Jacques Chirac

Marine Le Pen elected French far-right leader

France's far-right National Front party elected Marine Le Pen as its new leader and likely presidential candidate yesterday, replacing her 82-year-old father Jean-Marie Le Pen, a source close to the party said.

Villepin backs 'Karachigate' claims against Sarkozy

A full-blown state scandal, involving President Nicolas Sarkozy and other senior figures, threatens to explode this week over "Karachigate", the allegation that political corruption and revenge-taking in France led to the murder of 11 French submarine engineers in Pakistan in 2002.

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Leader of a superpower, led by a dog called Bo

Leaders of men they may be but when it comes to inspiring the loyalty of their canine constituents, presidents and prime ministers often fall short. And no one is more obviously impaired in the doggie-discipline department than Barack Obama, at least according to America's dog whisperer, Cesar Millan.

Bonjour jeunesse: new French literary star Carmen Bramly is 15

With a flurry of new books and no literary agents to fight your corner, one way to attract attention as a novelist in France is to be a teenager. Over the next few weeks, as more than 700 novels are released in time for the annual "rentrée littéraire" Carmen Bramly will stand out from the crowd. At 15, she is this year's youngest contributor.

Prescott reveals Iraq invasion 'doubts'

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott privately harboured doubts about the intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he disclosed today.