News The former first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

The former first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is threatening legal action after an online petition asked her to repay nearly €410,000 (£354,000) used to fund her website while her husband was President.

Beckham highlights England's talent void

Soon David Beckham will be presented with his 100th cap that, in a pale imitation of the World Cup trophy he has never won, will be golden rather than blue. After the team's elimination from Euro 2008, English football has become so desperate they are inventing trophies to award to themselves, like those Soviet bloc nations who boycotted the 1984 Olympic s and earnestly held their own games instead, in which the international Communist brotherhood was assured of all three medals.

French dressing: France's first lady arrives in Britain

Carla Bruni, the supermodel now married to France's President, cut a surprisingly demure and understated figure yesterday when she arrived in Britain. By Carola Long

Sarkozy uses state visit to praise Britain

President Nicolas Sarkozy launched a cross-channel charm offensive today amid the pomp and politics of a full state visit.

Leading article: A partnership that could reshape the Continent

The state visit of President Nicolas Sarkozy to Britain will be marked by much ceremonial glitter. Over the next 48 hours, the president and the almost equally famous Mme Carla Bruni-Sarkozy will take tea with the Queen, ride in state carriages through the streets of Windsor and attend two official banquets.

What will Sarah Brown make of supermodel First Lady Carla?

At first sight, the French First Lady may seem to have little in common with the wife of the British Prime Minister.

Yasmina Reza on writing a play that can rival ‘ART’

Having effectively skewered Nicolas Sarkozy, the playwright Yasmina Reza returns to the West End with a bleak and brutal drama. She talks to Alice Jones

French first lady speaks out

The French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, made her debut as a commentator on current affairs in the august columns of Le Monde yesterday.

Private detective use soars as spouses spy on partners

The number of suspicious partners hiring private investigators to set up honey traps for their spouses surged last year as a string of celebrity divorce cases shone an uncomfortable spotlight on a business that usually remains shrouded in secrecy.

Why have an affair if the mistress looks like the wife?

The New York Times is sticking to its story. John McCain is sticking to his. They say he had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, as he worked on his first presidential campaign eight years ago. He says "it's not true". Mrs McCain says she's "very, very disappointed". But what everyone else wonders is, why would he bother?

Bruni 'sorry' for comparing critics to anti-Semitic collaborators

The new French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, apologised yesterday for comparing a magazine website to French collaborators who "denounced Jews" during the 1939-45 war.

John Lichfield: President Sarkozy's new philosophy for the world

Whatever his ex-wife may say about him, you have to admire Nicolas Sarkozy's energy and cheek. Not only has he found himself, in record time, a glamorous new wife-to-be. He has also invented a new political ideology which will (he says) set France, and the world, on a rational course towards the salvation of the human race.

Sarkozy married, reports claim

A French newspaper reported yesterday that President Nicolas Sarkozy might have married his new girlfriend Carla Bruni last week, but the mother of the former Italian supermodel said she was unaware of any secret nuptials.

Joan Smith: Sarkozy struts in Napoleon's clothes

France's taste for the flamboyant is being severely tested as the President shows off his trophy girlfriend Carla Bruni

Sarkozy's ex-wife fails to halt book

President Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife lost a legal battle yesterday to stop publication of a book in which she allegedly called him a "womanizer" and other choice epithets.

Katy Guest: Why can't people who are ill stay off work?

A couple of years ago, a cold remedy manufacturer ran a series of Tube station adverts promoting their hot lemon drink. "Question:" they ran. "What kind of person would go to work with flu? Answer: the kind of person who's after your job." It wasn't exactly aspirational advertising, but it contained just the right blend of machismo and blind paranoia to get the workforce gulping down paracetamol and hauling into the office to spread their germs. It lent a whole new layer of meaning to the term "affluenza".

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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003