France

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French Outraged by Spelling Shake-Up

Officials changed the spellings of 2,400 words to make them easier for children

(Newser) - France is in uproar over reports that the official spellings of 2,400 words are being changed to make them less confusing for schoolchildren just learning the language, the Guardian reports. For example, "ognon" is now a fine way to spell onion in addition to the more familiar "... More »

Woman Jailed for Killing Abusive Husband Wins Rare Pardon

French president shortens sentence of woman who killed violent spouse

(Newser) - Thanks to French President Francois Hollande, Jacqueline Sauvage will be leaving a French prison in April after serving three and a half years of a 10-year sentence for killing her husband, the Guardian reports. Sauvage—who said Norbert Marot, her husband of 47 years, was an alcoholic who raped and... More »

On Collision Course With France: Tilting Cargo Ship

Modern Express will crash into coast in next 48 hours if rescue workers can't harness it

(Newser) - A coastal resort and a national park are in peril if salvage workers aren't able to harness a listing cargo ship poised to crash into France within the next 48 hours. Since the 540-foot Modern Express began tilting Tuesday off the coast of Spain, rescue efforts have been dogged... More »

Man With Guns, Extra Ammo Arrested Near Disneyland Paris

Police also arrested a woman with the man

(Newser) - A 28-year-old man allegedly carrying two guns was arrested Thursday while attempting to enter the Hotel New York at Disneyland Paris in France, the Guardian reports. In addition to the guns, the man reportedly had a copy of the Koran and a box of ammunition, according to the BBC . He... More »

Banksy's Newest Target: Tear Gas Used on Refugees

London mural takes shot at tactics allegedly used on refugees in France

(Newser) - Two giant sheets of plywood now cover Banksy's latest mural opposite the French embassy in London—though developers of the building it's spray-painted on say they're trying to keep it safe, the BBC reports. Never one to shy away from controversy, the artist borrowed the girl who... More »

Volunteer in Botched French Drug Trial Dies

Man in Biotrial clinical trial had been declared brain-dead

(Newser) - A French hospital says a patient has died after taking part in an experimental drug trial, and five other participants remain hospitalized. The Rennes University Hospital said in a statement that the patient, who had already been in a state of brain death , died Sunday. The statement says the hospital... More »

Botched Drug Trial Leaves Man Brain Dead

And 2 more are hospitalized in France

(Newser) - A drug trial in France has gone horribly wrong, leaving one healthy volunteer brain-dead; three other men may have suffered irreversible brain damage, another has "neurological problems," and a sixth is hospitalized with less severe problems, reports AP . Details on what happened, including what drug was being tested... More »

France's Le Pen Sues Madonna Ex Over Selfie

'Do you find it normal to be photographed while asleep on a plane?'

(Newser) - A far-right French politician is suing one of Madonna's ex-boyfriends for nearly $55,000—all because of an unflattering selfie taken on an airplane. Jean-Marie Le Pen—whom the Telegraph labels a "veteran xenophobic firebrand"—is miffed that the now-viral photo of him snoozing away in his... More »

Canal Commissioned by Napoleon Gives Up Its Secrets

So far, they've found dozens of bikes and a gun

(Newser) - It has been 15 years since Paris last cleaned the Canal Saint-Martin—long enough for the bottom of the waterway to accumulate thousands of wine and beer bottles, dozens of bikes, and at least one gun. The scenic area along the canal has become what the Telegraph calls the French... More »

Extreme Athlete Dies Setting Up Hot Air Balloon Stunt

Tancrede Melet, 32, was 'at arm's length' from the basket when he fell 100 feet

(Newser) - A French extreme sportsman described by the Inertia as an "inspiration to the working man" has died at the age of 32 after a hot air balloon stunt backfired, ABC News reports. Tancrede Melet, part of a daredevil group known as the Flying Frenchies , was setting up the stunt... More »

Paris Cops Kill Man in Fake Suicide Vest

He had a knife, shouted 'Allahu akbar' at police station

(Newser) - Officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man wearing a fake explosive vest at a police station in northern Paris on Thursday, French officials say. It came a year to the day after the attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo launched a bloody year in the French capital. A police... More »

Man Rams French Soldiers Guarding Mosque With His Car

His motives are currently unclear

(Newser) - A man rammed his car into four soldiers guarding a mosque on Friday in the southeast French city of Valence, but was stopped when a soldier fired and wounded him, authorities said. His motives were unclear, but with France on high alert after the coordinated attacks in Paris on Nov.... More »

DNA Leads to Arrest in 1990s Serial Rapes in French Forest

The suspect is married with children

(Newser) - DNA traces helped police identify, arrest, and jail a Frenchman suspected of 34 rapes or attempted rapes in a suburban Paris forest from 1995 to 2001. Deputy prosecutor Bertrand Daillie told the AP the victims were between the ages of 27 and 72. The 40-year-old man was arrested Monday at... More »

Dark Details of France's WWII Vichy Regime Exposed

French law requires documents be made public now that 75 years have elapsed

(Newser) - The town of Vichy, France, has long tried to shake its sinister image: After Germany invaded the country in 1940, the collaborationist government established in Vichy under Marshal Philippe Pétain helped deport 76,000 Jews, including children, reports the BBC . But that effort may be about to stall out... More »

France's Madame to Rich, Famous Dies at 92

Madame Claude and her 'swans' were a Paris institution in the '60s and '70s

(Newser) - The most famous madame in France—who JFK reportedly once asked for a prostitute that looked like his wife "but hot"—died Saturday at the age of 92, the New York Times reports. Fernande Grudet—more commonly known as Madame Claude—ran a high-class call-girl ring catering to... More »

Man Who Beheaded Boss Kills Himself in Prison

Frenchman Yassin Salhi reportedly had radical Islamic ties

(Newser) - A Frenchman charged with beheading his boss and attaching the severed head to a fence in June has been found dead in a surprise end to the case of the man with reported ties to radical Islam who allegedly tried and failed to blow up a gas plant. Prison officials... More »

In France, Models Now Need a Doctor's Note

Law aims to crack down on too-skinny models

(Newser) - Models hoping to walk Paris' runways now need a doctor's note. French lawmakers passed a law on Thursday declaring models must obtain a medical certificate showing their body mass index is healthy and "compatible with the practice of the [modeling] profession" before working jobs. Those who break the... More »

Preschool Teacher Made Up Story About ISIS Attack

Authorities in France still investigating what happened

(Newser) - It sounded awful: A preschool teacher in Paris claimed that a masked assailant shouting allegiance to the Islamic State attacked him at school before classes began on Monday. Now it appears he made the whole thing up. The Paris prosecutor's office says the 45-year-old male invented the tale of... More »

Projection: Far Right Thumped in France

National Front goes from hot to not in regional elections

(Newser) - Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front collapsed in French regional elections Sunday, failing to take a single region after dominating the first round of voting, pollsters projected. The conservatives surged against the governing Socialists, changing the political map of France. The failure of the National Front to gain any... More »

France Vows to Protect Banksy's Steve Jobs Migrant Mural

Artist put it up at refugee camp in Calais

(Newser) - Banksy's latest high-profile mural makes a point about the plight of Syrian refugees though the example of Steve Jobs—and authorities in France are making sure the mural sticks around for a while. The artist painted a life-size mural of Jobs, whose biological father was a Syrian native, at... More »

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