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by Euro Reporter
2010-01-05 08:38:29
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Camus stirs debate 50 years after his death

50 years ago yesterday (January 4, 1960), Albert Camus died aged 47 in a car accident, cutting short the life of the iconic French writer, philosopher and journalist whose legacy lives on today. In 1957, the author of “L’étranger” (“The Outsider”, 1942) and “La Peste” (“The Plague”, 1947) became the second youngest writer ever to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. He remains to this day the laureate who lived the shortest life. In the lead up to the 50-year anniversary of his death, left-leaning Camus’s name has once again been at the forefront of public debate, but this time not for his writing and philosophical views. French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed in November to move the author’s remains into the Panthéon (a vast monument in the capital where France’s most honoured and revered individuals are buried) in Paris. According to Sarkozy, “This would be an extraordinary symbol.”

Despite the great honour, the plan has come up against stiff resistance from Camus’s family. According to the newspaper “Le Monde”, Camus’s son Jean found the idea of transferring his father’s body to be an “aberration” saying it was down to political “manoeuvring”. Some commentators in Paris have put forth that Sarkozy is attempting to associate himself with the famed thinker for his own ends. Those suspicious of Sarkozy’s intentions believe the French president is trying to appeal to the left-wing vote, as the socialists always claimed the thinker as one of their own. Others believe that Sarkozy is trying to garner some reflected glory, with Camus often cited as an example of the success of France’s modern education system.

Literary journalist Alain-Gérard Slama explained, “It is very tempting to evoke Camus in the sense that….he is seen as transcending the divisions of right and left.” However, Albert Camus was not a man for decoration. Alain-Gérard Slama, columnist for La Figaro, explains, “When Camus received the Nobel Prize, he said it was too much for him." The debate could potentially be about to come to a head, with speculation rife that the philosopher’s daughter, Catherine Camus, will shortly make a final decision on behalf of the family.

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Frenchman admits smuggling illegal migrants into Britain


The son of a French councillor pleaded guilty Monday to helping smuggle 16 Vietnamese immigrants into Britain. Benjamin Chocat, 20, from Choisy-Le-Roi south of Paris, appeared in court in Portsmouth, southern England, charged with concealing the immigrants inside a vehicle which arrived on board a ferry from France on October 1 last year.

His mother Christiane Chocat, 51, a councillor in Lumigny-Nesles-Ormeaux southeast of Paris, appeared on the same charges. She is due to enter her plea at a court hearing on Wednesday. Benjamin Chocat will be sentenced on January 29.

The pair are accused of bringing over 13 men and three women in a hire van on a ferry from Cherbourg in France to Portsmouth, hidden behind boxes of shrimp noodles. They were arrested as they got off the ferry and the immigrants were returned to France that night. Chocat and his mother were both charged with assisting unlawful entry into a European Union member state under the Immigration Act 1971. The maximum penalty for helping illegal immigration is 14 years in prison, but this kind of crime usually attracts a sentence of between 18 and 30 months.

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France to sell off millions of surplus flu shots


France has joined other European countries in selling off millions of its emergency swine flu vaccines after buying far more than it needed to fight the outbreak, the government said Sunday. "We started with a plan for two-dose vaccinations but since one dose is sufficient we can start to re-sell part of the stock," a French health ministry official told AFP. Like some other European countries, France has witnessed less demand than expected after spending 869 million Euros (1.25 billion dollars) on vaccines for the A (H1N1) flu virus.

It bought 94 million doses -- almost one and a half for every member of the population -- but so far only about five million people in France are recorded as having been vaccinated since the programme launched in October. France took the decision to sell some of its stock after European medical authorities said that a one-off vaccination was enough to protect against the virus.
  
The ministry said Qatar had already bought 300,000 doses from France and Egypt was negotiating to buy two million. France is also in discussions with Mexico and Ukraine, it said. Germany also said last month it was looking to sell off vaccines even though its full order of 50 million doses was not due to be delivered until March. Only about five percent of the population had been vaccinated in Germany.


       
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Emanuel Paparella2010-01-05 10:26:34
Indeed, it is in the nature of great men to continue to stir controversy long after they are dead. Camus is certainly one of those. His real pantheon is his existential philosophy and his insightful novels, hardly the vainglorious monuments erected by puny politicians to further their own agenda. The controversy about him is reminiscent of the controversy stirred by Dante some fifty years after his death. He died in exile in Ravenna. After his death, Boccaccio began reading Dante in the Duomo of Florence and Florentine began to realize what a great blunder they had made in sending Dante, the greatest of medieval poets and certainly the greatest Italian poet, into exile. They claimed his body from the city of Ravenna. Ravenna refused by arguing that the Florentines should have honored him while he was alive rather than when he was dead. He is still there, buried in a church in Ravenna while the Florentine erected an empty tomb as a memorial of sort in the pantheon of famous Italians which is the church of Santa Croce (where Michelangelo, Galileo and others are buried). They also placed a statue of Dante outside Santa Croce. Tourists are thus fooled in thinking that Dante is buried there. But there is a clue: as the tourist goes by the tomb, he sees an angel on his knees is crying with his face in his hands leaning on the tomb. I like to think that the angel is not crying for Dante who would remain great even without the recognition of the Florentines’ monuments to him, but for the folly of the Florentines who failed miserably to recognize his greatness when he was alive among them.


ap2010-01-05 16:46:34
For when a Finnish report? Very weird news these days...!


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