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French report French report
by Euro Reporter
2011-06-20 07:44:12
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Sarkozy’s ex-wife sparks frenzy with 2012 'novel'

France’s celebrity gossip journalists have been rubbing their hands together in anticipation this week after Nicolas Sarkozy’s former wife opened up about life with the president, quickly followed by the news that she was planning to publish an autobiographical novel next year. Weekly magazine Voici marvelled that 2012 was not only the year of the French presidential election and the end of the world (according to the Mayas), but also the year that Cécilia Attias would “finally break her silence and dish the dirt on Sarkozy!”
The buzz was sparked by the “revelation” from Attias during a TV debate on Sunday evening that women used to throw themselves at Sarkozy even when she was there. “I saw women giving him their phone numbers even when I was next to him,” she told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour during a debate on gender and power on the network’s This Week show.
The next day, French political website Atlantico.fr announced that Attias would be publishing a book, albeit fictional, but “largely inspired by the former first lady’s rich and busy life”. It would be hard for her to avoid mentioning Sarkozy – they were together for over 20 years. Only in 2007 did she break away from her allegedly hot-tempered husband, to run away with her lover, businessman Richard Attias, who she later married.


Children hospitalised in France after E.coli outbreak

Seven children were hospitalised in France with E. coli infections after eating meat that manufacturers said could come from Germany, where an outbreak of the bacteria has killed 38 people. The children, the youngest of whom is 20 months old, had eaten defrosted hamburgers made by the French company SEB which said the meat was taken from animals slaughtered in three European countries and processed in France. The cases come after a major E. coli outbreak that killed 39 people -- all in Germany except for one woman who died in Sweden after visiting Germany -- and sickened 3,300 people in 16 countries.

Doctor Michel Foulard of the University Hospital Centre where the children were being treated in Lille, northern France, said one of them was in critical condition. Officials said the infection was a rare strain of the E. coli bacteria and was not linked to the similar outbreak in Germany. "There's meat from Germany, there's meat from Belgium and from Holland" in the burgers, SEB chief executive Guy Lamorlette told AFP. "There are several suppliers. We will have to await the test results to say which is contaminated."

A spokesman for the Regional Health Agency (ARS) in Lille told AFP earlier that the six other children were "in a serious but not worrying state." Six of the children were hospitalised on Wednesday and a seventh on Thursday, authorities said. They came from different towns in the region and there were no connections between them. The "Steak Country" burgers were bought in French branches of German supermarket Lidl. SEB said it had recalled them and Lidl said it had removed them from its shelves in France.


Is France's cannabis debate stuck in a cul-de-sac?

The issue of legalising cannabis is once again making headlines in France following the release of a parliamentary report on Wednesday recommending that the drug should be subject to “controlled legalisation”. The report, compiled by an opposition working party, recommends that the cultivation and sale of marijuana should become a state-controlled activity, like the sale of alcohol and tobacco, and concluded that the government could not continue to “advocate the illusion of abstinence”.

The report has some support within the opposition Socialist Party, although two Socialist candidates for next year’s presidential campaign, Ségolène Royal and Manuel Valls, have spoken out against the proposal. The conservative ruling UMP party has largely rejected the findings, the party consensus being that legalising or decriminalising cannabis would increase the number of users and those traffickers would move into distributing harder drugs.

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