French Magazine Charlie Hebdo Will Stop Printing Caricatures Of Mohammed

In a stark contrast to the past policy, the French magazine Charlie Hebdo has decided to stop printing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The magazine has previously provoked outrage among Muslims by publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, whose image is considered blasphemous by many followers of Islam.

Its “survivors’ issue”, the first to be published after January’s attack, featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on the front page, according to France24.

However, Charlie Hebdo editor Laurent Sourisseau – also known by his pen name “Riss” – recently told German magazine Stern that the Prophet Mohammed would no longer appear in the magazine’s pages.

“We have drawn Mohammed to defend the principle that one can draw whatever they want. We’ve done our job. We have defended the right to caricature,” Sourisseau said, writes Newsweek.

“We still believe that we have the right to criticize all religions,” he added.

Riss took over as Charlie Hebdo’s editor in the wake of January attack, which he survived by playing dead. He took over the role from Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, who was killed in the massacre, writes France24.

http://www.newsweek.com/charlie-hebdo-will-cease-publishing-cartoons-prophet-muhammad-355272

http://www.france24.com/en/20150721-charlie-hebdo-editor-no-more-prophet-mohammed-cartoons

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Jewels Worth Millions Stolen In French Highway Robbery

Two supposedly high-security trucks transporting jewels worth millions of euros were relieved of their cargo by a gang of armed, masked robbers in a heist at a toll booth in the Yonne area in France.

French police are hunting up to 15 thieves involved in the commando-style operation just
after midnight on Tuesday.

No shots were fired and no one was injured as the thieves made off with an estimated nine million euros ($9.49 million) worth of booty.

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France PM Valls Survives ‘No-Confidence’ Vote, Pledges To Pursue Economic Reforms


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Wikipedia states that a vote of “no confidence” is a statement or vote which states that a person in a superior position is no longer deemed fit to hold that position.

This may be based on the person falling short in some respect or failing to carry out obligations, or making choices that other members feel are detrimental. As a parliamentary motion, it demonstrates to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in (one or more members of) the appointed government.

“No Confidence” leads to compulsory resignation of the council of ministers whereas “Censure” is meant to show disapproval and does not result in the resignation of ministers.

The censure motion can be against an individual minister or a group of ministers or a prime minister, but the “no-confidence” motion is directed against the entire council of ministers.

Censure motions need to state the reasons for the motion while “no-confidence” motions do not require reasons to be specified.

The French government has survived a no-confidence motion in the lower house of parliament, triggered by its use of decree to bypass opposition to an economic reform bill.  Those for the no confidence vote did not get a majority.

London Chelsea Fans Kick Black Man Off Of Paris Train: Stay Classy

In a video which occurred Tuesday, a group of white English London Chelsea soccer fans are seen pushing a black man out of a subway car as surrounding commuters watch.

“Can I get on or what?” the black man then says in French, only to then get pushed off again, according to the Associated Press.”

The Chelsea fans apparently sang “We’re racist, we’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it” to the tune of “I Will Follow Him” by Little Peggy March.


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Talks Produce Ukraine Peace Deal: Will The U.S. Scuttle The Agreement?

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures as he …

In exchange for a ceasefire and pullback of heavy weapons, Ukraine would trade broad autonomy in the east in a new agreement worked out in Minsk Thursday.  Kiev would get back control of its Russian border by the end of 2015 under a the peace deal worked out in all-night negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, according to the AP.

The deal was full of issues that could derail its implementation, however.

When they announced the plan, Russia and Ukraine differed over what exactly they had agreed to in the talks, including the status of Debaltseve, a key town now under rebel siege.  Putin said the rebels consider the Ukrainian forces there surrounded and expect them to surrender, while Ukraine says its troops have not been blocked.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said there was no agreement on full autonomy or federalization for eastern Ukraine, a longtime demand of Russia, which wants that to maintain its leverage over Ukraine and prevent its neighbor from ever joining NATO.

The deal also requires the Ukrainian parliament to give wide powers to the eastern regions as a condition for restoring Ukraine’s full control over its border with Russia — a provision certain to trigger heated debate in Kiev.

Uncertainty remained even on the cease-fire, as Putin admitted he and Poroshenko disagreed on the situation at the government-held town of Debaltseve, Debaltseve is a key transport hub between the rebels’ two main cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The new deal envisions a 50- to 140-kilometer (31- to 87-mile) wide buffer zone as both parties pull back heavy artillery and rocket systems from the front line, depending on their caliber.

The withdrawal should begin no later than the second day after the cease-fire becomes effective and should be completed within two weeks.

The rebel regions, which held their own elections last fall that Ukraine and the West declared a sham, are obliged to hold a new local vote under the Ukrainian law.

In a key concession to Russia, the deal says the restoration of Ukrainian control over its eastern border with Russia could be completed only by the end of 2015 and on the condition that Ukraine conducts constitutional reform granting wide powers to the eastern regions, including the right to form their own police and to trade freely with Russia.

“It was not the best night in my life. But the morning, I think, is good, because we have managed to agree on the main things despite all the difficulties of the negotiations,” Putin told reporters.

Hollande said he and Merkel are committed to helping verify the cease-fire in Ukraine, hailing the deal as a “relief to Europe.”

In Kiev, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said despite the peace talks, Russia sent 50 tanks and a dozen heavy weapons overnight into Ukraine.

“We will see whether there will be a cease-fire or not,” Tatyana Griedzheva said in Donetsk. “You have seen it with your own eyes, the kind of cease-fire that we have already had.”

Poroshenko stressed that the agreement contains “a clear commitment to withdraw all foreign troops, all mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine,” a reference to the Russian soldiers and weapons that Ukraine and the West say Russia has sent into eastern Ukraine to back the rebels.

Moscow has denied the accusations, saying any Russia fighters were volunteers, but the sheer number of sophisticated heavy weapons in the rebels’ possession belies the denial.

Merkel said Putin had exerted pressure on the separatists to get them to agree to the cease-fire.

In Brussels, European Union President Donald Tusk said the test of the Minsk agreement will be whether the weekend cease-fire holds in eastern Ukraine.

The French-German diplomatic offensive came as President Barack Obama considered sending U.S. lethal weapons to Ukraine, a move that European nations feared would only widen the hostilities.

The move could potentially scuttle the agreement.

Obama met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday but announced no decision on weapons, despite several senior officials in his administration coming out last week in favor of sending arms.

European countries have opposed sending arms to Kiev, arguing that would escalate the war, according to Al Jazeera.

The Russian leader said the peace deal also determines a division line from which heavy weapons will be pulled back. The line of division and other key provisions were in a document endorsed by rebel chiefs and the representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. That agreement was endorsed by the four European leaders, who issued a separate declaration.

“We were presented with various unacceptable conditions of withdrawal and surrender,” Poroshenko said. “We did not agree to any ultimatums and stated firmly that the cease-fire that is announced is unconditional.”

Rebel leaders lauded the agreement and said they’re willing to give Kiev another chance.

Rebels Continue Assault On Ukrainian Government Positions Ahead Of Peace Talks

More than 10 civilians and soldiers have been killed in rocket fire deep inside Ukrainian government-held territory on the eve of peace talks. The eastern headquarters of Ukraine’s military in Kramatorsk was hit as well as residential areas.

According to the BBC, urgent talks on ending the deadly conflict in Ukraine have begun on February 11th in the Belarusian capital Minsk, after a week of EU diplomacy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands with Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko.

Russia has been accused of arming and reinforcing pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine – a claim it denies.

Brokering the ceasefire bid are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

The talks are set to focus on securing a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons and creating a demilitarised zone.


euronews

Topless Femen Protesters Jump On Car Of Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Topless protesters attempted to jump on what appeared to be Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s car in Lille, France.

The former head of the International Monetary Fund had arrived to testify in a trial involving orgies and an alleged prostitution ring on Tuesday, February 10th.

Dominique Gaston André Strauss-Kahn (often referred to in the media and by himself as DSK) became the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on September 28th, 2007 with the backing of his country’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and served in that role until his resignation on 18 May 2011 following allegations that he had sexually assaulted a hotel employee.

In March 2012, Strauss-Kahn came under investigation in France over his alleged involvement in a prostitution ring. The trial over the involvement is currently ongoing.

In the video, half-naked activists, from the provocative activist group Femen, shouted profanities at what appeared to be Strauss-Kahn’s car before being arrested by police.


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