurent Mucchielli, dismissed claims of a major uptick in violence as a political message, fed by the media. Posters and family snapshots of police discovered in housing projects are “exceptional,” Mucchielli said.

Both experts agreed that the yellow vest protests that started in 2018 were bad for the image of police, who used brutal tactics to control sometimes anarchic marches by the protesters seeking economic and social justice.

Roche digs further back. Over the past 20 years, “France progressively, in stages, engaged police in aggressive policies,” notably cordoning off suburban housing projects. “These techniques diminished confidence in the police.”

Today, “the people who have the most confidence in the police in France are people who never see them intervene,” Roche said after analyzing 10 years worth of data by the national statistics agency.

“The more people see them intervene, the less confidence they have in them,” he said. Roche stressed that “people don’t reject the police. They reject certain tactics.”

Police unions have found new leverage in the loss of their colleagues to press longstanding demands, including better protection for forces and backup from what police say is a lax judicial system that fails to translate arrests into convictions and firm punishment.

Macron has promised 10,000 more officers in the streets by the end of his term and increased the police budget. At a Monday night meeting with unions, Prime Minister Jean Castex laid out a series of measures to ensure courts get tough on anyone dishonoring the uniform and a guarantee of 30 years in prison for the killing of a police officer, the same punishment as for terrorists.

More perhaps than danger is what Clair, the union official, said is a growing lack of respect for police.

“It’s above all this notion of respect,” Clair said. “When you feel the uniform you’re wearing doesn’t get the respect of the person in front of you and you’re constantly considered badly by a part of the population, you say there’s a problem.”

Counting Crows – The Tall Grass Lyrics

“Come outside,” she said to me
As if I knew just what she’d say
“Come outside, we’ll watch tomorrow
Pull the curtain on today”

“Come outside into the tall grass
And the old corn and the shit
Come outside o child
Into the wild and weep for it”

And all along I know
I don’t know the why

And it takes me through the meadows
And I have got a rifle on my arm
And the rabbit won’t stop shaking
But the life is gone

And there is blood upon the clover
And, oh god, his eyes are open wide
Staring up at me and infinity
And the shrinking English sky

And all along I tell myself
I don’t know thе why
And as the idea ossifies
I can’t bеlieve it’s mine

I make a change
He is wordless and silent and
He says “Just close my eyes.”

“I have one eye open to the rain
And one pressed to the ground again
And I don’t know why…
And I don’t know why…
And I don’t know why…”

No they don’t know why
No they don’t know why
No they don’t know, don’t know don’t know, don’t know…

Oh, she takes a train to Paris
For a weekend with a friend
They take you places
Trains and summers
At 200 miles an hour
That you’ve never been
Did I ever say
The way your breath
Takes mine away

As I start out at the grassland
Past the living and the dead
Matter forming and decaying
A perpetual uprising

Let there be a revolution
And a light to lead us on
Just a ball of souls revolving
Spinning circles round the sun

For the infinite and ageless
For the meaningless and painless
For the times we shook like rabbits
Felt like children
Made us ask this

Can you see me?
Can you see me?
Can you see me?
Can you see me?

Can you see me?
For I am changing
But all the same things
Come back to haunt me

There are trains that can take a girl to Paris
There are planes that can bring you home
There are some of us get broken when we’re children
And you never get it back once that is gone

And I don’t know why
No, I don’t know why
No, I don’t know why
No, I don’t know why

Tory Lanez – Distance (Live) Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Honestly, I’m embarrassed
I’ve been so fucking careless
Caught in my fucking ways
You should not have to wait
I’ve been so fucking selfish
Insecure ‘cause I’m jealous
I want nobody with ya
Still got my sneaky link ups
I know I’m wrong for that
Guess these are my confessions
I know I lied so many times that I believed my answers
Know I made you wait (Baby)
You shouldn’t have to wait (Baby)
You shouldn’t have to stay
You shouldn’t have to stay
You went and found an athlete
Now I hate fuckin’ athletes
I couldn’t keep it classy
Bitch, I was way too flashy
You found this nigga wealthy
He gets more paper than me
Honestly, I’m еmbarrassed
Booked a one way to Paris

[Chorus]
‘Causе when it get like this, I need distance
I’m on a twelve-hour flight with just my feelings
It can get like this in an instant
As soon as I get into thinkin’ that nigga done fucked you like I did
Nigga sucked you like I did
Does he touch you like I did? Like I did
Like I did
Did he touch you like I did?
Does he touch you like I did? Like I did

[Post-Chorus]
Now all of a sudden
You don’t owe me nothing to tell me whoever he is
Fuck whoever he is
Fuck whoever he is

[Verse 2]
Depression, obsession is selfish
Somehow just drownin’ in summer depression is helpin’
It really ain’t helping, no, it ain’t helpin’, no, it ain’t helpin’ no
This shit ain’t healthy, this isn’t healthy, this isn’t healthy
Booked you a flight to come out to me, and you didn’t take it
That was the moment I had realized we wouldn’t make it

[Interlude]
Fucking dumb bitch, uh

[Chorus]
‘Cause when it gets like this, I need distance
I’m on a twelve-hour flight with just my feelings
In an instant
As soon as I get into thinkin’ that nigga done fucked you like I did
Nigga sucked you like I did
Does he touch you like I did? Like I did
And does he lick you like I did?
Does he stick you like I did?
Dick you down the way I did?
Does he do that?

[Post-Chorus]
How all of a sudden you don’t owe me nothing to tell me whoever he is?
Fuck whoever he is
Fuck whoever he is

Court: Germany must share climate burden between young, old

Court: Germany must share climate burden between young, old

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FILE-In this Oct. 4, 2016 taken photo wind turbines spin near Halle, central Germany. Germany’s top court has ruled that the government has to set clear goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2030, arguing that current legislation doesn’t go … more >

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By FRANK JORDANS

Associated Press

Thursday, April 29, 2021

BERLIN (AP) – In a ruling hailed as groundbreaking, Germany‘s top court said Thursday the government must set clear goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2030, arguing that existing legislation risks placing too much of a burden for curbing climate change on younger generations.

The verdict was a victory for climate activists from Germany and elsewhere who – with the support of environmental groups – had filed four complaints to the Constitutional Court arguing that their rights were at risk by the lack of sufficient targets beyond the next decade.

Like other European Union countries, Germany aims to cut emissions 55% below 1990 levels by 2030. Legislation passed two years ago set specific targets for sectors such as heating and transport over that period, but not for the long-term goal of cutting emissions to “net zero” by 2050.

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The 2019 regulations “irreversibly pushed a very high burden of emissions reduction into the period after 2030,” judges said in their ruling.

The court backed the argument that the 2015 Paris climate accord’s goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5 C (2.7 F), by the end of the century compared with pre-industrial times should be a benchmark for policymakers. It ordered the German government to come up with new targets from 2030 onward by the end of next year.

In a striking precedent, the court also acknowledged the idea that Germany has a finite emissions “budget” before the Paris goal becomes impossible. While it didn’t specify what Germany‘s share of the global carbon budget is, scientists have said at current rates of emission it could be used up in less than a decade.

Lawyer Felix Ekardt, who brought one of the cases, called the verdict “groundbreaking” for Germany.

Germany’s climate policy will need to be massively adjusted,” he told reporters.

Fellow lawyer Roda Verheyen said the decision would likely mean Germany‘s plans to phase out coal use by 2038 would need to be brought forward, in order to realistically achieve the country’s long-term emissions target.

“A simple calculator shows that this will be necessary,” she said.

Germany has managed to cut its annual emissions from the equivalent of 1.25 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 1990 to about 740 million tons last year – a reduction of more than 40%.

The current target would require cuts of 178 million tons by 2030, but a reduction of 281 million tons in each of the following decades.

Judges said it would be wrong to allow one generation “to use up large parts of the CO2 budget with a comparatively mild reduction burden, if that simultaneously means following generations are left with a radical reduction burden and their lives are exposed to comprehensive limits to freedom.”

Climate activists expressed delight at the verdict.

“With today’s decision, generational justice has been achieved,” said plaintiff Luisa Neubauer, a member of the Fridays for Future group. “Because our future freedoms and rights aren’t less important than the rights and freedoms of today’s generation.”

Germany’s main industry lobby group, BDI, called for transparent and feasible targets to give companies the certainty needed to plan and develop new technologies and make the necessary investments required to shift from fossil fuels to carbon-free alternatives.

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said after the verdict that she would propose new measures for Europe’s biggest economy in the coming months.

The court’s unanimous ruling plays into the hands of the environmentalist Greens party, which is leading in several polls ahead of Germany‘s national election on Sept. 26.

Annalena Baerbock, the Greens’ candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor, called for “concrete action, here and now.”

She said the Greens want to double the rate by which wind parks, solar farms and other sources of renewable energy sources are expanded over the next five years, ban the sale of new combustion engine vehicles starting in 2030, bring forward the deadline to end coal use and set additional emissions targets after 2030.

Britain earlier this month announced it will aim to cut its emissions 78% from 1990 levels by 2035, the most ambitious target of any industrialized nation. The U.K. hosts this year’s international climate summit in Glasgow in November.

Christiana Figueres, who as U.N. climate chief was instrumental in negotiating the Paris accord, said the German court’s unanimous verdict made clear the need to speed up efforts to reduce emissions.

“We need to focus on shorter-term mitigation and emission reductions,” she said, adding that this urgency was reflected in last week’s climate summit organized by President Joe Biden, who announced a doubling of the U.S. target for 2030, now aiming to cut emissions 52% from 2005 levels.

The legal cases in Germany are part of a global effort by climate activists to force governments to take urgent action to tackle climate change.

One of the first successful cases was brought in the Netherlands, where the Supreme Court two years ago confirmed a ruling requiring the government to cut emissions at least 25% by the end of 2020 from benchmark 1990 levels.

In February, a Paris court ruled that the French government had failed to take sufficient action to fight climate change in a case brought by four nongovernmental organizations.

___

Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://apnews.com/Climate

Summit shows Biden’s big vision on fighting climate change

Summit shows Biden’s big vision on fighting climate change

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World leaders are shown on a screen as President Joe Biden speaks to the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, from the East Room of the White House, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) more >

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By MATTHEW DALY and CHRISTINA LARSON

Associated Press

Saturday, April 24, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) – What did the world learn at Joe Biden‘s global summit about his vision of the battle to save the world’s climate?

For two days, Biden and his team of climate experts pressed his case that tackling global warming not only can avert an existential threat, but also benefit the U.S. economy – and the world’s as well.

The virtual summit, based at the White House and featuring more than 40 world leaders whose views were beamed to a global online audience, offered fresh details on how the U.S. might hope to supercharge its efforts on climate while leveraging international action to spur new technologies to help save the planet.

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Biden opened the conference by announcing a goal to cut up to 52% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – double the target set by President Barack Obama in the 2015 Paris climate accord. The 2030 goal vaults the U.S. into the top tier of countries on climate ambition.

“This goal is eyebrow-raising, but it has to be,” said Marshall Shepherd, a climate expert at the University of Georgia. “To move the needle on the climate crisis, we need bold actions like this rather than individual or incremental actions only.”

While new targets from the U.S. and others got mostly positive reviews, they still fall a bit short of what some scientists say is necessary to avoid a potentially disastrous 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures.

Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics, a climate science think tank in Berlin, said his team’s calculations showed the U.S. needs to reduce emissions 57% by 2030 to stay on a 1.5 degree Celsius pathway. He calls the new target “really a major improvement,” but also “not quite enough.”

Still, the U.S. goal is ambitious, and reflects lessons learned, not only by Biden – Obama’s vice president – but by his team of battle-tested aides, including climate envoy John Kerry and White House adviser Gina McCarthy. Both served in the Obama administration.

Biden and his team “absorbed the lessons of the Obama years,” including watching the “stumbles” in climate foreign policy at a disappointing 2009 Copenhagen summit, said Hare. “What shocked me is just how fast this moved,″ less than 100 days after Biden took office.

The 78-year-old Biden, known as a cautious, mainstream politician during four decades in public life, as president has shown a willingness to take aggressive action on issues from virus relief to immigration.

“In so many areas, he is much bolder than Obama, right out of the gate, and that’s certainly true on climate,″ said Nathaniel Keohane, a former Obama White House adviser who now is a senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

The message from the White House is clear, Keohane added: “The United States is ready to go all-in to beat the climate crisis.″

As the conference wrapped up Friday, Biden said he has come to see the economic opportunities of the climate fight as the silver lining in a cloud that threatens the world’s very future.

“My mother would always say when something very bad would happen in our family, ‘Out of everything bad, Joe, something good will come,’” said Biden, whose life has repeatedly been touched by tragedy.

On climate, the good that Biden hopes will emerge is the chance to remake the global economy and produce millions of jobs in clean energy and technology that will be needed to slow global warming.

“Is there anything else you can think of that could create as many good jobs going into the middle of the 21st century?” he asked.

The climate crisis also has provided an opportunity for the U.S. to work with longtime rivals such as Russia and China. While Biden has often disagreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader now is “talking about how you capture carbon from space,” Biden said.

Despite their differences, “two big nations can cooperate to get something done … that benefits everybody,” Biden said.

Biden‘s re-entry into the Paris agreement and his decision to host the summit were welcomed by world leaders.

“I’m delighted to see that the United States is back … in climate politics. Because there can be no doubt about the world needing your contribution if we really want to fulfill our ambitious goals,” Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel told Biden.

“We are all so delighted to have the United States back” in the climate game, added South Africa’s President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa.

Even after four years of inaction on climate change under President Donald Trump, “the United States still has cachet,” said Alice Hill, a senior fellow for energy and environment at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. She pointed to the attendance of world leaders on both friendly and otherwise chilly terms with the U.S., including China, Russia, Germany and Brazil.

Kerry, who has worked on climate issues in a long career as a senator and former secretary of state, said the next 10 years are crucial to slow global warming and “avoid the worst consequences” of the climate crisis.

“This has to be the decade of decision,” Kerry said.

But even as Biden opts to go big on climate, his plan faces obstacles, including continued resistance from congressional Republicans and the reality that businesses are struggling to create needed technology on an affordable scale.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed Biden‘s plans, including a $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, as costly and ineffective.

The infrastructure bill includes up to $1 trillion in spending on clean energy and climate change, including 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles, expansion of solar and wind power and technology to capture and store carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. About $174 billion would go to help put school children, commuters and truckers into electric vehicles and buses, $50 billion to make infrastructure more resilient against volatile weather linked to climate change, and $100 billion to update the power grid.

The administration has pitched the bill as the “American Jobs Plan,” and Moody’s Analytics estimates gains of about 2.7 million jobs.

Failure to adopt the package could doom Biden‘s commitments to cut carbon emissions in half, although officials say substantial progress can be made through administrative regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency, Transportation Department and other agencies.

The White House says officials will continue to reach out to Republicans and will remind them that the proposal’s ideas are widely popular with a wide swath of Americans.

___

Associated Press writer Josh Boak contributed to this story.

EXPLAINER: How come nations’ climate targets don’t compare?

EXPLAINER: How come nations’ climate targets don’t compare?

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President Joe Biden and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listen during the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) more >

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By SETH BORENSTEIN

Associated Press

Thursday, April 22, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) – This week’s climate change summit features lots of talk from different nations about their goals for reducing carbon emissions. But in the weird world of national climate pledges, numbers often aren’t quite what they seem.

Sometimes a 55% reduction is about equal to 50% to 52%. Sometimes it’s even less. Sometimes it’s way more.

As part of the Paris climate agreement process, each nation picks its own national goals for how much greenhouse gas should be cut by 2030 and – crucially – what baseline year it starts counting from for those cuts. That makes it difficult to compare countries’ emissions-cutting pledges to see who is promising more.

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US AND EU GOALS

Both the United States and the European Union are offering similar-sounding pledges of cutting around half their emissions by 2030. But depending on what year you start from, each can sound significantly deeper than the other.

The European Union goal, newly approved by the union’s parliament, is 55% below 1990 levels. The new U.S. goal announced Thursday by President Joe Biden is 50% to 52% below 2005 levels.

If you convert the European goal to the American-preferred 2005 baseline, the two are the same. The European Union goal translates to 51% below 2005 levels, which is on par with the U.S. goal, said former Obama White House environmental aide Kate Larsen, a director at the private research Rhodium Group.

But if you compare them using Europe’s preferred 1990 as the baseline, the 50% minimum U.S. cut is only 41%, far shy of the 55% EU goal, according to Larsen’s calculations.

If you compare the numbers to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, the U.S. goal looks more ambitious than Europe’s. The minimum the United States would be cutting is about 40% from today’s level and the EU only 35%, said Niklas Hohne, a climate scientist who helps run the Climate Action Tracker, which monitors world emission pledges.

WHY DIFFERENT BASELINES?

The idea behind different baselines goes back to a logjam that bogged down climate talks in 2009.

Developed countries that already spewed lots of carbon pollution wanted poorer nations that were counting on fossil fuels for economic development to forgo the dirtier fuels, said John Podesta, who was then-President Barack Obama’s climate czar. So a solution was struck for the 2015 Paris agreement that allowed nations to voluntarily choose their own goals tailored to each country.

Those nationally designed goals also included countries choosing their own baseline years. So countries tend to choose years in which they peaked or near peaked on carbon emissions.

For example, Europe, which took early action after the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, chose to keep that treaty’s 1990 baseline because it factored in early cuts. This way, Europe gets credit for acting early.

DOES IT MATTER?

Many developed nations’ goals pretty much even out, said Nigel Purvis, who was a U.S. State Department climate negotiator for the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

“At 50%, they’re all doing a lot,” Purvis said. “The baselines are becoming less important.”

HIGHER GOALS

Some nations are shooting higher.

University of Maryland global sustainability professor Nate Hultman pointed to Denmark, which he said did the math to see how much emissions cutting was feasible for the future and found it to be 65% below 1990 levels. Denmark then purposely set a tougher goal, 70%, counting on unforeseen changes in technology that often happen.

Climate Action Tracker’s Hohne said that despite the White House’s claims, the U.S. target is not enough to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, the tougher Paris agreement target.

The entire world must cut its emissions in half compared to 2019, Hohne said. But Biden’s new U.S. target only translates to about 40% from 2019 levels.

“If you take that comparison, then it doesn’t work,’’ Hohne told The Associated Press on Thursday.

NOT JUST CARBON DIOXIDE

Like other nations, the U.S. goal includes methane and hydrofluorocarbon gases that trap more heat but don’t last as long as carbon dioxide. Including those in the goals allows the United States to pick low-hanging fruit to better reach its goal, Larsen said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized how slashing methane pollution quickly can get the world nearly halfway to its 1.5 degree Celsius goal.

Reducing methane and HFCs gets results more quickly than cutting carbon dioxide, so cutting them “can buy us a lot of time,” Larsen said.

HOW TO REACH US GOAL

Most of the U.S. emissions reductions – about 70% – will likely come from the power sector, Hultman said. Switching to greener electricity would more quickly reduce overall emissions because people keep their cars for almost a dozen years.

World leaders pledge climate cooperation despite other rifts

World leaders pledge climate cooperation despite other rifts

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FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2021 file photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo. President Joe Biden is convening a coalition of the willing, the unwilling, the desperate-for-help and the … more >

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By ELLEN KNICKMEYER and MATTHEW DALY and CHRISTINA LARSON

Associated Press

Thursday, April 22, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) – The leaders of Russia and China put aside their raw-worded disputes with U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday long enough to pledge international cooperation on cutting climate-wrecking coal and petroleum emissions in a livestreamed summit showcasing America’s return to the fight against global warming.

Neither Vladimir Putin nor Xi Jinping immediately followed the United States and some of its developed allies in making specific new pledges to reduce damaging fossil fuel pollution during the first day of the two-day U.S.-hosted summit. But climate advocates hoped the high-profile – if glitch-ridden – virtual gathering would kickstart new action by major polluters, paving the way for a November U.N. meeting in Glasgow critical to drastically slowing climate change over the coming decade.

The entire world faces “a moment of peril” but also “a moment of opportunity,” Biden declared, speaking from a TV-style chrome-blue set for the virtual summit of 40 world leaders. Participants appeared one after the other onscreen for what appeared to be a mix of live and recorded addresses.

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“The signs are unmistakable,” Biden said. “The science is undeniable. The cost of inaction keeps mounting.”

Biden‘s new U.S. commitment, timed to the summit, would cut America’s fossil fuel emissions as much as 52% by 2030. It comes after four years of international withdrawal from the issue under President Donald Trump, who mocked the science of climate change and pulled the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.

Biden’s administration this week is sketching out a vision of a prosperous, clean-energy United States where factories churn out cutting-edge batteries and electric cars for export, line workers re-lay an efficient national electrical grid and crews cap abandoned oil and gas rigs and coal mines.

But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the administration’s plans as costly and ineffective.

“This is quite the one-two punch,” McConnell said in a Senate speech Thursday. “Toothless requests of our foreign adversaries … and maximum pain for American citizens.”

At the summit, Japan announced its own new 46% emissions reduction target and South Korea said it would stop public financing of new coal-fired power plants, potentially an important step toward persuading China and other coal-reliant nations to curb building and funding of new ones as well.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, one of the leaders shown watching summit proceedings in the coronavirus pandemic’s familiar Brady Bunch-style multibox conference screen, said his nation would up its fossil fuel pollution cuts from 30% to at least 40%.

Travel precautions under the pandemic compelled the summit to play out on livestream, limiting opportunities for spontaneous interaction and negotiation. Its opening hours were sometimes marked by electronic echoes, random beeps and off-screen voices.

But the summit also marshaled an impressive display of the world’s most powerful leaders speaking on the single cause of climate change.

China’s Xi, whose country is the world’s biggest emissions culprit, followed by the United States, spoke first among the other global figures. He made no reference to disputes over territorial claims, trade and other matters that had made it uncertain until Wednesday that he would even take part in the U.S. summit. And he said China would work with America in cutting emissions.

“To protect the environment is to protect productivity, and to boost the environment is to boost productivity. It’s as simple as that,” Xi said.

Putin and his government have been irate over Biden‘s characterization of him as a “killer” for Russia’s aggressive moves against its opponents, and he is under pressure this week over the declining health of jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny. But he made no mention of those disputes in his own climate remarks.

“Russia is genuinely interested in galvanizing international cooperation so as to look further for effective solutions to climate change as well as to all other vital challenges,” Putin said. Russia by some measures is the world’s fourth-biggest emitter of climate-damaging fossil fuel fumes.

Climate efforts in recent years have proved a forum where even rival world leaders want to be seen as putting aside disputes to serve as international statesmen and women, even though the cumulative output of fossil fuel emissions is still hurtling the Earth toward disastrous temperature rises.

The pandemic made gathering world leaders for the climate summit too risky. So Biden‘s staff built a small set in the East Room that looked like it was taken from a daytime talk show.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris joined Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House climate envoy John Kerry at a horseshoe-shaped table set up around a giant potted plant to watch fellow leaders’ speeches.

The format meant a cavalcade of short speeches by world leaders, some scripted, some not. “This is not bunny-hugging,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the climate efforts. “This is about growth and jobs.”

The Biden administration’s pledge would require by far the most ambitious U.S. climate effort ever, nearly doubling the reductions that the Obama administration had committed to in the Paris climate accord.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was one of many allies welcoming the U.S. return after Trump..

“I’m delighted to see that the United States is back, is back to work together with us in climate politics,” Merkel declared in her virtual appearance. “Because there can be no doubt about the world needing your contribution if we really want to fulfill our ambitious goals.”

Pope Francis contributed a video from the Vatican, saying, “I wish you success in this beautiful decision to meet, walk together going forward and I am with you all the way.”

The new urgency comes as scientists say that climate change caused by coal plants, car engines and other fossil fuel use is worsening droughts, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters and that humans are running out of time to stave off catastrophic extremes of global warming.

Leaders of smaller states and island nations buffeted by rising seas and worsening hurricanes appealed for aid and fast emissions cuts from world powers.

“We are the least contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, but the most affected by climate change,” said Gaston Alfonso Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda. He called for debt relief and more international assistance to recover from storms and the pandemic to prevent a flow of climate refugees. His people he said, are “teetering on the edge of despair.”

Longtime climate policy experts, no strangers to climate summits with solemn pledges, watched some speeches with skepticism. After Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro promised an end to clearcutting in the Amazon, Dan Wilkinson of Human Rights Watch’s environmental programs noted, “It is going to be hard for anyone to take it seriously until they actually start taking steps.”

___

Knickmeyer reported from Oklahoma City. Associated Press writers Ashok Sharma in New Delhi, Joe McDonald in Beijing, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, David Biller in Rio de Janeiro, Nicole Winfield in Vatican City, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and Aamer Madhani, Seth Borenstein, Lisa Mascaro and Alexandra Jaffe in Washington contributed to this report.

Flower protest in Paris for Iranian no-headscarf activist

Flower protest in Paris for Iranian no-headscarf activist

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Associated Press

Monday, March 8, 2021

PARIS (AP) – Activists laid flowers near the Iranian Embassy in Paris on Monday to show support for a women’s rights campaigner sentenced to prison after handing out flowers to women on the Tehran metro while not wearing a headscarf.

Monday’s protest on a square near the embassy, organized by Amnesty International, was timed to mark International Women’s Day. It was also meant to show support for other activists fighting for human rights in Iran.

On International Women’s Day in 2019, Yasaman Aryani, her mother Monireh Arabshahi and Mojgan Keshavarz handed out flowers to female passengers on the Tehran metro and spoke of a day when women have the freedom to choose what they wear. The activists were not wearing headscarves and posted a video showing the action that drew widespread attention.

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Aryani and her mother were each sentenced to 16 years in prison for “inciting and facilitating corruption and prostitution,” though the sentence was later reduced.

Over recent years, dozens of Iranian women have been detained for protesting the mandatory wearing of the hijab. Several women’s rights activists also remain in prison, such as prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. She became known for defending activists, opposition politicians and women prosecuted for removing their headscarves

The hijab and chador – the flowing, all-encompassing robe for women – have long been parts of Persian culture. They became political symbols in 1936, when Iran’s pro-Western ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi banned the garments amid his efforts to rapidly modernize Iran. The ban became a source of humiliation for some pious Muslim women in the country.

As the 1979 Islamic Revolution took hold, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered female civil servants to wear the chador. The hijab and loose-fitting clothing later became mandatory for all women in Iran.

Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story Lyrics

Spent some time feelin’ inferior
standing in front of my mirror
Combed my hair in a thousand ways
but I came out looking just the same

Daddy said, “Son, you better see the world
I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to leave
But remember one thing don’t lose your head
to a woman that’ll spend your bread”
So I got out

Paris was a place you could hide away
if you felt you didn’t fit in
French police wouldn’t give me no peace
They claimed I was a nasty person
Down along the Left Bank minding my own
Was knocked down by a human stampede
Got arrested for inciting a peacful riot
when all I wanted was a cup of tea
I was accused
I moved on

Down in Rome I wasn’t getting enough
of the things that keeps a young man alive
My body stunk but I kept my funk
at a time when I was right out of luck
Getting desperate indeed I was
Looking like a tourist attraction
Oh my dear I better get out of here
‘for the Vatican don’t give no sanction
I wasn’t ready for that, no no

I moved right out east yeah!
On the Peking ferry I was feeling merry
sailing on my way back here
I fell in love with a slit eyed lady
by the light of an eastern moon
Shangai Lil never used the pill
She claimed that it just ain’t natural
She took me up on deck and bit my neck
Oh people I was glad I found her
Oh yeah I was glad I found her

I firmly believe that I didn’t need anyone but me
I sincerely thought I was so complete
Look how wrong you can be

The women I’ve known I wouldn’t let tie my shoe
They wouldn’t give you the time of day
But the slit eyed lady knocked me off my feet
God I was glad I found her
And if they had the words I could tell to you
to help you on the way down the road
I couldn’t quote you no Dickens, Shelley or Keats
’cause it’s all been said before
Make the best out of the bad just laugh it off
You didn’t have to come here anyway
So remember, every picture tells a story don’t it