News Valérie Trierweiler with her partner, François Hollande

The President’s official companion has told a French journalist that she is aware that some sort of official statement needs to be made

France split over virtues of 35-hour week

ATTEMPTS BY the government to reform the 35-hour working week, which has bedevilled French politics for seven years, provoked a series of savage exchanges in the national assembly yesterday.

Chirac considers early vote on EU after Socialist 'yes'

President Jacques Chirac was considering bringing forward the date of France's national referendum on the EU constitution yesterday after a resounding victory for the "yes" camp in a pivotal internal vote within the opposition Socialist Party.

Murder on the Champs Elysées as street gangs invade the city

Zakaria Babamou, a young man with a warm smile, died - stabbed in the back, beaten over the head with an iron bar - a few feet from the garden wall of President Jacques Chirac's residence. Precisely why 18-year-old Mr Babamou died on Saturday night at the Rond Point des Champs Elysées, just off the most renowned tourist avenue in the world, remains a mystery.

These two fractious leaders should focus on what unites them, not on their divisions

Behind the parlour entertainments at Windsor tonight, Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac have important work to do building bridges. The Channel, after all, has never seemed wider than in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. It was only 20 months ago that British ministers were queuing up to denounce "the French", prompting a public protest from the French ambassador. Though neither will want to rehearse old arguments, Iraq remains significant because it underpins the two leaders' very different visions of world affairs, which are not easily reconciled.

Ignore the intellectuals - Blair and I get on fine, insists Chirac

President Jacques Chirac travels to London this week for another session of what he called yesterday "tough love" between Britain and France, in which he hopes to advance the causes of Middle East peace and European defence.

Derrida, radical doyen of deconstructionist thought, dies at 74

Jacques Derrida, the world-renowned thinker and a founder of the school of philosophy known as deconstructionism, has died, the French President's office said yesterday. He was 74.

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